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Mom Upset That Son Is Touching Himself
Q: I am the mother of two girls ages six and nine, and one boy, ten. We live in a rural area and have little contact with the outside world. I'm pregnant again and my patience has been wearing thin lately. I've been homeschooling all the children for the past six years.
My question is: My son has been touching himself in an inappropriate way. I've tried scolding him and holding his hand under hot water but nothing seems to help. Do you have any suggestions?
A: First, you need to meet and interact with other families. If your patience is wearing thin -- which is understandable with three small children -- it's time to reach out for help and assistance from friends, relatives, or neighbors. In today's world, it's a mistake for any mom to believe she can handle the tremendous responsibility of raising a large family in complete isolation. Perhaps you can begin by contacting a homeschooling resource group in your area, through http://www.gomilpitas.com/homeschooling/regional/Region.htm.
Your son is growing up and developing a sense of awareness of his changing body. His desire to touch and explore his body is healthy and normal. To punish him for his curiosity is not productive and may have serious consequences for him later in life. To run a child's hand under hot water as a form of punishment is inappropriate for any reason at any time.
There are several good books available that explain the many ways boys' bodies develop and grow. I suggest you contact your local library or an online book store for one of these books. Learning about your son's development will help you understand his behavior. Perhaps you can explain to your son that certain behaviors need to be done in private and ask for his cooperation.
Another option is to contact a family therapist or social service counselor to ask for additional suggestions and ideas.
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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.