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Sexual Curiousity: What is Normal for 5-y-old?! - Page 3

post #41 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

. As far as I can tell, ds2 thinks the penis is a self-contained, portable toy.  

 OT, but I don't know how much luck you'll have refuting that belief....I know some grown men who operate on that premise. eyesroll.gif

post #42 of 154

You know, maybe I am just the outlier her, but I do NOT think your son is exhibiting anything pathological or deviant except that a lot of adults are defining it that way. OP, please don't get yourself worked into a tizzy thinking your son is some sort of mini-pervert. Even with the number of incidents you describe spread over a number of years, this does not seem like an excessive amount of what I would call GENITAL curiosity. It may have some sort of inchoate sexual component to it, and he might be testing boundaries, and he might be getting some influence from older kids at his school, but it's really does not sound to me like he is in need of mental health assistance beyond what he is getting in therapy. If he were acting out and seeking sexual attention or inappropriate attention from other adults, going up to somebody and humping their leg, asking other kids to act out scenarios, or talking about sexual acts in an explicit way, I would be more concerned than I would be by what you are describing (even the "touch my butt!" I think is accurately portrayed by your description that it's more about "ha ha, that's where poop comes from!" than about being overtly sexual). From your original post, the first two incidents were NOT at his instigation. The two girls and pants pulling down, he started. The mass scene in the bathroom was a fabrication. And then he pulled his own pants down, asked the 7 year old to do same, and I assume she refused. So, really, he has had TWO times when he instigated this sort of behavior. I seriously think that this is primarily an issue of reiterating appropriate boundaries for polite society.

post #43 of 154

 My DS is now 8 and hasn't exhibited any interest other than self exploration.

 

I do think there can be a pretty big range of normal. However, I think that the OP's DS does need some help. Why do I say that? It's the number of times *something* (though what that is may be in dispute) of this nature has happened, the lies he tells about it, the abuse he suffered in the past *and* the fact that he already has quite severe behavior problems and a family history of mental illness (have followed the OP's story re: her son for quite some time).

 

Definitely doesn't mean that he's "bad" or a "sexual predator" or something like that. But it does mean, frankly, he needs to be watched much more closely and helped more than a kid who was doing this for the first time.

 

OP, I'm sorry. :Hug  I know you have a huge amount on your plate as a single mom and that you've already been through the wringer with your DS. I know how very hard you're trying to help him in other areas. I know how hard it is not to get defensive. But, as a PP said, I think you know in your heart of hearts something is off and that's why you posted.

post #44 of 154

If other kids are showing him 'habbits' like that there may be some issue going with their people that are in their family like if some kid talks about mouth on penis he is getting that from somewhere or penis in butts .

 

I do know around this age kids are Prone to Copying what another Kid Does .

 

My son friend whose a girl whenever she's in a skirt she flips it up showing off her undies in front of other boys her age which includes my son plus a kid who is 2 yrs older than them. She is just like the other 2 boys will go walking around naked and they are 4 .  One saw the pool and said hey want to 'swim' Brendan went running inside going Mommy  Blank  Took His shorts off and is Naked out there .

 

So I went out and saw yep then I go Swimming out fits only in the Pool  No Naked kids allowed in Pools .This was this summer .

 

I mostly think these kids are like 'copying of what they seen' or even heard not thinking it's bad but think it's funny so then they think that is funny as much as think Farting Loudly or Fake Farting, or Armpit Farting , Burping to Fake Burping , saying Mommy I'm giving myself a Atomic Wedgie or doing the mooning of butts .

 

Or even go I'm going to Fart on You or In Your Face (my brother had that habbit when he was younger now my son has the talk) .

 

Most of the kids this age I think it's because They Get Attention from Other People which I say includes Girls because at my b-day party a bunch of girls wanted to show off their bbs and see others (not my idea nor did I participate in it nor did my cousin who was there too.  That was in Gradeschool proably around 4th grade .

 

My brother and  cousin had a habbit running around nakey up until age 7 and even did that in front of our neighborhood girl who was 4 at that time to see 2 older boys naked to also having my brother pee on my bedroom door when he was 7 and I was 10 .

