Playing doctor is distinguished from child-on-child sexual abuse because the latter is an overt and deliberate action directed at sexual stimulation, including orgasm, as compared to anatomical curiosity. Playing doctor is considered by most child psychologists to be a normal step in childhood development between the ages of approximately three and six years, so long as all parties are willing participants and relatively close in age. However, it can be a source of discomfort to some parents to discover their children are engaging in such an activity. Parenting professionals often advise parents to view such a discovery as an opportunity to calmly teach their children about the differences between the sexes, personal privacy, and respecting the privacy of other children.
^Loseke, Donileen R.; Gelles, Richard J. and Cavanaugh, Mary M. (2005). Current Controversies on Family Violence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc. ISBN0-7619-2106-0.Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)