Confronting Grandparent about Innappropriate Touching - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 92 Old 10-29-2006, 04:57 PM
 
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Update. I took out the personal preference part of my letter, added some stuff about trying to teach the boys where they can and cannot touch each other and felt like the letter was sounding pretty good. So I let dh read the letter. He said it sounded good, but still needed some work (my dh's way of supporting the letter). I then said, "well, it does still need work, but I really feel your parents would rather it come from you". HE AGREED!!! So, we may be back to the beginning with this, but dh is willing to write the letter and use what I've written down for a guideline. YEAH!

I also feel I need to protect my kids from staying alone with il's. Any suggestions on that? I should obviously make a copy of the letter and date it. What else do I do? (In case I died or dh and I divorced, etc.).
You cannot will people. So you can't spell out in your will, "If I die, X and Y will go to Auntie Gertrude" the way you might leave your favorite doily

But you CAN express strong preference, and you can also include in your will a written letter about WHY certain people should not get custody. When the judge reviews the will and determines custody order, he will generally take your feelings into account unless there is a good reason not to.
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#62 of 92 Old 10-30-2006, 07:40 PM
 
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In my experience, guardianship can be pre-arranged in case of death, much the same way as a living will is written up... worth looking into, in terms of who shall take over guardianship in case of death...

OR MOM, I am SO relieved that your dh took another look at this issue and has agreed to involve himself... Persistance pays.

Maybe the issue will be resolved and you might not HAVE to worry about kids being alone with IL's?
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#63 of 92 Old 10-30-2006, 08:08 PM
 
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Just a couple of thoughts.
In our family, tushie-grabbing was sometimes part of playful behavior.
I still grab my son's tush when he runs by giggling.
But having said that, I think that if mom and kids are both uncomfortable with it, then by all means something should be said.
I think what really bothers me is that grandpa continues this kind of play even when the kids don't like it....even if he were grabbing their feet (just substituting another part of the body), it would not be appropriate.
And I also want to add that although it is an adult's ultimate responsibility to take care of kids, I do believe it is VERY important to empower kids and to teach them/tell them that it is absolutely OKAY to speak up when they are not comfortable with the way anyone is touching them or harrassing them.
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#64 of 92 Old 10-31-2006, 09:36 PM
 
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From a grandparents perspective, I would be insulted and hurt if you were to infer ill intentions in my affectionate horse-play. I would tread very carefully if I were you and if you don't want to alienate this man (and potentially your husband too) over this issue. You have no evidence of anything unhealthy, in fact you have the opposite, open and public displays of affection, hardly anything nasty and/or disgusting. Dare I suggest you are over reacting? Just because you feel uncomfortable, doesn't mean he is doing anything wrong. Your boys are under 3? I would not accept a child rejecting affection at that age. I don't think THAT is emotionally healthy.
Maybe your father in law is nothing but well intentioned and loving? Your husband has confirmed that. Maybe you should listen to him?

As a result of our current obsession with child abuse, good men are falsely accused every day. How demeaning to them and how disrespectful. What does a man have to do to prove he is innocent these days? Once accused, the man feels his reputation is tarnished forever, no matter what evidence is produced or innocence proven. Innocent men have ended their lives because they feel there is no way they can reclaim their integrity. Please tread carefully with this issue, innocent men usually take false accusations very badly.
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#65 of 92 Old 11-01-2006, 12:11 AM
 
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Your boys are under 3? I would not accept a child rejecting affection at that age. I don't think THAT is emotionally healthy.
EXCUSE ME??????????

At what age does one gain the immense privilege of being able to "reject affection"? And from whom, pray tell, is one allowed to "reject" such attention? Is it emotionally unhealthy for a mere two year old to scream "no" when a strange man grabs her? What if he really means well, poor old fellow?

For crying out loud. And we wonder why sexual assault is epidemic in our culture. :
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#66 of 92 Old 11-01-2006, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do want to handle this situation in a way that grandpa keeps his dignity, BUT more importantly I want this type of play to stop. I've looked at it in the way of "loving play" (even while it was happening) and it's just not that type of situation. Grabbing a tushie is one thing, but grab, grab, tickle, feel right up into the butt crack is NOT appropriate play for any age (grandpa or child).

