Is my brother-in-law a paedophile?(135 Posts)
Hi I'm not sure if I'm in the right forum section but desperately need some advice...sorry this is long!
I have 2 boys aged 2 and 4. Sadly my elsest has special needs, severe speech, language and communication disorder so very vulnerable. We live down south and as most of my husband's famIly live up north, whenever they come over they stay for a good few days. My husband is very close to his 40 year old brother and I have always got on fine with him. The kids love him as he's just like a big kid himself and gives them so much attention, chase, rumble and tumble, pretends to be spiderman, buys them gifts etc so you could say he's the perfect uncle. However something has been bugging me the last few times we have seen him. God I don't know how to explain this....
A few weeks ago when he was here he offered to change my 2 year olds nappy. As I was busy doing something else, I happily agreed to this . They were upstairs for a while so I went up to see them and he had removed my sons nappy but hadn't put a new one on.
So he was just wearing a little vest. They were sat facing each other on the floor playing a ball game. I asked him why he hadn't got him dressed again and he just said "I thought it would do his skin good to have no nappy on for a bit." I found this quite odd seeing as he's not even a parent. It made me feel uncomfortable somehow. I tried to put any negative thought out my head.
Then last weekend we went up to my husbands parents for a few days. As soon as we arrived, the boys uncle was already there waiting as he lives local to them. He was playing with them, tickling them as usual and they were loving it. After we had tea, my eldest said he needed the toilet and straight away he offered to take him. I said "oh don't worry, he can go himself". 5 mins later he offered to give them a bath. I told him no need as they had already had one that morning. Then when I went into our guest room to unpack a few bits and get their pyjamas ready etc, my youngest was running around in the nude being a looney jumping off the bed etc and the uncle came in and started playing with him, he then made some comment like "look at you with your willy out, do you want me to flick it?" My gut feeling is that something isn't right and I haven't stopped thinking about it. I haven't told anyone as firstly he hasn't really done anything wrong and secondly just because my gut feeling tells me this is wrong i don't have any proof. I can't even tell my husband as he will think I'm being ridiculous plus the last thing I want to do is split the family up. Just so hard knowing what to do as whilst I can't tell anyone, all I want to do is protect my children more than anything just like any mum would.
Another thing that is bugging me is when my eldest was just 2 years old (so a couple of yrs ago), he took him to the park one winter, they were gone for absolutely ages to the point where me and DH were worried something had happened to them both. When they returned my son was so so upset, i had never seen him this upet before, and I could not console him. He cried for 2 hours. When I asked his uncle what had happened to upset him so much he simply told me that he was really cold. I remember going mental at the time and saying to my mum something wasn't right!!!
Please can someone tell me what I should do. Is this inappropriate behaviour? Or am I being silly? And if you were in my shoes what would you do with such little proof?
Thanks for reading
I don't think he sounds quite right, I'd be concerned too. I think you need to talk to your DH
At the beginning of your post I thought you might be over-reacting but I didn't by the end.
I would be if someone said anything about flicking a child's penis and the incident with your son being inconsolable after the park is worrying.
I would trust your gut instinct. His behaviour is inappropriate. I would not leave him alone with your children at all, ever. He may not have any awareness that his behaviour is concerning, he may not understand it himself, in which case you need to tread very carefully indeed. I agree with Suzy - I think the first step is to have a word with your DH because you will need a joint policy of not leaving your boys alone with their uncle.
I wouldn't leave him alone with your children.
Agree with DH and be really firm on it.
Tread very carefully and trust your gut instinct.
Thinking more about this, I wouldn't torture yourself with what may or may not have happened on the park trip two years ago. Your DS may have been upset because he was away from you for so long. As for the rest, though - as I said above, I think this needs some attention.
Trust your guts.
Never leave your boys alone with this man. Talk to your dh and make sure he does the same.
Agreed: don't leave your DC alone with this man. And if he offers to do things like take them to the toilet, say No loudly and clearly. It might also be a good idea to talk in public among the family about how you are teaching the DC about boundaries and their bodies belonging to them, so no touchy-feely stuff please.
If this man's a predator and self-aware, he will realise you are onto him. If he's thick and socially inept, he will still get the message that you are not going to let him behave inappropriately round your DC.
You are right, though, that there is nothing much you can do WRT involving police or SS on such slender evidence.
