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Resetting The Boundaries

Dr. Laura:

I had a neighbor who had a son who was about two years old.  He liked to touch himself, and his mother kept telling him that that behavior was "yucky."  I tried repeatedly to tell her to not say that to him since that was just teaching him that "yucky" felt good.  She dismissed my comments because I don't have any children.

One afternoon, she asked me to watch him for a few hours while she had to go out.  While we were playing, he touched himself.  I wasn't surprised, but I asked if he had to go to the bathroom.  He said no, and we continued to play. 

A little later, he did it again.  So I asked him if it "itched."  He told me that it did not.  
Still, later, he did it again.  While I don't have kids, I grew up around a lot of boys and I had never seen anyone of them touch himself so much.  I asked him if it hurt, and he shook his head and said "no."

So, I said, "you don't have to use the bathroom, it doesn't itch, and it doesn't hurt."  He agreed that all of those statements were true.  So I said the following to him:  "You are not supposed to touch that in front of other people.  If you do it again, I will take it away from you and I won't give it back!"

His eyes, got huge, he looked at "it," but he never touched himself in front of me again.
Boundaries do work, and you don't have to make the child feel bad or dirty in the process.

Tags: Behavior, Humor, Motherhood-Fatherhood, Parenting
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