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post #101 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by aran View Post
I have distinct memories from 2 and 3 years old. One is of my much older brother changing my diaper. It wasn't traumatic at all, but he didn't normally do that, and I distinctly remember feeling embarrassed, then relieved to be clean again.

My point is that the OP's DS might remember the incident. If he thought it was a silly game, if he liked it, and if there isn't some clear sign that it was verty seriously not OK, he might well try it out with another kid. How do you give your kid this kind of sign without making him feel like a victim? I don't know. It just points to the need for a therapist that specializes in this.

Also, I agree with PPs that the OP's DS might remember this and as his understanding of the incident's seriousness develops, he might wonder why Mom kept bringing the 11 yo around.

No one has addressed the thoughts of the OP's partner (if he's in the picture). I know my DH would be ruthless in cutting off anyone that did this to one of my DSs, regardless of my feelings. And I think he has a right to do so, as an equal parent. I know if this happened in my family, I'd be visiting my sister alone, forevermore.

I am sorry, OP, that you are mourning that your family can never be the way it once was. I think if it were me, I would feel the same way as you. I hope your sister can help your nephew, but I totally disagree with the PPs that think it is your responsibility to help him or in any way worry about preserving your DS's relationship with him. I am offended on your behalf at those comments! Good luck in an awful situation for your family.
I agree 110% with you
post #102 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by confustication View Post
Both boys involved are lucky to have amazing parents who cleary want to do the best they can for them.

You know, I hear loads of sob stories about the abusers' pasts, and the brutal truth is that I really don't care. People make a choice when they become perpetrators. 11 is old enough to know better, he CHOSE to sexually abuse a younger relative. I really don't care, at that point, what the background is, or that he might be rehabilitated or anything else. I care that he isn't ever in a position to cause harm again.

"
yes yes and yes!
post #103 of 131
LROM, I agree with just about every word you have written on this thread, in particular your most recent post. Such a horrible situation...I hope that both boys get the help and support they need and there is some way the OP can remain close with her sister.
post #104 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.
It's quite normal for 11 yo boys to experiment and play "doctor."
I find it alarming about the age difference. I wouldn't say the nephew is a child predator, but there's something going on. DON'T jump and try to insinuate this 11 yo was molested, please. Jeez.
post #105 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by LROM View Post
fwlady/Kymberli, I'm also in the field of child welfare and it sounds to me like maybe you haven't yet come across 2 very common dynamics in child abuse - or maybe no one's called them to your attention yet. StormBride's post is definitely one of them.

<snip>

I don't dispute that the children you talked to were being open and honest. But I do dispute your idea that the fact that they didn't report any abuse and seemed not to remember any means that it is a certainty that they were never abused before.

There is simply waaaaay too much science and professional experience out there that shows children and adults sometimes do not remember because it is their self-preservation kicking in and not allowing them to remember. But that doesn't change the fact that the abuse did actually happen and was discovered later, after initial inquiries.
These men/young men aren't just boys anymore. And, it isn't a question about whether or not they were abused. I believe that sometimes they just aren't. They say that abuse victims are highly female, or the males are underreported. Or they suppress it. But, usually, if they have really been s*xually abused in a way that upset them, they become repulsed by it and would never visit that on someone else. Now, I know the cycle CAN continue, but I think that it is more likely that the men/boys do it because either it is common aka "normal" to them, or they are emulating something done to them, sometimes NOT in their knowledge or memory. Because if they really did have it affect them negatively, again, they probably won't do it to another child.

So, my only point is that if she does make this no big deal, as is the consensus that is what should be done, it may backfire in the end. He may never see it as traumatizing, therefore, emulate it on someone else, even though he has no recollection of it because it was played out as no big deal. I am not saying make a HUGE deal out of it. I am saying that all children should know that his body is his, and others are theirs, and we aren't to be "playing" these type of games (which OP was already going to do). And, then hope for the best, that you aren't thrust into another similar situation, or that your child isn't continuing this behavior on younger children down the line.

The boy that had a big deal made of it (eventually, and cont to do it until it was treated as such) and got the help and intervention, fared the best. The question is, whether one makes the actions a big deal to the victim so that he doesn't repeat the behaviour in the future. KWIM?

My other point is that abusers aren't necassarily abused, and stats state that too.

