I need serious advice! - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 131 Old 08-19-2009, 02:05 AM
 
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I agree! You're doing a great job and things within your family will only continue improving with so much love and attention from you and DH. I think there is so much love there that you will not be steered wrong in your instincts and will contonue to raise a healthy boy!

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#122 of 131 Old 08-19-2009, 07:48 AM
 
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TBH I've come back and read and reread this thread over and over. For me, and I know I'm not standing in your shoes, this is what stands out:

Your nephew has HAD to learn this from somewhere. 11 year olds just don't normally (and yes, there are exceptions but I don't think it's the case here since you don't mention any other abnormal acting out). Be it unsupervised internet usage, learned behaivor from someone else, a magazine or any number of places that his parents were not aware of.

I know you are hyper protective of your own LO at this point, and with good reason. But can you maybe take a step back and help your sister in finding the root of the problem? It sounds like she is just as much, if not more, freaked out about the situation and could use some support as well. While I have no insight to your family dynamics, cutting her and her child off cold turkey doesn't seem to help anyone. She sounds shamed and humilitated and very lost in how to handle this with HER child.

Not going to say that ya'll should ever leave them unsupervised again, nor downplaying what has happened, but maybe puttting yourself in her shoes for a minute and all she is going through may go a long way in healing this. Your family is obviously close to her's and in supporting her in getting to the root of this behavior might just well help heal the pain and anger your feeling while getting your nephew the help he needs kwim?
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#123 of 131 Old 08-19-2009, 08:27 AM
 
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I read your update and I think you're doing an amazing job, really.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#124 of 131 Old 08-19-2009, 08:32 AM
 
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I think what I would do is to keep them entirely apart for right now. Then I would ask the sister to have the nephew's therapist make an assessment as to whether it would be advisable for them to have contact at all; and if so, how that should take place. People here can speculate as to how much of a danger your nephew is or isn't to your son, how much separation there should be, etc. but his therapist is in a much better position to figure that out.

However, as to the "all the love was for nothing" angle, I agree with whoever said that if it weren't for all the love, he might have done much worse by now than he has done.
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#125 of 131 Old 08-19-2009, 10:54 AM
 
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#126 of 131 Old 08-19-2009, 10:56 AM
 
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OP I am just so so so impressed with how you're continuing to think this through and handle it. I am someone who also really likes to know *exactly* what the right thing to do is and it is SO frustrating when something as important as this is so hard to figure out in terms of what the right thing to do for your family is!

So I commend you for keeping such a level head (even when internally you felt like screaming and trashing the place!) and continuing to just try and try and try to think this through.

Sounds to me like your steps between the last update and the most recent are great. You're watching your son, you're trying not to make too much of a deal out of this while also making sure he understands going forward what's ok and what's not. You've checked out how he feels about the incident without making him feel like he's being interrogated. And most importantly of all: you're maintaining normalcy in the rest of his life and watching how he does. And loving him and your daughter loads, of course!

You already know how I feel about contact with the nephew so you know I think your plan sounds exactly right: keep dealing with your own son, counseling for you (and are you thinking of going with your sis and son, or with your sis alone? I wasn't clear on your counseling plan), and for your son's benefit trying to figure out some safe contact with his cousin, even if it's greatly reduced and ALWAYS supervised. As you've read there are a lot of different opinions about that, but in both my personal and professional experience (and given the details of what happened here and the circumstances and your sister taking responsibility for her son) given all that if I was your caseworker I would absolutely approve of contact between your son and his nephew as long as it's supervised. I would agree because I've seen how it can hurt a child more to have a relationship that's important to him severed completely, no matter how sensitive/good/creative the explanation is. Would he get over it at some point and be fine? Probably yes. But just like the poster who still remembers being told an older sibling/relative wanted friends their own age and the sting of that, it makes so much sense to allow some contact if it can be done safely and your son seems to benefit from it.

Honestly, as great a mom as you sound and as hard as your sister is trying to help her son, I'd say that relationship between your son and nephew - if you let them keep contact - will be one of the BEST supervised relationships ever!

You're super brave and a wonderful parent. There are so many wonderful parents here, I am so glad this place exists. And I'm not only talking about the mommies here I agree with!
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#127 of 131 Old 08-19-2009, 02:51 PM
 
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OP, you are handling this so beautifully. I'm glad your son seems to be doing well so far.

DH+Me 1994 heartbeat.gif DS 2004 heartbeat.gif DD 2008 heartbeat.gif DDog 2014
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#128 of 131 Old 08-19-2009, 04:19 PM
 
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I haven't read many of the replies on this except the OP's updates but I felt the need to share my experience with a very similar situation.

When my son was nearly 4 we were temporarily staying with my MIL and her 10 yo grandson (my husband's nephew) that she was raising on her own. His mother had not been in his life since he was a baby due to severe mental illness. One day my son told me that his cousin had given him a toy and that he had to play "the penis game" to get it. When I asked him to tell me how to play the penis game he said that his cousin asked my son to take his pants off and sit on his cousin's lap. He added that his cousin had taken his pants off too. Since there was no witness to this there was a lot of family drama because my nephew denied it at first and my MIL seemed inclined to believe him. She seemed to think that I had maybe led my son with my questioning. I didn't though. I was very careful to keep my questions vague and I had no doubt that my son was telling the truth. He didn't just make up "the penis game" out of the blue.

