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My 5 y/o old touched his cousin's privates

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
About a week ago, I got out of the shower and walked into the living room and found my oldest DS laying unclothed on the couch and my unclothed 4 y/o DD giving him a doctor's "exam." I asked them to get dressed and talked to them about privacy and not touching each other's genitals, keeping private parts private. They seemed to get it.

Today, we had Easter at my in-laws. My husband is working. My brother-in-law and his wife and children were there. They have a 4 y/o boy and a 3y/o girl. They kids were in the bedroom playing (this is where their toys are kept) and the door was closed to keep out my 1 y/o. Their 3y/o daughter does not like my youngest DS to be near her. He had pulled her hair earlier so she was extra sensitive and was screaming and crying any time DS went near her, so having the door to the bedroom seemed like a reasonable solution. My sister-in-law went to check on them and they were all naked. This is not unusual, as they like to strip down and run naked around the house. I told them that if they want to be naked they have to have the door open. So they all got dressed.

Well, when I got home B-I-L called and said his DD was in the bathroom screaming because my DS had hurt her vagina. He told me this and hung up the phone. I talked to DS. He admitted that he had done this. He told me that he touched her and her brother. I got a bit angry with him because we had just had this talk and he didn't listen to me. We have been having such problems with his listening and I am getting so frustrated. But I generally kept my cool and told him again that it is not okay to touch other people's private parts. I called B-I-L to tell him that yes, indeed, this had happened, and that I was sorry and of course my DS would be watched closely in the future when with other children. B-I-L siad he was having a really hard time with it and couldn't talke and hung up.

Then a few hours later my M-I-L called and asked my if I know what had happened. I said that sexual exploration was normal at his developmental phase and I was sorry that I wasn't watching the kids closer. She then told me that B-I-L's DD was bleeding and having trouble urinating.

Now I don't know what to think. I can't imagine that my DS could have hurt her like that with us only a few feet away in the other room. And the way she was reacting when my youngest DS went near her, I can't imagine that she would let DS hurt her and not throw a complete fit!

What should I do? Should I be worried about my DS How should I handle this? My DS wants to apologize, but I don't know if they even want him near her. Any thoughts?
post #2 of 52
Up until i read that someone got hurt I was about to reply that this was totally normal. I remember getting caught playing doctor as a child and it was a shocker to my mom/gma. Honestly that's the only part of it i remember- getting caught, i have no recollection of anything else that actually happened while playing.

That's a tough one! I'd try to get BIL's DD to say what happened, or ask your son to make sure that it wasn't anything that could have been harmful (like trying to put a foreign object up there or something like that). I'd talk with your son about not doing that to ppl again- making sure that he knows it can make people sad, and get your BIL to talk to his DD to make sure that she knows that she needs to say no and stop things that hurt her, especially in that area.

I hope this is just a childhood mishap and nothing too traumatic for anyone, good luck mama!
post #3 of 52
At this age I think is is normal to play doctor, I remember doing it. Please don't be worried about him, he's not being weird, he's just exploring. Just sit him down and explain to him why he should not be doing this. As for the girl, ya I think if your DS had really hurt her at that moment someone should have heard something and she prob would have told someone about it at the moment, I just don't know what to say on that part. I don't really have any experience on the playing doc with my 5yo DS yet, but he has been playing with himself once and awhile, I just tell him if he wants to do that to please go in his room and close the door, that is a private thing and no one should be seeing him do that. Im not going to tell him it is bad, dirty, and never do it again, masterbation is natural. Good luck with everything, try not to feel so bad((Huggs))
post #4 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your responses. I asked him if he touched her with anything and he said he didn't. I really pushed the issue, and he continued to deny. His explanation has remained pretty constant. I will talk to him about it again tomorrow.

I did talk very clearly with him about not touching others and tried to help him understand that this made her sad. He said he didn't want to hurt her, he just wanted to see.

I really hope she is okay. I hope my DS is okay too. I hope he didn't hurt her. I am feeling horrible.
post #5 of 52

this must be horrible to think but do you think that perhaps he has been in any sort of situation with others that makes him want to act it out to normalise it? do you anything could have happened to him at all?

i really hope that is nto the case but maybe you need to rule it out
post #6 of 52
I want to say your ds's actions are more on the normal side. I would ask him if he try to insert anything into her vagina. It might have been curiosity especially if he knows a baby is suppose to come out of it.