My other case is this; my adopted mother's father messed with her. He didn't understand when a child says "I love you" that it wasn't s*xual. Down the line, she was 40+ and he was naked at the end of her bed one night after her mother passed. She never thought that he would mess with her kids, and lo and behold, he messed with one of her daughters before he passed. The granddaughter kept it quiet until adulthood. Now, his grandson (by one of the 2 younger sons, not my mothers) never had any idea about all this going on over the years, as it wasn't often, and not talked about back then. Grandson has a little girl, and was frantic because he was feeling compulsions to be inappropriate with her. He was never abused by the father or grandfather, to his recollection, very good childhood with his parents, nor was the grandfather "into boys". But, here he was, going crazy because he really feared he would hurt his daughter and couldn't figure out why he was having these feelings toward her. (PTL he got help!) The counselor encouraged him to talk to his siblings, aunts, and uncles on both sides about family history, and see if there was any history of abuse in the family, but in a way that wouldn't be too personal for his reasons for seeking help. He obviously confided in my mother. The situation seems unusual, but it seems that he "inherited" these compulsions from his grandfather.

My point is that the adopted boy may have it in his family, but possibly never being exposed himself. JMHO, I am not a professional. Just my experiences, research, etc. And, maybe the stories I know of are just the weird and unusual.

My other real point, is that we have to all be supervigilant. The numbers of children being victimized is going up for a myriad of reasons, or it is just talked about more. Being a victim myself, I thought I could protect my children. I have been put in the position that OP was put in, when WHAM! my child is exposed and the stranger danger and keeping privates private all that, at exactly 3yo (twice), has to be visited. When I thought having taught these things to my older children (after the first incident), and it would trickle down. Or that they were too young at 3yo to introduce these things. I didn't want them to fear ppl or think that everyone is out to touch them. I thought that keeping them with ppl I KNEW were safe, and supervising situations closely when I couldn't be 100% sure, would protect my children. And, IT DIDN'T. Whereas other children, who weren't being as protected could very well have never had this kind of thing happen to them, because of some roll of the dice. I truly empathize with OP, and I pray that we can all keep our children safe.

I am not a pro, I was just sharing my observations. Just because we think things are a certain way, doesn't mean they are, and I wasn't saying that I KNEW any of my theories to be fact. I do know the stories, otherwise, I wouldn't have shared them. Kymberli
post #106 of 131
[QUOTE=LROM;14253740]
We all know some kid that just didn't seem "right", that creeped us out, that we never wanted our kids around. Fine, keep your kids away - I know I'd keep that kid away from my kids. But I would also say something nice to that kid, maybe facilitate getting that kid into an afterschool program or something productive. SOMETHING, small or big, to try to make a difference.
QUOTE]

And, sometimes it is that charismatic church going boy/man that can lie their way through life, and no one suspects a thing. Stereotypes is what keeps this type of thing going. I would almost keep my kid away from the "goodie goodie" types, because they can be just as much, if not more, dangerous. A victim will report the creepy person. But, the charismatic, close to your family, "no one will believe you" can perpetuate YEARS of abuse and havoc on a child. Okay, I need to stop now. Kymberli
post #107 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwlady View Post
These men/young men aren't just boys anymore. And, it isn't a question about whether or not they were abused. I believe that sometimes they just aren't. They say that abuse victims are highly female, or the males are underreported. Or they suppress it. But, usually, if they have really been s*xually abused in a way that upset them, they become repulsed by it and would never visit that on someone else. Now, I know the cycle CAN continue, but I think that it is more likely that the men/boys do it because either it is common aka "normal" to them, or they are emulating something done to them, sometimes NOT in their knowledge or memory. Because if they really did have it affect them negatively, again, they probably won't do it to another child.
What makes you say this? Kids who cried themselves to sleep every night because of a parent's drinking grow up to drink, even when they have kid. Kids who were bullied often turn around and bully someone else. Kids who hated their parents while growing up, because of beatings and physical abuse, turn around and beat their kids. There is no shred of evidence to suggest that if something affects someone negatively, they won't do it to someone else. People's responses to abuse vary...a lot. (I was probably emotionally abusive towards my ex by the end of our marriage, and I know I've had isolated incidents of emotionally abusive comments to dh...as a direct result of being emotionally abused by my ex- picked up some really bad patterns.)

Quote:
So, my only point is that if she does make this no big deal, as is the consensus that is what should be done, it may backfire in the end. He may never see it as traumatizing, therefore, emulate it on someone else, even though he has no recollection of it because it was played out as no big deal. I am not saying make a HUGE deal out of it. I am saying that all children should know that his body is his, and others are theirs, and we aren't to be "playing" these type of games (which OP was already going to do).
I'm losing you. I thought you disagreed about making this a big deal to the OP's ds. But, the advice I quoted is to...not make it a big deal.

Quote:
The boy that had a big deal made of it (eventually, and cont to do it until it was treated as such) and got the help and intervention, fared the best.
But, he was perpetrating sexual abuse, yes? (I may have mixed up the cases you mentioned.) Obviously, it has to be made a big deal to the perpetrator.

