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Addressing Genital Touching With Your Preschooler

What To Do When Your Preschooler Engages In Genital Touching

Dr. Sigmund Freud described the time between about 3 and 6 years of age as the phallic stage. He came to this after spending much time observing children -- and noticing that children of this age touch their genitals. And there are many parents out there who have had these same Freud-like observations!

It's completely natural for young children to touch their genitals. However, it's generally not considered socially appropriate for children to do this in public, especially in school settings.

To help eliminate genital touching in public, teach your kids the difference between public and private. Try to do this in a way that makes your child feel comfortable rather than shamed, so be sure to use a neutral tone of voice for these conversations and use encouragement rather than punishment to reinforce the behavior.

If genital touching continues despite repeated conversations and reminders, parents may wish to see a child psychologist who can help parents with behavioral interventions such as setting up a behavior chart, creating social stories about genital touching, and implementing routines to reduce such behaviors.

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