 

I say at this 'age' keep kids visual sighted because they 'want attention' by having someone else them to not do that  they will 'continue' because they are getting Attention Not only From The Other Kids Laughing and the other neighbors Yelling at them until Their Parent(s) come to get them .

 

All you can Try do to do is Say hey Be Modest Don't do this Action but sometimes they want to share what they learned so my boy ended up showing his Grandma the Way He Can Armpit Fart and I'm lke Geez after I told him not to do that !!!!!!!

 

His classmate whose a boy taught him that and I'm like sigh .

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #45 of 154

I don't really think it's that weird, to be honest.  I've seen weirder :)  as a teacher to preschool and early grade school kids.  One year we had to take a nap time cot away from a little girl because she would gyrate on the PVC portion of it.  MANY of the children would put their hands down their pants and play with themselves when they were on their cots and supposed to be sleeping.  We didn't make much of a big deal about it.  And to me it's only natural to at some point say - Hey, I have this.  Do you?  I think mine is bigger!  It's only deviant when others make it out that way (ahem...parents).  Sure, teach them that their body parts shouldn't be touched by others, etc. but to make a huge deal about it is going to make it taboo aka more appealing anyways.

 

My kids (2 and 4) still bathe together sometimes, and streak naked frequently.  It's NBD for us.  Sometimes they will make note of the different anatomy but I just say something like "Yep, he has a penis just like Daddy" or something else to that affect.  My 2 y/o does all sort of ridiculous things, plays with his penis in the tub sometimes, he does this goofy thing where he will pop it over the top of his undies and start dancing and singing "I let my peenie out".  I try not to laugh and just tell him that his penis stays in his pants unless he's peeing or in the tub, and go on with our lives.  Now with my 4 y/o I have had more in-depth conversations about when it's okay to touch yourself (only when you are by yourself and in your own bedroom) and such like that.  I think the mystification of all things sexual adds to the problem.  IMO from reading the OP, you have made quite a big deal of some of this stuff, and maybe he likes the attention he is getting for it.  IDK your kid, though, so I really can't say.

post #46 of 154
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minxie View Post
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.


Nope, not that at all.  Not EVEN close.  If I didn't want to "deal with my friend," I wouldn't have texted her 3 times and called her 3 times asking if she wanted to talk about it.  When she didn't respond and then canceled her plans to spend my birthday with me, I just thought, well, I guess she doesn't want to talk about it and I have done everything I can do.

 

She did call me later and revealed that her daughter had had these same problems with other kids her age (7, two years OLDER than my son) and that it had happened at least three times, so she was already worried about this. 

 

We have two slightly different stories from the kids, so it's hard to tell what exactly happened, but I won't be having him play with kids when I can't see what he's doing.  This happened in a large indoor play area with two-story tunnels and slides, so we couldn't see them inside the play structure.  Unfortunately, it's our favorite place to go, especially since it's one of the only good places to play inside during our cold, rainy winters, but I won't be able to take him here again until I know this is resolved.

post #47 of 154
Thread Starter 

Hi KC:

 

I would say I am concerned, simply for the fact that I don't want this to become a huge issue for him, and I don't want it to damage our friendships with others, but I am with you on your overall view of this issue.  I have been a little surprised at some of the responses that say this is a huge, serious problem.  It's not that I think there is nothing to worry about, otherwise I wouldn't have posted about this, but I was just hoping for some perspective on what others have seen with their kids.

 

Many of the moms who posted have more than one child where they may bathe with siblings, see a sibling naked during diaper or clothing changes, etc.  My son is an only child, so he has no opportunity to see what others' bodies look like, and I think this is a normal curiosity.

 

I personally don't think this is sexual because there has not been any touching involved, just looking.  I have heard stories of other kids this age involved with touching, putting things inside their bodies, and all sorts of stuff, without the kids ever being abused.  If my son was touching people's genitals or doing more involved activities, I would be a lot more worried.  I am not happy about him pulling down the girl's pants at school because that is a forceful action, but I think to him that was more funny that anything else.  When I was in middle school, both girls and boys "pantsed" people (pulled down other people's pants) to be funny and embarrass people.  Of course I don't think that's ok, but it seems like somewhat normal kid behavior.

