The Jakarta Post
According to a study published on Annals of Saudi Medicine titled "Infantile and early childhood masturbation: Sex hormones and clinical profile", early childhood masturbation was commonly found in children aged four to 36 months. (Shutterstock/File)
Recently, a children’s book titled Aku Berani Tidur Sendiri, Aku Belajar Mengendalikan Diri (I Can Sleep Alone, I Learn Self Control), published by Surakarta-based Tiga Ananda publisher, created controversy as one of its illustrations depicts a child masturbating.
The book is published by Tiga Ananda publisher, a creative imprint of Tiga Serangkai in Surakarta, Central Java.
When it comes to early childhood masturbation, Edward Andriyanto Soetardhio M.Psi, a psychologist at the University of Indonesia's Integrated Clinics of Psychology Faculty, told The Jakarta Post via e-mail that a few foreign early childhood researchers found that such activity is common in children in children aged 4 years or below.
Additionally, according to a study published in the Annals of Saudi Medicine titled Infantile and early childhood masturbation: Sex hormones and clinical profile, early childhood masturbation is commonly found in children aged four to 36 months. The activity was associated with reduced estradiol levels, but not with other sex hormones.
However, Edward mentioned that Indonesian values, influenced by religion, consider masturbation is perceived as a sinful activity. This negative perception causes children to experience less favorable treatment, such as scolding, lecturing and punishment.
“These [treatments] make children feel guilty, thinking there is something wrong in one of their body parts,” said Edward, adding such treatments could be dangerous as children may become reluctant to report incidents involving sexual organs.
To deal with early childhood masturbation, Edward suggested parents take these steps.
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Discuss the activity with children
Scolding or lecturing are not the answer to solve the issue. Talk about masturbation and find out how often they are doing it. Parents need to know where they do the activity and how they feel about it.
Inform your children about the sexual activity
It is important to instruct children not to masturbate in public places as it may lead to sexual abuse. If such a situation occurs, it shows that children are yet to understand the concept of private body parts. Tell them about the risks of masturbation, such as infection and irritation.
Provide alternative activities
Provide alternative activities that make children happy so they no longer feel the need to masturbate. Do note that the activity must be suitable with the children’s preferences, not just what the parents want. Some children masturbate to release tension. In this case, parents are strongly suggested to provide alternative activities that release tension, such as sports or arts.
Consult with a psychologist
If children start to masturbate excessively to the point that it disrupts their daily routine, parents are suggested to consult an expert, such as a psychologist. (kes)
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