Living Loving Learning

Dear Robin

In Dear Robin on Sunday, March 1, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Dear Robin,


My barely seven-year-old son seems to constantly have his hands down his pants.  Not in public, but at home.  My husband and I are always telling him, get your hands out of your pants and go wash your hands”. 


Do you have any suggestions to help him stop this habit?


What are your suggestions for this mom?





  1. Hi Robin,
    While I do not have sons of my own, I have a suggestion for her. Let him know that when you see him with his hands down his pants, you will tap your nose (or pull your ear, etc.) and that signal means for him to take his hands out and go wash them. This will help with constantly having to verbally tell him (especially when others are around and he might be embarrassed by it). While this doesn’t solve the issue of why he’s putting his hands there in the first place, it might help with the repeating of instruction.

    This also might work with tattling, or any other habit you’re trying to correct.

    Hope this makes sense!!

  2. I think I am going to leave this to the more seasoned mom…ROBIN???

  3. I would ask him “why?” The answer will invariably be because it feels good. I do have boys and what we explained was that it was just fine that it felt good and that God made it to feel good, but that feeling is for when he is older and married with a wife. The first child thought girls were icky so mentioning the wife thing just put a stop to it right there.

    I am in the middle of it with my 6 year old. His hands arent down his pants but just “adjusting” himself on the outside. He told me that was the way God made him. I agreed, but asked him if he sees his daddy or Grandfather doing it and he said he didnt. I told him that it was because they were men and growing up means learning to control things that are inappropriate. Tell him that you will help him in reminding him and that he is a big boy and will also need to remind himself.

    This has worked for the most part – but I give the munchkin a break – its not going to work over night. He is 6, bless his little heart….

    I have tried to make it a positive thing – I want them to be proud of what they have accomplished and I want them to want me to be proud of them. I didnt want to go ugly right off the bat….and so far I havent had to 🙂

    Good luck – sometimes boys can be so trying, which makes the joys so much better!

  4. This is a tricky situation. The hardest part is correcting the situation without making it seem “bad” or “dirty”. The last thing you want is to cause some sort of mental barrier that will interfere with his life when he’s older and married and it IS okay.

    I agree with Jennifer. Asking Why is probably a good place to start. Also, explaining why you want him to not do that and why he needs to wash his hands…he may not understand why it’s not acceptable for him to do what he’s doing.

  5. errrr….. mmmm….

  6. I’m taking notes, my boys do it too. Daddy is usually like, “Boy, get your hands out of your pants! Go wash your hands!” Before I can say anything. So I just leave it at that. The big girls laugh at them when they do it, and I am trying to break that habit because its only encouraging them.

  7. I’m with Abbi in not treating it as something bad or dirty. Really it’s the same as dealing with a nose picker. It’s a habit that must be broken due to manners and germs. That’s how I would approach it.

    I like the subtle cues to remind him not to do it too.

    Maybe a reward system for a few days while he breaks the habit??? Put several M & M’s or such in a jar at the start of the day. Anytime he does it a M & M comes out. At the end of the day he gets to eat what’s left (if any).

    30 days breaks habit right?

  8. Then there’s the fact that he doesn’t do it in public. So on some level he knows something’s not kosher. (grin)

  9. Oh dear, I have the same problem. Well, not with my hands down my pants, lol, but with my boys.

    One thing I have learned…boys are fascinated with their penis’. And I’m told by men that it doesn’t go away 🙂

  10. This is so wrong to say on so many levels. But I’m bored. Cindy, I’m not gonna touch that one. (grin)

  11. Hmm-maybe keep his hands occupied? But I realize that can’t be a 24hr thing. One of my sons has this problem as well. Guess it’s a boy thing. I’m hoping he will grow out of it 🙂 The great advice on here will help!

  12. Someone please tell me what it is with those things???? They are so fascinated with them!

  13. I got nothin’. But, I like what Abbi said.

  14. I agree Deleise – They are great and all, but they dont cure cancer and they cant keep a human alive like boobies 🙂

  15. haha…you guys are cracking me up! I knew you would have some great suggestions…and I wasn’t wrong.

    When I originally replied to this mom I did suggest what Lorren said…to have a little signal to remind him, so there wouldn’t be so much nagging.

    The “thing” is…this is an important part of a boy’s anatomy! And Cindy is right…the fascination doesn’t go away. And really why should it? 🙂 It’s one of those “guy” things we girls will never understand…and we sure don’t want them to be like us…right??

    Another thing to consider is that often, due to sexual abuse in the past, a mom might jump to misplaced conclusions and react from her fears.

    I heard back from the mom that asked this question…she was so pleased to know her son wasn’t the only one with this habit and really appreciated your suggestions.

    Thanks for all your comments on this touchy subject 🙂

  16. wow, man do I have some things to learn for the future. My little man is only 11 months old, so this will be some food for thought, thank you mom’s of older boys for giving us mom’s some good ideas. I never knew that his little part would become such a big part of his life, but apparently it will 🙂

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