 

I probably have made somewhat of a big deal about it with him, emphasizing that I didn't want him to be doing this.  After the first incident at elementary school that was initiated by another boy, I talked to him about it a lot, and his teacher talked to him about it, and it was a week or two after this that he fabricated the story about a bunch of kids being in the bathroom and pulling down their pants to have a look.  He said, "Mom, I have something to tell you.  I'm sorry," and then proceeded to tell me the story, naming several of his classmates.  When his teacher sat him and these other children down to have a talk about this, the other kids said, "WHAT??? I didn't do that!" and then my son admitted he made it up.  So it may have been because he was seeking attention.

 

He hasn't lied about the behavior to cover it up, in any way.  With the incident with my friend's daughter, he told me before we even left the place that it had happened and was very sorry.  Aside from the incident at school, I haven't known my son to lie.  He tends to admit what is going on with him.  The only thing he will keep from me is what OTHER people are doing to him (hurting him at school, being mean, etc), but he has always been very forthright about telling me what he has been doing, whether he's been in trouble, if he had a time out at school, etc.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcparker View Post

You know, maybe I am just the outlier her, but I do NOT think your son is exhibiting anything pathological or deviant except that a lot of adults are defining it that way. OP, please don't get yourself worked into a tizzy thinking your son is some sort of mini-pervert. Even with the number of incidents you describe spread over a number of years, this does not seem like an excessive amount of what I would call GENITAL curiosity. It may have some sort of inchoate sexual component to it, and he might be testing boundaries, and he might be getting some influence from older kids at his school, but it's really does not sound to me like he is in need of mental health assistance beyond what he is getting in therapy. If he were acting out and seeking sexual attention or inappropriate attention from other adults, going up to somebody and humping their leg, asking other kids to act out scenarios, or talking about sexual acts in an explicit way, I would be more concerned than I would be by what you are describing (even the "touch my butt!" I think is accurately portrayed by your description that it's more about "ha ha, that's where poop comes from!" than about being overtly sexual). From your original post, the first two incidents were NOT at his instigation. The two girls and pants pulling down, he started. The mass scene in the bathroom was a fabrication. And then he pulled his own pants down, asked the 7 year old to do same, and I assume she refused. So, really, he has had TWO times when he instigated this sort of behavior. I seriously think that this is primarily an issue of reiterating appropriate boundaries for polite society.

post #48 of 154
Thread Starter 

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.
 

Quote:
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.

post #49 of 154

My son has played the "I'll show you mine" game with only one of his friends. We were at dinner at a friend's house and dh walked in on them in the bathroom. It kind of freaked me because my son is a year older and I wondered if he was being the boss in the game. I called the Mom the next day, she was not disturbed in the least. Another time I found them on the trampoline and they had taken their pants off and I'm not exactly sure what the heck they were doing, but they seemed instinctively to know to stop when they saw me coming.

 

Neither of the boys have ever been abused. We have talked to them about keeping their pants on, but honestly we were more grossed out about germs (something gross went around preschool). It seems the phase has passed.

 

Give your friend some time and let her know that while you don't think this means there is something "wrong" with your son, let her know you do take this seriously. Tell her about the books you want to read and tell her you will not leave them unattended while working on this. Her mama bear protectiveness is on high alert right now, and for that I can't blame her.

 

I'm so sorry somebody hurt your son.

post #50 of 154


Bisou, I mean this in the most kind and gentle way possible.  You stated he tried to get the little girl to touch him.  She declined which is why it didn't happen.  Don't pull the wool over your own eyes on this.  You will really be sorry you did long term if you don't address it very thoroughly.  I have seen kids on my caseload progress over the years from doing exactly this sort of thing to becoming older kids and/or teenagers who continue at which point CPS gets involved and/or law enforcement.  I've seen both involved with kids as young as 10, and the boy I'm thinking of was pulled from his home.  Don't let that happen to you just because it is easier right now or because some people on here are telling you (perhaps without having read some of your other threads) that this is typical.  It isn't.  Whoever was mentioning the kids masturbating at daycare...that is normal.  This isn't.  There is a great deal of sexual exploration and curiousity that can be okay, but what your describing isn't.  When he pulled the girl's pants down, it wasn't to be funny.  It was to engage her in touching.  Touching butt cheeks is much less sexual than asking to touch the butt hole.  It is pretty brazen to be doing this in a place with adults close by anyhow.  He NEEDS to have his trauma addressed more thoroughly by a therapist who knows what they are talking about.  Hugs...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bisou View Post

 

I personally don't think this is sexual because there has not been any touching involved, just looking. 

