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Parenting --Teens/Abnormal Sexual Behavior or Curiosity


My 14 year old son and I just had a talk recently about his proclivity for masturbating while sitting at the computer in the dining room and on the living room couch.  It seemed as though any time he was at either of those locations, and no one else was in the room, he would masturbate under a blanket, and then stop when he heard someone approaching. This disturbed me and my older teenage daughter - mainly because he didn't wash his hands...
This behavior stopped after our somewhat uncomfortable, but humor-infused talk.
Then, yesterday, at Thanksgiving at a relative's house, one of my relatives discovered my son's Ipod hidden in the restroom.  
My son had hidden it on the back of the toilet and had video recorded three different 15-20 minute stretches of time, during which, he recorded both of his sisters and several other relatives using the bathroom. This means that he had to have gone in and stopped and re-stared the recording more than once. I also observed that he had overstuffed the pockets of his baggy shorts at one point - what he normally does when he is trying to hide an erection.
My husband and I confronted my son as soon as we arrived home and were told the information. He was defensive, but also very emotional, saying at first that he just wanted to see if he could get away with making a hidden recording, then saying that some boys at school had threatened him and bullied him into doing it -- that he wasn't some kind of creep who liked watching that kind of thing.   
None of what he said appears  to be true. We assured him that we loved him no less for what he had done, but that it was important that he be honest with us and with himself about the incident.
I know that teenagers (boys especially)can often exhibit risk-taking behavior, and can be very pre-occupied with sexuality.  But, what he did seems so far beyond normal to me, I don't know what to do. My fear is that if we make too big of a deal out of this, force him to see a therapist, etc. that we'll create a problem where none exists.
My question:
Should I seek professional help for my son?  Is he exhibiting abnormal sexual behavior that requires intervention?  What do I do?


I don't know that your son needs professional counseling. However, the latest behavior is a red flag and suggests that his behavior bears watching. If he has more incidents that cross the line of what's acceptable, then it might be useful to at least have a psychologist do an evaluation of him.
Adolescent boys often do things that are strange and seem abnormal. But put into the context of their life may not be as bad as it initially looks. But I would suggest keeping a close watch on your son. If another disturbing incident occurs, get back to me.

James Windell

Parenting --Teens

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James Windell


I am a parent trainer, psychotherapist, and author specializing in parenting issues.During the past 40 years I`ve worked with parents with discipline problems and challenging children. I give frequent lectures and workshops related to discipline, social skills, and aggressive children. I consult with various agencies and schools where there are child behavior problems. I am listed in the American Psychological Associations` media panel as an expert on parenting and am frequently quoted in leading magazines and newspapers.


I have worked in a juvenile court as a clinical psychologist and as a psychotherapist in private practice. In the Oakland County (MI) Juvenile Court, I developed an award-winning parent training program for parents of adolescent delinquents. In addition I have done group therapy with adolescent delinquents using a social skills-building model. I have consulted with courts, schools, churches, preschools, and domestic violence shelters in areas of parenting.

I received my BA with a major in Psychology in 1963 from Wayne State University. I got my MA in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University in 1972.

I am a member of the American Psychological Association and the Michigan Psychological Association. I have written pamplets, newspaper articles, and professional journal articles. I have been the Coping With Kids columnist for several newspapers for 26 years, and my columns appear weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been the author or co-author of 16 books. My books include, 8 WEEKS to A WELL-BEHAVED CHILD, CHILDREN WHO SAY NO WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO SAY YES, 6 STEPS TO AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT TEENAGER, and THE FATHERSTYLE ADVANTAGE. My most recent parenting book (2012) is THE EVETYTHING CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT BOOK. I have appeared on over 180 radio and TV shows related to my books and parenting. For more information about me, my books and columns, go to my website at

I have an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University.

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