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15 Jan 2004

Does my child have a sexual problem?
Today when picking up my 5 year old son from the creche his teacher told me that he was caught sticking his hand up the dress and into the pantie of a little girl while she was sleeping. This was the first time anything like this happened and I am really shocked. When we got home I spoke to him about it. When I asked him why he did this, he said he didn't know. I spoke to him again about nobody touching his penis and him not touching anyone elses private parts. He promised me that it would never happen again. I asked him if this happened before, or if anyone ever touched him, but he said no. But I don't know what to do now. Should I consult a Child Phsycologist or just pray that this never happens again? Please help me. Is this normal and how do I handle it?
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Shocked,
I can understand that you found this a shocking and surprising experience, but you really needn't worry. Kids are curious, and, maybe especially at this age, may think of exploring other kids to find out more about the oddities of how human bodies are shaped and how we work. It is a sign of normalcy, not of any sinister abnormality. I fully agree with lady nina and J about this.
If we're not careful, as parents we an give a kid some rather messed up messages --- "sex is something horrible and secretive and nasty, which you must save for the person you love" / "Sex and our bodies are something beautiful which God made, which we must keep absolutely secret and never talk about".
let's clarify the mesages that are worth getting across to him.
He wasn't wicked and had no evil intent. Innocent kids can get curious and want to find out more --- this is a good time to think of at least starting his sex education, maybe with the help of some of the really good books now fortunately available. Messages can include : Your own body belongs to you and you need to take good care of it. It's fine to touch yourself, but it's a private thing, not to be done in public. You don't allow other people to touch you, and you don't touch other people, especially not without their permission.
You can tell him that what he did was embarrassing, but he's not going to be punished, because he can learn his lesson from this experience about things that are considered not proper to do. Explain that you understand that he may be becoming curious about how boys and girls are different, and what this means --- but that this is someting to feel free to discuss with you and his dad, so he can find out properly, rather than from other children, who probably don't know much more than he does.
He shouldn't need to see any sort of shrink, and mustn't be made to feel bad or abnormal for this. But don't miss the opportunity to open the topic of sex as one he can discuss with his parents, and to provide basic information, especally in relation to any specific questions he has.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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