My Son...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by hana, May 3, 2012.

  1. hana

    hana New Member

    Hello...this is my first post in this forum.

    Yesterday, I feel like my entire world came crashing down. I am a mother of three young boys...5 1/2, 4 1/2 and 4 months old. We are a fairly happy, well-adjusted family. My husband is in the military and we were both abused as children, but we are able to have a fairly normal marriage and enjoy our kids. There is nothing besides the stresses in our extended family and military life (which can be significant) I can think of that would qualify as abnormal within the walls of our home.

    My oldest son was playing outside with the neighborhood kids and I noticed he was being rough and aggressive with another little girl. He was grabbing her legs and trying to look up her skirt. I made him come inside, go into timeout, spoke to him, and made him apologize. My father was visiting so he also spoke to my son. He was embarassed and both kids seemed like they wanted me to drop it, so I did.

    We were watching my neighbor and good friends daughter briefly, and when she came to pick her up the kids (my two oldest sons and her daughter, who is three) went upstairs to play. My middle son started screaming about a bug and I ran upstairs, and noticed the bedroom door was shut. I went to open it and noticed the door was locked. I got a horrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and banged on the door. My son said "one minute!" I screamed at him to open the door NOW and got ready to kick it open (I keep a thingy to push open the locks but didn't even think of it). He opened the door and my friends girl was standing there with her pants down around her hips..her underwear were on. My immediate reaction was to, honestly, beat the **** out of my child. I have never felt that way before. I was molested at age 4 and have no sympathy for people who touch others. I tried to be as calm as possible because I did not want to traumatize either of the children, but brought my son downstairs and put him in time out. I then took my friend to the side (she was talking with my father) and told her exactly what I saw. She is a therapist and did not seem concerned, even saying that this was "normal". She listened outside the door as I questioned my son but he would not tell me until she left. He was crying, shaking, banging on things and hyperventilating. He was afraid I would "kill him" and wouldn't love him anymore. I explained that I was first and foremost concerned about the little girl and that he needed to tell me exactly what happened so I could make sure that they were both taken care of. (I need to make a note that my son has always shown early signs of sexual behaviors-he has been trying to kiss girls and has been caught kissing them and peeking at them as early as 2, he talks about girlfriends and getting married and becomes emotional about girls).

    My son told me that he put his penis on her vagina (on, not in). I almost vomited. How in the world did he know how to do this? He just had a little brother and I took great care to try and balance the information I gave them. He is a very smart child but that is a very specific behavior. He has never walked in on my husband and I together. He is not in daycare. We do not have cable t.v. (PBS is all we watch when we do, or the weather channel). I am fairly protective and I do watch him when he plays outside but do not hear what happens all the time. He is not in kindergarten yet but goes to activities with other kids where I am not around. He is a busybody and teaching him about societal boundaries has been our greatest challenge (ex: sharing our address with strangers). He is otherwise kindhearted and when I was speaking to him about how his actions have created stress in a good friendship I began crying, and he brought me a tissue and began crying himself.

    He has told my husband, myself, and my father that no one has even touched his private areas and explained that he has done this two times...once previous time we did not know about with the same girl and once when I caught him. He locked the door and made sure my other son was not there on pupose. This is what bothers me to no end.

    I made an appointment tomorrow with his doctor, who I trust, to try and figure out what puzzle piece we are missing, if any. It's for us all. My husband has taken him on a long walk and talked with him, and my son told him he eats so much food so he can grow up and "do that stuff" (sexual things) and that he was curious and wanted to know what girl parts look like. We have explained to him that he may have hurt a lot of people in his curiosity and that curiosity was acceptable but NOT acting on it, especially not with younger children and not locked in a room. We explained that he has created tension in our friendship and maybe has hurt the girl, and he seems more concerned with his own feelings than the girl. He loves me and treats me well, but he has always has a sort of attitude about women. I am a stay at home mother but very athletic and have taught him how to do many things my husband is bad at, like throwing a football and playing soccer.

    I don't know what to do. My friend did not seem concerned, but I am afraid her husband will end our friendship because he is understandably protective of his daughter, who is a sweet innocent little thing. Their family is also going through the wringer with serious illness and don't need anymore tension. I am afraid to let my son be alone with any other child. We have a small dog and he is very kind to her...he sometimes cuddles her too much and she get annoyed but he has always been nice to animals. He does display signs of anxiety and that would run right in line with me and my family history, and seems to be taking this very seriously. We want him to, but we also don't want to damage him because we tend to look at things in a different light as we were raised in tumultuous environments.

