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Sexual Curiousity: What is Normal for 5-y-old?! - Page 8

post #141 of 154
Originally Posted by Bisou View Post

My son was abused in a daycare, but we don't believe it was molestation.  He was physically abused and physical damage was caused by a female daycare teacher, but it appeared to be intended to hurt him, and DID hurt him.  He had bruises all over the backs of his legs and damage to the skin of his testicles.  It was basically ripped off in multiple places, and the doctor and I both thought it looked like someone pinched and twisted the skin of the testicles.  Horrifying beyond belief. 


I suppose you could say it was sexual abuse because it happened in the genital area, and I don't know what really happened because he was two, and obviously I wasn't there, but it seemed more like this person just wanted to hurt my son.


I suppose this could cause sexual issues for him, but I don't really think it's related necessarily to what's going on now.  Though who knows.  Since he is not trying to do sexual acts and has never acted out in that way, aside from wanting to show others' his body and see theirs, I just don't think this is related to that.  I would say he suffered physical abuse, not molestation.


Also, when that happened, we decided not to talk to him about the abuse unless he brought it up.  He was only two, so the communication was limited.  For a few weeks, he would say "The teacher hurt my penis," and I would say, "I know, honey.  I am so sorry you were hurt.  That was not ok for the teacher to do that to you," and hug him, and talk along those lines.  So aside from the talk about not looking at other kids' private areas, this was not a subject of conversation in our home at all since he was just two.  He's now five.

Originally Posted by mom2happy View Post

If I didnt know that he was molested in daycare I wouldnt think this was so abnormal.

I think because of his past there has probably been much (maybe too much) talk about touching, privates, penisis............

He is curious and not shy. I am SO glad he feels comfortable to tell you what he did and hope he can always trust you with that stuff.

Some kids are sexual by nature, some are drawn to the no-no's. It could be one or the other or both for him.

I have a 5 yr old boy and a 7 yr old girl. Any curiosity about other peoples parts and touching I have always been very quick and non chalant about.

I give it the same reaction that I would for anything that I know is innocent. Besides a few random moonings, I havent encountered anything else.


Hopefully this is a short phase. It's really hard for a kid to understand why butts are not to be touched. He is only 5. He is in therapy. You know he is not being sexually abused now.

I wouldnt give this too much attention. I would say calmly before playdates that you expect him to keep his pants on, his friends to keep their pants on, and if anyone's come off- the playdate is over, and have a fun time!


If I were that mom I'd still hang out with you, but watch the kids closesly and have a talk with my DD.

Sorry to get back to you after so long.

First let me say how sorry I am that your 2 year old boy had to experience cruelty like that.


After knowing the whole story, I really dont think there is anything abnormal here. It could be anything from potty humour, to wanting to check things out, being drawn to it because its so off limits, or the little guy could wind up being a very sexual person. All regular things. Some people are just more physical and curious. He seems like he is just being gross and silly. He is also realizing what a rise it gets, which just might make it more silly and appealing.

I'm also trying to figure out if I missed something in the post. Was he diagnosed with an actual problem?

The thing Im the most worried about right now is the full staff of people  trying to normalize him when he just sounds like a kid that is going through a really annoying behavioral phase that just so happens to do with butts.

He didnt hurt this girl and certainly wasnt trying to violate her. He was doing something that a lot of boys have a problem with- NOT KEEPING HIS HANDS TO HIMSELF. That is what he needs help with and so do plenty of kids.


Edited by mom2happy - 12/15/10 at 7:34pm
post #142 of 154

No, no, no.  You cannot take daycare out of the equation.  That is a huge part of the equation as it was a huge source of trauma for this child. That cannot be ignored.


Bisou--You are right.  You are doing A LOT for your son, and to suggest that his issues from birth are your fault, is wrong.  I think you are really on the right track.  In my mind at least, I just think its important that you are working with a good therapist and some of the things you've said about yours make her sound terrible.  I think also people don't want to hear the sexual stuff being minimized. You absolutely deserve much more credit and support than you've been given though. 



