Monday

Should I Mind My Own Business?

Monday, September 28, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I recently started babysitting for this family with 4.5 year old twin and 6 year old girls. The other night I was putting the twins to bed and they both flipped on their back, put a hand down their pajama pants and started to "play with themselves" and breath heavily. A little embarrassed, I asked them what they were doing and they both responded that it helped them go to sleep because it felt good. I know they were on their backs, but it was very clear what they were doing. I've been babysitting for almost 15 years and I've never had a child do this. I'm a bit embarrassed and unsure if its normal or if its something I should bring to the parents attention. I'm sure the parents have noticed this since they put them to bed most nights, and perhaps they are fine with their twins doing this and exploring their own bodies. I'm just not sure if I should address it with them, tell the girls not to do that, or just mind my own business? Any opinions or anyone who had dealt with this would be greatly welcomed. Thanks!!

25 comments:

ChiNanny said...

Children exploring themselves and pleasuring themselves is completely normal. They were even able to verbalize to you why they did it. I'm sure the parents know and have told them it's okay as long as it's a "private" thing (which it sounds like it is since it's in their bedroom and not at the park). It's the parents' decision to explain/make boundaries for this behavior, not yours. If you're concerned bring it up with the parents and see what they say.

Ravenswood Nanny said...

i agree with ChiNanny. mention it to the parents and ask what their protocol is on the behavior and follow suit. it's perfectly natural.

Emily said...

It is completely normal. I was one of those children. I can remember doing the same thing, except I was on my stomach. But I can remember it helping me fall asleep.

TC said...

I had to take some child development classes for my degree and we actually covered this. It's normal and natural and you should never shame a child or tell them to stop what they are doing. You can tell them WHERE they are doing it is inappropriate like if they decided to do that at a park or at the dinner table with a room full of people but if they are doing it in their bedrooms that is considered their private area and that's where that behavior belongs.

Mary said...

I'm kind of on the fence about this one. Part of me says "yes, it's normal/natural". However, the age of the kids is what concerns me. Are these the 4 year olds or 6 year olds? Either way, they seem a bit young to already know so much about their own bodies and how to do things that make them "feel good". Part of me wonders if it's a sign of sexual abuse. Have you considered that and are there any other signs that may point to sexual abuse?

just another mommy said...

Mary, not sure why you are worried about the age. I've seen children as young as 2 starting this activity. I know that many, many children do it - including my own - and they know the rule is in their bedroom in private and I don't see it.

post 6 said...

Anonymous said...
It's NOT necessarily a sign of sexual abuse. I am female and I started masturbating at 5 years old. I was never abused nor am I pervert. I just figured it out very soon.

Please don't say anything to the children unless they try to do it in public. But I will tell you right now, they won't. Even at 5 I knew what I was doing was not for anyone else to see.

Sep 28, 2009 11:52:00 PM

I love my doxie said...

It is SOOOOOO normal! I did it young too. If the girls looked bruised or as though their hymen was broken I may worry; but even then kids can tear that from climbing and rough housing. I wouldn't worry OP. It feels good. Some kids mature a little faster and that is all. I would not talk to the parents. Follow what others have already said and let them be, unless they are not doing it in the privacy of their own beds/baths etc.

djembé said...

The fact that they would immediately do this in the presence of a new nanny indicates that they have not been taught proper boundaries. They are not doing it in private. If they were really doing it to "help themselves sleep", why would they do it immediately upon hitting the bed, even before the nanny left the room?

Frankly I call BS on this whole story; I think someone just wants to get off on reading everyone's memories of twiddling themselves at the age of five.

Marypoppin'pills said...

djembé
I actually debated for a couple of days whether or not to post this... for exactly the reason you describe. However, I think it is something that can happen and that is why I put it up for discussion.

Let's just hope that no one is that perverted on this board.

mom said...

I would leave them alone and say nothing. Kids do this. My boys had to wear overalls through their toddler years to combat just this issue. (And, by the numbers of moms of little boys who ask me about how to keep their little boys' hands out of their diapers, I know this is a pretty universal behavior, even for very small children.)
If you are very close friends with the parents and feel comfortable, there's no reason not to mention it to the parents...although I suspect they are perfectly aware, since the kids are so forthright about it. But maybe it will put your mind to rest.

I was babysitting as a very young teen once and the two little girls brought out a big vibrator and started massaging one another on the backs with it. Horrified, I asked them to put it away. One of them responded, "It's OK. My parents use this for sex." Some families are just very, very open.

Smikling without even having my coffee said...

Mom--

Your last few lines- so funny1 I ca just picture you, sitting there while the kids cavlierly (sp?) proclaim "Oh, it's okay... " blah blah. Oh dear. Made my day!

MinuteMuggle said...

It is normal. But the parents should tell the children to do it in private.

Village said...