I would also question why your brother and sil didn't take their dd to the doctor if she was bleeding and unable to urinate.

There is the possibility after their game of doctor she got curious and try to insert something in her vagina but she associated the problem to your son. When we were in day care I know a little boy that wasn't like always got blamed if something went wrong even if he wasn't there by a little girl. She could have injured herself in a fall. If it had happen earlier in the day you would most likely see dry blood not fresh bleeding.

I don't think it would hurt if you talk to a counselor to make sure nothing else is going on with your son than normal developmental curiosity. Maybe they can guide you on handling this.
post #7 of 52
What about helping ds write a letter or draw a picture that says Im sorry? (Just make sure he understands not to draw what happend.)

I usualy dont believe in forcing a "sorry" but I'm sure this would help things with your brother and his daughter?

I also agree that it's totaly normaly, but the hurting when she pees thing and the bleeding is pretty odd. Did they see the blood I wonder or did she tell them there was blood? Just something to wonder--...
post #8 of 52
My ds has been very curious about how babies are born. He couldn't fathom how the baby could come out of such a small place. I told him it stretched and finally showed him a birth video, which I think helped satisfy his curiosity. So I could see him getting involved in similar explorations if he could find a willing partner.
post #9 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone again for all your responses. I think we are all on the same wavelength, and it is a relief to hear that my thinking is inline with other mamas.

oliversmum ~ Beleive me, this thought crossed my mind about 5000 times. I have had the touching talk with DS and DD numerous times and talked about mommy or daddy touching when cleaning or checking if they don't feel right and the doctor touching, but not letting other grown-ups or children touch. I asked him pointblank last night if anyone had ever touched him and he said no. He really hasn't been in too many situations where he has been alone with an adult.

Marsupialmom ~ As soon as I found out that there was blood, I asked him if he put anything inside her vagina or used any of the toys in the room and he said no. I also asked my DD, who was in the room when it happened and she said no. DS said he just wanted to see and he "spread her vagina apart." It is possible that his fingernail scratched her, or that she scratched herself.

I did call sil this morning to see how the child is. They are feeling very concerned about the whole thing. I suggested she take the child to the doctor, but I don't know what they will do.

I made an appointment with a therapist that my DH and I have seen when we have had struggles in the past. I really trust her and feel like she will be a good guide through this.

kibba ~ DS expressed extreme sadness and sorrow. He would probably get alot out of writing a note of apology. I will do it with him, but I doubt that I will send it off. I don't think bil and sil will be at all open to it. They really seem to be demonizing DS. Thanks for the idea. I think it is a great one.

4evermom ~ it is interesting that you say that, because I am nine weeks pregnant with my 4th. We have been talking about the baby alot, and he has been asking questions about how the baby gets out of my belly. I told him, of course, that the baby comes through my vagina. A birth video would probably ease a lot of his curiousity. I will try to get my hands on one.

So I really think this was normal, developmental exploration. I think that if he did hurt her it was completely unintentional, and he seems to feel genuine remorse. Unfortunately, bil and sil are taking the whole thing very hard and I am concerned how their reaction is affecting their DD. DH's family has very little ability to deal with any type of difficulty and I suspect that we will not see them for a very long time. It is truly a shame. Ultimately I know that my son's intention was never to hurt her, but to quell his normal and appropriate curiousity. He feel's sorry and would love to tell her so.

I feel angry at myself for not trusting my own instincts. When their dd was screaming and yelling about my youngest DS coming near her, I really wanted to leave. It was making the visit very difficult for everyone. Instead, I closed the door to the playroom and let the kids in there by themselves, which is of course when the whole thing happened. I had just been saying that in the last few weeks he had really turned into a five year old, and I know that sexual curiousity is a part of that. I just wasn't catching up to this developmental phase fast enough. I feel like this was not my finest parenting moment.