OP - you have more than your gut instinct to go on. You have clear evidence that his behaviour and what he has said is highly inappropriate and worrying - anyone would think that, just from what you say.
The tickling thing is a common strategy used by people with a sexual attraction to children - of course it is also used innocently enough, but coupled with the other behaviours and what he said to your ds, would be sufficient to concern anyone.
It's worrying you can't tell your husband, though - why not? Perhaps show him this thread?
You are not being ridiculous. It is just about possible you are wrong about this man's motivation, but you are not 'ridiculous' to be worried. Not in the least.
you are not being ridiculous, this is worrying behavoir.
there has been many times in my life i had wished that i had followed my gut instinct and 99% of the time i was right. our mothers instinct is there for a reason.
at the end of the day if you never let your children alone with him again and your wrong then its not a big deal.
if you ignore your instinct and your right the right the results could be terrible.
you don't have to tell anyone else in the family (unless you know he has contact with other kids?)
but you have to tell your husband, like someones already said, show him this thred?
Thanks ladies , am reeling at the the fact that my gut instinct is probably right. I know what you are all saying about telling DH, the problem is our relationship is in such a state. All the stress we have been through with finding out our eldest has a communication disorder, it's been heartbreaking and stressful sorting out statements, school etc and as a result we gave grown apart and argue so much. Im scared this will finish us off. And then if we do split, I won't be able to protect my kids when he takes them up to see family. He won't want to believe that his brother is like this, why would he. I'm still in shock myself at what's going on
I think, often in our culture, we are taught to distrust instinct. We like facts, hard evidence.
However there is something more to life, humanity has a rich history of intuition. Trust it and do not leave this man with your children.
So sorry to hear that op. do you think your DH has any of the same feelings as you at all, or would a discussion come totally out of the blue?
Levantine, DH husband has no idea! He has even invited him down to spend Christmas with us as he is single and he feels sorry for him
its a hard situation but you have to tell your DH, i would imagine that if you tell him everything you have put in your original post he will think about it.
he might not agree but if you tell him this is how you feel he has to respect that.
you have to do everything in your power to make sure that your kids are never alone with this man again.
if it comes down to it and your DH won't agree to keep them away i would personally tell the whole family.
they might all hate you but its a small price to pay for keeping your kids safe.
and if the uncle really hasn't done anything he will be so mortified about it HE will make sure his is never alone with the kids again.
i know that might seem a bit over the top but this is so serious, and i think you have very good reason to be worried.
you have to tell your husband ASAP, you can't let this man stay in your home.
You must tell him. Tell him te facts, what you heard bil say. He may not want to hear it but he won't forget it.
I'll say it again....the OP has facts and hard evidence. No well-meaning adult person suggests a 4 year old child invites them to touch their (the child's) private parts, or draws attention to their private parts, whether as part of a 'game' or not.
Even if all the other stuff about nappy changing and bathing and taking to the toilet is open to a more benign interpretation, that 'invitation' is clear as day.
The man is 40 - he's gonna know the score. OP, you don't need to rely on your gut instinct to know he is bad news. Your DH has to know, and he may be disinclined to think the offers of nappy changing and bathing are innocent, but the words he used in your hearing cannot be.
disinclined to hear the nappy changing stuff is not innocent, sorry.
that's weird. my brothers would never in a million years have offered to give baths or change nappies. encouraging children to take off their clothes is a normal thing............ but what to do? hmmm I don't envy you.
sorry, i mean it's not a normal thing. most people would say to kids 'put your pants back on now!'.
Its a sensitive one as its your husbands brother. Speak to your husband and let him know how you feel. You both can decide what to do.
Not a nice situation to be in, I send my support at this challenging time.
I fully understand your concern's, as I too have two children, one of which has SN and is non verbal, you will have to be extra vigilant when in Dbil company, as his behaviour seem's more than a little worrying to me. I fully understand your unwillingness to approach your Dh about your concern's, especially as you are both going through a period of grieving which we went through when our Dc1 was diagnosed some 10 years ago, it particularly hit my Dh very hard, myself well i'd be lying if I said no it didn't affect me, but then I always felt there wasn't something quite right. Trust me things will get better! With regards to your Dbil I would try and pick the right moment with your Dh to air your concern's, he may get cross and angry with you for even mention such a thing, but at least you have planted the seed of doubt in his mind, and he will possibly not knowingly watch his Db more closely. Remember that your children are young and vunerable, you have to be their eye's, ear's and voice.
tiktok is absolutely right - the biggest red flag is your BIL suggesting to your DS that DS would like BIL to touch DS's genitals. Massive, massive red flag.