This is a situation where he just doesn't see where he's gone too far. After 2 to 3 years of him not touching butts, I will maybe regain my trust in him. This isn't your normal butt grabbing that many are talking about. Plus, the boys only see him 2 times a year, so he's hardly someone they are very close to (giving a hug is pushing it for physical contact).

And my boys are not into physical contact much, unless they choose. For example, my one son just doesn't like kisses. He hates to be kissed, so we respect that and don't kiss him. We are teaching them that their bodies are thiers, and if they don't want or don't like something we respect that. This grandparent play is going against that frame of teaching.

I do understand this could really hurt a relationship. That's why I'm asking for help and opinions. I do want and need my husband's support on this, though. I'm happy that he is going to work with me to find a gentle way to tell fil.

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#67 of 92 Old 11-01-2006, 12:44 PM
 
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Your boys are under 3? I would not accept a child rejecting affection at that age. I don't think THAT is emotionally healthy.
.

People like you are the reason that children are sexually abused and don't report it. HOW DARE YOU say that my child does not have the right to protect his own body.

What a ghastly, ghastly, ghastly attitude.

If you were my kids' grandparent, you would not being seeing them with that kind of attitude. I wouldn't want someone so disrespectful of them around them.
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#68 of 92 Old 11-01-2006, 01:53 PM
 
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Just because you feel uncomfortable, doesn't mean he is doing anything wrong.
She is not the only one uncomfortable, her CHILDREN are uncomfortable. She is trying to protect them. I don't know if you have children, but if you do, or if you did, and they approached you crying about something that bothered them, doesn't that deserve some action? Just because he is a young child should the issue be ignored?


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As a result of our current obsession with child abuse, good men are falsely accused every day. How demeaning to them and how disrespectful. What does a man have to do to prove he is innocent these days? Once accused, the man feels his reputation is tarnished forever, no matter what evidence is produced or innocence proven. Innocent men have ended their lives because they feel there is no way they can reclaim their integrity. Please tread carefully with this issue, innocent men usually take false accusations very badly.
I think this is part of the reason she is posting in the first place. She is trying to get help from fellow mama's on how to approach her FIL without this happening. This issue cannot be ignored. Flat out. Something HAS to be done. She already made up her mind on that. The question is, how to do it somewhat gently. If you read the sample letter that she posted, you will see that she is not "accusing" FIL of sexually molesting her children. She is just saying that the children do not like what it going on, and that she is sticking up for them.
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#69 of 92 Old 11-01-2006, 02:50 PM
 
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I think that's why it would be best approached as 'Ah, ah, ah! Ds doesn't like that kind of play. Our parenting beliefs are that he shouldn't have to endure that if he doesn't want to. So please stop. Thanks, grandpa, we love you.'

There's no need to go into whether it is 'appropriate' or not. Ds doesn't like it. Cut it out, gramps. NOW.
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#70 of 92 Old 11-01-2006, 05:40 PM
 
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I can totally see why a grandparent would respond this way to such a thread... but the unfortunate fact is that 1 in 4 people between the ages of 20 and 65 reports having been molested by someone they knew, during adolescence. It is naive to try to protect men who may or may not be guilty of such crimes... the numbers don't lie... at some point, it really isn't about what a person intends by their actions, be it bum-grabbing, or whatever; but rather, it is ultimately about how the subject of such actions feels about it.

Plenty of convicted molestors STILL claim that they were in LOVE with their victim, and that love was reciprocal. The victims tell a very different story.

By NO MEANS am I implying that OR MOM's FIL is of such caliber, but as a mother, it is her right, and her JOB to be concerned if her children WHATEVER their age register discomfort or trauma; to investigate and act on their behalf, and God forbid, handle damage-control on bruised egos etc, after the fact.
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#71 of 92 Old 11-01-2006, 06:49 PM
 
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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.
First of all, b/c DH didn't seem to be with you when you posted this (I didn't read through the entire thread, sorry). But I just wanted to reply to this part, b/c this makes me REALLY nervous. When you hear stuff like, "he always does this," or that he "did it to all the children" that's a BAD sign, especially if it's a behavior that makes anyone uncomfortable. Not to say that your DH and his siblings were molested, but I'd have to guess that that behavior is probably on the molestation side of the spectrum IYKWIM.