Later that evening after my MIL and her grandson were alone she eventually got him to tell the truth and he confessed that there had been touching and nothing else. (This happened while they were looking at old toys in a bedroom with the door open and I was down the hall in the living room.)

My husband and I were angry, hurt, frightened and generally more traumatized by the whole thing than I think my son was. We talked about inappropriate touching and made sure he understood that we were happy he told us about the incident. We were careful to hide the full extent of our anger at his cousin from our son because we were afraid to make a too big a deal out of it. My husband was especially devastated because he had been looking forward to being a big part of his nephew's life since we had just moved back to town after being gone for a few years and now he didn't feel safe bringing him around our son.

It wasn't a big deal keeping the two of them apart for a few months since our son wasn't accustomed to spending much time with his cousin. My immediate reaction was to want to keep them separated forever but that would have been too destructive to the extended family. They never spend any time alone but holiday and birthday events are now okay.

The incident happened about four years ago and it took almost two years for my anger and pain over the incident to subside substantially. My son appears to have no ill effects from the incident today and I'm able to now look at my nephew without disgust. He's 15 and struggling with a lot of issues and my MIL has grown distant from my husband so we don't see him much anyway. He's been in counseling on and off ever since that incident. I think that the experience was probably more traumatic to my nephew in that it probably made him feel like he was a "bad" kid and that there was something wrong with him. He has issues with self esteem and thinking that since his mom went "crazy" that he will too.

I guess I just wanted to say that in all likelihood your son will move beyond this and be just fine. It sounds like you are handling it very well. I can sympathize with the sense of not knowing what to do and the heartache you are feeling. It's awful. Time will heal.

~Stephanie )O(

DS- 07/01 & DD- 09/05 & DD- 12/07 & DS- 10/13

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#129 of 131 Old 08-19-2009, 10:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
My main question is: What is happening in regards to future contact with his cousin? I'm not insinuating that they should never see each other again, although that may be one answer, but how you and your sister feel about it and agree to deal with it, and how it's explained to your son. This kind of stuff can really put a strain on family relationships.
I agree. I have a nephew that is handicapped and we believe he was sexually abused as a young child. He once grabbed at his cousins private area when they were playing in a bedroom alone and both were around 10/11 years old and the cousin immediately told his mom (my sister) and myself and they never left them alone when we had get togethers after that. It did cause issues between my sisters but what else could my sister do? It upset her son and she felt she had to say something.

I would be worried that this 11 yr old has been sexually abused or maybe he's just curious. Being alone ever again wouldn't be tolerated if I were in this position. I think in the future when they are around one another they would never be out of my sight and definitely not in another room or under blankets totally alone. An 11 yr old child definitely knows what they are doing and can plan that sort of thing out in advance and just because the 11 yr old wants to experiment doesn't make it okay to do it with an innocent, unknowing toddler. very sad situation. I would hope that this older child has had someone talk to him about his behavior?

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#130 of 131 Old 08-19-2009, 10:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mamacitac View Post
It's quite normal for 11 yo boys to experiment and play "doctor."
But an 11 yr old is 5th/6th grade in a typical school. I've met kids this age and experimenting is one thing, but doing it with a totally innocent toddler is a whooole other thing. And fwiw, I've never met a kid that old that played doctor, even when I was a young child in the 70's. I think 11 yrs old is stretching it a bit to say this child is totally innocent in his actions. It's totally normal for a boy (or girl) to want to be curious about their sexuality at this age but he knew what he was doing when he took advantage of an innocent and unknowing child. That does not make it okay at all IMO.

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#131 of 131 Old 08-23-2009, 02:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LROM View Post
I respect your opinion, but there is a MAJOR red flag in her nephew's reaction.

Harmless exploratory play carries no guilt or sense of wrongdoing with it. Her nephew clearly knew he was doing something he shouldn't do.

AND... 11 and 3 1/2 is too large an age difference for "healthy exploration". If this family knew that was going on and child welfare found out about it, a case would absolutely be opened because it is not age appropriate at all in this case.

We all have a right to our opinions (and it seems like we all agree that OP was right not to make it a big deal with her own son) but my opinion continues to be that if no one questions the nephew on who/what/where/when re: his behavior, it's very very possible a child molester is out there that won't get caught because no one said anything.

The newphew's guilt/sense of wrongdoing is not to be ignored.
This. I wouldn't be terribly concerned about OP's son, as he is very young and didn't sense that there was anything 'wrong' or 'dirty' about it. It's very typical for kids to 'play doctor' just out of curiosity- I think OP did a great job of staying calm and removing him from the grown-up conversation.

But the nephew's reaction seems very suspect, unfortunately.
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