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#1 of 35 Old 01-14-2011, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Once again, I turn to this wonderful community in a time of crisis when I have no where else to turn.

Moderators, I'm not sure where I should post this, please feel free to move it.

  

This may be long!

Last month, I had open heart surgery and my kids were with my in-laws for a week.  My mil, who is a therapist who has specialized in childhood sexual abuse noticed a behavior in my daughter that put up a red flag for her.

     Apparently, my two kids (dd 4.5 and ds almost 2) were in the bath together, and dd took ds's hand and forced him to touch her between the legs while he struggled against it.  I guess this happened twice in the same bath.  My MIL, and the two child psychologists she has since talked to, all say that there is NO way that dd would ever think to do this unless she herself has been innapropriately touched or seen behaviour like this.  According to them, there's no way she hasn't been molested basically.

     My whole world is spinning and I now feel like I can't trust anyone and can't talk to anyone about it.  I am still recovering from surgery and am basically a wreck over this.  Can anyone give me any insight?  Sorry for typos, my kkids are climbing all over me! 


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#2 of 35 Old 01-14-2011, 03:09 PM
 
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I have no experience here and I just thought you could use a big hug.  hug2.gif

 

Could it be that she just saw it somewhere, like on TV?  Or witnessed something in person (like, walking in on a babysitter and boyfriend)?

 

What do your MIL and those two psychologists suggest in this case then? I mean, they are the experts. Perhaps they can offer insight into how you can find out more info.   I know that getting 4 year olds to tell you what happened is not exactly a fruitful endeavor.  Gosh, I can't even find out what mine did in school today!

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#3 of 35 Old 01-14-2011, 03:14 PM
 
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in my limited experience yes that does usually point to sexual abuse. 

 

does your child go to a dc? it could be another child. when my toddler was in dc another toddler child would keep pulling down her underwear and patting her bottom. that's how we discovered the other child was being abused. 

 

systematically make a list of all the people your dd has been in the care of - and then figure out who would have the opportunity to do it and try by elimination if you can get a list of the suspicious ones. 

 

this is so hard mama. HUGS!!!


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#4 of 35 Old 01-14-2011, 03:40 PM
 
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Is that the only sign your MIL noticed? Because honestly, while it would cause me to be more attentive to who I leave my children with, without more I wouldn't jump the the conclusion that she has to have been abused. It is possible she picked it up from another child who is being sexually abused.


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#5 of 35 Old 01-14-2011, 03:42 PM
 
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#6 of 35 Old 01-15-2011, 08:26 PM
 
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Yeah, sorry, that's a flag.  Cascadian has a good list of other issues.  

 

OTOH, your daughter is still her wonderful, precious, self.  She doesn't know that what she is doing is wrong, so don't make her feel bad/dirty/wrong.


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#7 of 35 Old 01-15-2011, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks everyone.  I talked with dd today while we were both very calmly coloring together and she told me that she has never had another big kid or little kid or grown up ask to see or touch her private parts or ask her to touch theirs.  She is basically with me all the time.  My husband and I both really think that nothing has happened.  My mil is blowing this totally out of proportion because of her own past abuse issues.  That's really what we think.  That said, we are re-arranging our lives so the one possibility is ruled out, and we are basically paranoid about some of our closest friends (and their ten year old boy) now.  

     


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#8 of 35 Old 01-16-2011, 07:00 AM
 
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I would consult a child psychologist yourself.  I don't think that your MIL has nearly enough information to make this evaluation. The child psychologists she "consulted with" have even less.

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#9 of 35 Old 01-16-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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OP, I see that you and your DH have talked about it and feel like you have a pretty good grasp on the situation.  So this post is more a response to cascadian that it is to you... but it's still good information for anyone to have. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post

 If you want to know for sure, get her a physical from a child-friendly doctor (hospitals usually have specialists, or find a good pediatrician),

A simple physical may or may not shows signs of abuse, but let me tell you from personal experience....if a physical by her ped/an ER doc or nurse show signs of abuse, it will NOT constitute as evidence of abuse and will not be upheld in a court of law.  You need a SANE exam done by a nurse who is qualified to do SANE exams for that.  And if you really really think that abuse has occurred, then also take my advice from personal experience... get a SANE exam.  ASAP

 