Quote:
My other point is that abusers aren't necassarily abused, and stats state that too.
Do you have a link to any stats about this? The only abuser I know who wasn't abused himself was my grandfather, and he suffered severe brain damage.

Quote:
My other case is this; my adopted mother's father messed with her. He didn't understand when a child says "I love you" that it wasn't s*xual. Down the line, she was 40+ and he was naked at the end of her bed one night after her mother passed. She never thought that he would mess with her kids, and lo and behold, he messed with one of her daughters before he passed. The granddaughter kept it quiet until adulthood. Now, his grandson (by one of the 2 younger sons, not my mothers) never had any idea about all this going on over the years, as it wasn't often, and not talked about back then. Grandson has a little girl, and was frantic because he was feeling compulsions to be inappropriate with her. He was never abused by the father or grandfather, to his recollection, very good childhood with his parents, nor was the grandfather "into boys". But, here he was, going crazy because he really feared he would hurt his daughter and couldn't figure out why he was having these feelings toward her. (PTL he got help!) The counselor encouraged him to talk to his siblings, aunts, and uncles on both sides about family history, and see if there was any history of abuse in the family, but in a way that wouldn't be too personal for his reasons for seeking help. He obviously confided in my mother. The situation seems unusual, but it seems that he "inherited" these compulsions from his grandfather.
I can't follow this very well. Are you saying that the grandfather messed with his daughter when she was a child, but she didn't think he'd ever mess with her kids? Honestly, I can't see any way in which a grown man could fail to understand that "I love you" from a child isn't sexual, and not pass some kind of screwy legacy to his sons, even if he didn't molest them. You can't grow up with that kind of worldview, without having it affect your own.

Quote:
My other real point, is that we have to all be supervigilant. The numbers of children being victimized is going up for a myriad of reasons, or it is just talked about more.
I've never seen any evidence that it's going up, to be honest. Nobody talked about it when I was a kid...but it was still going on all over the place. My case never made it to a therapist or any kind of case report (he had 4 victims...almost certainly no more than that, as he was house bound). Most of my friends who were abused never told anyone, except their own friends, either. It just was not talked about.
post #108 of 131
OP: Sorry - I did it again. I'm going to bow out, so I don't start talking theories and abstracts again. That's not what your thread is about.
post #109 of 131
For those advocating highly scrutinized visits as a viable option: this is not the way in which normal interaction with a cousin takes place. Children are going to sense this, so why go that route? Not to mention the enormous strain continued contact places on the OP.

A mother need not be apologetic about the fact that her loyalty lies with her child. OP
post #110 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by denimtiger View Post
Or, because at three he thinks it's funny and has no idea of the reality of the situation. But if he remembers this incident when he's 14, I'm quite sure he'll have a different outlook.

If someone told you now that a much older cousin had your pants down and was making oral contact with your genitals when you were three years old, would you think you were not in any way a victim?
Why would somebody tell me that now unless they wished me harm? If at 3 he thinks it is funny and then is told it is not and gets proper attention to make sure there is no residual here, why wouldn't he just continue being a kid? Why is it assumed he will be scarred for life and reminded of this again and again? It doesn't make sense.
post #111 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by confustication View Post
You know, I hear loads of sob stories about the abusers' pasts, and the brutal truth is that I really don't care. People make a choice when they become perpetrators. 11 is old enough to know better, he CHOSE to sexually abuse a younger relative. I really don't care, at that point, what the background is, or that he might be rehabilitated or anything else. I care that he isn't ever in a position to cause harm again.
This seems insensitive and cruel. "Sob stories"?
post #112 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by confustication View Post
You know, I hear loads of sob stories about the abusers' pasts, and the brutal truth is that I really don't care. People make a choice when they become perpetrators. 11 is old enough to know better, he CHOSE to sexually abuse a younger relative. I really don't care, at that point, what the background is, or that he might be rehabilitated or anything else. I care that he isn't ever in a position to cause harm again.
."
I totally agree..... IF the abuser is an adult. But, he IS JUST a kid himself. At possibly the worst age to be a kid. He has the past abuse and his past issues, PLUS all these hormones. He's only 11. I honestly think, I could forgive my nephew for doing this. I'd never trust him again though.
post #113 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beene View Post
Why would somebody tell me that now unless they wished me harm? If at 3 he thinks it is funny and then is told it is not and gets proper attention to make sure there is no residual here, why wouldn't he just continue being a kid? Why is it assumed he will be scarred for life and reminded of this again and again? It doesn't make sense.
: Well, I'm confused as to why you wouldn't want to know. I would want to know if something like that happened to me! It's part of my life history! I'd hate to be kept in the dark about something like that! Especially since his mom would know, his aunt, his cousin, everyone but him! That makes no sense.
post #114 of 131
OP, I do think you should tell your son that what his cousin did was wrong. He should know. Hopefully there will never be a next time, but what if someone else tries something like this, maybe then he can use his voice and say "no".
post #115 of 131
I was molested by my older brother when I was about 3 years old...I felt very ashamed about it at the time. I think if my parents had been there to say the sort of thing you said to your son this would have helped tremendously in terms of me being able to easily move on.
post #116 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beene View Post
Why would somebody tell me that now unless they wished me harm? If at 3 he thinks it is funny and then is told it is not and gets proper attention to make sure there is no residual here, why wouldn't he just continue being a kid? Why is it assumed he will be scarred for life and reminded of this again and again? It doesn't make sense.

