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Date of last update: 9/9/2017.

Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: My 3 1/2 year old daughter squeezing her legs together

 doozer - Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:35 pm

My 3 1/2 year old daughter started tightly squeezing her legs together because it feels good. I've tried to ingnore this behavior and redirect her attention to something else. Since that didn't work I think I've approached the situation wrong and now I feel horrible. I've told her that it is yucky and we don't do that to our "private" because it's yucky and not nice. Then for the first time tonight after bath time she went in to her room to get her PJ's on and instead I found her on the floor rubbing her finger in her vagina. My child has never been in any situation where any sort of abuse would have happened. It horrifies me to think that someone may think that if they see my child doing this. What do I do to stop this? I'm afraid if I handle this wrong I could be mentally harming her. I don't want to think she's bad or dirty. If this is normal behavior how do I make sure that she doesn't end up doing this at nap time in preschool? This is really stressing me out, any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:44 pm

User avatar Hi Doozer,

Kids at this age become more interested in their body. This can occur even in the absence of abuse. (As a precaution, it is always reasonable to consider abuse but I won't necessarily go searching meticulously for this.) Most likely, if you simply ignore the behavior it will resolve itself. If your daughter has questions, just answer them honestly in a way that a 3 year old can understand (without details that she doesn't necessarily need to know at her age). E.g. "that's another part of your body just like your arms and legs".

Best wishes.

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