Inappropriate touching among siblings

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by OpenWindow, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    I'd like opinions on this please!

    A preteen boy was caught inappropriately touching a younger girl in the swimming pool. They were interrupted after about 3 minutes (that's how long they were alone in the pool without an adult present). The girl admits what happened, and says it was the only time it's ever happened. We believe her, because she was very upfront about what happened that day without us having to push it at all. She said the boy threatened to tell everyone she was a lesbian if she didn't go along or if she told. The boy won't admit what happened and says the girl is lying.

    They've also been talked to over and over again about how inappropriate this is, and the girl has been talked to about how to prevent it from happening again. The boy's TV and internet have been strictly limited to G and some PG movies, games, sites, etc. The two are separated unless there is an adult present.

    If the children are sent to counseling, mandatory reporting will come into play. I'm not sure what happens then. Is counseling necessary for a one-time incident (I'm talking more specifically about the younger girl here), or will it just make her remember it more? I think I feel like the boy needs counseling, but not sure it needs to be reported which would get cps involved, and would also cause mandatory counseling for both.

    Anyone have any advice or experience?
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I think you need the advice of a skilled professional on how to best help both the girl and the boy. I understand the desire not to involve CPS, but both children can be scarred from this incident if the situation is not handled professionally and appropriately.

    in my humble opinion, the girl as well as the boy need counseling. You don't say how old the girl is, but at any age, the incident could affect her and her relationships with others well into adulthood. While the boy has been told that this situation is inappropriate, depending on his disorder, he may well not grasp the seriousness of the incident and need counseling specific to his disability.

    This sounds like a very tough situation all around. Good luck.
  3. night4now

    night4now New Member

    How old are both children? How active was the girl in the situation? What was their reactions? Depending on variables, these things determine if it is abuse, or just experimentation.
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Given the threats that were made, this is not innocent experimenting or curiosity. It is sexual abuse plain and simple. To my mind, they both need counseling, especially the boy to see how much of a sexual predator he is. Sorry to use such strong language but given the facts you described, that's what he is.

    I can understand the fear of CPS being involved or, worse yet, the courts but you have a very serious situation here. He thought this act out, used specific threats to keep the little girl from stopping him or telling what had happened, denied it happening after the fact. So, either it did occur and he has some major issues that need to be dealt with or it did not occur and the girl has some major issues that need to be dealt with. Either way, both of these kids are going to need more help than a parent can give them.

    I wish you the best.
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I think age matters. Yes, the should BOTH get counseling: for how it will affect future relationships and sexual situations for BOTH of them. Since it's already been addressed on several occasions, obviously that's not enough and professional intervention may be necessary.

  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm confused. What would be so awful about mandatory counseling for a boy who sexually assaulted his sister under threat, or for the sister who thought it was ok?

    As to the tv, movies, computer, etc., these things should not be available to him unsupervised. If you think you are keeping him away from things he shouldn't be seeing or doing, you're fooling yourself.
  7. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    The girl is 8. We don't think she was an active participant but we can't be sure. She's usually very independent and defiant and does what she wants, so her reaction to his "request" was very out of character (despite his threat), but then the situation she was faced with isn't an everyday situation either. I don't believe she thought it was OK, because she immediately told me what had happened.

    His reaction is to just not admit to anything, no matter what. His disability puts his emotional age at 3-4 years younger than he really is, so that adds another layer to the situation.

    I don't know why I feel like I have to defend this, but... his movies, games etc. were already strictly limited with some exceptions after the movie or game was reviewed by an adult. Now, anything that's PG he can't watch, unless we've seen it before and know it's beyond OK. He can only watch certain channels - nick, discovery, etc. He can't watch movies or play on the xbox unsupervised. He can't go on the computer unless an adult is present, in the room. What I'm saying is what was very limited before is now severely limited.

    I'm on the side of talking to his counselor, but I am nervous about the CPS involvement. You never know what's going to happen with that - will they understand that he has issues or will they just take him away and put him in a home where he'll get no help or worse. Will it cause him more damage than good?