So, let me see if I'm understanding your point. What I'm hearing you say is that since the child is three, it is best to assume he will not have even vague memories about this that he will quetion? Instead, you can get him some attention to "make sure there is no residual," and then pretend it never happened, never mention anything related to the incident again, (at least not where he can hear it), and let him just continue being a kid?


I don't think anyone is going to advocate framing a picture of the incident and hanging it over his bed. But to proceed in a way that assumes he's NEVER going to hear about it or remember it or question it? Beyond unrealistic, it's almost deceitful to try to keep something like that from someone permanently.

Kids get old enough to get embarrassed about stories of themselves in the bath, or peeing on people, or having their diapers changed -- even if some of those incidents were hilarious to them at the time. It's not safe or fair to assume that a victim of molestation is incapable of remembering it, or that the memories of it could become much darker things once they become old enough to have another viewpoint of what happened.

If it's handled right, I doubt he will be scarred for life. That doesn't mean the OP should feel badly about keeping her son away from his abuser.

I also highly doubt that a three year old will be scarred for life by quietly losing contact with a cousin who is eight years his senior. Seriously? Cousins with that kind of age difference are separated from each other ALL THE TIME. Cousins who are close in age, too. My dd LOVES her cousin (five years older) who comes to stay with us for a week or two in the summer.
They have a wonderful time and play together and live as closely as siblings for those two weeks. Neither one of them experiences any kind of trauma when the time is up and they're separated again, usually for an entire year.

She loves her nearby cousins who are close in age, too. Birthdays, holidays, dinners out, days at great-grandmas, the works. But if we were really busy and just spent less time together, and she never really saw them again, I can't imagine that that trauma would be anywhere near her knowing or finding out that I made her spend time with someone who molested her.

Is a three-year-old likely to remember an event like molestation, yes. Likely to remember how family dynamics were different with aunts and cousins when he was three? Not really. That is more traumatic for the OP, who is an adult, and has had hopes and dreams about the boys being raised together.
post #117 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by seawind View Post
For those advocating highly scrutinized visits as a viable option: this is not the way in which normal interaction with a cousin takes place. Children are going to sense this, so why go that route? Not to mention the enormous strain continued contact places on the OP.
A PP gave very good ideas about how such supervised visiting could occur (the movie and restaurant ideas)...indeed, there are countless parents of adopted older children who have sexual abuse issues who LIVE like this (with other children in the home even!), on a daily basis. Some parents who have a sexually perp'ing child in the home, and also are parenting other children, have very clear rules about no closed bedroom doors, only one person in the bathroom at a time, alarms on bedroom doors so they can hear if a child gets up in the night, definitely no tents or blanket forts or any such thing, and for many kids "line of sight" supervision. it can be very stressful to live this way 100 percent of the time, but for the OP...we are talking about situations like family bday parties or get togethers. It would of course be on the nephew's mom to keep her child in sight 100 percent of the time, and he needs to know and follow the rules, and the OP could of course also keep a watchful eye out.

And while her child is very young, i dont think he is TOO young to understand some simple explanations about the cousin...that the cousin has some issues that he is working on controlling and that we all need to help him....therefore play will be supervised so that the adults can help cousin remember the "rules"...and empower the younger child to know that certain actions (like "peepee kisses") are NOT ok, and to make sure to come to you right away if they occur.

I totally get that the OP is disgusted, upset, and outraged. I guess i get her basically saying she wants to cut off her nephew completely and that the whole family is "ruined"...although i REALLY hope that with some passage of time she will see that its not necessarily true, that there is a way to go on and work through this situation, WITH her nephew. It does really really bother me to read that all the sister's effort was "wasted", but i pray that is just coming from a place of hurt right now and not how either mom truly feels about the nephew.

