“Catching” Your Kid Playing Doctor
In the article “Catching” Your Kid Playing Doctor by Marty Klein, PhD a distressed and confused mother approaches her doctor with what she views as a very serious matter. Asking Dr. Klein for advice she says she “caught” her five-year-old daughter playing doctor with her pal Jenny. Dr. Klein asking a few more generic and basic questions such as: How old is Jenny? Did it appear friendly or coercive? If any large objects were inserted anywhere, causing the mother to quickly grow impatient and burst in with her thoughts of “relevant” information. The door was closed, they jumped when I walked in, and they looked guilty. These were only a few of the statements ...view middle of the document...
With the quick notation of it being a children’s book Klein then encourages her to buy it, read it herself, read it with her daughter, and then again by herself. This will then allow her to join the million happy-sad, nervous-proud, slightly queasy parents who have already read it.
Now considering the factors of everyday life I too would personally be confused as to what to do in this predicament. Everybody including professionals have their own personalized view on this subject matter. Kids 3 to 6 years old are most likely to "play doctor." Many parents overreact when they witness or hear of such behavior. Heavy-handed scolding is not the way to deal with it. Nor should parents feel this is or will lead to promiscuous behavior. Often, the presence of a parent is enough to interrupt the play. (Questions & Answers About Sex)
This stage is often a good opportunity to talk with your child and become closer of discussing good and bad touch of what is and is not correct behavior. This also broadens and opens the window of opportunity in which you can explain that they have their own privacy and if anyone ever does anything to make them feel uncomfortable or weird they should tell that person to stop and to immediately come to you.
Working with kids every day I have run into a few situations where I am not the parent and am unaware of how they would like to handle things. But at the same time need to relay to the kid that it is inappropriate behavior. This is difficult. You must always be sure to contact the parent or guardian of the child and explain to them and gain their trust in the situation. It does sadden me at the pure realization that kids now days do take those next steps at younger and younger ages long before they are prepared to deal with the circumstances that can accompany these behaviors.
Remaining calm and not embarrassing a child into fear to discuss matters is a must and vitally important factor in the sexual development in life. Like in the article most parents; especially with their first child, do not know how to react or take action upon the matter. Each person has to decide for themselves on the approach they wish to take and be sure to stick with it while keeping your kid knowing they can come to you as the developmental process continues.
Klein, By Marty. ""Catching" Your Kid Playing Doctor | Psychology Today." Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness Find a Therapist. Web. 08 Sept. 2010. .
"Questions and Answers About Sex." KidsHealth - the Web's Most Visited Site about Children's Health. Web. 08 Sept. 2010. .
Published on Psychology Today (http://www.psychologytoday.com)
"Catching" Your Kid Playing Doctor
By Marty Klein, PhD
Created Aug 30 2010 - 9:04pm
An ongoing patient comes in yesterday and wants my advice: she says she caught her 5-year-old playing doctor with her pal Jenny. Mom's arrival apparently broke up whatever they were doing, but mom wants to know what to do now.