It's completely normal behavior. You should leave and close the door, and give them some privacy.

I did this as a 4 year old once, in the tub, and my aunt, who saw it, came running into the living room to report it to my mother. My mother replied, 'Did you close the door?'.

If children aren't taught to be ashamed about sex, they won't be.

mom said...

Smikling,
You have no idea! We did not talk about such things...EVER...in my house while growing up. I was completely appalled. (And yet, these were wonderful people...my very favorite family to babysit for, ever. They paid me more than anybody in the area paid their sitters...all so I would be available to them first...which I always was.) Their kids turned out great too. I still keep in contact with the oldest girl a little bit.

OP said...

wow..I didn't expect that people would take it like that. First like I said in the posting, I"m the babysitter not the nanny. Second, the children know me very well, as I was their lifeguard and swim team coach for months before I began babysitting them. I don't care/want to hear stories of other people when they were little. I just wanted to make sure this was normal behavior and that I wasn't jumping the gun on anything. I'm not a nanny, therefore haven't had many child development classes perhaps some nannies have had.

Lola said...

Wow my first thought was that they may have seen their mom do that while sleeping in her bed before she realized that they know what was going on around them.

I also thought it may have been some sicko, for the same reason as djembe.

I never did that as a child, and for all the children I have, know, have been around, etc, I have only seen such behavior in boys, never girls. Didn't know it was so normal. Frankly I never felt comfortable doing that until my early twenties!!

MissMannah said...

I am so rolling my eyes now. Of course this wasn't a fake post by some sicko. And as for the person saying only boys do it and not girls, obviously has not been around a lot of little girls.

I've worked in daycare for years and years and have seen countless children, mostly girls, masturbate to help themselves get to sleep. One little girl used to, more or less, hump her cot every day. The less experiences teachers were absolutely horrified and wanted to call CPS on her parents, but really it is no big deal. Yes, children need to be taught boundaries but to be fair, they were in their own beds.

another CHInanny said...

I have had several encounters with this problem with both boys and girls around the 4-7 year range. I just tell them that's it is ok but do it in the bedroom or the bathroom because that is not something that everyone needs to see at the table. That it is a private thing that is just for them and not for any one else to take part in. I have had my share of embarrassing experiences in this situation.

10:11 PM said...

Anonymous said...

Wow, really surprised how many girls did NOT do this growing up. I learned so much about my body doing this aa a child, and let me tell you, it really helped in my adult life.

Consider these girls lucky. They will definitely have a happy sex life later on.

We have so much shame about children having sexual feelings. Well, many do and no, that does not mean they are ready for sex at 5 or 6, it simply means they figured out a way to make themselves feel good. Jealous perhaps that they've figured it out while some as adults still have never experienced the big O? Get over it. Stop the panic about CPS. These are probably the same people that can't stand to see breastfeeding in public.

Sep 29, 2009 10:11:00 PM

Lola said...

MissMannah


Didn't mean to offend you....geesh.....I'm a girl, have two sisters, three close girl cousins growing up, countless girlfriends....who I slept over at their houses hundreds of times..FOUR daughters....who have lots of girlfriends themsleves that sleep at my house.....

And I never saw it before, sorry, ever. Just a fact, not trying to say it doesn't happen. Again...geesh.

MissMannah said...

Lola, I was almost going to get defensive and say "You didn't offend me!" but then I thought about it and determined that I probably was a bit offended last night when I read your comment. You seemed to say that is is only normal for little boys to masturbate and that's what bothered me.

As a nanny, I tend to assume that all other caregivers have taken as many child development classes as I have, which makes this question a total no-brainer. They heavily stress in class that masturbation is normal in small children and that we shouldn't discourage them to do so.

Lola said...

Miss Mannah,

Right, I totally get it. I was simply expressing my experiences...and I did so obviously express my ignorance of text book child development when I said "Didn't know it was so normal."

So there....you have proved your knowledge and experience to us all.....congrats.......I'll leave it at that....and I'm not a nanny...by the way. AND I agree that it IS normal in most situations.
Have a great night.

VAnanny said...

Lola-I am sooooo on your level. I have nannied for years and I also have a degree in psychology. I say this so I do not get attacked for not knowing what I am talking about. Personally, I didn't think it was particularly normal to be done each night. I have always considered it to be normal but it small doses. Not each night and especially not in front of a sitter. I do not have an issue with "child masturbation" but do believe it should be done in private and not in front of people that are not the parents. It also should not be done regularly. Before anyone jumps on me, let me just say that I am stating my OPINION. Everyone is entitled to do so.

unfortunate but true said...

I babysit for an 11-year old autistic boy, and he has been known to pull his pants down on a busy NYC street just to touch himself! I know this doesn't necessarily help the OP, but I can relate. Try telling a profoundly autistic kid that this is "private" behavior!