Possible Sexual Abuse Warning sign - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 35 Old 01-20-2011, 09:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AbbieB View Post

I'm going to go against what everyone else seems to be saying. I do not think anything has happened to your DD.

 

Reading your OP, it is your MIL who has had her alarm bell go off, and only because your DD did something twice, during one bath. You, the mama bear, have not had your alarm go off. You have not seen anything else to indicate that something bad could have happened. All you are reacting to is your MIL's alarm, which you mentioned may be overly sensitive do to her own abusive past

 

I will tell you that my 4 year old DD became obsessed with genitals after her brother was born. She tried to touch him all the time. It made me nuts. Then, she decided it was funny to try to get him to touch her. She would do things like stick her butt out to see if he would spank her. I can completely see her thinking it was funny to grab a 2 year old brother's hand and try to get him to touch her. His protests would just be part of the game.

 

I understand you being on alert. I think that is what a good parent does. But if you personally are not seeing any changes in behavior, or seeing any red flags, than I think taking your child for physical exams of her genitals or taking her to a therapist may be over the top and could be scary and damaging in and of themselves.

 

On the other hand, if you do have a mama bear gut feeling that something is wrong, and MIL's suspicions simply gave those feelings a voice, than by all means ignore everything I just said and get your DD some help.

I'm so glad you said this! My dd, 3.5, has also showed a lot of, let's say, interest in her brother's penis since he was born. At first it was shock--she knew she was getting a baby brother, but she hadn't really seen a penis before and so the first time she saw his, she was very, very curious. In the bath, she always wants to help me wash it. She tries to kiss it in the bath sometimes, too. I have absolutely no reason to think she's been sexually abused and I also see that from the beginning, her interest in his penis was rooted in the very NOVELTY of his genitalia--ie, the fact that she'd NEVER SEEN A PENIS BEFORE. And that it is normal to be curious about these things. As others have suggested, we tend to demonize any kind of sexual expression in children at all. Of course as a parent you don't want to ignore any sign at all. Yet we also have to be cautious that we don't pathologize the development of normal sexual expression.

 


 

 



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Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

Your MIL is wrong. Your dd might have been doing it purely to irritate your son. I am guessing she is quite young or she would not have been in the bath with them.

 

Your MIL is overstepping major boundaries by consulting with two child psychologists about your children. Have you had issues with your MIL before? I suggest not leaving your children alone with her anymore. You do not need her analyzing your children.


In fairness, her MIL is a professional who should have a good handle on red flags for sexual abuse, and I highly doubt she has any motive other than keeping her granddaughter safe.  Having worked professionally with kids who have been sexually abused myself, I admit that it is easy to become, maybe, a little bit jaded.  Maybe MIL is overreacting because she sees so much sexual abuse.  This doesn't mean she isn't a safe person to leave OP's children with.  That is ridiculous.  She is a caring grandmother and if she isn't doing other things to overstep her boundaries, I would chalk it up to her being extra cautious due to her profession and personal experiences.  What does she gain by pointing out to OP that something could be going on?  There is no reason to villify her based on that. 
 


I agree with this, too. Without knowing your MIL, who can say? But it seems absolutely reasonable for me to think that this is a woman who adores her grandkids and who wants to protect them and who perhaps is overly sensitive due to her work or to her own past. It seems right to me to doubt her suspicions and her judgment in this scenario, but also to have faith in her best intentions...

 

Good luck to you, OP. It sounds like you are dealing with this whole situation with an admirable blend of caution, suspicion, intuition and reasonableness!


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#32 of 35 Old 01-20-2011, 09:51 PM
 
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She is A therapist, and we do not even know what kind. How would you feel if a relative claimed to know you needed such-n-such medically just because they are a doctor and so they know. Gee, they are a pediatrician and they know you need an episiotomy. Do you say "umm, yeah, sure" and blow them off and maybe be offended that they are butting in? Then the doctor decided to call you and inform you that they consulted with 2 other doctors about you and they all agree that you need an episiotomy and they are the professionals so they know. 

 

Anytime and inlaw, or other relative butts in in this fashion, calling other "professionals" to discuss possible abuse of my grandchildren to back me up..that is a HUGE red flag. It is clear that this relative feels she must take this outside of the family and gossip to get others to back her up. I am basically doubting that this is going to turn out to be just a purely loving grandparent. If she were just concerned, she would have told the parents and left it at that. But she did not. 

 

I stand by what I have said about it appearing that there are inlaw issues.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by La Sombra View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbieB View Post

I'm going to go against what everyone else seems to be saying. I do not think anything has happened to your DD.

 

Reading your OP, it is your MIL who has had her alarm bell go off, and only because your DD did something twice, during one bath. You, the mama bear, have not had your alarm go off. You have not seen anything else to indicate that something bad could have happened. All you are reacting to is your MIL's alarm, which you mentioned may be overly sensitive do to her own abusive past

 

I will tell you that my 4 year old DD became obsessed with genitals after her brother was born. She tried to touch him all the time. It made me nuts. Then, she decided it was funny to try to get him to touch her. She would do things like stick her butt out to see if he would spank her. I can completely see her thinking it was funny to grab a 2 year old brother's hand and try to get him to touch her. His protests would just be part of the game.