I hope you find what works best for your family, especially for your boys. I'm glad you're such a good mama that you'll stand up for them when they're too young to do it for themselves.

Amy, mama to "Pumpkin" (DD1, 5/16/06) and "Squashy" (DD2, 7/10/09)
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#72 of 92 Old 11-02-2006, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for such wonderful support with this! I will keep updating to let you all know how things go. Thank you, thank you for every perspective given. They all helped me feel strong and able to handle this in a way that wouldn't distroy family relations (and possibly marital relations).

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#73 of 92 Old 11-02-2006, 02:02 PM
 
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EXCUSE ME??????????

At what age does one gain the immense privilege of being able to "reject affection"? And from whom, pray tell, is one allowed to "reject" such attention? Is it emotionally unhealthy for a mere two year old to scream "no" when a strange man grabs her? What if he really means well, poor old fellow?

For crying out loud. And we wonder why sexual assault is epidemic in our culture. :
I have to say that I agree with you...
Children should be able to assert themselves when it comes to what does/doesn't feel acceptable to their bodies and have that respected. Of course there is such thing as protective use of force....but that's a totally different issue. Children are people and the mentality that they don't have the right to their bodies infers that children are property somehow. It very much reminds me of the mentality where a wife can't say no to sex with her husband.
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#74 of 92 Old 11-02-2006, 10:55 PM
 
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From a grandparents perspective, I would be insulted and hurt if you were to infer ill intentions in my affectionate horse-play. I would tread very carefully if I were you and if you don't want to alienate this man (and potentially your husband too) over this issue. You have no evidence of anything unhealthy, in fact you have the opposite, open and public displays of affection, hardly anything nasty and/or disgusting. Dare I suggest you are over reacting? Just because you feel uncomfortable, doesn't mean he is doing anything wrong. Your boys are under 3? I would not accept a child rejecting affection at that age. I don't think THAT is emotionally healthy.
Maybe your father in law is nothing but well intentioned and loving? Your husband has confirmed that. Maybe you should listen to him?

As a result of our current obsession with child abuse, good men are falsely accused every day. How demeaning to them and how disrespectful. What does a man have to do to prove he is innocent these days? Once accused, the man feels his reputation is tarnished forever, no matter what evidence is produced or innocence proven. Innocent men have ended their lives because they feel there is no way they can reclaim their integrity. Please tread carefully with this issue, innocent men usually take false accusations very badly.
: She is not accusing the grandfather of anything. The issue here is NOT the grandfather's right to show affection in this way. The issue is that she is not comfortable with the grandfather touching her children's buttocks in this way. It doesn't matter if he means it in an affectionate way. Her right, no, her duty AS A PARENT is to listen to her own instincts and protect her children whenever, however, and whyever she sees fit!!!!!
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#75 of 92 Old 11-03-2006, 01:02 AM
 
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http://www.cnvc.org/

Rosenberg has several books.

Pam Leo gives a quick description of the basic technique in her book Connection Parenting.

This is a needs-based communication method. So, something like this:

Ben NEEDS a certain amount of personal space. When you ____ it invades his personal space and makes him feel ______ [threatened, confused]. DH, brother, sister, and I respect Ben's feelings by not [touching him] and by stopping immediately when he says "no". Are you willing to respect Ben's space in the future?

I also feel that you should be there to put a stop to the inappropriate behavior WHILE it is happening. Show your kids by example what kind of words they can use to stop it, by modeling the communication/words. This will show them that people can be stood up to, they can link the negative behavior with a positive form of countering it. And, they will know that you are there to defend them and they are not powerless to this situation--maybe they will feel better talking to you about it later if you have defended them verbally at that moment.

Beyond that, I also agree, don't leave the kids alone with him for any time--I wouldn't. Caveat: if there are other adults around it should be okay. You are lucky they are not living in the same town with you.

Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen may also interest you about physical play and it's therapeutic value.

