Public masturbation during childhood is more common a problem than
most parents may ever imagined. In fact, it is considered normal behavior
for children to masturbate once in a while, and we may see such comportment
even in babies at around eighteen months of age. Although most parents usually
overreact when facing public masturbation behavior, the most effective
solution is to deal with calm but firmness. Children masturbate for the exact
same reasons as adults do, to relieve tension and stress and to feel pleasure,
although they don't know why they're having such sensations.
For the child, public masturbation is also a common behavior, since
she doesn't have the notions of pubic and private well adjusted. It's important
to not punish public masturbation, but treating it such as other behaviors
that are not acceptable in public places, such as nose picking. Parents have
to teach children that public masturbation is wrong, although it CAN
be done while they are alone, in their bedroom or in the shower.
Another solution for public masturbation is offering something
else for the child to play in public places. As in general children are not
compulsive about masturbation, they will forget urges and pay attention to other
activity. If warned by your child's day care provider that you child is still
at masturbation, make a plan together and apply the same approach to deal with
It's also important to say that public masturbation may
be a problem only when it becomes compulsive by interfering in other activities
and interpersonal relations. It would also be wise to consider whether the child
could be scratching the genitals instead of masturbating, what may indicate
some infection or a rash.