The flicking thing is frankly bizarre.
I wouldn't be stressing too much without that - I have a 40 yo single friend who regularly comes over to spend time with my children, and has changed many nappies, given many baths, and would probably have made a similar comment about nappy free time.
And I've been late back from many places courtesy of screaming and inconsolable babies/toddlers, particularly if it's cold (my youngest is also sn).
So, I'm not concerned about anything else - but an adult suggesting a kid wants him to flick his willy? that would be unnerving. I'm assuming he's not a rugger bugger who spends every weekend frolicking in a jolly manly way with towels in locker rooms, where that sort of behaviour would be seen as evidence of him attempting to male bond with his nephew in a perfectly normal and harmless way?
Ultimately, though, if something is unnerving you, then you have to pay attention to it.
Hmmm... my DH changes my DS's nappies and baths him but has always been vehemently against doing this for my niece because it makes him uncomfortable. I think there are very few men who would volunteer to change nappies/ bath children that aren't their own. My immediate family (mum and dad and sisters) love seeing my 2yo DS run around naked, my mum always volunteers to give him time without his nappy and i often tell him i'm going to bite his bum because it's so peachey perfect. But my BILs feel uncomfortable with his nakedness in a way they are not with their own children.
I was fine with most of the things you said OP until the 'flick your willy' comment which did something odd to my stomach. And the incident 2 years ago. Even though you only have a gut instinct that might be wrong, i would not be leaving my DCs alone with this man. You were given an instinct for a reason.
I know that we can get hyper vigilant these days, but the flicking of penis comment is just wrong.
Being enthusiastic about changing nappies, toilet, bath is also a tad suspect. I helped out at a morning playgroup and boy, no one was fighting for the privilege of changing nappies. Anyway, it was always done in the open.
It is very difficult as your suspect is a family member. I cannot recommend how best to approach the subject, but at any rate, do put in place separation/ protection strategies for when you visit.
Unfortunately, paedophiles exist (a family member was 'diagnosed' so to speak a few years back). When unsure, it is best to be cautious. The alternative is not an option. At worse, you offend a X feeling, but no one is hurt.
Trust your instinct. I find it very odd that a 40 year old man, with no children himself, would offer to change nappies and bath your children. I have recently discovered that a close relative to my kid has been looking at child pornography and he now has the sex offender status. Thankfully, I had never left my kids unsupervised with him anyway, but obviously, I am now very careful to ensure that he has no opportunities to do anything untoward to the kids. The social worker who spoke to us to discuss his sex offender status told us to look out in particular for him offering to change nappies and taking our eldest to the toilet etc. Unfortunately you have little choice but to discuss this with your DH but whatever happens don't just let this be shrugged off, trust your instinct and ensure that your kids are never left alone with this man. Good Luck, it's a terrible thing that we have to worry about close family being a threat to our children, but sometimes it can be seemingly the nicest people that you have to watch out for.
How worrying for you. I actually think you should mention this to the police in case there is a file on him. Nothing to lose. Maybe they could search his computer. As others have said, you must tell your DH.
Thanks for all your amazing support, I certainly don't feel alone anymore. Feel like I have been carrying a massive burden all week and feeling much better at talking about it and to also know I'm not going crazy imagining stuff. Feel
Good plan sh77 is it Sarah's law that allows you to check up,on people your child comes into contact with if you feel they may not be trustworthy?
Am not sure how you could approach it with DH, could you say that your DS has mentioned that he is worried that his uncle might suggest that he flicks him again? Could that open up the conversation?
I think your concerns are real too.
Definitely trust your instincts.
Don't give him any opportunity to be alone with your children. How awful for you.
Thanks for all your amazing support, I certainly don't feel alone anymore. Feel like I have been carrying a massive burden all week and feeling much better at talking about it and to also know I'm not going crazy imagining stuff. Feeling angry right now that bil has put me in such an awful position but yes you are all right, I have no choice but to tell DH. Its just a case of when I tell him, need to find the right time, definately by the end of the week. My worry is he is going to find it strange that I didn't mention it sooner? And how the hell am I going to approach the issue? X
Is he in a position where he comes into daily contact with other peoples children? Youth work or anything like that?