 

post #51 of 154

I think my biggest concern would be this:  you have told him that it's wrong and he shouldn't do it, and that it's really serious.  And he continues to.  Why?  Rebellion or is it obsession with sexual stuff.  Figuring out the answer to that would be more pressing to me than the actual acts themselves, because they don't seem out of the range (or aif they are, just barely) of normal to me.

post #52 of 154

I agree with what APToddler mama wrote. What the previous poster described was masturbation, which doesn't involve anyone else and is normal. What you describe is your son involving others, wanting to touch other, wanting others to touch him. This is simply not at all the same thing.

post #53 of 154

Wow. I'm having a really hard time getting through these replies. I keep thinking how sad it makes me to know that so many parents would view sexual curiosity as abnormal/wrong/shameful. This can be extremely damaging IMO. I don't think sexuality can be determined as 'normal' or not normal no matter what age you are. It probably isn't typical for a 5 year old to be super sexualized, but that doesn't make it abnormal. It's normal for him and that's what matters. If he's getting counseling and talking honestly with you about it then I don't see the problem. I think it's definitely important to talk A LOT about respecting other peoples bodies and boundaries and that would include not showing his private body parts to unwilling participants. This is more about respect IMO then anything to do with sex.

 

To those that have said that children shouldn't be sexualized at that age, or that they just wouldn't know about that stuff without an adult showing them........I have to ask, why? Would you argue that a child also wouldn't instinctively know to scratch an itch? What you're really saying is that it's impossible to feel sexual feelings in the genitals before some magical appropriate age and that's just absurd. If a child has an early drive or curiosity, why is it so far of a stretch to assume they would also have an imagination surrounding that curiosity?

 

Maybe I have the views I do because I was one of 'those' kids. I don't remember having my first orgasm because it was just a normal part of life. I can assure you I'm a 'normal' adult with a normal sex drive. I just don't get this gross overreaction and how one could justify that it's at all helpful.

 

OP: I'm sorry that your friend overreacted. I think you handled the situation very well. Please don't take what some have said here too seriously. What matters here is your son and his feelings that you need to protect. Overreacting to this could potentially have life long effects on his sexuality. Especially since he has already experienced sexual abuse I would strongly encourage you to try to continue to normalize sexuality as a part of life. Just keep reminding him of the boundaries without shaming him.

 

ETA: And my goodness, are we seriously suggesting that the reason the teacher views this as normal is because someone in the school is molesting the kids? I mean sure, it's possible, but isn't it more likely that (with the exception of your child) this could actually be *gasps* normal?


Edited by MammaB21 - 12/7/10 at 12:18pm
post #54 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by MammaB21 View Post

Wow. I'm having a really hard time getting through these replies. I keep thinking how sad it makes me to know that so many parents would view sexual curiosity as abnormal/wrong/shameful. This can be extremely damaging IMO.


MammaB21, many of us are basing our reaction to this situation on what what we know of the OP's son from her other thread about his very troubled past and his current behavioral issues. In that context, this doesn't seem like the simple sexual curiosity most of us have experienced with our own kids, but part of a disturbing continuum. OP, all the best to you and your son.
post #55 of 154


Thank you!!! I agree 100 %. AND I have read all the other threads.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post


Bisou, I mean this in the most kind and gentle way possible.  You stated he tried to get the little girl to touch him.  She declined which is why it didn't happen.  Don't pull the wool over your own eyes on this.  You will really be sorry you did long term if you don't address it very thoroughly.  I have seen kids on my caseload progress over the years from doing exactly this sort of thing to becoming older kids and/or teenagers who continue at which point CPS gets involved and/or law enforcement.  I've seen both involved with kids as young as 10, and the boy I'm thinking of was pulled from his home.  Don't let that happen to you just because it is easier right now or because some people on here are telling you (perhaps without having read some of your other threads) that this is typical.  It isn't.  Whoever was mentioning the kids masturbating at daycare...that is normal.  This isn't.  There is a great deal of sexual exploration and curiousity that can be okay, but what your describing isn't.  When he pulled the girl's pants down, it wasn't to be funny.  It was to engage her in touching.  Touching butt cheeks is much less sexual than asking to touch the butt hole.  It is pretty brazen to be doing this in a place with adults close by anyhow.  He NEEDS to have his trauma addressed more thoroughly by a therapist who knows what they are talking about.  Hugs...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bisou View Post