    I don't think mandatory counseling for him is a bad thing, in fact I think he needs it. I'm not sure for her, though. Bringing it up over and over IF it was an isolated incident could possibly do more harm than good. Not with a good counselor of course, but how do we know it will be a good counselor? We've talked with her about it, made sure she knows what to do next time, made sure she knows she can talk to us about it anytime, and will continue to empower her to not be a victim.

    I grew up in an abusive home with a family who kept it a secret and refused to talk about it. I know the damage that can cause. That is not the situation here.

    Other adults in this situation, don't agree with me. They think it's a one-time incident we should just handle ourselves. So I thought I'd ask here to get your take.
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I don't know that the answer to this question is. What I do know is that if they find out that you (this is your children, right?) knew this was happening and avoided treatment to keep them out of it they absolutely will take him and place him with someone who will get him treatment. Period. They will very likely force treatment for her with a therapist of their choosing with their input, and will likely take her out of your custody unless and until you admit that he is a predator and she is a victim and promise to do whatever they dictate so that it won't happen again.

    You are doing no one any favors by trying to protect them from this.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It would be best to take them to the counsellor and have CPS involved. CPS is not always wonderful. I openly admit that. BUT if you do NOT get this reported (YOU can report it) then you will face losing your children and possible criminal charges for not reporting.

    No matter what anyone else says, this is NOT innocent experimentation and it is NOT something you can handle at home.

    The boy clearly thought this out as evidenced by the threat. IF there is a question about whether it happened, or what happened, a specially trained investigator will find out. YOU can't simply because you don't have the training and experience to know if it is true or a lie.

    It is time to call in the professionals. I am so very sorry. I know it is scary and painful.

    If you are forthright now with CPS it will help greatly if they are ever involved with you again.

    The girl will have to deal with this for many years to come. Both the physical sexual abuse and the lesbian threat will have to be dealt with. If you get help NOW it will be so much easier for HER.

    And if yo get help NOW for him, you may be able to keep him from becoming a sexual predator. Keeping quiet to keep CPS out of it will only tell him it is OK as long as you don't tell. And you really don't know if it has happened before with the same girl or others. Not all kids tell.

  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Susie said it better than, I, but she is right.
  11. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Not all counselors will report it to CPS. Since it is child-on-child, some therapist will see that you (the adult) are treating it seriously and won't hotline it. I agree with the others, you MUST seek counseling for both children ASAP.
  12. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    I emailed his counselor right after I posted. She just called back. She's going to talk with him next week to see if she can figure out what happened, see if he will say anything, see how he reacts. She's going to talk to his sister too at a different time. I don't think she'll report it unless she thinks it has happened more than once with her or with someone else.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm on the way out so I may be repeating (no time to read other posts).
    I dealt with bad sexual abuse between two foster kids. It turned out that things are usually worse than they seem--they say "its the first and only time." That is usually not the case. I blame the predator, not the girl. For all you know, he scares her to death with threats to let her do what he wants to do. Also, this is VERY sick behavior. It isn't caused by movies or curiousity. Kids know that this is wrong.
    CPS needs to be involved. The boy may have to leave the home, but you want the girl to be safe. Sorry that I'm on the run, but I did want to check in. The sexual predator we had is gone. He is still perping, even though he got a lot of help. And we found out that, to our shock, and everyones, he'd been perping since as far back as he could remember. And he had no insight--no idea why. He doesn't remember being abused, although he obviously had been. However, it WILL be reported to CPS. You can't avoid that.
  14. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Linda, with all due respect, why is the therapist waiting until next week? Why can't she make time in her schedule to meet with the boy this week? It's only Monday.
  15. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    He's not at home this week so he can't go see the counselor until next week.
  16. change

    change New Member

    I don't mean to alarm you but at age 8 & 9 my son (age 9) propositioned my daughter (age 8) with a note at the dinner table during snack time. We found it later in the recycling bin. It was very graphic. She didn't know what it meant but knew it was bad. We brought it up to counselors immediately and his behavior escalated later that school year with other students (4th grade). We had to develop a safety plan for her since our Post-Adopt didn't take us seriously and no one would take him (Residential Treatment Center (RTC)) and if you look up my other posts you'll figure out the story about where he is now and why. He also asaulted (sexually) one child per year up until he finally attacked our daughter. CPS wasn't surprised that our Post-Adopt never came through for us and has been very amicable as we had a lot of therapists behind us and a paper trail of all of the help we tried to get him over the years. We are now in a battle with the courts about his future but CPS HAS been very amicable considering everything. They have to be, our daughter is their case too. And yes, we are the ones who had to report it...per our family therapist. Good luck...I hope it turns out better for you.
  17. PorcupineWhisperer

