Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."


Question: My 10-year-old son was feeling very guilty and came to me about something he was doing. He said he was rubbing his private fast against the sheets and it would feel good. He was very upset with himself for not telling me sooner.(he says it's been a couple of weeks). He thinks this is wrong. I am not sure myself what at this age is normal. But I told him this was normal and a sign that he was maturing and not to feel guilty. That he would eventually discontinue doing this, and as long as he did this in private it was normal. Was I totaly wrong? And should I take him to his pediatrician? Is this Normal? - Susie

Answer: I couldn't have said it better myself! Yes, it is normal. And one of the most important things to do is exactly what you did. Tell him it's normal and nothing to be ashamed about. Masturbation in young children IS a very normal part of "maturing" as they explore their own bodies.

As important as it is for him to know it is normal, it's also important to let him know that it is "private."

This is a subject that I believe should be explained in the simple terms as you did. The less time you spend on this or ANY subject if not complicated, the more comfortable you and your child will be.

Self esteem is extremely important and you've handled it great! Of course, you can always speak with your son's pediatrician about this or any matter involving your child.

Happy parenting!

Dr. Betti

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  • Is it safe for an 11-year-old to use tampons?
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    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.