Originally Posted by D_McG View Post

  I wonder if it's not time to take the daycare issues completely out of the equation, get a referral to a good child psychiatrist and be honest about every single thing that's going on.

post #143 of 154
Thread Starter 


Originally Posted by Owen'nZoe View Post

Bisou, I just wanted to offer hugs - some of the responses on this thread have been brutal. I've not had to deal with anything like you are dealing with, but I give you all the credit in the world for everything you have tried and are continuing to try.


Thanks OwennZoe. 


Honestly, I have gotten to the point that I feel like I don't want to return to MDC because some people can be so critical.  Some people are really helpful and sincere, and I don't mind people offering their opinions and suggestions, but when it gets into criticism of me and that I am not handling things properly, or maybe that I don't even care or that I am not honest, that's not helpful and is very hurtful.  Honestly, if I didn't care, why would I even take the time to share what's going on? 


Anyway, thanks for the kudos.

post #144 of 154
Thread Starter 

Thanks Daffodil.  That's exactly what I was getting at.  There's a 23-24 page long thread about my son under Gentle Discipline, which some people had already read, and others read after seeing this thread, and I didn't think that was relevant to this thread.  My main question was simply "What are other kids his age doing in regards to this?"  I don't think his other problems are relevant to this particular question.  I just wanted to see how his behavior fit in regards to what other kids his age are doing.  If other kids his age are doing the same thing, I don't think this makes his behavior abnormal simply because of his background. 


From the responses I've received, it sounds like some kids are not doing this kind of behavior and others are, which is normal for most kinds of kid behavior!  (And it's also possible that some parents aren't aware of what their kids are doing because the kids might not have mentioned it!  I know lots of adults talk about this sort of thing going on when they were kids and that no adults ever knew about it.)


Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post


Originally Posted by ~cassie View Post

You never mentioned his other issues in your OP, you are just now mentioning he was diagnosed as SPD.  Some of this information is critical to mention so that we fully understand your child, yet you left it out until just now. 


Fully understanding this particular child isn't really important for people to answer the question the OP actually asked, which was NOT "Does my kid need help?" or "Did I handle these situations correctly?" or "What should I be doing differently as a parent?"


This is what she posted:


Originally Posted by Bisou View Post

So my son has been having some issues with sexual curiosity, and I am not sure exactly if this is normal or not.  I'd like to hear from other parents of kids 4-6 or so, particularly parents with 4-6 yo boys, about what their kids have done at this age.

post #145 of 154
Thread Starter 

Thank you, OwennZoe.  This is exactly how I feel.  People only have a small picture of me and my son, yet they feel qualified to judge whether I am doing things correctly or not without ever having met us.


Where is the respect for each parent to parent their child in the way they feel is best?  I wouldn't judge any of you for not vaccinating your child or choosing to give your child medication or not.  Only YOU know your children and live with your children and know what's best for your children.  Who would I be to say what's right for your kids?  I would never presume to make such judgments, even if I read tons of postings about your child and his/her problems.  YOU are the parent, and YOU are the only one who can decide what is right for your child. 


One person mentioned that many of her family members are on medication and that it has been helpful.  I have had the OPPOSITE experience with mental health medications, which I had taken in the past for severe depression.  I've had antidepressant medications cause me to be violent (at age 19, which I had never been in the past and haven't been since!), anxious, and suicidal.  I've seen friends and extended family members have hideous reactions to various mental health medications.  I am surprised that for all the anti-vaccination and anti-big pharma attitude that is on MDC that everyone has bought the "Psychiatric medications are WONDERFUL!" message hook, line, and sinker.  It is really frightening. 


What finally worked for me and kept my depression away even in the midst of living through the stress of all my son and I have been through is a shift in my mindset that I learned through therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR, the positive psychology movement, and dialectical behavioral therapy), and more than anything else, acupuncture.


If a medication works for you or your kids, great!  I have never personally seen a psychiatric medicine work for myself or anyone I personally know.  I am sure it works for some people, but since my family tends to be a family who reacts intensely to medications, I approach this with great fear.  I am allergic to many different medications (have had allergic reactions), as have my parents, and we also tend to have extreme and unusual reactions to many medications.  It's different for me trying something because I am an adult and I can clearly verbalize what's going on with me.  My son isn't old enough to verbalize his reactions in the same way. 