Thanks again to everyone for your replies. It was really helpful to see that I have been right on target in how I am dealing with this.
post #10 of 52
Originally Posted by zen-ozz
and he "spread her vagina apart."
Think of if the tables were turned and something like this happened to your DD. I think your BIL and SIL have a valid right to be concerned, I do hope for her sake they take her to a Dr. But to me this is a step above playing Dr. and I'll show you mine if ou show me yours. I would reiterate to your son that while its normal to be curious he needs to respect boundaries and other peoples bodies. This was going to far. I'm glad your taking him to be seen.
post #11 of 52
What a tough situation!
I do think that your son isn't abnormal for exploring, and I think you are handling things just as I would. Talking to him, and keeping a close watch from now on.
I do also see how the girl's parents would upset, if another child supposedly made my dd's vagina bleed I'd be very upset and even a bit angry. They need to take her to the doctor for a thorough exam. Also, like another poster mentioned, the girl may have done some of the damage to herself, and just attributed it to your ds. This is a real possibility. I remember a case many years ago where a little girl had vaginal injuries and blamed them on a male relative (possibly her father?, if memory serves). There was a huge uproar until it finally came out that the little girl had inserted a pencil into her own vagina. The male relative was cleared.
It's difficult because you want to take their word for it, but sometimes they simply make stuff up..
I hope you and your il's can get this sorted out without any bad blood between you.
post #12 of 52
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom

There is the possibility after their game of doctor she got curious and try to insert something in her vagina but she associated the problem to your son. When we were in day care I know a little boy that wasn't like always got blamed if something went wrong even if he wasn't there by a little girl. She could have injured herself in a fall. If it had happen earlier in the day you would most likely see dry blood not fresh bleeding.
i'm sorry--this line of thinking is a bit much like blaming the victim for my taste.
post #13 of 52
Originally Posted by wolfmama
i'm sorry--this line of thinking is a bit much like blaming the victim for my taste.
We are dealing with a 3 and 5 year years. I have seen/known of girls to hump theirselves raw, give themselves bladder infections because of exubrant masterbation. Stick cheerios or legos in their vagina. Kids this age have normal developmental issues with time and imaginations (persception) that do need to be taken in concideration.

My 5 year old was jumping on the bed fell and hit vulva. She couldn't pee. My dh saw the accident and what came out of my dd's mouth wasn't the same. She blamed her brother and sister for her fall because they were jumping on the bed.

I can remember other incidents when my then 3 year old didn't have the story strieght with the things that I saw.

Now if the other child was older or if it was an adult I would feel completely different. I would also question even more why the child wasn't examined by a doctor. I think there is a potential to make this little girl more of a victim instead of something that needs to be "moved" on after some inspection to make sure it was just age approaprate undesirable behavior. There is a difference between a victim of sexual molestation and a victim of childish foolishness.
post #14 of 52
Originally Posted by ilovemy2ds
As for the girl, ya I think if your DS had really hurt her at that moment someone should have heard something and she prob would have told someone about it at the moment, I just don't know what to say on that part.
This kind of stood out to me. Why would you think that? This is a little girl-one who most likely was taught that her privates were private. A little girl who may have even been told by the OP's ds that this game was a forbidden one. MOST victims of sexual violence (which is how this child interpreted it, whether or not that was the OP's DS's intention) do not report that violence to anyone *ever*. Those that do report often take hours, days, weeks, even years to do so. There are so many reasons. Shame, guilt, embarassment, fear....

www.rainn.org is a good website. http://www.rainn.org/statistics/reporting-rape.html has some interesting stats on children reporting sexual assault.

OP, I'm sure your ds does feel sorry. Writing the letter is a good idea, IMO, but I'd make it his idea. "What do you think we could do to make cousin sally feel better?" And let him suggest something. I think it's a good idea you take him to see someone. I don't think he's a bad child, and I have no idea what truly went on, as I was obviously not there. I think it also matters how he tried to spread her vagina appart--did he stick his fingers in her vagina and spead them--did he pull her labia? It could be a small tear on the labia, he could have broken her hymen, he could have scratched her, etc etc etc.

Marsupial, There is a difference between childish foolishness and sexual molestation, yes. But in this case, the child feels she was wronged. Another boy hurt her vagina by trying to spread it open. It made her bleed and caused her pain. If it were your daughter, would you be telling her she needed to "move on" that it were just childhood foolishness? I hope not.