Checkpoint Charlie - that would have been an ideal way to being it up but it was my 2 year old who he said it to so he doesn't yet have that much language, nor does my 4 year old because of his speech problem. You know, he was in a relationship with someone who had an 8 year old girl, as far as I know nothing dodgy happened as they are still semi friends even after the relationship finished. But one thing I know is that when they were living together his girlfriend kicked hm out once for catching him looking at teenage porn. I think it was shortly after this that they finished but think it was over something else.
Maybe that could be your way in, you are worried that if he looks at teenage porn, he might leave it lying around? Then say actually you know I have wondered if this is normal.... And then say about the flicking.... You could ask your DH if they used to do it when they were little or something and say that he said it to your son and does be think that is ok?
Scarlett - no he doesn't work with kids but I know he loves kids and often takes his best friends children out for the day as they have 4 kids so does it to help out to give them a break. What I'm confused about, as far as I know he's not gay so why would he like boys?
I don't think jimmy saville was gay either! Being a sex offender is a mental perversion, so adult sexual orientation is irrelevant.
Sorry to hear about your situation Marmite. I can't say anything more helpful than what's been said already; I do agree though that you shouldn't feel bad about thinking this.
My twopenneth on the not gay/likes boys thing is that I presume a paedophile just sees victims as children, rather than male & female. A very young boy would be much the same as a very young girl in terms of the influence a paedophile could have over them. The Jimmy Savile revelations have unfortunately highlighted that.
scarlettsmummy has said it much better! Exactly what I thought.
The nappy incident on its own wouldn't be so bad; people are often advised to leave a small child's nappy off for a while as it's 'good for the skin', and it could have been the case that he'd read or heard it somewhere.
But add in all the other stuff and no, it's not looking good at all. OP, you will have to talk to your H about this, and if he's unreasonable, or won't listen, or threatens to leave you (on 'How dare you call my brother a nonce?' grounds), then it might be a good idea to seek outside help, at least by giving the NSPCC a call to ask their advice anonymously.
I was expecting to tell you that you are being ridiculous and over reacting but this is VERY odd inappropriate behaviour.
I'm a foster carer and have looked after abused and abusive young people. In not at all hysterical but I would be concerned in your situation too. I don't think there is evidence enough to report him but does he have contact with any other children? Volunteering etc? This could be a red flag but also would mean it would be important for you to think about doing something 'official'.
I have looked after abused children who have behaved similarly and have gone on to be abusers.
Being straight doesn't make men like little girls.
Being gay doesn't make them like little boys.
The two things are just not related - if he is sexually attracted to children it might be to boys or girls or both, whether or not his other interest is adult men.
Trust your instincts. At the very least your BIL is making it difficult for your DCs to have clear boundaries, leaving them vulnerable to abuse by BIL/other people.
Encourage your children to have clear boundaries by ensuring that you and people around them respect their bodies. Eg. No unwanted tickling, don't ask them to kiss/hug relatives if they don't want to etc. Read a children's book with them called The Right Touch, good for helping even very young children understand that their bodies belong to them.
It's not looking good. I would trust your instincts and tell your OH x
Ok- must remember to tell ds never to change his baby cousin's nappy ever again.
Well if he wants to flick his cousin's wilyl as well, probably a good idea. If it was just a case of changing nappies this would be a non issue, but it's not, it's inappropriate behaviour.
Another voice here to say this is not right at all and not to let him anywhere near your children in future.
Valium, people on this thread have sqid that a man offering to change a baby's nappy or help with bathtime is a "red flag".
I agree the willy flicking thing is odd- but my dp's grandfather used to say he'd get his scissors out if he saw a grandchild or great grandchild's willy. I didn't like it, but it didn't make him a paedophile.
Offering to bath and toilet children who are capable of going by themselves,not putting a nappy on because he felt the child didn't need it, asking to flick his willy, being gone for ages and child being upset afterwards. Having a serious feeling something isn't quite right.
You are right , no singular thing is odd ( except for the willy flicking which is pretty bloody odd!) but all together that seems pretty inappropriate behaviour and nothing like a cousin changing his baby cousin's nappy.