My son is practically a baby, and giving him something that can alter his brain, and some even argue can cause brain damage, is very scary to me.  One of the medications causes an average of 10-20 pounds of weight gain in 50% of kids who take it, and also causes insulin resistance and metabolic issues, including diabetes.  Others suggested can cause heart failure, psychosis, liver failure, or suicidal thoughts.  Really?  And I shouldn't be at all concerned about giving this to my child?  These are medications that are not even tested on kids in most cases.  I may get to a point that I feel I HAVE to try medication, but I am thinking critically, researching, and weighing all options.  I am not going to just jump on the medication bandwagon without seriously evaluating all of the pros and cons.


Sorry if I am getting a little testy, but people have been all over me on MDC for being resistant to give my son meds, and I just don't get it.  Absolutely don't get it.


Also, so many people have been convinced that he is seriously mentally ill or bipolar or whatever, yet even the psychiatrist we just saw didn't think so.  She said that he is a "severely traumatized boy" who has been through a lot, and that he's acting out because of that trauma.  She didn't think there was anything that indicated a mental health problem in terms of bipolar disorder or anything like that. 


It just irks me that people seem to think that I need a different therapist or different psychiatrist because they don't personally agree with what the therapist (the experts, and those who have in some cases seen my son for a year or more!) has said.  It sounds like people just want me to keep trying another therapist or another psychiatrist until they agree that my son is severely mentally ill. 


In any case, this has moved to a discussion of my son's mental health and behavior, and is really getting off the topic of my original post.  This is why I didn't include all this information in my original posting, because I just wanted to have a simple discussion about what other kids my son's age are doing in regards to genital curiosity, looking, showing, etc. 


I suppose we've covered that topic in enough detail, and I feel like I have enough information to proceed, though if anyone else has something to share about their experience with their kids exploring (or not exploring) body parts, please do!



Originally Posted by Owen'nZoe View Post

Look, I've gone back and read prior posts about her son. I get that she is dealing with a lot of issues with her son. But I stand by what I said -  the tone of some of the responses has been less than kind. And I understand that a lot of you have been following her story for quite some time and may seem frustrated that they haven't been solved, but really, for those of us who don't know Bisou and her son in person and haven't seen what she is going through and trying day to day, we've seen just the tusk or the tail of the proverbial elephant by reading her posts. To say definitively that her son needs meds or judge that she is or isn't taking the actions she needs to based on what little we've seen of her life is kind of absurd.

post #146 of 154
Thread Starter 



In saying there are things I've said about my son's therapist that "makes her sound terrible," are you referring to the peeing the pants incident I talked about in the other thread?  I suppose I am getting us further off track here by continuing to refer to the other thread, but I was just curious.


I do feel like perhaps our time with that therapist has come to an end.  My son will be seeing a new therapist who does EMDR (a trauma therapy) on Monday, so perhaps she will end up being more helpful.  I am having to pay for that out of pocket ($120 per session!), so I am not sure how long I can continue.


Our therapy benefits through our insurance company (HMO) are very difficult to come by.  Even in the months immediately after the break in when I was just terrified of everything almost 24/7, I could only get in to see a therapist every 1-2 months!  When I said this wasn't enough, they just said it was all they could do, or I could go to a depression and anxiety group, which didn't help at all. 


It's the same situation for my son.  We are in a referral outside of our insurance group, and she sees us once per week (or even more if needed).  They are now cutting back on all outside referrals (which would mean my son probably wouldn't get another outside referral), so my son would only be able to see someone probably once a month or so within our HMO.  It's just a joke. 


I have asked about getting more regular therapy for myself so many times.  Once my therapist said if I was that desperate for regular therapy, they could hospitalize me!  While I am extremely stressed, I would not classify myself currently as depressed or anxious or anything else.  I just have some extremely stressful life situations.  I was asking to see a therapist once per week or at the least, every other week.  So my option is basically see someone about 6-12 times per YEAR, or be in the hospital.  Seriously?  That didn't even make sense to me.


This is why I am very reluctant to change therapists for my son.  It could be that we either stick with his current therapist or he sees someone about 6-12 times per year.  Also, if we asked to change therapists, it's very likely that we would be on a wait list for several months before he could even get in to see anyone, because this is typical at our HMO.  We had to wait an entire month for an urgent psychiatrist appointment. 


