Question: My ten-year-old daughter masturbates often and recently she has started to do it in public. How do I deal with this?
Answer: Rubbing or touching the genitals (masturbation) can create exciting and pleasurable feelings. Masturbation usually starts early in life when an infant discovers that touching the genital area can produce pleasurable feelings. It is natural for people of all ages to be curious about their bodies and find genital stimulation pleasurable.
How a parent reacts to a child’s masturbation may affect how the child will come to feel about their body. Parents (and grandparents) can help children to understand that rubbing or touching one’s genitals is not ‘bad’ or ‘abnormal’, but that it has its proper place. For example, rubbing the genitals is okay when done in a private place such as one’s bedroom.
For some teens masturbation can be a good release of sexual tension and this can be difficult for parents to accept.
Question: My child is overly affectionate to everyone and I feel this may put her at risk. How do I teach my child about safe boundaries?
Answer: This is often a problem and of course we do not want to dissuade a child from showing affection, just give them some guidance on what is socially appropriate and physically and emotionally safe. Unfortunately children with disabilities, especially as they get older, “live under the microscope” and are given a hard time for social mistakes.
Children will need very clear examples, nothing too vague. You may need to make up a pictorial guide of people that s/he can be affectionate with. It can take up to six weeks to establish a new habit and much longer in many cases so you will need to give lots of positive reinforcement. Be sure to tell others who work with your child what you are doing and have them work on this also.
For more information, click here.
Question: My student thinks that every girl is his girlfriend in a romantic way and this is beginning to cause problems. How do I help him navigate friendships and dating?
Answer: It is important to discuss and work on the distinction between friendship relationships and romantic relationships/love. Explain that romantic relationships are much more serious and encompassing. Talk about people in your own lives and their relationships. You can also use examples from TV shows.
Use our online question box if you have a question about sexual health. The question box is available here.
All of the question box answers will be posted on this page, so that other people can learn from them. If you do not see your question posted within five working days, please resubmit your question. Your question may not be answered if it is outside the scope of sexual health.