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post #21 of 154
Neither of my sons did anything like this at that age.

I would find this concerning, both in light of his past history, and even more so, in view of the fact that he lied about other kids doing it (the bathroom incident). To me, the lying indicates that he knows quite well that this behavior isn't right. Yet he continues to do it. Given all this, I wouldn't be comfortable with a therapist who takes the position that this is normal behavior. Asking questions is normal, as is some degree of "playing doctor." But that usually happens earlier than 5. By 5 no kid I knew was doing this - and again, the incident with the lying suggests that your son is aware of what's appropriate. Yet, for whatever reason, he's continuing to do it. Which, to me, would be worrisome.

In your friend's place, I would be uncomfortable having my daughter around your son.
post #22 of 154

You also only know what your son told you happened.  You didn't talk in detail with your friend, and who knows if her daughter even told her everything that happened.  Your friend has every right to be very upset with you for seeming to not take this seriously. 

 

I agree that some exploration is normal in kids, however the way this is playing out does not seem normal to me.

 

Tjej

post #23 of 154

I find "normal" to be a very slippery term in this area. Your son's behaviour doesn't sound all that out there to me, honestly. It's definitely not okay, especially the pulling down the other girl's pants. However, without the abuse when he was little, this wouldn't even raise flags for me. I'd just see it as something to continue working on, as so many things are. Your ds sounds a bit like ds2, in some ways. DS2 has had a few issues with showing another boy his penis, and the other boy telling him to pull down his pants and show it again, and the other boy showing ds2 his penis, etc. This has happened, slightly differently, with two boys. DS2 tells me about it, and seems to get that he's not supposed to do it...but he does it again. This isn't a red flag for me, because ds2 does this with lots of things (hitting his sisters, throwing things in the house, climbing on things, etc.). He has serious struggles with impulse control, and also forgets that he's not supposed to do things while "in the moment". This whole aspect of his behaviour is a work in progress. He's a tremendously open, sweet, direct kid...but he also thinks the penis, especially his, is the greatest thing in the world. He's also fascinated (ie. thinks the topic is hilarious, and I think he also thinks it's funny, because it gets other people upset) by talking about combinations involving the penis and the face, the penis and the mouth, the penis and the bum...and the penis and the knees, toes, etc. etc. As far as I can tell, ds2 thinks the penis is a self-contained, portable toy. We just keep plugging away at "keep it to yourself".

 

All I can suggest, OP, is to continue working on it. It's somewhat worrying that he lied in the one situation, but he seems to be quite honest about this, in general. Keep hitting the "respect other people's boundaries" side of it, and watch for any major red flags. I'd also make sure you keep his therapist in the loop. And, whether your friendship survives this or not, I'd definitely try to contact the other mom, and get her child's version of events. There could be some subtleties that you didn't get from your ds.

 

ETA: I also don't think you treated this like it was nothing or no big deal. It's possible your friend took it that way, as other posters have suggested, but I didn't get that impression at all. It's quite possible to think something is normal, and still be trying to deal with it, as it's not appropriate/respectful/etc. (I think it's "normal" when my toddler hits someone...but that doesn't mean I just ignore it.)

post #24 of 154

I have a six year old girl and an almost five year old boy. To me your son's behavior sounds like it is outside the range of normal but I don't have much experience with kids other than my own. If I was your friend I would no longer allow my daughter anywhere near your son, supervised or not. My kids aren't interested in genitals in any way. They have noticed that boys and girls look different but that's it and that was only in the context of seeing me change the diapers of their little brother and sister. I would be seeking the help of a different professional. Be sure to always supervise your son when he's around other children, male or female, so he doesn't do anything that could emotionally harm them. 

post #25 of 154

I have a 4.75 year old boy and we are pretty comfortable with nudity in our house. The rule for us is no nudity in the common areas and no nudity at other people's homes. We instituted this rule when his friend-girl came over last summer. At the time, they were about 4.3 years old; the two of them stripped naked and streaked through the house giggling. It was so odd that it quite took us both (me and her mom) aback. We calmly dealt with it by helping them dress and telling them that we keep our clothes on at other people's houses. They did and we haven't had any more issues with that but you could tell that they thought they were being funny; it had nothing to do with sexual exploration at all.