    PorcupineWhisperer New Member

    I think Susie said it all very well. You may want to make the call to CPS yourself prior to seeking counseling - that way it gives you more control in what is said in the initial report and also lets the counselor know that you are facing this thing head on (whatever it is). The boy may also have been a victim at some point, so it's important not to just look at him as a potential predator. The boy appears to have some sexual knowledge (by his using the term lesbian) and a specific plan to use that knowledge for a planned outcome. The basic difference between experimenting and perpetrating is that there is generally no coercion in experimenting. My suggestion would be counseling for all involved. Good luck in whatever you decide.
  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Are we talking about a 12 year old boy here? I can remember "experimenting" when I was 4. I can also remember having sex when I was 13. I know my daughter had sex when she was 13. This was a long time ago. I find it difficult to understand a 12 year old boy being naive about sex in this day and age.

    Then again, I type this as I sit watching a movie about Roman Polanski, whose main defense for giving a 13 year old alcohol and quaaludes and having sex with her is that she had done all of those things before, which she did admit under oath. So, maybe I'm feeling a little jaded right now.
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    This incident was not about sex so much as about control. The boy used threats to make the girl do something he wanted and she did not, and which was wrong for both of them.

    I speak from experience (although in our case it wasn't siblings).

    easy child was attacked like this at her school by another student. She was 5, the boy was 7. He told her he was going to have sex with her and that it would hurt. he said that if she told, he would send his father around to our house and his father would kill me by running over me with his lawnmower. As a result easy child was so terrified she told nobody for two years. By then she was saying that she never wanted to have kids of her own because to do so, you had to have sex and sex hurt - she remembered that it did. I never got any more information from her, and now she's an adult she has blocked it out.

    I got counselling for easy child as soon as I knew, but by then the boy was out of reach. Looking back, I wish I had tried harder to find him, or get the authorities to find him, although easy child would never have made a formal statement to police because she was just too scared.

    easy child was 5, but damaged by this. The boy was 7 and had (to my mind) been damaged by someone else (his father?) which led to his attack on easy child.

    So don't discount the possibility of damage to these kids just because they are young. This boy knew he was doing the wrong thing, he planned it, he made threats and he is now denying it. Even if he is "not the full quid" he needs to know that it is wrong and a very serious crime. He also needs to know that diminished responsibility is not sufficient excuse, he has to learn that this must not happen again.

    I also agree with others who have said to not be too quick to believe this is the first and only time. The boy was able to do a lot in a very short window of opportunity, which tells me he was either extraordinarily lucky, or well practised.

    My vote overwhelmingly is for counselling, fast, for both. The girl also needs to know that her honour is worth fighting for and that her word is being taken seriously. Failure to act promptly will send her the message that her feelings are of little account, and that in life she has to get used to being taken advantage of and having no voice.

    Protect her fast, get her away from the boy, and get them help. I'd also be investigating what has happened to the boy in the past to send his thoughts down this bizarre avenue.

    When I think back to easy child's attack and what was happening in other areas at the time, I recall a drive to put in place a campaign to teach our kids protective behaviour ("good touching" and "bad touching"). And I remember the parents who were very emphatically against this - the boy's father especially was vocal about his objections. Of course, I had no idea why at the time.

    So if anyone is particularly complacent about this ("it's not really such a serious issue, is it?") or objects to the counselling on the grounds of "we don't want all these strangers getting involved, who knows what sort of problems it will stir up?" then have a really hard look at their possible motives. Never be too surprised at what you may find. I have been horrified at times when I have discovered some of the nicest, kindest people who were in fact sexual predators.

    Good luck with this one. You will need to be strong.

  20. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I strongly encourage you to get help for this. My brother (now deceased) once molested a girl I was babysitting. It was horrifying.

    I know there's a therapy group in our town that specializes in issues such as child molestation and abuse and seems to be highly regarded. I'd probably be looking for a place like that if you live in an area big enough to have options.