Masturbation Concerns

Dear Sara,

I have a beautiful daughter Haley who is almost three. She is potty trained but still wears a diaper at night. During the day she has her hand in her underwear a lot. She will sit in the backyard and appears to be playing with herself. This is somewhat embarrassing to me. When I see her doing this I try to make her stop by distracting her but she goes back to it later. How can I get her to stop doing this?

Dear Brittany,

Your plan of distracting her is a good one. She doesn’t need to feel that she is doing something wrong by doing this. Maybe she has just discovered something that feels good but there could be other things to consider.

If she has a urinary tract infection, she might be itching in that area. If you haven’t taken her to the pediatrician lately, she needs to be checked out to make sure there aren’t any vaginal or urinary tract problems.

The other thing you might want to consider is sexual abuse. It is hard to believe that someone that you know and trust could do something like this but sexual abuse is often perpetrated by a friend or family member. Haley may be able to tell you if something like this is going on if she has the verbal ability. If not, keep a watchful eye on her. Sometimes sexual abuse goes on for years and causes a lot of emotional problems for the victim. I hope you find the cause soon.

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