 

What you describe does not seem "normal" to me, maybe more because of the way you do describe it. Your post seemed a lot like you were hoping to be told this was normal so you wouldn't have to deal with it or your friend. I can tell you, though, that my friend was a bit more freaked out when our kids streaked us than I was; I think in large part because she is EXTREMELY overprotective of her daughter (late baby after many issues; almost lost her). I am of the school of thought that dealing with it calmly and matter-of-factly will move us past it more quickly. In our case, it was a necessary lesson about boundaries that just hadn't come up in our lives until that moment.

post #26 of 154

Sigh.... your friend is overreacting.

It must have really hurt your feelings, and its a pity that two kids that get along well have their friendship broken up in this way.

Your response to the situation couldnt have been better. You expressed your concern. You spoke to your honest boy about it. You said you should talk more, and it is a situation that requires a conversation, but i do not  think its more alarming than that.

 

I have two boys, 2, and 5, and they are going through a 'poopy' stage. They makes jokes and songs about poop, they bend over and flash their behind at each other. if they are naked (have just taken a bath for eg. ) it wouldnt be beyond realm of possibility that they might flash their anuses at each other, maybe even touch it. It hasnt happened, and i wouldnt allow it, mainly for reasons of hygiene. I have explained by way of prevention that touching anuses is germy, because human waste is passed though it.  But such a thing would seem normal to me, a normal extension of the 'poopy' humor.

 

As they get older, kids will play sexual games, this requires awareness and honesty (your son was honest and i am impressed). But as far as i understand it, this is normal too.

I teach my boys about bodily autonomy. If you say no, the person cannot touch you, that includes hugging, kissing, hitting, anything. Im sure that because of this, they will be able to stand up to anyone who wants to touch them in ways that are undesirable to them.

 

Anyway, i dont think your son's behavior is abnormal. However,  i would certainly supervise playdates closely just to make sure boundaires are not crossed.

 

I am sorry your friend over reacted.

post #27 of 154

....wanted to add after having read above 2 posts-my kids frequently run around the house naked, especially my 2yo. If a playdate resulted in a boy and girl streaking around the house, i woudlnt have a problem with it at all. Where is the problem? If anything, its an opportunity to observe and supervise healthy behavior and ensure boundaries are not crossed. Being naked is a normal healthy human state. Im never the person bothered by this.

 

As for curiosity about genitals, i have observed this in my kids. Again, totally normal. My older son once showed curiosity about my 2yos  penis. I told him it was private and he couldnt touch it. That was that.

I dont think you are looking for excuses, you are asking normal questions because you want to be honest about the situation.

post #28 of 154

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.

post #29 of 154

I just want to put in a word for being cautious about calling something 'normal' or not. Humans are sexual beings from a very young age, and human sexuality is widely varied in terms of drives, appetites, and curiousity. Social norms define what is deviant, and American culture is pretty far on the end of the spectrum that says sex is taboo and inappropriate/bad/wicked/shameful in a lot of contexts, and there are only a few 'right' ways to express sexuality. For example, Germans have a long tradition freie koerper kultur (nudism). We have a book in German about body parts, and the last page is filled with SEVEN drawings of buck naked, anatomically intact kids, and the child is supposed to identify who is a boy and who is a girl, and there is a blank spot where he/she can draw in their own picture of themselves. So, merely posing this question to a German might elicit a different response than asking Americans or Australians.

 

I don't think the comparisons of penises, wanting to see what equipment little girls have, or saying, "Touch my butt!" is necessarily cause for saying his behavior is abnormal. Yes, it does lie outside the boundary of what American adults have delineated as appropriate, but I think almost all kids engage in some degree of exploration of their own and other kids' bodies between ages 4-7 or so.

Kids are not always good at reading boundaries between socially sanctioned and socially proscribed, and he has a lot of overlapping boundaries of public/private body parts (hands/penis), public/private spaces (living room/bedroom), public/private venues (school/home) to navigate. If he is very curious and doesn't have great impulse control, he may not be checking all of this stuff. Whatever is going on with him, I think it's important not to instill in him a lasting sense of shame if he is merely a very curious little boy. If it were my boy, I'd let him know that I appreciate that he is being honest with me, and let him know that he can ask me ANY questions he has about his body or other people's bodies, check out some books from the library about bodies and reproduction. We also talk a lot about manners and how manners are things we do or refrain from doing in order to make sure everyone around us feels comfortable and has an enjoyable time when we are with them. So, #1, it's very bad manners to ask other people to show us their private body parts. And #2, it's also very bad manners to get undressed when we are out in public or entertaining company.