It might be that we go from having someone who is ok (but not perfect, though a GREAT support to me as a parent!) to having someone we don't like or can hardly see.  My son's current therapist will take calls from me on nights and weekends when I feel like I am in an emergency.  She gives me lots of support about what she thinks I am doing well and gives me strategies for how I could improve things.  I think her relationship with my son is fractured after the peeing incident though.  He's clashed with her nearly every session since that happened, and he never really did that before.  So that makes me really sad.  He always seemed to enjoy seeing her in the past until that happened.


Anyway, this is WAY off the topic and should probably be on my GD thread, but just thought I'd explain the therapy part in more detail and why it's not so easy to just "get a different therapist."


My mom is helping me pay for the EMDR therapist because there's no way I can afford it, and I don't know how long she can afford it.  That is going to cost at least $480 PER MONTH!  That is a HUGE expense!  I am supporting my son and I on an college adjunct teacher's income (read: not much money, lots of work!).  I do not receive child support from my son's dad, so I am completely on my own as far as finances go.   

Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

No, no, no.  You cannot take daycare out of the equation.  That is a huge part of the equation as it was a huge source of trauma for this child. That cannot be ignored.


Bisou--You are right.  You are doing A LOT for your son, and to suggest that his issues from birth are your fault, is wrong.  I think you are really on the right track.  In my mind at least, I just think its important that you are working with a good therapist and some of the things you've said about yours make her sound terrible.  I think also people don't want to hear the sexual stuff being minimized. You absolutely deserve much more credit and support than you've been given though. 



Originally Posted by D_McG View Post

  I wonder if it's not time to take the daycare issues completely out of the equation, get a referral to a good child psychiatrist and be honest about every single thing that's going on.

post #147 of 154
Thread Starter 

I am just thinking. . . . . . .


We've been getting a little off the topic of the original thread and the original intent of posting this thread, which was to understand what other kids my son's age are doing in regards to being curious about other people's bodies, particularly "private areas."  I think a lot of people have shared interesting stories about this topic, and it's given me a good range of responses about what other people's kids are doing or not doing.


If people feel the need to respond to me about my son, but not directly related to the issue of genital curiosity, it might be more appropriate to post on my other thread.  http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1137864/help-severe-aggressive-defiant-behavior/460


However, I am hoping not to continue a debate about meds/no meds, or whether I am not doing the right thing or not.  I would prefer not to have more criticism or critique of what I am doing or not doing, or not doing enough of, or anything along those lines.  That's simply not helpful to me as a person.  It makes me feel defensive, hurt, and judged, and it doesn't provide anything helpful or beneficial.  Criticism makes me not want to return to MDC, to not read or post on these threads anymore.   


There have been a lot of mamas who've offered some great suggestions about my son over the year or so that I've posted about my son's behavioral problems.  (My first post on my other thread was September 2009.)  However, there have also been some people who've been critical about how I am responding to my son's issues, particularly those who INSIST that my son needs medication, and some have even gone so far as to suggest that I am abusing/neglecting my son because I haven't medicated him.  While I may reach the point where I decide to try this, I don't think it's the magical cure that some people think it is.  And it's not without possible side effects, and very severe side effects, in some cases!  My family tends to respond with severe reactions to many different kinds of medications.  I am allergic to several different kinds of medications, as is my mother and several other family members.  (My mom was once prescribed the vitamin niacin for high cholesterol.  The first day of taking it, her face swelled up so much she looked like this woman except her face was bright red and her cheeks were more swollen!  I am not kidding!  We had to rush her to the ER.)  I am the kind of person who gets the awful, weird side effect that no one ever gets.  I am very sensitive to medications.  Is it unreasonable to think my son might be the same? 


