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I need serious advice!

post #1 of 131
Thread Starter 
d
post #2 of 131
First of all, I want to say I can't even imagine how sad/freaked out you are over this, as I would be as well. I think you have handled it very well.

I was told by a therapist one time that studies have shown that it is not sexual abuse/molestation in and of itself that causes long term damage to a person, but rather how it is handled or how they are treated. Children who are not believed, children who are in a situation of being scared to tell, children who are threatened and manipulated for a long time, children who are made to feel ashamed - these are the ones who end up dealing with serious repurcussions. Children who experienced a one time, non violent incident, and were immediately believed and protected by their parents (or adults in charge) go on to have no discernable effects from the situation.

Now, I don't have any personal experience with this, but it made sense to me. As scary as this is for you, it sounds like he will be fine.

My main question is: What is happening in regards to future contact with his cousin? I'm not insinuating that they should never see each other again, although that may be one answer, but how you and your sister feel about it and agree to deal with it, and how it's explained to your son. This kind of stuff can really put a strain on family relationships.
post #3 of 131
no advice here... i just wanted to give s!
post #4 of 131
I'm so sorry about what happened to your DS. However, I am wondering if possibly something happened to this 11-year-old to make HIM think that that was ok behavior.
post #5 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by natural_mama89 View Post
I'm so sorry about what happened to your DS. However, I am wondering if possibly something happened to this 11-year-old to make HIM think that that was ok behavior.
That was my first thought too. I think some therapy is in order for this little boy. I'm sorry that this happened. And what oceanbaby said makes a lot of sense, honestly. I can't really offer up any other advice. I would, however, make a plan of action with your sister with regards to how you're boys are going to spend time together from now on, if they are. How is your sister treating this??

post #6 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by knucklehead View Post


Here is where I need advice. My son never acted upset or scared. In fact when he initially described what happened he acted like it was funny. He idolizes his cousin so I'm sure no intimidation was necessary to convince him to participate. My son has always been comfortable with his body and shows no shame, he is only 3 1/2 afterall. He is a completely innocent little boy. I am not sure how much more to talk with him about this.

I plan in a few days to read him an age appropriate book about good touching/bad touching etc. and will encourage him, if he brings anything up, to talk about it. I don't want to turn what may have been (for him) nothing more than experimental play into something scary. By the same token I don't want him to think that it is OK for someone to do this to him or have him think he can now do this to another child. I have to add that he has a little sister. I want to educate him but I don't want him to feel bad either or focus too much on the incident. I would really like to purge his memory but I know I can't. Do you think this could possibly be something that he forgets? What would you do? I am so sad for my little boy. I feel like his innocence was stolen.
Your son is still innocent. That's why he wasn't upset or embarrassed. It must be so heart-wrenching for you, but I hope you can take some comfort in that.

As the pp said, the nephew needs serious help, because this wasn't a peer/mutual experimentation thing. Sadly, there's a good chance he was abused in some way. I wouldn't have them together again at all.

The way I have approached this subject with my kids is that their bodies are wonderful gifts from God, and they're not ready to be unwrapped yet. That's why it's not okay for others to ask to touch or see our private parts, unless they need help in the bathroom or have an ouchie that they need help with. This metaphor seems to make sense, because they don't really get the notion of privacy yet. (And obviously if you don't believe in God you can just leave that part off and it still holds.)

I'm so, so sorry.
post #7 of 131
I hope your nephew gets counseling.
post #8 of 131
I recommend the book "Your Body Belongs to You" by Cornelia Spelman. I read this to my kids. My 2nd DD was 3 1/2 when we purchased this book, and I think it's appropriate for that age-range.
So sorry this has happened, mama.
post #9 of 131
I cannot imagine this. What does your sister plan to do about this from her end? I hope that she is as concerned as you are. I don't have any advice, but lots of hugs and prayers.
post #10 of 131
*hugs* Mama, I am SO sorry. That is the worst kind of feeling in the world.
Your son will be okay, but he can never play with your nephew again. This already happened with adults in the room.

Your nephew NEEDS for this not to be swept under the rug. If your sister does not take your nephew to counseling and find out what's going on here, I would seriously consider calling CPS. This was not a boy your nephew's age, this was a power situation. Your nephew knew it was wrong, tried to prevent you from discovering, and then blamed his victim. He took time setting up a deliberate situation to give privacy (building the fort), and took risks doing the activity that close to supervising adults. This is serious, and needs to be dealt with seriously.