 

Do you trust your therapist? If she has a good and ongoing relationship with your son, do you think she can read him well enough to know if this behavior is indicative of some deeper psychological disturbance or pathology? I would like to believe that human beings are resilient enough that if he was hurt at a daycare at age 2, taken out of the situation, has been going to therapy, and you are providing responsive, affectionate, and appropriate care to him, that he will not be scarred or warped for life by this one incident.

 

PS As to your friend - if you two are really tight, I would be inclined to ask her straight up if this incident is something that she is planning to sever the friendship over and if there is anything that can be done to save the relationship because she is a pretty important person to you. I would be pretty distraught if one of my closest female friends cut off contact with me without even a full conversation about the decision. greensad.gif Hopefully she will come around and you can work out a way to remain friends.

post #30 of 154

My first thought even before reading your complete post was "This child has had someone touch or ? him".  I am so sorry this happened. 

 

I only speak from experience of my own that children don't know these types of things (sexually) unless prompted by another, mainly an older child whom has been exposed from an adult or an adult that shouldn't be trusted.  I am glad to see you are proactive in seeking help for him. 

 

I have found that parents that do not respect themselves (prior abuse themselves) and have not sought help tend to raise the same.  Boundaries are essential. 

 

My Father's family is not to be trusted and I will NEVER let my DS stay with any of them, no matter how much help they receive.  

post #31 of 154
Thread Starter 

In talking to my friend further, I found out that this had happened multiple times with her daughter and OTHER kids.  So I think she was already concerned about this issue and this is probably why she was extra upset.  Her daughter is 7 and this has happened with her daughter and other kids her age.

 

In talking with my son's teacher, she said that this happens ALL THE TIME at age 5-6.  I don't think it's abnormal for kids to be playing doctor at 5.  I do know that many kids (and adults, recalling their childhoods) are experimenting in this way and not telling their parents about it.  I've had many boyfriends who've told me about messing around with their neighborhood friends and even siblings (brothers) all through their childhoods, and none of them were abused.  I don't think I'd necessarily want my son participating in this, but I do think that some of that is common.

 

Also, with the lying incident, he said something happened (kids in the bathroom pulling their pants down) when it didn't happen, so no one was involved with that, including him, so I am not quite sure how you are saying that shows he knows the behavior isn't right.  If he had lied, saying it didn't happen (no kids pulled down their pants) when it DID (kids really DID pull down their pants), that would make sense, but he made up an incident of kids pulling their pants down that never happened.  That doesn't quite make sense to me.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post

Neither of my sons did anything like this at that age.

I would find this concerning, both in light of his past history, and even more so, in view of the fact that he lied about other kids doing it (the bathroom incident). To me, the lying indicates that he knows quite well that this behavior isn't right. Yet he continues to do it. Given all this, I wouldn't be comfortable with a therapist who takes the position that this is normal behavior. Asking questions is normal, as is some degree of "playing doctor." But that usually happens earlier than 5. By 5 no kid I knew was doing this - and again, the incident with the lying suggests that your son is aware of what's appropriate. Yet, for whatever reason, he's continuing to do it. Which, to me, would be worrisome.

In your friend's place, I would be uncomfortable having my daughter around your son.
post #32 of 154

hmmm..... so, it seems like it is a range of normal. where some of us have children that are not sexualized at all, and others have a larger interest in sexuality.

 

i think it seems startling for those of us with children that have expressed absolutely no interest in that type of exploration to hear about those that have. it seems that there is an awareness, or lack of innocence, that is very different from our own experience. which makes it not "normal" for us.

 

if you feel that your ds is well within the realm of normal experience, as seems to be the case based upon your research and the experience of other posters on here, then leave the stress about this behind and focus on the future....

