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Confronting Grandparent about Innappropriate Touching - Page 2

post #21 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joannarachel View Post
I guess....I squeeze my kids' tushies all the time. It's loving and affectionate, not inappropriate. Rather than ream out their grandfather, why not have a discussion with them about their bodies and tell them ANY TIME they feel uncomfortable, no matter WHO it is, they say "STOP!" and tell you?

I tend to agree with this and can't imagine being upset if my kids' poppy was playing with them this way (actually, I'm sure he has grabbed their booties at some point, we all do, and dd grabs ours).

I think telling the kids that they are always allowed to say no to physical contact that makes them uncomfortable is the best way to handle this.
post #22 of 92
Since you only see him twice a year, I would definitely recommend handling him gently, but firmly. Definitely never leave the boys alone with him.

As to the fact that since he does this out in the open and therefore it's probably harmless, I just want to point out that this isn't true (though it may be in your specific case) -- predators often start out with this kind of touching in front of other relatives, in order to desensitize the child and the family. Tickling and bottom touching are often precursors to more serious behavioural issues later on. I'm not saying that this is what your FIL is doing, but you're right to take it seriously. The biggest red flag for me is that he doesn't respect the boundaries of your children; doesn't stop before they've had enough, and definitely isn't reading or caring about the cues that they offer telling him to stop.
post #23 of 92
I want to add that my FIL always wrestles around with my boys (they call it "rustling" ), and hugs them and the like, and this is healthy and necessary. They have a very strong bond and healthy relationship otherwise, and he totally respects their boundaries and physical autonomy.

My step-father, on the other hand, has never been allowed anywhere near my children. His hugs, kisses, bottom squeezing, etc, have always been massively inappropriate and borderline criminal.

Sometimes, it's hard to see the difference without having seen examples of both, but usually if your hackles are going up, then you have reason to be concerned. It doesn't mean that you have to do anything drastic, but it does mean that you have to take precautions to protect your children. It isn't the child's job to protect himself from this kind of behaviour -- that is a disservice we have done them. It is *always* our responsibility to protect them, as long as they are children, no matter where they happen to be, and no matter from whom we are protecting them. Of course, they need to know the difference between "good" touch and "bad" touch, but we should never assume that that alone can keep our children safe. Anymore than saying "no" and "stop" prevents a woman from being raped.
post #24 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by theatermom View Post
It isn't the child's job to protect himself from this kind of behaviour -- that is a disservice we have done them. It is *always* our responsibility to protect them, as long as they are children, no matter where they happen to be, and no matter from whom we are protecting them.
post #25 of 92
There are a couple of members of my husband's family who do similar things when playing with kids. Thankfully, we hardly ever see those people, so it's not really an issue for us.

Obviously your DH doesn't see the problem and isn't going to say anything to his father about this. He probably was touched in the same ways when he was growing up and doesn't think anything of it. If I were you, I would be the one to take the stand, since your DH obviously isn't going to. I wouldn't make a huge deal about it at first, maybe just casually say something like, "Let's don't grab each other's behinds, please. We're trying to teach the boys that it's not okay to do that." If he doesn't stop after that, I would have a serious conversation about it with him.
post #26 of 92
Well we give tushie squshies all the time so i wouldn't jump tot he conclusion he is a perv based on that.

However if you are the boys are uncomfortable with that sort of play one time telling him is all it should take. after that he needs to respect your boundries. i think you could approach it from a really neutral place and just say "ya know, I know its perfectly innocent and ya mean no harm, but i am not comfortable with it and the boys aren't because they haven't been raised with that sort of touching and we would like you to not do that any me. Thanks. They really appreciate it when you show them affection like **** and play with them this way : ***** "
post #27 of 92
We do tush squeezes in our house too - it's just part of overall hugs, snuggles and kisses that we share. But I can't imagine dd's grandparents being that physically familiar with her, kwim?

Dd snuggles in my arms, puts her little face right up to mine, takes baths with me... But O'ma and O'pa? The most she'll do with them is sit stiffly in their laps or give them little cheek-peck kisses. Most kids think it's kind of a big deal getting hugged or kissed by a grandparent. Unless your FIL has some unusual intimate closeness with your boys (which definitely doesn't seem to be the case), then I'd say butt squeezing is a little too personal.

But how to deal with it?

I agree with not leaving the boys alone with them. After that, I favor encouraging the boys to dictate what they're comfortable with - with your support. So, if grandpa grabs them in a hug squeezing their buttcheeks and they say 'stop!', or whatever you've discussed with them, I'd be sure to stand firm with them at the time: "Grandpa, Johnny doesn't like that. We'd prefer if you respected that, please."

That makes it seem more like an annoyance for the boys than an impropriety, which leaves Grandpa some face. I suspect if you approach it from the 'inappropriate' standpoint, it will forever devastate your (and your sons') relationship with their grandparents.
post #28 of 92
Thread Starter 
I'm so glad people are understanding how the wording of this confrontation is important to the outcome. I haven't been able to talk to dh, since he's been working long hours. We are usually such a joint force, I need him to be on my side with this as well. His parents will listen if he says it (hopefully).

