“I have a 13 year old about to be 14. He’s having dirty dreams about cartoon characters. My husband and I would like some suggestions on how to explain things to him . He’s also touching and rubbing himself in public. Talks about dreaming of doing things with the cartoons. With just anyone. Anybody have suggestions please“, asked by Jen.
Ok. So sexual fantasies and masturbation at this age are normal. He probably fantasizes about cartoon characters because he watches a lot of cartoons. That’s normal too. If he watched more shows with real people in them he would probably fantasize about them instead.
If I understand your concerned correctly, is his public displays and conversations about sexual activities. As long as the activities are not the result of sexual abuse, he’s perfectly within his right to feel and act these things out IN PRIVATE.
My six year old has been balling up her favorite blanky, placing it “down there” while she lays on top of it and rolling back and forth over it to masturbate since she was two. She doesn’t know anything about sex, but she does know this feels good and it calms her down when she’s anxious or about to go to sleep. Now that she’s older, we remind her to “do that in your room” or “keep it in your room“.
You need to have a very frank and simple discussion with your son about these activities. Do not shame the boy or make him feel bad or dirty because it might increase the behaviors. Instead, calmly inform the boy, with a blank facial expression, that it’s okay if he wants to fantasize about these things and masturbate, but it has to be in his room and nowhere else. If he starts talking about it in public, parents need to gently remind him, “that’s private” and “it belongs in your room at home“. If he can’t contain himself, he needs to be removed to a bathroom, which is also considered a private and acceptable place for masturbation.
Consistency is necessary here. This process has to be continually reinforced until the boy understands that it’s okay but not okay in public or around strangers who might want to hurt him or have him arrested because they feel uncomfortable about his behavior.
You and classmate also needs to leave the door open for his son to talk about these feelings and ask questions about sex. It’s not a comfortable topic for any parent, but one which needs to be breached, special needs or not.
Hygiene with masturbation also needs to be part of the discussion. After masturbation in private the parents should remind their son to wash his hands with soap and water and clean up any ejaculate without commenting to anyone about what he’s doing. Again, you need to just cue him verbally and drop the subject.If you want to change the subject matter of his wet dreams and fantasies, which right now is extremely tame and safe given what most boys his age are dreaming and fantasizing about, then he will have to watch something other than cartoons. Action movies with pretty girls in the female leading roles might help. All things considered though, he’s really safe with cartoon fantasies because he won’t try to act these out with real life people.
Hope this helps. Any other questions, just ask. There are some books out there too for parents to read and share with their special needs teens about these sensitive topics.