In any case, I think that it's each parent's role to decide what's right for their own children.  I wouldn't criticize any of you for choosing to medicate your children, or feed them meat, or eat a non-organic diet, or not vaccinating because you think it's unsafe (or the reverse), or letting them watch TV, or drink unpasteurized milk, or whatever, and I would like to be given the same respect and consideration.  I think outside of giving our children proper care (food, clothing, shelter, and love) and medical treatment for obvious medical emergencies (your child is having trouble breathing, you call 911!) that most of the rest of it is up for us to decide what's right for our kids.

post #148 of 154

thanks for starting this thread. some of the information shared by you and others has been very helpful.

post #149 of 154

Bisou, I have only read the first and last pages of this thread and I need to go to bed, but I had to respond...I'm really surprised by the comments I'm reading.  Maybe people are so phobic of any sexual talk that they act as if a child obviously needs serious herlp to be curious.  Personally, it sounds relatively normal.  I only have a daughter, but she has a certain level of curiosity herself, and she goes through phases of greater curiosity.  She has never been in day care, never been abused in any way, and we make sure to talk to her about what is appropriate for public and what needs to be kept private.  Anyways, sorry if you are feeling attacked in this thread, kit sounds like you are working hard to do what you think is best

post #150 of 154

Hey Bisou,


Just stopping back to tell you about last week...


My DDs and i went to see a friend (one who will be visiting any minute today in fact!).  My DD is 4.5 and so is her DS (her DS is being evaluated for ASD just now, but no formal dx yet, just a collection of slightly "off" behaviours).  Her son is VERY into bums right now!  He was pulling down DD1 and his own sister (who is 2)'s pants and shouting "peachy bum peachy bum".  Eventually DD1 got sick of it and yelled at him to stop, and he did, but he continued to do it to his sister until she cried and came to find us (we were listening closely but have a policy of not interfering unless the kids get aggressive or obviously NEED intervention).  We did a bunch of "sorting out" which ranged from telling DS "leave everyone's bums alone now!" and telling his sister "put pants and trousers on if you don't want him looking at your bum!" and my DD1 "tell him you don't want him to if you don't want him to.  There is no need to hit."


I was reflecting on this thread on the way home.  For us in that situation the main issue is that her DS has very poor impulse control, even for a 4yo, because he's quite obsessive.  He cannot stop doing one thing until he begins obsessively doing another thing.  But he is a very sweet boy who would never wittingly harm his friend or his sister, and HE gets distressed if they are upset, even as he is still stuck trying to repeat his behaviour.  I have another friend who's sons literally NEVER showed any sexual curiosity and are 10 and 13 now and the eldest is just hitting puberty.


So i guess i think what you describe IS in the realms of normal, BUT it's not happening with EVERY child.  I think some of the harshness on this thread is because some people genuinely have never dealt with it and they don't get that it can be normal, just like in other places on MDC people don't "believe" in HN babies (or don't get what they are like), are worried if a baby doesn't poop for 10days (since all THEIR kids go every day and always did), or are freaked out by a ballooning foreskin (because no intact men they no had one ever - i was one of those people BTW and i live in the UK hardly anyone is circ'd here!).  "Normal" needn't be "common" or "frequent".  

post #151 of 154
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by pupsnelda View Post

Originally Posted by Owen'nZoe View Post

Bisou, I just wanted to offer hugs - some of the responses on this thread have been brutal. I've not had to deal with anything like you are dealing with, but I give you all the credit in the world for everything you have tried and are continuing to try.

Brutal? I disagree. Some of the responses have been concerned and actually those posters who have read the whole background are worried about the child. In this case you just have to have the complete history, it changes the perspective totally. 



And I agree with you, the OP has tried very hard and for a very long time. But her refusal to accept the possibility of a mental health issue of her son which needs meds doesn't seem reasonable. There has been suffering for YEARS. Her son has suffered, she has suffered. She has tried many, many different approaches, natural ways, but as fas as I can see it, none has been really effective, slightly effective sometimes, sure. But IMO not enough.



I DO feel that many of the replies have been brutal, and since I am the one these posts are directed at, aren't my feelings important?


You say I "refuse to accept the possibility of a mental health issue," yet no one has diagnosed my son with a mental health issue.  What's his current diagnosis?  "Adjustment disorder."  This is just a generic term they apply to kids having a hard time adjusting to a change in their lives.