I did equip my children with words to say if they didn't want to be touched, tickled, kissed, etc. They just aren't old enough to do that. I have to help them. For example, grandpa is tickling, my boy runs away and starts throwing toys at him. I say, "Please don't throw toys in the house". He continues to throw. I pick him up and start to carry him into the other room. He says "But I don't want grandpa to tickle me". I say, "ok, let him know that by using your words so he will know not to tickle." He says it to grandpa. My husband says, "yes, the boys don't like to be tickled or touched unless it's on their own terms". This played out several times during the trip. Grandpa never got the hint.
post #29 of 92
if grnadpa isn't getting the point it is time to get firm and demand that grandpa respect boundries. all boundries. not just this one.
post #30 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by OR Mom View Post

I did equip my children with words to say if they didn't want to be touched, tickled, kissed, etc. They just aren't old enough to do that. I have to help them. For example, grandpa is tickling, my boy runs away and starts throwing toys at him. I say, "Please don't throw toys in the house". He continues to throw. I pick him up and start to carry him into the other room. He says "But I don't want grandpa to tickle me". I say, "ok, let him know that by using your words so he will know not to tickle." He says it to grandpa. My husband says, "yes, the boys don't like to be tickled or touched unless it's on their own terms". This played out several times during the trip. Grandpa never got the hint.

If the boys were verbally expressing to him that they found the level of phsyical contact inappropriate and he CONTINUED to do it, then I'd like to edit my original advice

I can't tell from your posts whether Grandpa is just a fun ol' Poppy who isn't too good on picking up on hints, or if it's something more sinister.

Either way, I agree that he shouldn't be left alone with them, and that you need to address him about the issue in a calm, quiet moment. Although a letter or a phone call might be the easy way out, I would probably do it face to face (or rather have DH do it), because it will carry more impact and have less room for misinterpretation.
post #31 of 92
I too can't get a read on if he's just an old-fashioned grampa whose pish-poshing our crunchy ways and just going ahead with his favorite way of bugging the little ones, or if it IS sinister. Something to think about is this, tho... Baby-boomers, and THEIR parents were VERY often the products of SEVERE physical and sexual abuse. It was the NORM. This leads SOME folks from those generations that came before to have pretty callous views of children as ENTITIES, other PEOPLE with preferences of their own. Grampa was picked on, by parents, siblings, peers, and sh*t rolls down hill to the youngest generations.

Inside, whether we're 10 or 90, we're all still products of what happened to us and how it was dealt with. Grampa might just need a frim reminder in THAT moment. My mom does, sometimes. She does the same tickly-grabbem-up stuff she did with me when I was little, and sometimes she goes a LITTLE too far, and I can see in Prenna's face that she's NOT down with it. She is an outspoken girl and will say NO NANA! But still my mom persists sometimes. That is where I say, "Nana, I hear Prenna's words, she said NO." This is EMBARASSING for my mom, but effective. It is the same verbage I use whan Prenna acts out against another child, So-&-So said, no, Prenna, I hear her words.

IF HE STILL PERSISTS, he's either stubborn, dumb, or rude, and that requires more private handling. A conversation between your 2 "camps"... Good luck, sista.
post #32 of 92
Thread Starter 
I don't know how to read FIL either. We only see him 2 times a year. Nobody played with me in this manner as a child. I was tickled to death sometimes, but this touching is so innappropriate to me. I will try to talk to DH tonight, but I know this will not be easy. He doesn't see this as an issue. He sees a problem with the boys not liking it, but no concerns about boundaries of ok touching and personal place touching. FIL takes his hands and grab, grab, grabs. I can't even tell what's really being touched. I wish my DH would have talked to him in person, when we were there, but it didn't happen. Now we are left to handle it either by phone, email, letter, or before the next visit. I do feel the best results would be if my husband confronted him. I still am not confident that will do the trick. My DH did try to say things to him (they don't like being touched, they don't like being tickled, they only like being touched on their own terms). He would stop for the moment, then do it again another time.
post #33 of 92
Maybe he would understand if you framed it in terms of the golden rule?
post #34 of 92
Thread Starter 
DH and I talked last night. He has an overall annoyance attitude about this. He says there is absolutely nothing sexual about what his father is doing. He did that to all the children in the family up until 19 years old. He doesn't just pat bottoms, he grab, grab, grabs......so I asked DH if he was touched that same way. He said yes. He said that's just his dad and a sign of affection.

I told him I didn't think it was appropriate and he was annoyed. He said he's not worried about it at the moment because it will be several months before we even see him again. He said if I want to say something, I can call him up and talk to him. I asked DH if his father was ever sexually abusive to anyone. He said no.