I sat as a juror on a child sex abuse trial last summer and we couldn't convict the guy b/c there was no evidence.  They had gotten a physical on the day of the last alleged abuse (the physical only showed red labia, but the alleged event involved oral not vaginal or anal penetration) and then had waited more than 72 hours to get a SANE exam (which is outside of recommended time limits). Of course, being outside the recommended time limits of the exam, it came back showing no signs of abuse. The whole trial was really screwed up because the stupid officers who initially handled the case didn't follow protocol and take her for a SANE exam.  I also learned during that trial that in little girls, 90% of girls who have ben sexually abused have no conclusive results from a SANE exam... which kind of makes you wonder what the point of a SANE exam is... except that if you don't have one, you have a 100% chance of having no physical evidence 

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#10 of 35 Old 01-16-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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This is a very real possibility (the bolded)

 

What is the larger context of this? How's your relationship with your MIL? Has she been critical of your parental choices in general? Does she know your children well?

 

In any case, the fact that she is jumping to conclusions, and is assuming the worst, is a sign that she is not being very professional, and possibly not objective at all. I'm sure that no reputable child psychologist will suggest a child was molested based on ONE single incident. It is also entirely possibly that because of her issues she misread the situation.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enudely View Post

thanks everyone.  I talked with dd today while we were both very calmly coloring together and she told me that she has never had another big kid or little kid or grown up ask to see or touch her private parts or ask her to touch theirs.  She is basically with me all the time.  My husband and I both really think that nothing has happened.  My mil is blowing this totally out of proportion because of her own past abuse issues.  That's really what we think.  That said, we are re-arranging our lives so the one possibility is ruled out, and we are basically paranoid about some of our closest friends (and their ten year old boy) now.  

     




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#11 of 35 Old 01-16-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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how much does she know about sex?  If this is the only warning sign, it is possible that she simply knows sex involves the genitals and two people and that it is meant to feel good, perhaps taking PP's idea that she has discovered it feels good when SHE touches herself and just kind of extrapolated what little she knows with her younger brother.  If she knows just enough to think making her brother touch her is okay and not much more, I can see a situation like this happening.  Curiosity about what little a kid knows and seeing what happens I suppose.

 

I'd also be concerned about your MIL trying to diagnose her in anyway.  I feel like it would be much easier for her to jump to conclusions simply by being family.  harder to stay objective on the matter.  I also think it is inappropriate for her to be sharing this information with people who aren't treating your daughter and since she isn't treating your daughter either, have no business being used as a consult to help your MIL treat your daughter.  I feel there is a conflict of interest that shades everything.

 

I think it is great though that although you came to the same conclusion of your MIL probably blowing this out of proportion, you are still taking it seriously and keeping an eye out.  I don't want to minimize this one flag myself because your MIL could be right despite the cloud that could be blocking her judgment and i'm glad you aren't either.  you are a good mom for caring :)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enudely View Post

thanks everyone.  I talked with dd today while we were both very calmly coloring together and she told me that she has never had another big kid or little kid or grown up ask to see or touch her private parts or ask her to touch theirs.  She is basically with me all the time.  My husband and I both really think that nothing has happened.  My mil is blowing this totally out of proportion because of her own past abuse issues.  That's really what we think.  That said, we are re-arranging our lives so the one possibility is ruled out, and we are basically paranoid about some of our closest friends (and their ten year old boy) now.  

     


 

I think you've handled it really well. I'd keep an eye on her and her interactions, and I'd most likely bathe the children separately, but not every red flag means that there is something there. She may have just figured out that she likes to be touched there.

 

I think it was very unprofessional of your MIL to jump to conclusions and to talk about your DD with others.

 


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#13 of 35 Old 01-16-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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I agree with most everyone else, that this one behavior is not enough to jump to conclusions.  My kids, (and most kids probably) are the type to test boundaries.  At the age when they are learning about privacy, they want to figure out what that really means.  What is private?  What happens if I don't act 'private'?  Is it funny? 


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#14 of 35 Old 01-16-2011, 07:40 PM
 
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There is a reason that doctors don't treat family, that includes therapists.  They cannot remain objective.  So, I would take her to a therapist that is not related to her.  Seriously, if your MIL is surrounded by cases of sexual abuse all day in her work, then she might be hypersensitive about it possibly happening to a child she loves dearly.  I am not saying that she doesn't have the best of intentions, but she is not the best one to decide if your child has been abused.  Maybe what she saw was your daughter trying to sit on her brothers hand or some other innocent action that her mind blew out of proportion because she does specialize in this field.  I would get a second opinion.


