What Can "Mad Men" Teach Parents About Childhood Masturbation?

the character of sally draper from Mad Men AMC

Sally Draper on "Mad Men." (AMC)

(CBS) Have "Mad Men" gone completely crazy?

This week's episode of the hit show took on the issue of pre-teen masturbation.

While it might shock some, doctors have long known that children masturbate.

"Little children start to masturbate very early," says Angela Wilder, a Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist and the mother of two daughters. "As young as two or three, parents can see their children massaging their genitals." 

Wilder says it's important thing to avoid shaming the child for natural behavior. .

"If we teach our children early on that their bodies are their own to touch, it enables them to better distinguish a 'good touch' from an unwanted 'bad touch,'" she says. "That ability to distinguish comes from being comfortable with one's body."

Of course not all parents agree with that. And many are flustered when confronted with the situation.

On "Mad Men," young Sally Draper (played by 11-year-old Kiernan Shipka) is caught masturbating on the sofa at a friend's house.

The friend's mother drives her home and informs Sally's mother that under no circumstances would she allow Sally to pollute her household. Sally's mother later asks her daughter, "What's wrong with you?"

Wilder says the better way to confront the situation is to be calm and direct.

"You might say, 'this is kind of awkward for me, but I feel like we need to talk about what happened.'" she says.

And though some religions believe masturbation is wrong, Wilder says it's important to let your child know that masturbation is natural, but not acceptable to do it in public.

That doesn't sound mad at all.


  • Aina Hunter

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