Playing doctor


Trying to save the day.
This is nothing new to children and I'm sure several of you have gone through this so I thought I'd ask...

A friend of mine has a home daycare. A few days ago one of the moms called her in the evening to inform her that her just turned 4 yo daughter said that she and my friend's 5 1/2 yo son played a little game of "you show me yours, I'll show you mine" which went on to "let me touch yours, I'll let you touch mine." Of course my friend was mortified. She talked to her son about it and of course he denied it but when she said she would call another child to ask her if it had happened, he told her to go ahead and call her because it happened after she left. Busted! She talked to him about it and told him he should not ever do it again and that they would no longer be allowed to play in the pop-up tents that they were in (in the same room as my friend) when it happened.

Her son is a textbook, yet undiagnosed and untreated case of ADHD with a major emphasis on the H. We discussed the best way to handle the situation and neither of us are really sure. She doesn't want to make him feel like it was bad, but he's 5 for God's sake, not anywhere old enough to grasp the concept of what is ok in a relationship meant for much older people! I told her she should tell him that he could do whatever he wanted with his own privates, but that it was absolutely never ok to touch anyone else's or let anyone else touch his. She is afraid of raising too much curiousity about it, and I agree. So, what are all of your thoughts on this?


Well-Known Member
We had this topic raised here awhile back and I have seen this talked about on Dr Phil also. I think this is normal preschool curiosity. I think the less made about it the better. They werent being bad, just curious. Maybe just tell them they cant be taking their clothes off in the tents. No biggie. Just like they cant be taking their clothes off while eating dinner.
I agree.

We played that when we were little. (stop laughing. you did too.)

You might want to have a talk with them at a seperate time about what is their privates (whatever their bathing suit covers) and whom is allowed to touch them (mommy, daddy, doctor) and under what circumstances. Also that is it not OK to touch others'.


Active Member
Normal curiosity is worlds away from abuse. I would simply say, "While it is interesting to know how other's bodies are shaped, it really isn't good manners to be touching one another in this area - it's a private area." Kitty is spot on with her advice.

easy child was somewhere around 4 or 5 when a boy of 7 got her in an out of the way corner of the schoolyard where the teachers couldn't see, took off her underpants and told her he was going to have sex with her, "and sex hurts," and that if she told anyone he would get his father to come round to our house and kill me by running me over with his lawnmower.
THAT was not curiosity, nor did it result from curiosity. It was sexual abuse, probably form a child who had himself been abused.
There may have been more that happened - she wouldn't tell us much and has now blocked it out. By the time she told me, she had been terrified for two years and had developed deep-seated anxieties about sex and sexual development. And by then, it was too late to track down the boy, he was long gone. Nor could we have done anything with a child too terrified to bear witness.



Former desparate mom
<span style='font-size: 11pt'>One of my lifelong best friends tried to play this game with me when I was 5. Duh,it never dawned on me yet. I think it's important to put things in perspective. It's not appropriate to run around looking at people's privates but it's not the end of the world for a 5 yr old to be curious. I'm a fan of an open dialogue with kids in an age appropriate manner. This can be the start of the discussion of body and appropriate behavior. Don't offer info that the child didn't ask about. 5 yr olds aren't interested in sexual intercourse as much as the mystery of private parts that are different from their sisters or brother's. There is much ado over nothing with preschoolers wanting to show you theirs and not nearly enough done about the "uncle" who wants your daughter to sit on his lap. Caution is important but overkill with 5 yr olds distorts natural curiosity. in my humble opinion.</span>