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I agree with this.  If it were my dd, I'd want to follow up on MIL's concerns, but I'd try not to assume anything until an unrelated objective therapist talked to her.  I hope it turns out to be nothing, but it sounds worth more investigation.  :hug

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petie1104 View Post

There is a reason that doctors don't treat family, that includes therapists.  They cannot remain objective.  So, I would take her to a therapist that is not related to her.  Seriously, if your MIL is surrounded by cases of sexual abuse all day in her work, then she might be hypersensitive about it possibly happening to a child she loves dearly.  I am not saying that she doesn't have the best of intentions, but she is not the best one to decide if your child has been abused.  Maybe what she saw was your daughter trying to sit on her brothers hand or some other innocent action that her mind blew out of proportion because she does specialize in this field.  I would get a second opinion.



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#17 of 35 Old 01-17-2011, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much everyone, I really appreciate  your input!  So, that all said, here' s my next issue.  I teach lessons at my house one day a week and have the kids of our friends over to babysitt (they trade that for their music lessons.)  They are a 10 year old boy and a 13 year old girl.  The deal is working out great!  There is also always at least one other adult in the house, the mom of the kid I'm teaching.  I am in the music room and my kids know they can come in while I'm teaching as long as they are quiet.  The kids are allowed to roam the house freely and are usually very active (and loud!)

 

     MIL is pushing me to stop having these big kids watch my kids while I teach, just in case something happened with them.  DH basically wants to follow her advice so that she stops being freaked out by the possibility.  We aren't totally in denial that there's a possibility that something happened, but I feel that we can't live our lives in fear.  I think that this situation is working out to well to sabotage it over this.  My idea is to keep talking to dd about private body parts and check in with her about it.  I may even ask her outright if this particular kid has ever tried to "play" with her in this way.  

     I have them stay outside if the weather permits (we do live in the PNW though!).  

 

Am I being crazy to not want to change this setup?  Should I absolutely not have her alone with those kids under any circumstances?  Is that paranoid?  Should I talk to the big kids about it?  Their parents? Aaauugh!  I'm going nuts over this and am supposed to go back to teaching this Thursday!  Any input greatly appreciated.


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Their parents? Aaauugh! 

 

I would be livid if I was one of these parents!

 

You have no proof of anything-regardless it is not you (but the police) if there was real proof.


 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enudely View Post

Thank you so much everyone, I really appreciate  your input!  So, that all said, here' s my next issue.  I teach lessons at my house one day a week and have the kids of our friends over to babysitt (they trade that for their music lessons.)  They are a 10 year old boy and a 13 year old girl.  The deal is working out great!  There is also always at least one other adult in the house, the mom of the kid I'm teaching.  I am in the music room and my kids know they can come in while I'm teaching as long as they are quiet.  The kids are allowed to roam the house freely and are usually very active (and loud!)

 

     MIL is pushing me to stop having these big kids watch my kids while I teach, just in case something happened with them.  DH basically wants to follow her advice so that she stops being freaked out by the possibility.  We aren't totally in denial that there's a possibility that something happened, but I feel that we can't live our lives in fear.  I think that this situation is working out to well to sabotage it over this.  My idea is to keep talking to dd about private body parts and check in with her about it.  I may even ask her outright if this particular kid has ever tried to "play" with her in this way.  

     I have them stay outside if the weather permits (we do live in the PNW though!).  

 

Am I being crazy to not want to change this setup?  Should I absolutely not have her alone with those kids under any circumstances?  Is that paranoid?  Should I talk to the big kids about it?  Their parents? Aaauugh!  I'm going nuts over this and am supposed to go back to teaching this Thursday!  Any input greatly appreciated.



Ok, I'm trying to see this from both sides.  So, from your side, anything to get MIL to stop worrying and to allay any fears you may have. I can't blame you, because even if you believe that MIL was exaggerating or mistaken, that little voice is not going to subside until dd talks to someone else and they can tell you, "Nope didn't happen".

