He has just entered puberty and is doing the handflap thing in front of his crotch... freaked out some lunch ladies at school. He can't understand explanations or the concept of being socially inappropriate. None of the books go into this sort of thing! So far we are just redirecting his hand. Suggestions anyone?
Vessa Vessa 41-45, F 7 Answers Nov 6, 2009

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I think that taking your son to a Doctor is an excellent idea. Whatever you do,please do not punish your son as he is not trying to be bad. He probably does not understand what he is doing. I wish you well. Take Care.

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As a medical doctor and certified child psychiatrist, his hormones are beginning to cause natural urges and this is normal. All boy begin to ********** by 12-14 and by 16 some need to ********** 4 or 5 times a day to release the hormonal urges. You shouldn't make him feel guilty about his behavior but you can stress that this is something he should only do in private behind a closed door. And keep stressing that he needs to do it in private but he'll begin to get erections while watching TV and without thinking start rubbing his erection - and you need to keep reinforcing that if he wants to do that he needs to go into his room where he is alone. You should also while discussing this tell him about 'wet dreams' he may be experiencing or will be soon; and tell him that when he rubs himself he might make some of the same sticky stuff that will run out of his penis. And that it's nothing to be afraid of - it's normal.

You should also stress that this is something he shouldn't do in front of his friends, especially his friends who are girls, that this is a boy thing and private. And let it go at that. And with autism, constant reinforcement with the same message by both you and your significant other is equally important so he doesn't get mixed messages - so write down the phrases you want to use when telling him this is something boys don't do in public but in private like in their bedroom with the door shut.

I just don't get all the over reactions in responses - see counselors, go see your pediatrician, calling it a 'habit,' getting him to stop - WHY??? This is a natural part of sexual development, it's just we did it but didn't get caught, where as your son is totally innocence so he doesn't hide it. And on sleep overs we'd jerk each other off - our parents would never dream we played games like that to experiment.

If you have any other questions. my door is open really, drop me an email and we can talk about more specifically. Is he just putting his hands down his pants or is he opening his pants and touching himself? But what he's experiencing is just as normal as a girl getting her period and her nipples starting to bud. Your little boy is at the cusp of prepubescence.


Lawrence Elliott, MD, Board Certified Surgeon & Certified Child Psychiatrist

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Try taking him to counsels, it might help.

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I mean in a child that isn't autistic touching himself that way would be completely normal.. but because the child doesn't know when he should and should not be doing that it may be a problem. I'm not quite sure what could help with this problem. Maybe just continue to redirect his hand as you are now and see if it helps after some time.. But there are definitely worse habits that could have been picked up.. I wouldn't be too worried about it. At worst it's just an awkward habit =/. Good luck honey.

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Elliott90 has said all I could and more.

that behaviour is normal and natural and yet not that which needs to be done in public.

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