Also, does he have a wife? Could you talk to her first? Maybe get a read on this behavior.
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#76 of 92 Old 11-03-2006, 02:05 PM
 
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: She is not accusing the grandfather of anything. The issue here is NOT the grandfather's right to show affection in this way. The issue is that she is not comfortable with the grandfather touching her children's buttocks in this way. It doesn't matter if he means it in an affectionate way. Her right, no, her duty AS A PARENT is to listen to her own instincts and protect her children whenever, however, and whyever she sees fit!!!!!
: And she did mention that the kids were not comfortable with it either yet grandpa persisted...
If something doesn't feel comfortable for our body, no means no right? Stop means stop. The person doing the behavior to our body doesn't get to keep doing it because they "mean well".
I believe the OP is acting as a great advocate for her children who may still be learning to advocate for themselves.
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#77 of 92 Old 11-03-2006, 02:55 PM
 
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So I let dh read the letter. He said it sounded good, but still needed some work (my dh's way of supporting the letter). I then said, "well, it does still need work, but I really feel your parents would rather it come from you". HE AGREED!!! So, we may be back to the beginning with this, but dh is willing to write the letter and use what I've written down for a guideline. YEAH!
I'm a little confused. Hasn't your dh told him that the behavior needs to be stopped already and wasn't that ineffective? Or am I mistaken? If it's the case, I'm not understanding how the same request in written form will make a difference.

I know the general consensus is that the spouse whose parents are the problem should be the one to handle things. But, personally, I think this sort of situation is an exception. Sometimes it's the other spouse who has more power - the "stranger" to the family speaking out can have a greater impact, especially where boundary lines are concerned. As long as your husband backs you up, of course.

About your dh's reaction during your talk - it's completely understandable. Children are defensive about their parents. Even if he does feel something is off, IMO it's too much to ask as of now that he agree that his father might be a pervert, or that he even stand for his father being labeled as such. That doesn't mean he shouldn't protect his children from actions they find objectionable, though. Those are two separate things.

Good luck. FWIW, I think the letter should come from you and that you should, of course, also continue to empower your children - by openly being their advocate and by continuing to teach them to use their own voices at the same time. Good job on that.
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#78 of 92 Old 11-03-2006, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dragonfly, Dh and I had a discussion at his parents house (sort of) and he told his father while he was playing physically with the children that the children didn't like to be touched that way. They only like to be touched on their own terms. He never came out and said "Stop grabbing butts" so I don't know if fil ever got the hint or point of what dh was saying. I would think that he understood, then 2 days later he would be at it again.

Dh doesn't think that fil is being out of line with grabbing of the butts (I do), but he DOES see that the boys don't like it. He sees they don't like it in the same way he sees they don't like tickles. He doesn't see a problem with the butt grabbing game other than the kids not liking it. I, on the other hand, think that's a private part of the body and don't care for that type of play coming from grandpa. I've followed advice from here and chose to not tell Grandpa MY preferences about the play and go with the fact that the kids don't like it. But without stressing MY dislike for that type of play, I worry he will somehow find it ok to play like that in the future. Grandpa may rationalize the play later, "oh, they were too young then, maybe now that their 5 they'll like it". If I say something about ME thinking the play is innappropriate, then he will know my feelings and if it's EVER done again, he WILL be considered a PERV!

I've thought a lot about the fact it might be more effective coming from me. I want this to be mentioned one time and then the problem be solved. Dh may not stress the importance enough. Or it may not be taken seriously enough coming from him. Personally, I don't care too much about what fil and mil think of me anymore. I just want the grabbing to stop. You've brought up a good point.

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#79 of 92 Old 11-03-2006, 10:34 PM
 
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OR Mom, I completely agree with what you are saying about the inappropriateness of the butt-grabbing. I find that hightly inappropriate as well, especially the way you described it. Honestly, that would REALLY concern me. I just don't think that is appropriate behavior between an adult and a child, especially a grandfather. Dh and I do grab each others butts, and it is defintiely playful AND sexual in nature. It isn't something we would ever do to our children or anyone else. The way you described it, it does sound like sexual abuse to me. The fact that your child would come crying to you saying "grandpa bited my butt" is really alarming.

