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siblings and inappropriate touching

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My ds has a somewhat obsessive personality. I have often thought he was borderline ASD, but we have never had him tested, just read up on it and do lotsof effective 'therapies' at home. Not sure if that applies here or not...

Anyway, he has been touching his sister's 'private' parts and generally obsessing about anything fart, or butt, or pee-pee. I know this is somewaht normal and normal to be curious about your sister's different body, but this seems over-the-top. Maybe I am extra sensitive about these things.

We have never taught that this is a taboo subjet and nudity is dealt with casually here, as in, everybody has a body. We have talked about privacy and touching yourself, and modesty, etc, but never in a shaming way.

But it goes on and on and it really disturbs me. I am afraid I have over- reacted occasionally and fueled the fire, so to speak. DD thinks its funny because she is almost three and is now pushing her boundaries. They get into wrestling and then ds will start poking her and laughing and knowing that he shouldn't. Him being too physical with dd has been a very big struggle pretty much since she was born. He hits, rolls on top of her and torments her daily. He seems to use her as a security blanket somehow, too-if he gets into a situation that makes him nervous (like meeting people, even known people) he will grab her and drag her down. It has been the number one most difficul aspect of having two, by far.

Usually I will separate them and talk a little about it and then talk about it at a later time. I think that maybe ds is trying to get my attention, and so I have been trying to spend extra time with him (if that is even possible-I work with him a lot). I tell him that if he would like to touch someone, he can hug or squeeze me anytime. Or ask his sister if she would like a hug. I make sure to try and give him lots of physical activites and wrestling with me or dh.
Oh, and I always apologize for over-reacting.

But it just isn't sinking in....

What now?
post #2 of 12
How old is ds? Can you just firmly tell him "no, your sisters body is private as yours is private" in a way that he will understand? It might take alot of repetition but it seems to me you dd needs to be protected too from it. She is old enough to remember this later on. I know my brother touched me ( i was 3 or 4) not to be overtly sexual (he thought he was playing) but it was not right and I am uncomfortable with it to this day.
post #3 of 12
I don't really know that I would let it continue without some outside help. Maybe it is time for some play therapy or talk therapy. Your daughter should not really have to endure inappropriate touches from anyone, including a sibling.
How do you think you have over reacted and fueled the fire?
post #4 of 12
post #5 of 12
Sounds like it's time to protect your dd. Wouldn't you protect her if another boy were touching her? Just b/c it's her brother doesn't make it okay.

IMO, time to stop "discussing*" and get serious about this in whatever way your ds will respond to best. If you can't halt it completely in a relatively short period of time, get some help. Your dd is learning that her other people have the right to touch her private places, and she is learning to react as though it is funny. Deep down, I doubt she feels that way.

*I don't say "discussing" in quotes to be snarky about it. I'm a big believer in discussion. I'm just referencing the talking the op mentions.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
You know, I think I made this sound worse than it is. My dd is certainly protected. Touching is probably the wrong word. Ds(5) basically says something like, "Look at your butt!" (like it is the silliest thing he's ever seen) and then whacks her or pokes her. He knows that it will possibly get a rise out of me (as in usually being stern and straightforward, but occasionally getting mad and yelling).

And this is a pretty new thing and has happened only a handful of times (the roughhousing is daily, the fart jokes are daily).

DD is not being abused. The replies surprised me! I think I was over-reacting in my original post. I tend to do that. While ds has been a very challenging child, he has come leaps and bounds and is becoming more and more receptive and can control his impulses more and more. As far as him being ASD, he has attended public school and and was very well adjusted, which leads me to believe that he could be growing into himself a little more (I mean, he is quirky, etc, but does have friends, etc). People comment on his good behavior. I don't give him enought credit sometimes.

If I sound defensive, I guess it is because I am.

I guess my real question is, what is normal?
post #7 of 12
Your post does sound different now.

What he's doing w/his sister (in regards to the last post) sounds completely normal to me. That's not to say that I wouldn't stop it--the touching would really bother me. The fart/butt jokes, however, I would probably tolerate w/o making a big deal out of them. That's just par for the course w/little boys.

I might try some absolutes with him, which may work especially well if he is ASD. For example: "You may never hit another person on the butt, or poke their body. That is a rule. You may poke a doll or a stuffed animal." And then--you must enforce it without talking. Separate them immediately until you can see your ds no longer is fighting the urge to touch/hit her. I'm all for talking things out, but with many ASD kids (and some others) talking is only confusing and actually hurts their ability to curb their instincts. When there is a simple rule, they must follow it. When there's something to discuss, they get the idea that the rule is conditional and there are times it can be broken. I also think you telling him can hug/touch you when he needs to is a bit confusing. You don't want to channel this particular impulse towards yourself, right? A little Playful Parenting-esque bear hug might be in order, but not letting him smack you on the butt.

