My child is humping her toys.

“Dear Ignacio, I've caught my 6-year-old humping her toys a couple of times. I'm worried she might do it in front of other people. How do I tell her to stop?”

I hear you and appreciate your concern about #privacy. The language we use when talking about children’s behavior informs us of our own relationship with a topic. I noticed you said you “caught” her, as if she had been doing something abnormal; something she wasn’t supposed to be doing. I suggest reframing it as having “noticed,” “stumbled upon,” or “found” her #humping her toys. When we fear something, children pick up on our #anxiety and conclude that they have done something wrong. They may internalize these feelings and in the future abstain from sharing any information that they think brings up fear in their #parents.

I suggest not telling her to stop, as that would also signal that she has done something wrong. This is a great opportunity to start having a conversation with your child about her body and the feelings that come up. You can ask her why she is humping her toys and how it makes her feel. Lead with open-ended questions and #curiosity to show that having #desire is OK. These conversations are the building blocks of larger conversations about #bodies, sex, and #relationships as she grows up and has more complicated feelings and needs.

In terms of privacy and #safety, you can ask her to do the humping in her room and by herself to remain respectful of others. Perhaps, encourage her to use a specific pillow or stuffed animal instead of toys that may be harmful to her body, or are for playing and sharing with others.

In Season 1 Episode 3 of Pure Love Talks (Min 6), I share an anecdote about when I was in a similar situation regarding my daughter, when she was young. I encourage you to watch it!



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