I don't think anyone's opinion of whether I am doing "enough" is really appropriate!  Or kind.  I would never say the same thing about your parenting choices.  Honestly, if you disagree with what I am doing with my son, then just stop reading the thread.  Debating with me or other people about whether I am reacting appropriately to my son's issues is not helpful, fair, or kind.  You're only getting a tiny glimpse into our lives and that doesn't make you qualified to decide how I should or shouldn't be rearing my child.  I don't think being "concerned" gives you license to criticize me for not making the same choices you would make for your own child.


And as other posters have said, that wasn't my question in posting this thread.  My question was simply this:  What are your kids doing in terms of sexual curiosity (or genital curiosity, or however you want to label it).

Edited by Bisou - 12/23/10 at 8:30pm
post #152 of 154
Thread Starter 



Thanks for the response!  I totally agree with what you've said.  Normal is a RANGE of behaviors, and this is why I posted: to get an idea of the range.


I also have to wonder with the kids that didn't show any sexual curiosity or behavior whether they were just doing that in secret?  I am sure some of them aren't, but I have to think that just because parents aren't aware of it, that doesn't mean it isn't happening!  My son has been very open about what's happening, and when other parents have been told about it (what their children were doing with my son and later admitted to initiating themselves) they were completely shocked and said their child had never done this before.  Obviously they didn't tell their parents about it either!


My son hasn't had any further incidents since I originally posted with this question.  I did order some books about bodies and private areas, and he has been very curious about those books and looking at the one that shows drawings of boys and girls bodies from time to time.  He's had a lot of questions about the different body parts, so we've spent a lot of time reading and discussing that.  His favorite book is "It's Not the Stork" (http://www.amazon.com/Its-Not-Stork-Families-Friends/dp/0763600474), and I think it's pretty good overall, especially for kids of this age.  I also like that it shows a drawing of both a circ and intact penis and just says that some boys look like this, and other boys look like this.  He's asked a lot of questions about that as well.


It seems like lots of the parents who replied had more than one child, and I only have one, so he isn't around other naked kids EVER, so I think he has more curiosity because there's no brother or sister around who's having baths or diaper changes or just running around the house naked.

post #153 of 154
Thread Starter 

Thanks haleyelianasmom and Cekimon for your posts.


I have learned a lot from some of the mamas who have posted.  I was raised in an extremely conservative fundamentalist Christian home, and I was told to NEVER touch my genitals for any reason, which lead to me never even washing the area until I was in my late teens!  


While I didn't do any sexual play when I was a child (out of fear of extreme punishment for such behavior!), when I did become sexually active as a young teen, I definitely didn't talk to anyone about it.  I am lucky that I wasn't pregnant at 15!  I don't want my son to have this same shame and secrecy about his body and sexuality. 


Even though I am about a million times more open minded than my parents, I still have some discomfort with some of these topics when it comes to talking to my son, so it's been good to hear other people's feelings about this issue. 

post #154 of 154

Dear Bisou,


I just came to your thread as I've just had the most awful day - won't go in to detail now (perhaps will post separate thread depending on how my googling goes), but my 6 year old has been acting out this week quite weirdly towards the 3 year old son of friends we are staying with, there has been a lot of naked bottoms, joint trips to the bathroom, locked doors, poop smearing, water guns pointed up bottoms etc. My friends (quite understandably) don't want the kids to be together on their own, but they are also concerned that my son might have been abused in some way. I am horrified and mortified and everything else, of course, but this has just come out of nowhere, and it stretches my imagination to think of abuse as a possibility (and no, I'm not in denial, it's something that has always been on my mind, like any other realistic parent). Anyway, I just wondered if you could let me/us know how your son is doing on this front now, 2 years later, if you're still around! I'm just reading a lot today and trying to work out if what he has been doing can in any way be construed as "normal".


(I'd also like to add my voice, so much later, to those who find many of the replies to your query to have been deeply offensive. We all have our opinions, and some, or many, may believe that your son's behavior at the time was very worrying. But I have a real problem with the tone of many (not all) of those who did. So many of the things that were said could have been said in a much softer and supportive fashion. I just don't understand why people can't consider the impact of their words before posting. Anyway, that's my 2c worth after so very long, and sorry if this is just dragging up a very painful topic for you again at this point!)

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