Just some ideas. (I was a regular ed/special ed elementary teacher before dd was born, btw. )
post #8 of 12
I think that this is very normal for that age. A lot of kids in school this age are fascinated by hitting each other's butts and singing songs about spanking and then giggling outrageously. My daughter, who has never in her life even been threatened with that type of violence, has also started to have a mild fascination with it. It is also normal for siblings to fight, rough house, and hit each other out of fun or anger. It sounds more like poking rather than actual touching and as long as he keeps it as that I think you should respond the way you would for any hitting. I also think that if you have them in school or with other people then you should make your talk about private parts a little more serious. There are ways to make it clear that private parts are not for family or friends to touch without making it a dirty scary subject.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.

I think I am handling it okay mostof the time. I do treat it like I treat hitting.
Surely it is just a phase.

Thanks for the comments, tinymama. It seems like the things that would work with asd kids would also work with ds, whether or not he is asd. Also, I do mean that he can give me a big hug or high five, never swatting my butt. That would not be okay at all.

I think I am often off base in figuring out his behavior and whether or not it is over-the-top. Try as I might (and hopefully kindergarten will help), I can't seem to find boys his age or older for him to play with. So since his peers are all girls that are younger than him, of course he seems so wild and rough.

post #10 of 12
My oldest two are pretty close in age to yours, only gender-reversed, and I hear, "R, look at my buttcrack!" and "L, I'm going to show you my vagina!" all day around here. I really, really try to maintain a straight face and seriously tell them in a mild, but serious voice that it isn't appropriate, but I have laughed on occasion too.

I don't think it's too serious. I talk to them about not touching each other's private parts, about how people find it offensive when you show them your butt, etc. But I also remember my sister and I playing the same kind of games with each other and with the neighbor boys. I'm sure no one was being abused, it's just experimentation. Since your ds seems to need a little more help with appropriate touching, though, I'd just do what you've been doing and read up on some good games or play therapy that you can do at home to help him learn that.
post #11 of 12
the one thing that struck me in your post is his need for 'roughhousing' -- that sounds sensory to me, and it's something that a lot of kids who are on the autism spectrum have issues with. If you're seeing some ASD 'traits', you might also be seeing some sensory traits. I've got a child with sensory issues who doesn't appear to be on the spectrum, but some of his behaviors make me wonder at times.

I would read up on Sensory processing disorder, make sure that his daily life has a rich amount of sensory input and lots of opportunity for deep sensory input. You might want to think about something like a weighted blanket or lap pad as a 'security' item for him - I wonder if he doesn't pull your dd down when he's upset because the physical input is calming.

Here's a good thread on things that help sensory issues:

My favorite book on this is:
Sensational Kids

The books "The Out of Sync Child" and "The Out of Sync Child" has fun are good too. Your library should have all of these. If these issues resonate with your and you feel like it describes your son, you might want to look in to occupational therapy.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks Lynn and natensarah.

Ds definitely has sensory issues. Clothing, smells, food, etc can be a real struggle with him. He also doesn't really 'get' body language or personal space. That makes it hard for himto connect with other children. I have read alot (including the outof sync child) and have found some great things to help. He is also on a constitutional homeopathic remedy that seems to be helping as well, although it is subtle. The gluten and to a lesser extent, the dairy being removed has helped as well.

He seems to be hypersenstive as well as hyposensitive. He certainly does crave strong touch and lots of sensory activities like dirt (yay, summer!) and popsicles (well, who doesn't like popsicles). But there was a time when a drop of wetness on his clothes would make him just strip, no matter what. I am happy to say that he has moved past that one. Homeopathy has been wonderful.

He is a wonderfully unique and brilliant child. I am grateful to him for teaching me so much.

I was certain that something would come up when he began attending public preschool (a therapist that came to his last small montesorri school asked me to call her to discuss his 'toe walking'-but I didn't call), but there has been no issues and he is involved and happy there.

Things are getting better and better with him as he makes progress. I am glad to hear that theses things (in the OP) are relatively normal and not a sign of serious deviation. I should tone down the overblown emotional response, as that is obviously not getting through to him and is probably my thing, not his, KWIM?

We will just keep working with him and helping him learn ways to cope.

Thanks for everyone's replies.
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