 

From dd's side, mommy keeps asking me about people touching me, does Mommy want someone to have touched me.  Maybe if I just say yes then mommy will stop asking me.  (Not saying you keep asking, but the more you ask it, especially adding names, the more likely she is going to start wondering if it DID in fact happen and you want her to say yes).  I would avoid talking to her about it at all until you talk to a therapist who knows how to ask these questions without implanting thoughts in the child's mind.

 

From the teens side, "umm so I did nothing wrong and this woman now wants to keep me away from her kids, what is wrong with me, does she not like me anymore?"  Not that I think YOU think that, but as a teen, to be "let go" from a job is a huge blow to the self esteem and could make them start to wonder what they did to make you angry and not like them anymore.

 

From the parent's side, "ummmm, yeah, honey you need to stay away from that woman because she honestly thinks you did xxxxx and I don't want you arrested for something you didn't do so stay far, far, away." Think about this, would you ever be able to have those kids even come near your home again after addressing this with their parents.

 

 

OK so now, for what I would do.....

 

I would probably call and say, "hey, dh wants to take the kids out this week so we won't be needing you to come over.  I'll see you next time"  Or if it's going to be a couple weeks before you can get her to a therapist, "You know, dh wants to spend a couple of these class nights with the kids so I'll call you in a couple weeks when I need you to come back over."  This leaves you in a position to say, "hey MIL we went ahead and are keeping those kids from coming over until after we get an official opinion on whether they did anything to dd"  PLUS, it gives you the means to call them back up in a couple weeks and say, "Hey, well, we are having class next week and I could really use your help".

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#20 of 35 Old 01-17-2011, 03:09 PM
 
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OP--I'd rather be safe than sorry.  I certainly wouldn't overreact by approaching the kids or parents about something potentially having happened, because I don't think that is fair.  That said, I would also eliminate babysitting by anyone I didn't feel 110% safe with.  If you stop having them babysit, you're inconveniencing yourself.  If you keep having them babysit and nothing is going on, great!  But what if you keep having them babysit and something is going on and your daughter is scared/whatever to tell you?  It would be worth it to me to inconvenience myself. 

 

Having worked with kids who have been sexually abused, I would be somewhat concerned about your DDs behavior, but not having seen it yourself, it is hard to know if your MIL is overreacting.  I would keep a very close eye out for any additional behavior though, and would see a therapist if I saw anything else remotely alarming.  Best of luck. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enudely View Post

Thank you so much everyone, I really appreciate  your input!  So, that all said, here' s my next issue.  I teach lessons at my house one day a week and have the kids of our friends over to babysitt (they trade that for their music lessons.)  They are a 10 year old boy and a 13 year old girl.  The deal is working out great!  There is also always at least one other adult in the house, the mom of the kid I'm teaching.  I am in the music room and my kids know they can come in while I'm teaching as long as they are quiet.  The kids are allowed to roam the house freely and are usually very active (and loud!)

 

     MIL is pushing me to stop having these big kids watch my kids while I teach, just in case something happened with them.  DH basically wants to follow her advice so that she stops being freaked out by the possibility.  We aren't totally in denial that there's a possibility that something happened, but I feel that we can't live our lives in fear.  I think that this situation is working out to well to sabotage it over this.  My idea is to keep talking to dd about private body parts and check in with her about it.  I may even ask her outright if this particular kid has ever tried to "play" with her in this way.  

     I have them stay outside if the weather permits (we do live in the PNW though!).  

 

Am I being crazy to not want to change this setup?  Should I absolutely not have her alone with those kids under any circumstances?  Is that paranoid?  Should I talk to the big kids about it?  Their parents? Aaauugh!  I'm going nuts over this and am supposed to go back to teaching this Thursday!  Any input greatly appreciated.



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#21 of 35 Old 01-18-2011, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again everyone.  Just to update here, we've decided to move the music studio to an actual music store and stop having those kids babysitt, while still remaining friends with the family.  We are giving them the benefit of the doubt and we love having them as friends, but will keep a closer eye on the kids when they are over.

Overall, it's a headache but it's good to remind us all of the potential for this kind of thing.  Take care everyone!


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#22 of 35 Old 01-19-2011, 10:23 PM
 
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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.


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#23 of 35 Old 01-20-2011, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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AbbieB, thank you for your post.  I totally do not think anything happened.  I really don't!  To top it all off, I realized my dd is so shy that she practically won't even look at anyone, never mind agreeing to get naked and let someone touch her like that.  No way!