    Could there be something wrong with my son? Will this little girl be harmed from their encounters? I have not told my friend yet that my son has done this at her house. I am afraid to but I will because it is the right thing to do, but I am going to take him to the doctor first. She has told me to stop beating myself up, but I feel guilty, ashamed, isolated, and need to seek out professional advice to learn a way to approach this that isn't detrimental to my son. I have told him that I am angry with him but still love him...sort of like how he feels when I have gotten mad and yelled. He still loves me, but he didn't like what I did and the way it made him feel.

    I am sorry this is so long. I am so afraid for my friends child, for my son, and dare I say it...for me and my husband. We have both seen a lot of families suffer for less and are hoping we can approach this like a community- but know it rarely happens.

    Is there any advice for me and my husband? I understand that dealing with your childrens sexual behaviors and those feelings are normal, and if my son hadn't locked himself in a room with a younger girl I would be handling it as a normal phase in development.
  2. hana

    hana New Member

    I need to add that I did not physically discipline my child, I just wanted to...I re-read it and it looks like I hit him. I did not, and never would.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome. Glad you found us but sorry you had to, as they say.
    People are going to have different takes on this. My own, on the basis of what you have said, is that your reaction is very understandably exacerbated and exaggerated by your personal history and that your son's behaviour is a bit beyond normal. And I say "a bit beyond" advisedly - children DO display sexual behaviour and interest though it is not really sexual in the way we usually understand it. It is completely normal curiosity. However, I don't suppose most five year old boys do lock themselves in a room with a little girl and do this. It also doesn't shock me totally that a five year old WOULD do this though of course I completely understand why you are worried and concerned.
    I feel your best bet is to speak with a professional whom you trust for further insight and guidance. Easy to say, but try not to panic. It sounds as if you have been admirably controlled and wise in your response so far.
  4. hana

    hana New Member

    Thank you. I might add that later that night, he began asking about our other friends and neighbors, who are a gay couple with children...asking about how they have two mommies and how that worked (he knows that it takes parts from a man and parts from a woman to make a baby, I read him "Amazing You, Getting Smart About Your Private Parts" during an earlier pregnancy I lost and a time where he was being caught kissing girls at preschool). I felt a little better because it seems like he is really thinking about sex and that is the problem...but he is so young and his behavior was too specific for me to not worry. My friend and her husband have reassured us that their daughter is unaffected and that they expect this sort of thing to happen between kids, and I hope that is the truth. I think I am having such a hard time dealing with it because of my history, and that is a huge reason for seeking professional help. My husband called me today with all sorts of stories about his coworkers kids...I guess some of them have older children and he asked if any of them have ever caught their children doing anything "strange". I remember kissing and playing with friends as a child, but the locking in the room and the way it was done is my concern...make sense?
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    Welcome. I'd call your son's behavior a bit more concerning than normal, but not completely off the charts.

    He's at the exact right age for sexual curiosity. 2, 5 and then again at puberty. At 2 kids are really discovering all the neat things their bodies do - usually coinciding with potty training. At 5 they are realizing that they are individuals - not just extensions of mom and dad. Truly noticing differences between men and women. And, well, puberty is puberty.

    I think you handled the situation very well. You are being proactive and will consult with a professional. I would go a step further and make sure he is always supervised (within eyesight) when girls are around.

    My favorite word when it comes to kids and sex is INAPPROPRIATE. No matter what you tell them (you know the slip where you say it's "fun" for mom and dad) you can always 'correct' a statement by saying it's INAPPROPRIATE for kids.
  6. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Hi, I've been in a similar situation with difficult child 1. He did not make physical contact with another child. He did ask her to though. And then for several months afterwards was very driven to get a little girl alone. He has also always been very aware of anything slightly sexual around him. When all this was happening the psychiatrist called cps. The therapist difficult child 1 was going to at the time told us there are 2 reasons for a child to be hypersexual one is they were sexually abuse and the second is a mood disorder.