Honestly, if it were me, I would get really hard core. I would stand up to FIL and DEMAND that he stop the butt-grabbing as you feel it is inappropriate and wrong, and that if he continues to do so you will have to sever all contact with him, and perhaps even call the police as you have to protect your children. If you want to give an explanation, you could say that you are teaching your boys are "private parts" and personal boundries and part of this is that NO ONE is allowed to touch their private parts, unless it is absolutely necessary, and that means him (and you and your dh, etc., etc) . And, honestly, I would say IF you FIL reacts badly to hearing that or continues to do it, then I think you have a REAL problem and definitely need to sever contact with FIL. After all, if it really was only playful and innocent, I can't see how he would react badly to you asking him to stop. I could see him being embarrassed or something, but if I were unknowingly doing something to someone else's child which they found inappropriate and they told me to stop it, I would most defitneily stop it, and be ultra-careful I wouldn't do it again. If he doesn't stop, then he dosn't respect your boundries and those of his grandchildren, which is a major problem.

Good luck..what a tough situation to be in.

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#80 of 92 Old 11-03-2006, 11:42 PM
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To me the issue is less about confronting your FIL and more about protecting your boys (i.e. they should never be in FIL's care alone). This may be overkill, but better safe than sorry.
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#81 of 92 Old 11-05-2006, 12:16 AM
 
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If you let DH write the letter and send it, then you still have the option to send your own letter in the future, which would then have more impact than if DH never sent his letter and you opt to send your own letter first (2 letters vs. 1). And, if you send your own letter first, then events may unfold and DH might then refuse to write his letter later. So, do what you have to do to have DH write the letter first... and hold your cards.

HOWEVER, that said, I think holding off on this issue totally, until the next visit, makes sense. Then, any issues that come up next visit will be fresh and usable as examples. You can deal with it in the moment then and it will have more impact. You're right, the words, spoken or written, may be forgotten by the next visit. You also have time to reflect and in a few months you may have new ideas on how to handle it, also gain your fortitude and your peace about how to deal with it, instead of being reactionary in any way. I'm NOT saying to back off at all... just delay. Pick your moment.

We had an uncle in our family who always horseplayed with us at Christmas... the one time of year we saw him. He never grabbed butts. But, even so, it felt wrong. I always wished our parents had stopped it.

"I want this to be mentioned one time and then the problem be solved."
--Maybe this is asking too much. (?)
"I do want to handle this situation in a way that grandpa keeps his dignity"
--you might have to keep reminding him more gently in order to accomplish this(?)
"I'm considering contacting his brother to find out his opinion."
--I probably wouldn't do that. That might be inviting a feudal situation or asking to take sides, etc. I would ask for information, maybe, probably in a more covert way. I wouldn't get into discusssing it at length with other people of DH's family unless I was very close to them. Exception: BIL has kids? Maybe HIS wife has issues too? Maybe BIL would then have reason to be involved in the situation (ie. some kind of family "intervention"?)

"He doesn't feel it's necessary to call up FIL and discuss this now. We are home and there's 2500 miles between us. I'm just still reeling from the trip and concerned about ALL future visits with his family. I do feel scared and a bit powerless as well."
--I agree with DH on the timing. See above. You're Mama Bear emotions are up on this one. Take a breather. Your boys are safe right now! You can't pounce on a predator unless they're close enough. Find your own place of peace and power before deciding what to do.

"What if we got divorced and I wasn't there to stop this?"
--Is divorce an option for you right now? Not good to entertain this kind of thought. I understand the "what if I died" question and I'm sure that would have different solutions than the divorce question. Many of us, I'm sure, have passing thoughts that parenting on our own would be easier... but, that's usually not true. We're just stressed and having a hard time dealing with the current problem. It generally would NOT be easier to be a single mom. This question or thought is just clouding your judgment at this time! You and your DH are generally a united front, right? So, hunker back into the security of your marriage, find your strength there, and don't act until a moment when the marriage is acting out of a position of strength. You will have much greater impact when you are together on this issue, or any issue. Again, you have time to cultivate all of these.

Please see my original post for some great references on NonViolent Communication.
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#82 of 92 Old 11-06-2006, 02:47 AM
 
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OR MOM, just out of personal curiosity... I saw a post in another thread where you talked about your fam being multi-cultural. Just wondering if you think culture-clash is a part of this, at all...? Like, part of why the communication of your and your children's feelings about this isn't getting thru.

