As your son reaches adolescence, it doesn't hurt to remember what you were going through at that time in your life. Hitting puberty and beginning to explore many feelings about sexuality is normal, as is masturbation. As a parent, part of you may feel unsettled about the idea that your adolescent son is probably masturbating, but it's important to give him his space as he explores his body in this manner. 

Ideally, you'll never be aware of this habit — and if you are, it's a good idea to gently and respectfully remind him that privacy is critical with such an activity. You may want to set up an appointment with the family doctor, however, if you get a sense of these habits.

Frequent Masturbation

Different adolescents masturbate at different frequencies. One boy may do so daily, while others may do so a couple of times a week. Either case is healthy and normal, but you may start to get signs that your child is masturbating more frequently. Even if you're not 100 percent aware of what's going on — and that's usually a good thing where this topic is concerned — you may notice some clues that this is going on excessively. Frequent masturbation isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it may be something that your child can benefit from talking about with his doctor.

Masturbating In Public Areas

Lots of adolescent boys prefer the privacy and safety of their bedroom or a locked bathroom when it comes to choosing a place in which to masturbate. You may, however, get indicators that your child is engaging in this behavior in some concerning areas. Perhaps he was caught masturbating at school, or a neighbor has called you to report that he or she saw your child masturbating in a park, a wooded area, or another such location in your community. Public masturbation can lead to legal problems, so it's advantageous for your child's doctor to get a sense of why he may be engaging in this specific behavior.

Involving Others In This Habit

It's a significant concern if you get a report that your adolescent is masturbating in front of others. For example, perhaps your younger child has relayed that your adolescent has been engaging in this behavior in front of the child, or perhaps this has gone on in front of the babysitter. This doesn't relate to someone walking in on the adolescent while he's masturbating, but rather him seeking out an opportunity to engage in this behavior in full view of someone else. Your doctors will talk to your child about this habit and determine what might be going on.