Most parents expect their kids to start exploring their bodies when they hit puberty, as a normal part of self-exploration. But how would you handle it if you saw your pre-schooler doing it?
That was the situation that a listener put to Mamamia‘s parenting podcast This Glorious Mess.
Sarah, from Western Australia, said:
“My two and a half year old daughter has been lying on the couch on her belly with her hands in her underpants and wriggling around.
“I ended up saying something to my husband, and he said, ‘Oh yeah, she does it all the time’. I asked him, ‘What do you do when she does it?’, he said ‘I tell her to stop it.’
“I don’t want to embarrass her, so I don’t know what to do. I think it’s fine that she’s doing something that feels good for herself.”
What’s a parent to do if their two-year-old is humping the family couch? We ask an expert.
Sarah did firmly believe “it’s something she needs to do in her own room” but needed help on the language to use, worried about giving her child a complex on what she feels is natural behaviour.
So TGM hosts Andrew Daddo and Holly Wainwright called Dr. Fiona Martin, of Sydney Child’s Psychology Centre, to seek professional advice.
Dr Martin confirmed that as a psychologist, she’s come across this issue many times in her practice, and it’s common for parents to differ in their approach.
But while each parent’s perspective is understandable, Dr Martin emphasised it’s very important to communicate to children that what they’re doing is normal, and “not to make a big deal about it.”