Teens and Masturbation: If You Catch Your Child Masturbating

Ugh, I did not really want to write this post.  Yet, I get a few emails a week on this topic, and when I went looking for articles on the topic, not much came up.  Well, a lot came up, but it wasn’t helpful for parents.  I was pretty surprised actually to not see many articles written on this huge topic.  It comes up for almost every family at some point and everyone has had to deal with it at some point in their lives.  So, I decided I would try to tackle the topic for the sake of my readers.

1) They are more embarrassed than you

Just keep this in mind.  If you catch them masturbating, it is probably way, way, way more upsetting for them, than for you.

2) Expect a Black Hole

After the incident, your teen might:

-ignore you
-get mad at you for some other innocuous reason
-turn bright red when they see you
-avoid any interaction with you
-think they are in trouble
-pretend it didn’t happen


Just ride it out, it will pass eventually.

3) Don’t Tell Your Spouse Right Away

I never suggest keeping things from your spouse, but you might want to talk to your teen or tween before ratting them out to a spouse.  Per tip #2, there might be a period of awkwardness; you do not want to alienate both parents to your child.

4) Keep It Private

This is not the kind of story you want to tell over the dinner table.  You might think it is funny, but you never want to tell people in front of the culprit, and you also do not want to tell your friends behind your child’s back.  It does not respect their privacy and you never know if that friend will tell another in passing and another and soon enough it gets back to your child, or worse, your child’s friends.

5) Talk If You Need To

Every family and every child is different.  If your child has already had the general sex/masturbation talk, then you probably do not need to have another talk with them.  If you feel they are a little young, or this came out of the blue, you might want to sit and have a talk with them.

6) It Is Natural

I know that some religions and families forbid masturbation.  It is a natural process, so are wet dreams.  Hopefully you can talk to your kids about these impulses as something natural and healthy.

7) Wet Dreams

If you catch them masturbating you might want to also talk to them about wet dreams.  Many of my male friends have shared with me that they were shocked the first time they had a wet dream and were a bit scared.

Overall, this is a very tricky subject. I will tell you I did not enjoy writing this article because it is also sensitive.  Many people believe masturbation is wrong and ‘dirty’ and therefore I was nervous about offending people in this post.  I hope I have not offended anyone and that if this has happened to you (sorry!) or your child (so so sorry) it sheds some light.  If not, they are some good tips to keep in your back pocket.

26 thoughts on “Teens and Masturbation: If You Catch Your Child Masturbating”

  1. I think the whole language of this article needs to change.

    Firstly – if you “catch” your child masturbating? What are they – a criminal? Are you the parenting police? How about using the non-judgemental language “discover”.

    It’s normal to feel uncpmfortable talking about other people’s sexual experience – it should be a private thing.

    But masturbation is normal, healthy, and (in moderation) helpful for anyone to discover their body, and enable a better physical relationship with their future life-partner.

  2. I appreciate you writing on this very important topic. It is unfortunate for today’s youth as compared to our ancestor’s – those from way back in the day. The human body is hardwired with the instinctual drive to have sex and that drive comes with puberty. This made sense when early humans had to conceive, birth and raise the next generation before they died of natural causes in their early 20s. Today, the drive still arrives with puberty (think about it – when children are 10, it’s not there; when they move into puberty, it’s there – thus the “desire”/curiosity to masturbate), but we tell them they have to wait another 10-12 years or so before they act on it. Way back in the day…that was about the time life ended. So, thanks for tackling this tricky issue.

  3. The use of the word “catch” in describing masturbation seems to imply that masturbation is wrong. A parent my interrupt their child masturbating or walk in their room when they are masturbating.

  4. Listen, Im a teen. If this ever was to happen and you as a parent recognize that it’s part of our natural developement then don’t say anything. let the teenager in question not talk to you or be mad if they want. it will all pass. Whatever you do don’t tell them it’s wrong. If they thing masturbation is wrong the will translate that into all types of sexual encounters are bad and It will have lasting effects on them for years.

