Info For Teens
Ask the Experts
I found my brother and sister playing “doctor” with each other. Is this normal?
Little kids are curious about the bodies of their parents and other children. They may play “doctor” to look at each other’s sex organs. This is a normal way for kids to find out differences and learn about their sexuality, and there is not much to worry about — especially when young children know that such play should be done privately.
Talking about young siblings’ sex play with a parent may be helpful when it’s likely that the parent will be thoughtful and nurturing. It may not be helpful with parents who are more likely to be punishing and upset. If parents are likely to get heated up over such issues, it may be better to talk with some other adult you can trust to give you good advice — a counselor, a teacher, someone else in the family, or a member of the clergy.
Parents, of course, can choose to allow exploratory sex play or not. But it won’t help to punish children for being normal. The best way to discourage this behavior is to distract children by offering them another activity to do. If parents yell at them or slap their hands, they’ll do it anyway later on — but they’ll feel guilty about it.