 It basically sucks because these guys are our friends and now my husband is freaked out about them.  Ah well, we're all more cautious from it, I guess.  These friends are coming over today!  They are home schoolers and the dad wants to play some music with me.  They are super nice, into urban farming and whole foods and biking around everywhere.  Super cool friends!  Probably not child molesters!  


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#24 of 35 Old 01-20-2011, 02:24 PM
 
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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.

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#25 of 35 Old 01-20-2011, 02:26 PM
 
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We had phases where my sons, in an effort to tick each other off, got naked and sat on each others bed. They have not been molested. Just because it involves reproductive organs, doesn't mean it is sexual. My sons were just really creative on how to anger each other. (and it worked)

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#26 of 35 Old 01-20-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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I need to add, children are capable of thought and creativity. It is completely untrue that every single thing they do is from imitation. They are perfectly capable of coming up with their own ideas.

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#27 of 35 Old 01-20-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

Just because it involves reproductive organs, doesn't mean it is sexual.


truedat.gif I'd also like to add my story that shows how sometimes kids can simply be playing or curious and it doesn't necessarily point to anything sexual.  For a long time now, my son doesn't like to go pee right away...he holds it as long as possible a lot of the time.  We encourage him to go, but sometimes he just doesn't want to.  This means that he holds his penis a good deal of the time.  Well, when he was about 3 and a half he took my hand and put it on his penis and laughed...this was after he'd been holding his penis for awhile because he needed to pee.  He was just being playful.  I took my hand away and didn't say anything, not thinking it was a big deal but not wanting to encourage it either.  The next day he did it again...this time I took my hand away and also explained that it's okay for him to do that but not for mommy or anyone else.  I didn't shame him for it, just explained matter of factly that it's his penis so it's his responsibility to hold it if he wanted to.  He hasn't done it since.

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#28 of 35 Old 01-20-2011, 02:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

 Just because it involves reproductive organs, doesn't mean it is sexual.



I wanna 'yeah that!' again. There is so much hypervigilance about SA that it demonizes 'normal, healthy' sexual play/expression. Not at all to diminish the issue of SA (god, no), but I've found more times than not through the investigations I've been a part of, it's *NOT* SA. One (or even two) provocative behaviours in and of themselves, especially isolated, may just be that...provocative behaviours, painted with the lens of SA by adults. I agree with another poster - if your mama instinct is saying 'no', I'd go with that.

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#29 of 35 Old 01-20-2011, 02:57 PM
 
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I want to give you some examples of how our children are capable of independent thought. My 16 month old, when he was smaller, would pinch me if he were angry. Like if we were some place where I could not nurse him right away, he would start pinching me. No one else pinches me. He has not seen people pinching each other. He thought of this on his own. These days, he likes to throw his plate or bowl when he is done eating. None of us do that either. He came up with that on his own.  This is not a sign that we sit around throwing our plates when we are done. He came up with this all by himself. And in changing his diaper the other day, I left his diaper off for a couple minutes while I assembled his Fuzzibunz (cloth diaper with an insert). He grabbed his boy part and started to play. Mostly, he was poking at it while be breathed in and out seeing it move while he moved around. This is NOT because anyone has ever sat around doing that in front of him. Nope, he figured that one out on his own too. And these days also, he likes to throw things over our balcony. He finds great joy in seeing them fall to the ground. Not only does no one do that here or any place I know of, but we would like him to stop. He is only 16 months old. Yet, look at all this. And this is just a small glimpse of things. When he took an ornament off the tree and threw it...nope, he did not get that from any of us. He came up with that on his own. I am quite certain your 4 yr old is smart enough to come up with a few things on her own too.

 

I would be far more concerned about your MIL's reading in to this, and her consulting with TWO child psychologists. I think it is creepy what she is doing. Just because she is a therapist does not make her an expert on this. Heck, does not even mean she is an expert therapist. I am guessing you have had a lot more issues with her than just this and SHE is the one you need to be concerned with. Don't even give her the satisfaction of trying to list of where the little girl could have been abused at or trying to get you to get your daughter examined or otherwise. If she asks, tell her the only person DD has been alone with is her. But don't give her any personal details of your life as I would be concerned what she would try to say about that.

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#30 of 35 Old 01-20-2011, 07:57 PM
 
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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. 
 

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