    Even now years later I don't know which of these was the case with difficult child 1. He still reacts strongly to anything sexual around him. Tonight he was boarding on meltdown because difficult child 3 was looking at a store advertisement that happened to have bras on one line on the bottom of a page. difficult child 3 wasn't on that page and was looking at the games.

    What I did was supervise, supervise, supervise. At this time difficult child 1 got an aide at school to watch him during recess and lunch. difficult child 1 was not left alone with other kids; especially girls. He did start to act inappropriately with his brothers, so it was all kids he was supervised with. I taught difficult child 1 as much as I could without giving him more information than I thought he already had.

    I also deal with natural curiosity from my other kids. difficult child 3 likes to rub his penis on others because it feels good. We've caught him several times and it is not the same as what difficult child 1 did; even though what difficult child 3 is doing sounds much worse. There is no shame from difficult child 3 when he is caught. We are teaching him social boundaries. Just like we are teaching him to not pick his nose in public. Of course I'm mortified by difficult child 3's behaviors and teaching as fast as I can. He also doesn't try to hide it and its with clothes on and it doesn't look like sex. Not sure if that makes sense.

    Trust your feelings. If what your son is doing doesn't feel like natural curiosity trust that. Does he go to kindergarten? Could he have picked this up from someone at school?
  7. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Oh, something else I've thought about. Having been abused myself I have found that while I do have PTSD from the abuse I also can recognize it much easier than others and I know what to do about it better than others.

    I also have a therapist in my family that won't hear anything bad about difficult child 1. Just because she's a therapist doesn't mean that she won't go through a denial. She is a mother first and what you told her must have been hard for herv to heaqr.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I have very specific memories from childhood that were divided....we had times when as kids, around the same age as your son, we knew to hide in a secret place and do a show and tell kind of thing....all the kids in the neighborhood were there, we knew we were being sneaky but it did not feel cooerced or looking back I dont feel any shame or harm if that makes sense. There were other times we "played doctor". One girl and I even played we were married, taking turns who was the dad. All of those things to me were very innocent in actuality. Nothing actual sexual ever happened.

    On the other hand there was a boy across the street who would make me sit under a pool table with him and touch him and he wanted to touch me and I would say no but he would say that he would tell and I would get in trouble and he scared me. That was a power difference and that hurt me. I finally did tell him no to all of it and figured out ways to stay away from him by myself. I never told till I was an adult.

    The way things are in society now, people may over-react and I think your friend is wise to just be careful and not make a huge deal of it. Certainly that does not mean that she should not be careful for her daughter with your son or any little boy for that matter. There was a first grade boy who said he would punch me in the stomach if I didn't show him my girl parts and that was right in the classroom behind a little reading area divider! (I didn't and got away)

    If he has seen any how to make a baby books or such things I can see why he would get curious. And many of those books do not say how sex works, so they are really clueless about the details and think just touching parts is what does it. I remember being shocked when years after learning how a baby is made, I learned what happened to a boys privates in order for it to happen.

    I am being really candid here because I can see how this is still within normal, but clearly you want to be careful. I think you are doing a great job of balancing. It would be awful if he developed sexual problems because he thought he ruined lives etc...and you did not say anything like that to him. To me it sounds like he needs more boundary teaching, answers to questions and the knowledge that if he is ever curious you promise you will answer any question (he probably has heard that but needs it again and again) and he will not be in trouble for that.

    I agree with Lia, go with your gut, you probably have good instincts....especially given your past, but make sure you are not putting your issues onto him or the little girl. That is a hard balance to achieve. Keep checking things, make sure your doctor knows that the parents already know...even so, they are mandated reporters and could feel that they have to get cps involved. I would just be very very careful how you go about that. Depending on the cps worker, they can screw kids up more than the situation. I am NOT saying dont tell, just would hate for one of the not so good cps workers to interview the little girl and make more of it than the parents are comfortable with. I'd like to think they are all trained not to do harm or put ideas into kids heads but we all know that is not the case in every situation. Not to mention what they might say or do to your own child. IF you were parents who were sticking your head in the sand and not really dealing with the situation I would not feel this way and would actually want them involved just to make sure, but just my totally under educated gut in this case (in this area of issue, that is)...that you are going to explore every angle and cover all safety issues from now on so...just be careful. (and there are great cps people and some families actually get great supports and help through going through cps so I am not saying it is always a bad idea). Just thoughts...