And also, fwiw, its very common for older adopted children who have abuse in their past, to have this sort of thing crop up around puberty...they have all these feelings and not sure what to do with them. I also think that while the age difference is disturbing, it takes less significance (for lack of a better term) when we are talking about an emotionally and socially immature 11 yr who may have some dev. delays (not talking necessarily cognitive delays), who may have little access to friends his own age and who is very close to this young cousin. It *may* be a little different than a kid at school who has a whole gang of same age playmates but chooses the vulnerable kindergartner to abuse.

I think its an excellent idea for the OP, her sister, and a therapist to sit down together and come up with a way to handle the relationships from here on out, without causing further damage to anyone.
post #118 of 131
Thread Starter 
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post #119 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by knucklehead View Post
Wow, my head is reeling! I certainly appreciate everyone who took the time to write an opinion (even the less than sensitive ones). I still have a lot to process and figure out.

First I appreciate the support and validation of my feelings regarding this situation. It is still raw and so I appreciate those that can understand why I'm not overwhelmingly occupied with my nephews feelings right now. My sister's definitely! I feel horrible for her and can't imagine what she is going through. In many ways I know this is harder on her than me by far.

My son is acting completely normal. I have taken him to a few playgroups (supervised of course) and I see no difference in behavior with other children. I know it is stil early but I am hopeful. One thing I am still confused about is how much to talk about it. At the time of the incident I told him that no one should touch him and vice versa. The next day I went to a bookstore and bought a book on bad touch/good touch. My DH and I read it to him with a few other innocuous books. I didn't want him to feel like there was a spotlight on him. I reiterated that no one should touch his privates and vice versa. I told him his privates were his and it was OK for him to touch them. I also told him that he could talk to mommy or daddy about anything at all.

I don't really want to focus on it too much more. I didn't ask him any direct questions about the incident other than the few at the time it happened. I'm having a hard time because I do believe for my son it was experimental play and actually funny. I want to keep it that way but now he knows that he isn't supposed to engage in that behavior anymore. I don't want him shamed beyond that. If I focus too much on "what your cousin did was WRONG" I will turn him into a victim in his own head. I want this to go away for him. But then I start worrying about some posters opinions that if he thinks this was OK and just play then he will in turn do it to another child. I'm really not sure about this. If this took place with another 3 1/2 year old would that mean that both of them would become perpetrators?? Don't most kids experiment and move on?

As far as him seeing his cousin again I have been mulling this over ALL DAY LONG and at this point even though I would like to strangle my nephew I know for my son complete severance of ties would be more difficult for him to handle than what went down. If I never let him see him again I would have to explain on some level why. And my goal is to try and get this whole thing out of his head. The whole family would be fractured. This would devastate my son. Am I ready at this point in time? Hell no! Can I see maybe sitting around a table at Thanksgiving with a LOT of rules in place. Possibly. My son or daughter will never ever be alone with my nephew AGAIN. Can I sit in the same room while birthday presents are being opened with my nephew seated between my sister and BIL. I think so. There will be limited interaction, very limited. This of course is all dependent on the therapists' assessments.

I am just going to start taking my son to a lot of playdates with children his own age and slowly planting the seed in his head that his cousin is busy a lot with home school and wants to play with older boys his own age. I can remember being told when I was little that I couldn't play with my sister and her friends all the time because my sister wanted to play alone without her little sister tagging along. I survived. This is what I will tell my son.

I wanted to clarify that I am only thinking about what is best for my son. I am going to give it some time to make sure my son is all right before this moves forward. I want him to have plenty of time to talk to me or DH or act out if anything is bothering him inside. I know kids deal with things on their own time in their own way. I don't want my hope for everything to be OK to get in the way of what ever needs to happen organically. And maybe (please God!) everything is OK.

If I thought for a minute that he was traumatized or scared of his cousin in any way shape or form I would completely isolate him from him and explain that he was victimized and it wasn't his fault. I would never want my son to think that I didn't protect him. I would skin a lion with my teeth for that boy. I hate that I don't know 100% what to do. I want to know right now that everything will be OK. This is my prayer.

I know this has turned into a very long thread but if anyone has any more advice it is greatly appreciated.
It sounds like you're doing a wonderful job handling this with the most extreme sensitivity.

Only one thing - you might not want to add "he wants friends his own age." I was told that, too, and hurt a lot - enough that I still remember. I think "he's busy" will suffice, and I think giving him LOTS of friends his own age is wonderful.

mama. You're doing great. I'll pray for you guys.
post #120 of 131
OP - I just read this entire thread and your update. It sounds like you are doing things right for your situation. I wish you and your family healing and peace.
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