Last year, I found out about a man I know who is now 30 and is married and has two small boys -- wonderful, easygoing, well-liked, well-trusted, great guy according to everyone's standards. Turns out he'd been hiding urges and activities like this since he was 12. Not good.
post #11 of 131
First off it seems to me you handled the situation WONDERFULLY. You let your son know he'd done nothing wrong, you didn't do all the questioning in front of him... it sounds like you did all the right things to not have him be negatively affected by the aftermath of this event.

My advice re: your son is to just do what you're already planning to do. Talk to him about "good touch/bad touch" in an age appropriate way, and really emphasize with him that it's fine for him to touch himself but that it's private and no one - NO ONE else can touch him and he can't touch anyone else on their privates. And while it's totally understandable that you feel your son's "innocence was stolen", as inappropriate as what happened was, it sounds like your son didn't experience any pain or wasn't upset about it and doesn't feel like he did anything wrong, so his innocence is indeed intact. Thanks to you and how you handled this!

But what about your nephew? Did I miss it or did you say how your sister reacted? The fact that your nephew objected to you pulling the covers off and got so upset shows that he KNOWS he was doing something he shouldn't have. Has anyone asked him why he did it, where he learned it or when was the first time anyone touched him there, and how many other kids he's touched? And who touched your nephew, where did he learn this? There's very likely a child molester out there who needs to be identified and stopped.

Because your nephew is 11 and is himself a child, I'd handle his questioning gently too, although if I were you I'd make darn sure he was clear that he'd be in major major MAJOR trouble if he ever touched anyone again - especially my kids. (And then of course I'd never leave my kids alone with him again!). But someone needs to talk to him and find out where he got this stuff from and how many other kids he's touched and who. And WHO is touching your nephew!

What was your sister's reaction?

What do you think your next steps are going to be?
post #12 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
I was told by a therapist one time that studies have shown that it is not sexual abuse/molestation in and of itself that causes long term damage to a person, but rather how it is handled or how they are treated. Children who are not believed, children who are in a situation of being scared to tell, children who are threatened and manipulated for a long time, children who are made to feel ashamed - these are the ones who end up dealing with serious repurcussions. Children who experienced a one time, non violent incident, and were immediately believed and protected by their parents (or adults in charge) go on to have no discernable effects from the situation.
Most of what that therapist said is true, but just to be clear a lot of child abuse is actually painful in and of itself. If a child is raped or tortured obviously there is physical pain involved in that abuse and it is awful. And even when a child is not physically pained but is old enough to understand that what is being done to them is wrong, then the abuse itself can be very traumatic there too. And in many cases sexual abuse is accompanied by other kinds of physical abuse and to the child they are not separate incidents, so that is also traumatic for the child.

But sadly, by and large, as if it wasn't awful enough that the abuse itself happens, like the therapist said it is often how the child is treated after that that further traumatizes the child. It's why in a lot of sexual abuse cases children are more angry at their mothers than the known abuser because as awful as the abuser is, they thought their mothers would protect them.
post #13 of 131
Oh, I'm so sorry!

I'm curious to know how your sister reacted too. I hope she's taking this very seriously and plans to make a fairly big deal of it with her son to make the impression that this cannot happen ever again, with any child.
post #14 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by LROM View Post
It's why in a lot of sexual abuse cases children are more angry at their mothers than the known abuser because as awful as the abuser is, they thought their mothers would protect them.
My situation involved my grandparents. I've never been angry at my mom about it (it was her parents). I hated my grandmother's guts until the day she died. I mostly just felt sorry for my grandfather. He had a brain hemorrhage when I was a baby, and from everything I've been able to put together about him, including conversations with him when he was actually making sense, the man he was before the hemorrhage would have been absolutely horrified by the things he did afterwards. However, my abuse wasn't physically painful, which would obviously change my reactions/feelings in certain ways.
post #15 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by knucklehead View Post
I don't want to turn what may have been (for him) nothing more than experimental play into something scary. By the same token I don't want him to think that it is OK for someone to do this to him or have him think he can now do this to another child. I have to add that he has a little sister. I want to educate him but I don't want him to feel bad either or focus too much on the incident. I would really like to purge his memory but I know I can't. Do you think this could possibly be something that he forgets? What would you do? I am so sad for my little boy. I feel like his innocence was stolen.
Well, to me, and many will disagree I am sure, it is just that- experimental play. I think you see this too. I wouldn't go as far as to say your nephew was ABUSING your son, especially if your son seems to be handling it openly and well. This is often how children explore their sexuality, and it seems that is what your nephew was doing. It's just that 3.5 is a little young of an exploration parter, but he may not have even realized this. I remember being about 10 or 11 and playing with a handful of kids in the neighborhood and there was a lot of jokes/experimental touching/general fascination with sex organs that was going on amongst us. I think as long as your nephew's mother explains proper behavior to her son and you explain to your son about privacy, no one will be scarred for life. In fact, I happen to think it is better to not make such a big deal out of it. He will be fine, mama! He probably won't even remember it at all in a couple of months. You did good.
post #16 of 131
I respect your opinion, but there is a MAJOR red flag in her nephew's reaction.

