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Anonymous 

My 9 year old daughter is enjoying touching herself down there and I'm after some advice on what to do or say. It's not always appropriate when she's doing it! I don't want to give her to think it's dirty or wrong but we haven't even had the birds and beds chat yet so not sure how to go about it.

TOP RESPONSE
Shona Gore - Consultant Perinatal Educator 
Nine is a really good age to start to have chats with your daughter about puberty, sex and relationships. Chats should be fairly informal but honest and age-appropriate. There are online resources and DVDs that you can watch with her- it is really important that you watch together so that you can answer any questions but also that she knows that you know! A better conversation starter is probably a book, sharing a book, possibly in her bedroom to ensure a safe uninterrupted time, can be perfect. Also if you are going to re-enforce that masturbation is normal and fun, but should always be practised privately, her bedroom is a great place to start. You should read the book first so you are prepared and you might like to check a few facts before embarking on this conversation - like 'why does masturbation feel nice?' 'does everybody masturbate?' also showing her where to look for answers safely is a good idea. A simple book about puberty stored where she can find it is a great idea. Hopefully this conversation will be setting a pattern for life so that you can have open and frank chats with her as she enters the turbulent teenage years! Some suggestions for Books and DVDs (some of the DVDs are really expensive so you might like to borrow them - a Health Promotion Resources unit maybe able to help): You :Growing up- What's it all about? (FPA leaflet). All Change Boys! And Girls! (9-13 year olds). Growing Up and Keeping Safe for Key stage 2. Growing Up with Yasmine and Tom this is an online teaching resource but you may be able to access it. Hair in Funny Places simple explanation of puberty hormones. Periods: What you need to know FPA. Jason's Private World (book and DVD written for boys with learning difficulties but very clearly explains things!) Hope this helps!
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Anonymous 
If it were me, I would ask her why she is doing it, and then use her language back to her. So if she says, 'it feels nice', then I would say, 'that's great that it feels nice, but it's important that you don't do it in front of other people because it's a very private thing just for you.' You could give her a visual prompt, such as a special bracelet, and say, 'when you want to touch yourself when there are other people around, touch this bracelet instead'. Also try putting it in context, 'Do you see other people touching themselves ever?' as that might help her to understand that it's a private thing. You don't need to go into the birds and bees yet, but it might help to have the conversation as part of a wider dialogue about body confidence and body issues eg good touching, bad touching, and what is private and what is not. Good luck, and let us know how it goes. Also, this article has a good take on the matter: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vicki-hoefle/brace-yourself-3-reasons-_b_5538284.html
Anonymous 
And this is a greta article about it too, from the LA Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2001/sep/17/news/cl-46541
Shona Gore - Consultant Perinatal Educator 
Nine is a really good age to start to have chats with your daughter about puberty, sex and relationships. Chats should be fairly informal but honest and age-appropriate. There are online resources and DVDs that you can watch with her- it is really important that you watch together so that you can answer any questions but also that she knows that you know! A better conversation starter is probably a book, sharing a book, possibly in her bedroom to ensure a safe uninterrupted time, can be perfect. Also if you are going to re-enforce that masturbation is normal and fun, but should always be practised privately, her bedroom is a great place to start. You should read the book first so you are prepared and you might like to check a few facts before embarking on this conversation - like 'why does masturbation feel nice?' 'does everybody masturbate?' also showing her where to look for answers safely is a good idea. A simple book about puberty stored where she can find it is a great idea. Hopefully this conversation will be setting a pattern for life so that you can have open and frank chats with her as she enters the turbulent teenage years! Some suggestions for Books and DVDs (some of the DVDs are really expensive so you might like to borrow them - a Health Promotion Resources unit maybe able to help): You :Growing up- What's it all about? (FPA leaflet). All Change Boys! And Girls! (9-13 year olds). Growing Up and Keeping Safe for Key stage 2. Growing Up with Yasmine and Tom this is an online teaching resource but you may be able to access it. Hair in Funny Places simple explanation of puberty hormones. Periods: What you need to know FPA. Jason's Private World (book and DVD written for boys with learning difficulties but very clearly explains things!) Hope this helps!

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