 

I personally don't think this is sexual because there has not been any touching involved, just looking. 

 

post #56 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by MammaB21 View Post

Wow. I'm having a really hard time getting through these replies. I keep thinking how sad it makes me to know that so many parents would view sexual curiosity as abnormal/wrong/shameful. This can be extremely damaging IMO.


MammaB21, many of us are basing our reaction to this situation on what what we know of the OP's son from her other thread about his very troubled past and his current behavioral issues. In that context, this doesn't seem like the simple sexual curiosity most of us have experienced with our own kids, but part of a disturbing continuum. OP, all the best to you and your son.

This. Once again, as I posted upthread, if this were the first time *or* the OP's son didn't have a history of lying about it *or* he hadn't been abused *or* he didn't already have pretty severe behavioral issues *or* a history of mental illness in the family, I could get that this was normal sexual exploration and curiosity. Because of all the extenuating circumstances, I think it needs to be taken very seriously.
post #57 of 154

Bisou,

 

Don't you think that the fact that he tells you immediately after the incident and that he is VERY SORRY means that he tries to TELL you something? If it was just a silly thing, he would not be so quick to tell you, it wouldn't be so important to him.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bisou View Post

 

He hasn't lied about the behavior to cover it up, in any way.  With the incident with my friend's daughter, he told me before we even left the place that it had happened and was very sorry.  Aside from the incident at school, I haven't known my son to lie.  He tends to admit what is going on with him.  The only thing he will keep from me is what OTHER people are doing to him (hurting him at school, being mean, etc), but he has always been very forthright about telling me what he has been doing, whether he's been in trouble, if he had a time out at school, etc.
 

 
post #58 of 154
Thread Starter 

Hi Hoopin:

 

I definitely didn't tell her it was no big deal or anything, but she was angry that it happened at all.  I hope she knows I am taking it seriously, and I can understand if she didn't want our kids playing together.  I just thought it was weird that she was just going to cut me out of her life as a friend!  It seems like she is over her anger now, at least as far as our friendship goes.  I think she was just upset about what happened and not sure how to handle it, even though I was really open to talking to her about it.

 

Thanks for being sorry about my son.  I am sorry too, and I feel lots of guilt about it, even though I know intellectually that it wasn't my fault and I did everything (above and beyond!) to make sure he was in a safe and secure place.  Had I not been a single mom, I never would've left him in daycare, and it pains me that I had to make that decision and it ended so horribly for us. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoopin' Mama View Post

My son has played the "I'll show you mine" game with only one of his friends. We were at dinner at a friend's house and dh walked in on them in the bathroom. It kind of freaked me because my son is a year older and I wondered if he was being the boss in the game. I called the Mom the next day, she was not disturbed in the least. Another time I found them on the trampoline and they had taken their pants off and I'm not exactly sure what the heck they were doing, but they seemed instinctively to know to stop when they saw me coming.

 

Neither of the boys have ever been abused. We have talked to them about keeping their pants on, but honestly we were more grossed out about germs (something gross went around preschool). It seems the phase has passed.

 

Give your friend some time and let her know that while you don't think this means there is something "wrong" with your son, let her know you do take this seriously. Tell her about the books you want to read and tell her you will not leave them unattended while working on this. Her mama bear protectiveness is on high alert right now, and for that I can't blame her.

 

I'm so sorry somebody hurt your son.

post #59 of 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post

MammaB21, many of us are basing our reaction to this situation on what what we know of the OP's son from her other thread about his very troubled past and his current behavioral issues. In that context, this doesn't seem like the simple sexual curiosity most of us have experienced with our own kids, but part of a disturbing continuum.