Harmless exploratory play carries no guilt or sense of wrongdoing with it. Her nephew clearly knew he was doing something he shouldn't do.

AND... 11 and 3 1/2 is too large an age difference for "healthy exploration". If this family knew that was going on and child welfare found out about it, a case would absolutely be opened because it is not age appropriate at all in this case.

We all have a right to our opinions (and it seems like we all agree that OP was right not to make it a big deal with her own son) but my opinion continues to be that if no one questions the nephew on who/what/where/when re: his behavior, it's very very possible a child molester is out there that won't get caught because no one said anything.

The newphew's guilt/sense of wrongdoing is not to be ignored.
post #17 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by LROM View Post
I respect your opinion, but there is a MAJOR red flag in her nephew's reaction.

Harmless exploratory play carries no guilt or sense of wrongdoing with it. Her nephew clearly knew he was doing something he shouldn't do.

AND... 11 and 3 1/2 is too large an age difference for "healthy exploration".
I completely agree. I think he knew he was doing something wrong, but what is worth exploring is WHY he feels the need to do it. He could be being abused himself OR he could have no outlet for his natural curiosity. Now, with that said, I think the fact that he put his mouth on the OP's son tells me that he has either seen this or experienced it. That's the red flag for me.

I guess what I mean to say is that it seems like the nephew is also a victim here and telling the OP's DS that he is the bad guy and it is the nephews fault may have a negative effect on their relationship. The nephew may be acting something out that he is a victim of. I don't see him as the abuser here.
post #18 of 131


Your nephew needs to be seen NOW by someone. I would absolutely make it a condition of seeing the child again that he get counseling. This child is not safe to leave around other children right now, and someone needs to get to the bottom of this. A 3 year old and a 5 year old experimenting, oh well. An 11 year old playing 'pee pee kissing' - HUGE red flag for abuse. HUGE.

AND you need someone trained to talk to your son just to make sure he wasn't traumatized (it doesn't sound like it, but you never know). And YOU need help in processing this. I had a relative who was abused by her babysitter, and it was the mom, not the daughter, who needed the most help in getting over it. It was a horrible summer for them when they found out, but it didn't affect the child long term. It was handled well, she saw a counselor a couple of times and her mom for a couple of months. Because her daughter was so young (3 1/2) and it was handled well, it didn't have any lasting effect. She's a happy, confident, lovely young adult now.

If your sister doesn't take steps to get your nephew in to see someone NOW, I would report this to your doctor, who is a mandated reporter. (FWIW, the boy who molested my relative was never removed from his home, but was required to do counseling and community service. So reporting this if the parents aren't doing the right thing doesn't mean that the family will be ripped apart.)
post #19 of 131
I agree with Beene. Your nephew should see a properly trained counselor, but I think the most likely explanation is that he heard something about oral sex and was curious about it and made a VERY INAPPROPRIATE choice about how to explore that curiosity. I was 11 when I first heard of oral sex, and I thought the whole idea was appallingly gross, but it was clear from the way some of my classmates were talking that they were extremely curious. The fact that your nephew did this does not automatically mean he ever did it before or anyone ever did it to him.

I think you handled it very well. I hope everything gets resolved safely and happily for your whole family. While I think that never letting your son play with this cousin ever again is too harsh, I'd say no tents, no playing alone, and no sleeping in the same room until your son is an adult.
post #20 of 131
Thread Starter 
d
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