    They need to explore there sexuality. SO LET THEM

  5. Hi I’m am a 13 year old boy I think that when you mastubate you are kind of letting out all the bad stuff that happened to you that day.if you catch your child masturbating I would ask them if they had a good day to see what happens it might stop them from doing it to much. Thank you for reading

  6. Also if you see bad spelling I’m doing this on my iPod touch so it’s kinda hard to write. (: (: (: thank you again bye

  7. thanks for adding Charlie i think that is a great point a lot of people do use masturbation as a way to relax

    Thanks for reading and good luck!

    Vanessa

  8. Thanks for this article. I would like to post a link to it since it is worded so well.

    I see that several people have a problem with using the word “catch” or “caught”. However, I think that is exactly what it is — to the person who was masturbating. They feel “caught” and the use of that word is completely appropriate in this article. Obviously, the youngster was trying to keep it private. When someone is trying to keep something private and that privacy is disturbed, the person does not feel “discovered” or “interrupted”. The person feels CAUGHT. That is the whole reason why this issue is so sensitive.

    I would suggest if at all possible, make sure you don’t catch them. But if you do, the best thing to do is act like it is no big deal. Masturbation is a bodily function, and walking in on someone who is doing it should be treated the same way as if you walked in on them while they were urinating in the bathroom.
    — And yes, to just let any awkward feelings pass is the best advice.

  9. I hope my parents (if they caught me masturbating) would feel the same as in your article cause I’ve already asked them to knock before they come into my room buy old habits die hard. Thank you for information =)

  10. Well, I’m a dad with a 12 years old boy (i know thet he masturbates)
    I agree with Charlie, but I think it’s better to see what your child is doing if he closes the door for a long time and some friends are invitted
    2 15 years old boys were catched doing more than masturbating (I can say).

  11. We were travelling around the country for six months in our caravan, and my son who was 14 would wait until we were asleep and begin to masturbate. I never caught on at first when the van would start to shake until one night it dawned on me. (Doesn’t he know a mother wakes to every sound and movement) For my own sleep sake, and i thought the poor boy would wear out his hand, i quietly spoke up in the dark and said i think that is enough now until you are in a more private place, which we then burst out laughing. All he said is Mum you understand don’t you , and i nodded and then we laughed again. And never brought it up again thank you God.

  12. Hey, I’m Michelle and I’m 15. I’ve been masturbating since I was 11 and I really don’t get why some parents flip out about it. It’s a natural process, everyone does it, and even other animals do it! It feels good and it’s safer than sleeping around. My mom and I are pretty open about those things. She even bought me a vibrator (which is honestly a bit creepy, but better than her being a pride, right?). We talk about sex a lot and she thinks it’s a good way to learn about your body. That being said, if it interferes with school or you hear of inappropriate sexual contact with other children, at school, ect., that may be a sign of sexual abuse. Just tell your kid to do it in private! Everyone is curious, masturbating relieves stress, and it’s fun. All the old-fashioned prudes need to calm down. I bet even THEY touched themselves at some point! Come on, what are you gonna do, pretend not to have ANY feelings? Tell your kid about safe sex and sex Ed, ect, and let them have fun! After all would you rather have your child become pregnant or get STDs? Didn’t think so.
    Xo

  13. I agree just dont talk to soon and expesialy for the parents who also masterbate you know its fun and releaves stress and charlie totally right.
    ty JJ out

  14. Hey i am a teen (14) and masturbation to me was an addiction. I would do it llike 3 times a week and everytime i did it i felt horrible. Like most teens god wasnt really a HUGE impact on my life, but you will never get over it without him.

    Masturbation does releive stress i guess, and it does give you a good education of your body. I learned to respect my body and masturbating was just me being selfish of my body and falling into the devils temptation.

    For you people out there who feel the urge to do it, just hold a bible or think of your dead grandma/pa and would they be happy if they saw what you are doing.

    I am a teen who has saw God and has led me out of temptation, who would like to join me?

  15. I am so glad to have read this article and it’s various replies. I discovered my 14 year old son masturbating as well (and I also do not have a problem with the word “caught”), but he was very embarrased and closed up on me, but I sat him down and told him that it was normal and that daddy went through the same thing. That seemed to help him relax about it.