It's interesting to see the wide range of reactions on this thread.  I wasn't familiar with the OP's other posts about her son, so I skimmed them, and ended up feeling like having that background made this situation seem less troubling, not more.  The OP already knows her child has serious behavioral problems, and she's getting professional help to deal with them.  If he has trouble in general with controlling his behavior, it seems only to be expected that if he has a normal amount of sexual curiosity, he might be more likely than other kids to act on it inappropriately, even after being told that behavior is wrong.  (I'm not sure "sexual" is even the right word for this interest. I don't see any evidence that he's associating butts and genitals with sex or sexual feelings.)

 

I don't see the OP as asking whether her son's behavior is inappropriate, or whether she should do anything about it.  She's not treating it as appropriate, and she's trying to stop it.  It seems to me that she's just wondering whether his behavior indicates an unusually high degree of sexual interest - whether he seems to have another problem on top of his general behavioral problems.  I don't quite get why some people are saying that the OP shouldn't see this amount of "sexual" curiosity as normal, even though it would seem normal for another kid, just because her son has other issues. 

post #60 of 154


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post


MammaB21, many of us are basing our reaction to this situation on what what we know of the OP's son from her other thread about his very troubled past and his current behavioral issues. In that context, this doesn't seem like the simple sexual curiosity most of us have experienced with our own kids, but part of a disturbing continuum. OP, all the best to you and your son.
 


I went back and read some of OP's other posts, and in light of those, I can see why others are expressing concern. However, I think that even if there is heightened concern, it's so very important to tease out all these different behavioral threads and really ask what is going on. Is this run-of-the-mill curiousity about how girls and boys are different? I know that no matter what, pulling down somebody else's pants violates their autonomy and is somewhat aggressive. But it could have been done in a low-impulse, I'm curious moment; he might have been trying to be playful or thought it was funny in a slapstick way; or he might have been doing it in an aggressive way intended to intimidate or humiliate the other child. Motivation is important in this act. If it was done because he was curious or "thought it would be funny," it's a teachable moment. If he did it with the intent to be mean or because he was angry and wanted to hurt this other child, then I think it falls into the continuum of concerning behavior that OP has posted about in the past.

 

I do think it is very, very positive and a point not to be overlooked that Bisou's son is honest with her and expresses an understanding that his behavior is not acceptable. He fessed up and apologized immediately, which indicates to me that he is developing an awareness of right and wrong. This consciousness takes time to develop, and one of the ways we learn boundaries is by crossing them and either being told that what we did was wrong, or by feeling some internal sense of shame or guilt about our actions. I think he is in the middle of making this journey. OP's son has historically had issues with impulse control and defiance, pretty severe aggression towards his mother, anger, and tantruming. He was physically abused as a two year old, and he has a therapist at the tender age of not-yet-six. I think it is INCREDIBLY important that the adults around him tread cautiously and not give him further sources of shame/guilt/confusion/anger by overlaying a judgement of "you are a wicked boy; exploring bodies is bad and sexuality is bad" on him. He doesn't need one more layer of feeling like he's different or defective if this is simply an only child imitating older kids and/or expressing curiosity about other people's bodies and how they are different from his own. I would think that his therapist and/or teachers should be able to tell you, Bisou, what sort of behavioral red flags to look for, and the adults in his life might keep a closer eye on him for awhile in play situations.

 

Just a couple counterpoints for some perspective:

If this were fin de siecle Vienna, if he'd been under a table and lifted up a grown woman's skirt and caught a glimpse of her bare calf, that would have been perceived as him looking at a forbidden body part. Now, nobody would bat an eye. And, at the daycare my son goes to, ALL the kids go on "Potty Posse" - boys and girls together - about once every 60-90 minutes. They have two potties and two sinks in a gang-style open area. They line up and take turns on the toilets, then stand and wash their hands while the next kids sit on the potties. They all see a heck of a lot of pants being pulled down and back up again and genital flashing, and I think it's a pretty normalizing way to deal with this issue in a preschool setting. On a lighter note, DS1 has been paying lots of attention to anatomical differences -- he told his aunt that he knows the difference between boys and girls: Boys have penises, and girls have pajamas.

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