 

I understand you being on alert. I think that is what a good parent does. But if you personally are not seeing any changes in behavior, or seeing any red flags, than I think taking your child for physical exams of her genitals or taking her to a therapist may be over the top and could be scary and damaging in and of themselves.

 

On the other hand, if you do have a mama bear gut feeling that something is wrong, and MIL's suspicions simply gave those feelings a voice, than by all means ignore everything I just said and get your DD some help.

I'm so glad you said this! My dd, 3.5, has also showed a lot of, let's say, interest in her brother's penis since he was born. At first it was shock--she knew she was getting a baby brother, but she hadn't really seen a penis before and so the first time she saw his, she was very, very curious. In the bath, she always wants to help me wash it. She tries to kiss it in the bath sometimes, too. I have absolutely no reason to think she's been sexually abused and I also see that from the beginning, her interest in his penis was rooted in the very NOVELTY of his genitalia--ie, the fact that she'd NEVER SEEN A PENIS BEFORE. And that it is normal to be curious about these things. As others have suggested, we tend to demonize any kind of sexual expression in children at all. Of course as a parent you don't want to ignore any sign at all. Yet we also have to be cautious that we don't pathologize the development of normal sexual expression.

 


 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

Your MIL is wrong. Your dd might have been doing it purely to irritate your son. I am guessing she is quite young or she would not have been in the bath with them.

 

Your MIL is overstepping major boundaries by consulting with two child psychologists about your children. Have you had issues with your MIL before? I suggest not leaving your children alone with her anymore. You do not need her analyzing your children.


In fairness, her MIL is a professional who should have a good handle on red flags for sexual abuse, and I highly doubt she has any motive other than keeping her granddaughter safe.  Having worked professionally with kids who have been sexually abused myself, I admit that it is easy to become, maybe, a little bit jaded.  Maybe MIL is overreacting because she sees so much sexual abuse.  This doesn't mean she isn't a safe person to leave OP's children with.  That is ridiculous.  She is a caring grandmother and if she isn't doing other things to overstep her boundaries, I would chalk it up to her being extra cautious due to her profession and personal experiences.  What does she gain by pointing out to OP that something could be going on?  There is no reason to villify her based on that. 
 


I agree with this, too. Without knowing your MIL, who can say? But it seems absolutely reasonable for me to think that this is a woman who adores her grandkids and who wants to protect them and who perhaps is overly sensitive due to her work or to her own past. It seems right to me to doubt her suspicions and her judgment in this scenario, but also to have faith in her best intentions...

 

Good luck to you, OP. It sounds like you are dealing with this whole situation with an admirable blend of caution, suspicion, intuition and reasonableness!



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#33 of 35 Old 01-21-2011, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks again, everyone

My mil is a very caring person who I have had very few issues with in the past. That said, she is a little nuts about some things.  I REALLY don't think anything has happened.  But, We have basically changed our lives around so that we don't have these kids watching ours anymore and it's costing me money and a very valuable trade in yard work.  I'm actually working on dh to let them watch the kids again, and have him come home early that day so they'd only be watching them for an hour or so.  Their dad, who I trust, will be out in the yard working and the kids are 10 and 13, old enough to watch my kids for an hour and a half, I think.    wwyd?

    


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#34 of 35 Old 01-21-2011, 11:12 AM
 
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I really do not think anything happened so I would continue to let them watch my children, honestly.

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#35 of 35 Old 01-21-2011, 11:17 AM
 
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You know, before children, I was a teacher and parent educator. I really knew it all. So much could be a sign of sexual abuse. Co-sleeping was considered a huge no no. And of course, kids would eat their vegetables if you just told them to. Establish your authority early on. All sorts of great textbook answers to everything. Parents would ask me for parenting advice. Really, I was confident in my answers. Afterall, I took the classes, I had the degree, and I was hired by the county to teach these classes and the school district to teach their children, I MUST surely know it all.

 

Then I had my own children. And my children have been growing up. Reality has met textbook. Reality won. 

 

I don't know what kind of therapist your MIL is, but she should not throw around that title to mean she is an authority over your children or has knowledge of subjects she has little experience with. Plus, from my experience, people who go in to therapy, while there are some good ones, many of them have their own problems they want to sort through so they major in it to help deal with it. Plus, unless she specifically works with evaluating for sexual abuse, I would dismiss her claims of signs. The biggest red flag in your first post was where she felt the need to consult with 2 outside child psychologists about your daughter. What will she go off and tell people about next? I am glad she is a sweet kind person, but she sounds like a sweet kind person who is not observing appropriate boundaries. I think it is sad that you would rearrange life with that other family over something she said. 

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