When my five-year-old son wears some comfy clothes, like joggers or pyjamas especially after school, he tends to either sit on the sofa or lie on the floor and basically fondle himself. He started doing this very early on (around 2 years old for maybe about half a year) then stopped.

Now he started again several months ago and it is fairly constant. He even tries to hide it by lying underneath a blanket which we keep in the living room and in his bed. Initially we thought it was normal but now he does it when he has the chance.

My husband and I came up with a couple of ways to try and deal with this:

  1. Make up an excuse that if he keeps doing this, he will hurt himself and will have to go to the hospital (he doesn't like hospitals).

  2. Make him wear trousers or jeans (or something not completely comfortable) to make it more difficult.


Is this behaviour normal? Are there other steps we could try to lessen this level of fondling?

  • 3
    It's very normal. Don't try to stop it completely, and certainly don't lie to him about it possibly harming him. Just try to get him to curb it a bit, and not do it at inappropriate times. – user1751825 May 3 at 3:35

It's perfectly normal- my own used to do the same- though he's always been something of a "fiddler" and likes to fidget with everything from the seams of his trousers, to whatever he's got in his hands.

All children will at some point "find" themselves in this regard and children being children, they fidget and fiddle. This isn't solely down to finding pleasure from it but simply that it's a subconscious action at times and as with anyone that likes to absent mindedly fiddle- will do it without even realising it.

The important things about it is to let him understand that while there's nothing inherently wrong with doing it, that it's something done in private and not in front of everyone and not all the time either. Arguably too strong a reaction can lead to some level of psychological damage that they'll be ashamed and shy of the topic in general but I'm sure this won't be the case with you.

My own parents used to say along the same lines, sometimes inferring that "It'll drop off" in a funny but effective reminder! But as you are doing is fine- gentle dissuasion from the activity by a change of clothes is absolutely fine.

Nothing damaging will come of it and he'll inevitably grow out of it- just make it clear that it shouldn't be done around other people in public etc.

  • 1
    Can you add some support from a reliable source for your claim? Thanks! – anongoodnurse May 2 at 21:03
  • My sources are from the postpartum nurse we stayed in contact with after birth, our GP and also midwife. I discussed it with the GP when he had a visit for an immunization, the midwife as she lived locally and his Mother spoke with the nurse. – FeralSquirrel May 3 at 9:03

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