 

you can't take it back and you can only move forward. i do think that respect for others should be emphasized as well as boundaries, rather than focusing on the specific sexuality of the acts. you and your ds have a lot to deal with already and all you can do is to protect him as much as possible from difficult situations that might harm him,

 

best of luck to you mama!

post #33 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bisou View Post

In talking to my friend further, I found out that this had happened multiple times with her daughter and OTHER kids.  So I think she was already concerned about this issue and this is probably why she was extra upset.  Her daughter is 7 and this has happened with her daughter and other kids her age.

 

In talking with my son's teacher, she said that this happens ALL THE TIME at age 5-6.  I don't think it's abnormal for kids to be playing doctor at 5.  I do know that many kids (and adults, recalling their childhoods) are experimenting in this way and not telling their parents about it.  I've had many boyfriends who've told me about messing around with their neighborhood friends and even siblings (brothers) all through their childhoods, and none of them were abused.  I don't think I'd necessarily want my son participating in this, but I do think that some of that is common.

 

Also, with the lying incident, he said something happened (kids in the bathroom pulling their pants down) when it didn't happen, so no one was involved with that, including him, so I am not quite sure how you are saying that shows he knows the behavior isn't right.  If he had lied, saying it didn't happen (no kids pulled down their pants) when it DID (kids really DID pull down their pants), that would make sense, but he made up an incident of kids pulling their pants down that never happened.  That doesn't quite make sense to me.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post

Neither of my sons did anything like this at that age.

I would find this concerning, both in light of his past history, and even more so, in view of the fact that he lied about other kids doing it (the bathroom incident). To me, the lying indicates that he knows quite well that this behavior isn't right. Yet he continues to do it. Given all this, I wouldn't be comfortable with a therapist who takes the position that this is normal behavior. Asking questions is normal, as is some degree of "playing doctor." But that usually happens earlier than 5. By 5 no kid I knew was doing this - and again, the incident with the lying suggests that your son is aware of what's appropriate. Yet, for whatever reason, he's continuing to do it. Which, to me, would be worrisome.

In your friend's place, I would be uncomfortable having my daughter around your son.



Oh, no, I understood that nothing happened, that it was a made-up incident. But to me, the fact that he would make up a story about sexual play and make a big deal of it indicates that this is behavior he knows shouldn't be going on. Given his history of abuse, it's not terribly surprising that he'd do something like that.
post #34 of 154

I can reply to that... I am German and the description about Germans being more open or relaxed regarding nudity is right. But when I read the OP I had a completely different picture in my head than some "doctorplay" between children. I have two boys myself and have experienced curiosity in them while they were younger. My impression from the OP was very much the same what many PP said. I cannot tell exactly why (and actually I have read other posts about the background, so maybe this has influenced my view), but I was thinking, something is totally wrong.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcparker View Post

I just want to put in a word for being cautious about calling something 'normal' or not. Humans are sexual beings from a very young age, and human sexuality is widely varied in terms of drives, appetites, and curiousity. Social norms define what is deviant, and American culture is pretty far on the end of the spectrum that says sex is taboo and inappropriate/bad/wicked/shameful in a lot of contexts, and there are only a few 'right' ways to express sexuality. For example, Germans have a long tradition freie koerper kultur (nudism). We have a book in German about body parts, and the last page is filled with SEVEN drawings of buck naked, anatomically intact kids, and the child is supposed to identify who is a boy and who is a girl, and there is a blank spot where he/she can draw in their own picture of themselves. So, merely posing this question to a German might elicit a different response than asking Americans or Australians.

 

I don't think the comparisons of penises, wanting to see what equipment little girls have, or saying, "Touch my butt!" is necessarily cause for saying his behavior is abnormal. Yes, it does lie outside the boundary of what American adults have delineated as appropriate, but I think almost all kids engage in some degree of exploration of their own and other kids' bodies between ages 4-7 or so.

