Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Bathroom Talk

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My eight-year-old son is exhibiting increasing interest in bathroom behavior and talk: trying to look at people while in the bathroom at school, talking about private body parts, etc. I have received numerous calls from the teacher since the beginning of school saying that this is not normal and letting me know that he is being punished for these things.

He has recently been playing with some older boys in the neighborhood (fifth grade), but I am not seeing any of this at home! Is this behavior normal? Is the teacher making too much out of this?

A: Bathroom talk and behavior are common in second-graders, but it does sound like your son is doing it to a greater extent than most.

Teachers today must respond quickly to behaviors like this, since most school districts have initiated policies on sexual harassment and teachers are responsible for ensuring that children are safe from unwanted talk and advances. It concerns me that this began around the time your son started playing with the older boys in your neighborhood. There is a tremendous difference in knowledge -- and interests -- between second-graders and fifth-graders, and hanging around with them may have piqued your son's curiosity.

Is it possible to encourage him to play with children his own age, or to play with the older boys only in supervised settings (such as your house or yard)? Could they have been taking advantage of his younger age in some way?

Talk with the school counselor and ask if he or she could give your son some individual time. The counselor can help determine what may have initiated your son's interests. If he needs further counseling, the school counselor and your pediatrician can help refer you to a therapist in your community.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


8 Epic Emoji-Themed Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Check out the best emoji crafts, activities, and recipes! They're perfect for an emoji-themed birthday party or anytime you need DIY (and screen-free!) summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

10 Free Summer Learning Worksheets
Print these free printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners to help your child's mind stay sharp until September!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks