Well, so many evaluations trying to suss out if there was abuse is itself enough to cause a small child quite a bit of confusion. Not saying you shouldn't keep him in therapy--I think you should definitely continue with it--I was just pointing out that all of the worry and investigations over his symptoms, compounded with the normal developmental curiousities and explorations around genitals and so on, is bound to kindle up a lot of confusion.
And that is assuming nothing actually happened to him in the first place--but obviously, as you know, something might have happened and these behaviors might be reactive in that regard, and that could certainly be playing a role too.
As an adoptive parent of a later-aged child with sexually reactive behaviors and I will say that many years of both play therapy and specialized therapy for junior offenders never uncovered a narrative about what actually happened. Nor was that the goal per se. Rather, you want to work with the child to process his current feelings and urges--as they are currently presenting--and work with him to help him to develop normal boundaries and normal behaviors around this stuff. So assuming you are SURE he is not currently being abused and was not sexually abused by your partner, I think this is where you go from here. It takes a long time so be patient and don't expect a quick fix.
1. I do think you need to re-home your dog immediately. Unquestionably, hon. It is very sad but not the end of the world and if the dog becomes sexualized it will need to be put down--also I think it is the best short term solution to your situation because it will prevent your son from either repeating the behavior or from thinking about wanting to repeat the behavior. After the third incident, and in light of all the other issues surrounding the situation, this one seems non negotiable to me. Put an ad up and pay a friend to foster the dog temporarily until you find a forever home for your friend.
2. Line of sight supervision in your home--by you or your sitter--at all times. No more "go in your room/outside and play." Because you are setting up a situation where he will stew in his own juices/be left to the wolves to sort out or act out the drama/trauma on his own. This would be a recipe for entrenching these behaviors. You do not want these behaviors to escalate or to be going down outside of your radar. DO NOT let him play outside alone, in his room alone, etc. Use time ins instead of time outs. Plan preschool age activities at the home to keep him busy so when he wants to go off away from you you have something up your sleeve to keep him near you and engaged. Plan on doing this for at least a year--modeling the behaviors you want him to pick up on and preventing the ones that are not ok, and it WILL help to rewire his brain. I promise you. It can only help.
3. Get support for you. This won't be resolved in a hurry, as you know, and you are going to need support as a mother to keep up with the line of sight supervision, therapies he is in, etc. Doing line of sight vigilantly is hard--I have been there--and it can wear you out. Keep posting, try to reach out to IRL friends, invite people over (yay on your new house!), etc.
4. Switch therapists if you don't have a good feeling about the one your son is with. Interview as many as necessary--many are not very good and you need a good one, who is working with kids because they have something real to offer and NOT because they are trying to work out their own childhood issues through working with kids or because they can't hack it with adult clients. You need a great therapist who is wise, compassionate, culturally competent, and willing to both be supportive and confrontative with you as needed. If the therapist doesn't want you in at least some of the sessions, run. Your child is young and you need to be in on his treatment. And it needs to be skillful. Period.
5. Have faith. You care so much about your kids. Keep up with the therapies, start doing line of sight with him, and snuggle in for the long haul. He is so young, you still have EVERY opportunity to give him the equipment to have a beautiful, balanced, healthy life.
Hugs and support to you mama. You can do this! You can do this.
Edited by junipermoon - 3/29/11 at 8:19am