Blaming your siblings for falling off the bed because they were jumping on it too is way diff then saying "So and so hurt my vagina." And the boy already admitted that he "spread her vagina appart", which as I mentioned above could easily and in a number of ways have caused bleeding.

post #15 of 52
Thread Starter 
I am really, truly surprised by the "victim" language. I am an MSW by trade and worked for years in rape crisis and child sexual abuse agencies and know a bit about the issues surrounding abuse and assault. I see this as childhood play where someone got hurt, which is unfortunate. Look at any child development checklist and it lists sexual play as typical in childhood, changing as a child moves from toddlerhood into childhood. The truth is that none of us knows the exact words that the child used. As far as I can tell, she was not bullied. I do know that her parents see it as an assault and that may be effecting how the child views it. I understand that it is expected that the parents be upset and concerned about what happened. I too am upset and concerned. But what could have been a great learning opportunity for all the children has turned into something horrible that will serve to tear the family apart. Imagine the difference if the parents had called me and decided that we should all get together and talk to the kids together about why touching in that way is not allowed to happen. Imagine if the parents had expressed to my DS their feelings about this and talked to him in an approriate way. Imagine if DS had been allowed to apologize to her (which he sincerely wanted to do) and they had been allowed to work through it. Non of that will happen. What will happen is that they will avoid us for months and then when we finally do see them it will all be brushed under the rug and will never be talked about again.

I really do appreciate everyone's response. It has helped me to see where they may be coming from. But I am very concerned that we are turning childhood into such a scary thing for kids. Sexual development is normal. Exploring each others bodies is normal. It is our job as parents to teach our kids about healthy choices and clear boundaries. Sometimes we are faced with difficult circumstances, but handled the right way they can be turned into teaching moments where kids learn more than they ever could from talks and lectures. To deny that this is a normal part of child development is to rob kids of healthy growth.
post #16 of 52
Well said, zen-ozz. Sorry for this rough time for your whole family.
post #17 of 52
I think most 5 year olds know better than to touch someone elses "private area". I would be horrified if a 5 yo boy spread my daughters labia apart. PLease definitely see a therapist for your son. At what age does it become not okay to you? 5 1-2? 6? 6.5? 7? Very scary indeed.
Hugs to your niece.
post #18 of 52
zen-ozz, i just found it disengenous that people were looking for other ways that the girl could have injured herself enough to cause bleeding. even you, in your first post, question that this could have happened without your hearing it.
when your son admittedly says he spread her vagina, it just seems to be reaching to me to have someone suggest it happened later in the day. it shifts questions onto the little girl--which i don't think needs to happen. that's all i meant by victim. if what was said had had none of this "shifty" quality i would never had mentioned the victim word.

i agree that your scenario of open communication would be the best for all parties involved.
post #19 of 52
I put move in parentheses because I didn't have better words for getting past a bad event. It seem like people are making this 5 year olds actions as molestation, abnormal, not normal childishness. Yes the girl feels violated and that can be validated but it doesn't need to vilify the 5 year old in the process. I do worry about his actions being made into more than what it should be. Yes, I would want my dds to “move on”. I would do my best to help them get past it. I actually have to some extend. My youngest was two and broke her tail bone. A rare break for a child that age, so of course the doctor HAD to look at her privates. She didn’t like it I comforter and helped her “move on“ (again lack of better words). My oldest dd had many violating medical test because of her birth defect. She had tons of yeast infections because of antibiotics because of infections and surgery. She didn’t like me touching her vulva because it hurt. I know she felt invaded but I helped her “move on” when she needed medicine or to be looked at by people she really didn’t want looking at her.

And the reason why I suggested other possibilities is because it sounded like there was fresh blood/bleeding. Not saying a sore can't reopen but why no mention of dry blood. It is the delay in the incident, blood, and inability to urinate that cause me to question and wonder. I am not saying it isn’t possible just might be more going happening. Also, I was/am looking at the ages of the children. Ages and stages does play a part here.

It isn’t like I said completely ignore it. I did say go to a counselor to help you work through it. I just don’t want this boy to come to see himself as something dirty and evil at the same time I don’t want the little girl to live in a “victim hood” because something is thrown out of proportion.

Nunmom, I must be really horrible, among others on this board. I remember being 5 and playing doctor. If you look at anatomy it is harder to see girl parts than boy parts, hence the need to spread. I am not saying this is desirable behavior but age appropriate behavior. I was the kid that convince the boy to pull down his pants. I knew what my parts were, I had looked at them and touched them. I am sure glad nobody got to horrified over it.
post #20 of 52
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