    My only concern is that he might beging to over do it because it feels so good to him. I mean I don’t want him trying to try to use every private moment he can find to pleasure himself. Am I over concerned or should I worry? This article mentioned that it will pass, but I am not sure it will pass before he will actually becomes sexually active, which of course I am hoping is still a few years off.

    I have twins and, I already had the birds and the beeds talk with them, but when I did at 13, I was shocked to discover that they both had already had wet dreams and had been having them for months they said. Boy was I shocked and I guess a bit late with my bird and bees talk.

    Eitherway, I am a single dad and me and my young sons are very close and I hope that they feel comfortable talking with me about things like this but thus far I don’t think they are.

    Anyhow, is there anything I can OR SHOULD say to my son to get him to masturbate in moderation, because I have a feeling he is doing it everyday. Would love to get everyone’s thoughts on this.

    Thanks!
    -Darryl

  16. Hey! I am almost 15 ys old, and yes I masturbat. I don’t know much about this kind of stuff [thats why I’m out hear]. And No my parents have not talked to me about the 411 on sex! I have masturbated for about 2 years [I guess] and thank God I have not been caught, YET!!! Anyway this site has helped me alot – Thanks

  17. Hi well im a 15 year old girl and i was reading your article in some hopes as to find out how to talk to my mother about masturbation, i really don’t know how she would react and whenever i muster up enough courage to talk to her about it i look at her and think of what will happen and i can never do it. I think all of you points in your article are correct and even some in the comments, but i think it would be helpful if a different point of view was adressed, how to talk about it to parents?

  18. Goodness, that is a good question.

    First I want you to think about wanting to talk to her. I am not saying you shouldn’t, but it might be something that you and your later boyfriends talk about. Think about why you want to talk to her about it.

    Second, once you figure out why, maybe some questions or things you were wondering about, I would approach your mom like that. Start with an open question like “Mom, I saw recently in a magazine article people talking about masturbating. What do you think about this?”

    Brave of you for being so open!

  19. Parent here (six-year-old girl, so this is not yet an issue, but I’m preparing myself…). I think the word “caught” is not inappropriate, since one is being seen doing something one would prefer was private, just as one might be “caught” picking one’s nose. Nothing wrong with it, but I’d still rather not be seen doing it.

    However, I do take issue with the word “culprit.” A culprit is *guilty* of something, and there’s nothing to be guilty of about masturbation: it’s natural, it feels good, and it relieves pressures that might otherwise lead to some *truly* inappropriate behavior.

    You can’t overdo masturbating, unless it becomes an obsession and starts to interfere with your life, or unless you rub yourself raw. Micheal says that religion will help you “get over” masturbation, but unless your religion is opposed to it, there’s no need to worry about “getting over” it.

    Thanks for this site: I’ll be exploring it a lot because I need all the help I can get to be a good parent.

  20. well im trying not to have a heart attack right now i have just been caught by my grandma and i was watching some stuff too omg she said “WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING if your doing something bab you will go 2 hell” im like in shock this was like my 3 time doing it im 13 and im a girl can you say acward omg im going 2 die!!

  21. Yeah, when you think your child is masturbating in a room because you hear him/her, DONT CHECK! It’s there business, and if you really need to know, ask them. But get the Dad to ask, not the Mom.

  22. hi, i’m amy,
    i’m 13 years old and i was in my room and it seemed no body was around so i started masturbating – intensly and later that day my bro asked me to get him a bannana from the fridge and when i gave it to him he said “eww, what’s all this sticky, white stuff on it?” and in the afternoon (my bro is 16) i went back to my room and stuck my hands in my undies and it felt really good, then he came in and saw me and i screamed! he said, “hey, i didn’t mean to frighten you, how about we have a brother sister talk. well, when you are your age it is usual to masturbate…” and now i can’t even stand to look at him – too embarrassing!

  23. Don’t freak out. It’s a normal thing. I bet she’s done it too, I mean, you’re just exploring your body! It’s safer to masturbate before you have sex, because that way you are somewhat prepared. Hey, at least you’re not going around doing it with random guys! I mean, seriously!!!! She should chill her biscuits! And you’re not going to hell. Let me guess. Strict catholic household? I live in one.

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