Kids are not always good at reading boundaries between socially sanctioned and socially proscribed, and he has a lot of overlapping boundaries of public/private body parts (hands/penis), public/private spaces (living room/bedroom), public/private venues (school/home) to navigate. If he is very curious and doesn't have great impulse control, he may not be checking all of this stuff. Whatever is going on with him, I think it's important not to instill in him a lasting sense of shame if he is merely a very curious little boy. If it were my boy, I'd let him know that I appreciate that he is being honest with me, and let him know that he can ask me ANY questions he has about his body or other people's bodies, check out some books from the library about bodies and reproduction. We also talk a lot about manners and how manners are things we do or refrain from doing in order to make sure everyone around us feels comfortable and has an enjoyable time when we are with them. So, #1, it's very bad manners to ask other people to show us their private body parts. And #2, it's also very bad manners to get undressed when we are out in public or entertaining company.

 

Do you trust your therapist? If she has a good and ongoing relationship with your son, do you think she can read him well enough to know if this behavior is indicative of some deeper psychological disturbance or pathology? I would like to believe that human beings are resilient enough that if he was hurt at a daycare at age 2, taken out of the situation, has been going to therapy, and you are providing responsive, affectionate, and appropriate care to him, that he will not be scarred or warped for life by this one incident.

 

PS As to your friend - if you two are really tight, I would be inclined to ask her straight up if this incident is something that she is planning to sever the friendship over and if there is anything that can be done to save the relationship because she is a pretty important person to you. I would be pretty distraught if one of my closest female friends cut off contact with me without even a full conversation about the decision. greensad.gif Hopefully she will come around and you can work out a way to remain friends.

post #35 of 154

And as the friend I would NOT be happy. In her shoes I wouldn't feel that you have taken the situation serious.

post #36 of 154

I have two boys who are in 2nd grade and K. Once when the younger was in preschool (4) he and a couple friends of both genders were planning to pull their pants down, but we (the moms) heard them and intervened so it didn't actually happen. I think that sort of thing is normal once or twice at 4-5 but once boundaries have been established, it shouldn't be a recurrent issue. My oldest is 8 next month and has never done anything like that. He did tell me a couple of his classmates got in trouble for saying "sex" about a month ago. 

post #37 of 154

It sounds like the other kids in his school are also over-sexualized which makes me wonder if they're not all, or some, victims of an offender at the school, whether it's another student or a teacher. It seems that many children in one place being over-sexualized is a sign of something.

post #38 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by pupsnelda View Post

I can reply to that... I am German and the description about Germans being more open or relaxed regarding nudity is right. But when I read the OP I had a completely different picture in my head than some "doctorplay" between children. I have two boys myself and have experienced curiosity in them while they were younger. My impression from the OP was very much the same what many PP said. I cannot tell exactly why (and actually I have read other posts about the background, so maybe this has influenced my view), but I was thinking, something is totally wrong.

 



for me, i think it's not just the looking, it's the directions to touch in a specific place, which should not be sexualized in children.

post #39 of 154

Bisou-- I think you knew deep down when you posted here that the degree to which he is sexually acting out isn't typical, but it probably is hard to hear other people confirm that, especially when it might feel like our comments are saying he is a bad kid or something. I want you to know that the fact that he is doing this doesn't make him a bad kid. It means that being abused has really impacted him and you need to help him work through that.  You need a really good therapist who is well trained in sexual abuse working with him.  Your  YYYyyyyYhhy Yy son's teacher is probably referring to isolated incidents, but what you are describing is ongoing, and I am assuming she doesn't know about the suggestion to "touch his butthole."  She is ill-informed if she really thinks this is typical. 

post #40 of 154

I would not portray it as normal to your friend. My 3 yo does a lot of these same inappropriate behaviors and everyone I've mentioned it to (doctor, therapist, another doctor) say 'oh, it's normal, they're all obssessed with their penises at that age." Yet, I know as the mother of a dughter that if a little boy engaged in that behavior in front of my dd, let alone tried to get her to pull her pants down, I would be hopping mad. not necessarily AT the child, but just upset by the situation. I don't really have any advice regarding the behaviors because we are dealing with the same stuff here (my ds pulled his pants down and spread a barbie doll's legs open and put it on top of his penis) but I would definitely say that you might need to let your friend know exaclty what you are doing, ;proactively to make sure that this never happens again.

 

Because as the mother of a littl boy I understand that things happen that may not be intended maliciously, but as a survivor of abuse myself and the mother of a little girl, I would most certainly be advocating for ym dd not to be exposed to inappropriate sexual behavior. Even if that meant the end of the friendship. :(

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