I'm considering contacting his brother to find out his opinion. I don't want to injure my children's relationship with their only grandfather. I just want him to stop with the butt feel-ups that my boys do not like. Yesterday my son said "Grandpa bited my butt". Then he started to cry and said "I don't want to talk about it". He's 3 years old. I have no idea what that meant. I told my husband what he said and DH said "oh, he was probably on the couch and dad just pretended to bite him"! I asked him if he thought that was appropriate and he just put it back on me. He said "you are being over paranoid, like you always are." I am over paranoid about my kids, but this stuff is wierd to me. I've been reading the tapping bottoms spinoff and I do feel a lot of those posts are strange. But all of those posts are VERY CLOSE relatives......we only see this man twice a year!!!!

So, unless I say something, nothing is going to be done about this until the next visit (6 to 8 months from now). If I say somthing now, it is likely to be laughe off, then forgotten about by the time we see them again (and a refresher will need to be given). What should I do?
post #35 of 92
What your DH seems to be missing is that his KIDS don't like it

Can you remind him that kids are people too?
post #36 of 92
Wow, that's tough. Your Dh seems very defensive -- even if you were off base (and I don't think that you are), I would expect him to at least understand your concerns, and try to address the issues. None of the behaviour that you describe seems appropriate. How much of the visit is taken up with this sort of thing?

If nothing else, I would recommend contacting a counselor and running this past her/him. They can tell you if this is or isn't normal behaviour, and how to deal with it.

At the very least, I'm glad that you only have to deal with this 2X a year. And FWIW, I don't think that *you* have to worry about damaging the boys' relationship with their only grandfather -- he, the grandpa, seems to be undermining it all on his own.
post #37 of 92

Speaking as someone who was once a child placed in a very very bad situation and will

deal with it for the rest of my life.

If you feel uncomfortable about this you need to put a stop to it right away. I would always trust a mama's instincts. Your children depend on you to keep them from harm and protect them. I wish my mom would have done the same for me. : If they are laughing and playing and stuff at the time it's because they think that's what is expected of them. They may not fully understand what is appropriate and allowable by the older people in places of trust in their lives.

Reading the part where your 3 yr old started to cry about it really got to me. There is nothing good or fun about this situation. If I were you I would say something directly but I would probably just wait until the next time you see him. You don't have to be confrontational about it but just like a PP said, "I know you mean it in fun but our boys have expressed to us that they do not like it and we don't want them to think that they have to deal with touching that they are not comfortable with." And I would never ever ever ever leave them alone with him. Better safe than sorry. This could affect the rest of their lives.

In the mean time continue to let your boys know that they can trust you and give them lots of direction on how to tell people to stop bothering them. Valuable information anyways.

As for your DH I don't know what to tell you. It's obvious he doesn't take this as seriously as you do. You must be strong in trusting your instincts though even without his support. Again, your children depend on you.
post #38 of 92
Honestly, if your dh says grandpa did this to everyone until they were 19 years old and that makes it okay, I would have a problem with that. Even if dh doesn't see eye to eye with you he needs to be the one to stand up to HIS father, being the man of the house. Doesn't he want to protect his own family? Obviously it makes the children and you uncomfortable and we can all remember things that made us uncomfortable when it comes to how other people have treated us. Does he want that kind of lasting impact on his children? What if it gets to the point where they don't like going to grandpa's because he's going to "do that again?" Maybe I'm wrong but it could be that your dh has some lasting shame from this sort of behavior from his father as a child and is afraid to say anything. Maybe he's afraid of his father.
My own father has done some inappropriate touching with me as an adolescent and let me tell you, there have been times when people have suggested letting him babysit my child and I will NEVER leave him alone with DS. I have a hard time even going to visit if DH isn't coming with. I think if you talk to your DH's brother you may find your worst fears confirmed but at least you'll KNOW and you'll be better able to keep your children out of harm's way. Just thinking about being nineteen and having an adult male relative grab me gives me the willies. I'm behind you all the way, OR mom.

Andi
post #39 of 92
You know...I'm not there to get the vibe from your FIL. Everything your dh says makes sense to me, except for one major factor. Your kids don't like it. I have no issue with the butt touching stuff (can't quite picture what kind of grabbing you mean and have to admit it sounds unusual to me) if it's a game that the kids are also playing. Whether or not your FIL is a perv (not there so have no opinion), he is definitely someone who is disrespecting your children's personal boundaries.

Your dh's attitude is weird. It does make me wonder if there is some sexual abuse in his past, honestly. But, he may not be lying. People do block that kind of thing out, and you may be pushing him into a mental area that he's simply not prepared to enter.

If your child is crying about this stuff, then it's a problem, whether your dh was or wasn't abused and whether he was or wasn't okay with this "play". Your ds isn't your dh, so how your dh felt about it isn't relevant.

As for this:
Quote:
I don't want to injure my children's relationship with their only grandfather.
You're not. Their grandfather is. Your children can't have a healthy relationship with an adult who doesn't respect their boundaries, and forces "affection" and "play" on them.
post #40 of 92
The three year old crying about it and not wanting to talk after the fact concerns me. Maybe since your husband won't back you up talking to a professional will help you find a way through this situation. Also, to me the fact that your husband got SO defensive rings some alarm bells.
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