JAMACA1998 asks:

My question has to due with puberty i think.

My granddaughter is 11 and this morning her mother caught her humping her stuffed animal. My daughter said she was shocked and does not know how to handle situation. My question is is this normal and how do we handle this. Child is a very good gets straight a`s in school doesnt get in trouble for the most part is a good kid
In Topics: My child's growth and development, Parenting / Our Family, Teen issues
> 60 days ago



Jul 19, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Sexual behaviors are common in children.  However, they should be transient, few, and distractible.  

If sexual behaviors are escalating, frequent, or intrusive, they might signify a problem. Also, sexual behaviors that involve children of different developmental stages, or involve coercion and control by one child, are abnormal. These behaviors require immediate intervention.

If you are concerned with your child’s sexual behavior, you feel that it is not appropriate for her age, or the behavior escalates, talk with her health care provider as soon as possible.

Best regards.
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Additional Answers (2)

dgraab , Parent writes:
Hello, In addition to the Expert answer you received, and in addition to suggesting that your daughter speak to your granddaughter's pediatrician...

Below are some informational resources your family may also find helpful. Thanks for asking!

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Dr.Susan , Child Professional writes:
Hi there,
I can certainly understand how it would be surprising to a mom to walk in on her daughter doing something so private--it must have been a bit embarrassing for your granddaughter as well I bet! From what you describe, I think it would be safe to say that this behavior is perfectly normal. Almost all children go through some period in their life around their preteens or early teens--boys and girls--when they try out some form of masturbation. Many kids do it very, very privately so that an adult might never know it was happening. But others are more public about--they aren't embarrassed at all. Still others get 'caught' as is the case with your granddaughter--either they didn't realize that is was supposed to be private or they didn't mean to get caught.

The best way to manage this is for your daughter to try and keep her shock to herself--even though I'm sure it's hard. She doesn't want to communicate feelings to her daughter that she's upset or angry about the behavior for two reasons.
1. It's very normal behavior--even though awkward for mom to see
2. It will communicate the message that mom doesn't want to hear about 'things like this': such as sex, body changes or even more difficult topics because then your granddaughter will have a hard time turning to her mom to talk about important topics.

Your daughter should therefore say something simple to her daughter. Here's a script to help out:
"I noticed you were having fun with your stuffed animal this morning in a way that made your vagina (or your private parts) feel good. It's fine to do that, in fact it's completely normal, but it's something you should do privately because that part of your body is private. Okey doke!" Then a big hug and smile--that's it!

Good Wishes and Great Parenting,
Dr Susan Bartell
JustAsk Expert
Twitter @drsusanbartell
NEW book "The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask"
> 60 days ago

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