I've some Argentinian friends whose mother is EXTREMELY grabby of ALL the babies... ESPECIALLY the bum pinching and grabbing, and one in-law got VERY concerned. Words were exchanged, it nearly came to blows, and the family was never the same... and she's still a grabber.

Just wondering if this is an aspect of what you're experiencing.
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#83 of 92 Old 11-06-2006, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by PrennaMama View Post
...as a mother, it is her right, and her JOB to be concerned if her children WHATEVER their age register discomfort or trauma; to investigate and act on their behalf, and God forbid, handle damage-control on bruised egos etc, after the fact.
I would like to second and third and fourth this...I have a very close relative who was sexually molested back in the Good Ol' Days when sexual molestation didn't happen. Remember then? Well, when he brought it up to his mother, she called him a liar because she didn't want, God forbid, to handle damage control on the relative's bruised ego, or, God forbid, offend someone.

He went on to abuse several other family members and attempted to abuse his own son. Only when his son was an adolescent and threatened to kill his father with his bare hands did the abuse stop.

The damage went on.

Bruise Grandpa's ego or forever break a child's?

Easy choice.
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#84 of 92 Old 11-06-2006, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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rachelernst.com thank you for your reply. There is much to think about and I will continue to refer to your advice again.

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#85 of 92 Old 11-06-2006, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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PrennaMama the multicultural difference does not come from fil and his wife (not my dh's birthmother).

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#86 of 92 Old 11-06-2006, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Meg Murry, I'm so sad to here abuse happened close to you. That would be my worst nightmare.

It is an easy choice. There was never an adult in my entire family who touched children's bottoms. Ever. I remember a few times in school, getting pinched on the butt by boys and such. It NEVER felt ok. I can't imagine it feeling ok for an adult to do this. I have an urge to tell fil my feelings about that type of play, but I know relationships would NEVER be the same. If I can get enough effectiveness by using "the kids don't like that type of play" then I will. Just a little concerned it might be blown off a few years down the road. Fil did grab the butts of his kids til they were 19 years old. I just don't understand that. I just don't get it.....why?

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#87 of 92 Old 11-06-2006, 08:39 PM
 
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Misplaced affection...? Modeled behavior...? Who knows. For some reason he thinks it's natural and ok; and needs to be educated.

Brass tacks: what's right for some is not right for others. Some families would tolerate and even encourage this. But if your boyss don't dig it, and it freaks them (and you) out, then that OUGHT to be enough of a reason to cease.
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#88 of 92 Old 11-07-2006, 12:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
Your DH is being defensive because he was molested by his father and can't accept this to be true without radically revising his understanding of his own identity and his father's.
Um wow you have absolutely nothing to base that on.: Several people in this thread have admitted that squeeze or pat tushies. I am one of them. Kids have cute butts. My kids also pat my butt. No one is hurt or feeling molested by this. If years later I patted my granddaughter's but and it bothered my theoretical SIL and my DD said "oh mom always did that it's not big deal" it would not mean she was in denial about my molestation of her. I absolutely agree this situation should be dealt with because the children are uncomfortable about this type of contact and they need to know that mom and dad will keep them from contact that they don't want but there is no way for us to know at this point that the GF is a predator or that OR_Mom's Dh was molested and is in denial.
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#89 of 92 Old 11-07-2006, 01:01 AM
 
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http://www.answers.com/molestation&r=67

Quote:
1. To disturb, interfere with, or annoy.
2. To subject to unwanted or improper sexual activity.
I'd say that grabbing someone's butt after you have been repeatedly told that they do not like it and do not want you to do that is molestation. That's what this grandfather is doing. It's not the same as affectionate patting or the other things people here keep conflating it with. Unwanted touching of a part of the body culturally deemed to be private and sexualized--molestation.
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#90 of 92 Old 11-07-2006, 10:13 AM
 
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Was that in response to me because I was addressing whether or not this DH has been molested and is just in denial. He clearly did not mind (according to what he has said) and so from what we know he was not molested. I know the dictionary definition of molestation and lots of things fall under it but not all of them are molestation with the capital M ie DD#1 molests DD#2 all the time fortunately she does not Molest DD#2.
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