I think that people have said that childless men offering to help at bathtime is unusual. It's the other behaviour that is the red flag.
OP - i'm as easy going as they come and I would be concerned about this. I feel for you.
Everybody else - there is no need to think because of this thread you should do anything differently with your male relatives. I love and trust my bils dearly. The difference is the Op has a gut instinct telling her something is amiss. She didn't look for this, it's just come to her. Children are abused in the home sometimes. It's a fact. Knowing that does not make you hysterical.
And saying you will chop willies off with scissors is a a very 'Grandparenty' thing to say to encourage kids to be modest, similar to my granny saying she'd chop my tongue off if I lied. 'Shall we flick your willy' - nope that is really bloody inappropriate.
p.s going to tell DH on Sunday as its the only chance we will have to talk this weekend. It's the hardest thing I have ever had to do!!
sorry... I mean it's GOING to be the hardest thing I have ever had to do!
Hope he takes you seriously op.
Good luck Marmite - we'll all be thinking of you and I hope it goes ok.
Would it help maybe to show him this thread, or at least your first post?
Good luck Marmite Just remember, its better to have the conversation and deal with the potential argument than to NOT have the conversation and to have your children exposed to a paedophile
Show him this thread
Not only will he then have the facts, he will see how reluctant you were to think 'bad thoughts' and he will see the opinion of others (which should help to stop the 'hysterical' argument in it's tracks)
For what it's worth, I have no idea whether you BIL is a paedophile. The behaviour seems a bit off, but MAY be innocent. The park incident is worrying, but again MAY be innocent. For me, your gut instinct is almost the most damning evidence of all.
Show your DH this thread and for the sake of your sanity and in case your instinct is right, don't let BIL spend time alone with the children.
Also remember that it all might be entirely innocent, dispite trial by mumsnet. Tell your dh your concerns- but be cautions and sensitive. And have in the back of your mind that you might be wrong.
That's definitely not right. Please trust your instincts and don't leave your children alone with him.
Most abuse happens with family member/close friend.
I would tell your DH as other posters have mentioned. 4 years is not too young to have a talk with about private areas and not keeping secrets etc.
If I were in that situation, I wouldn't want to see BIL again.
Good luck OP.
Good luck on Sunday OP. Your thread reminded me of another recently where a mum was unsure about a few things that had happened around nappy changes etc, but in that case it was the grandmother.
I know the op in that thread rang the nspcc helpline for advice and seemed to find them really useful. So perhaps consider a chat with the nspcc? They must deal with these kind of issues a lot and could give you impartial advice.
yy, seeker. As I said, I have a single friend who is identical, and kids get hysterical in cold parks frequently. The only thing I would question is the flicking comment, but that too can be explained by the whole rugger bugger male bonding thing, if that's the type of guy he is. Still inappropriate, but not a sign of paedophilia iykwim. the rest of it is good sound parenting and is only suspect because he is a single male of a certain age with no kids, which is the crappest of crap reasons to shout 'paedo', however sensitively. It shows up our own prejudices.
Instincts can be right, but you can be mistaken too.
re the willy flicking game - it's the sort of thing I can see bil doing. He has three kids, all boys, and would see it some sort of crap game meant to get them to put their trousers back on. It won't, obv. It's like kids shouting 'no, no, don't tickle me!' and holding their shirts up so you get better access to their tummies...
Bit grim, and I wouldn't have it in my house, but it's the sort of ridiculous game that some families play, if they don't have any major hang ups about genitalia, and don't see that it could lead to discussions around paedophilia or make children uncomfortable. It doesn't have to be sexual. It can be inappropriate without him being a paedophile, iyswim.
Dh is into rugby ( is that what you meant by rugger bugger?) he wouldn't ask if his nephew wanted his penis flicked, and would think it very inappropriate behaviour and so I disagree that it can be explained.
I agree instincts can be wrong sometimes, so I am not suggesting going in all guns blazing at all.
It can be inappropriate without him being a paedophile, iyswim.
Yy, sorry. I was in no way suggesting this was a fine and dandy thing to be doing, just that I can see a context where it would just be a funny ha ha get your pants on or I'll flick your willy type thang.
It ain't a game I'm comfortable with, and I would find it inappropriate for a number of reasons, but it doesn't necessarily mean the perpetrator is harbouring undesirable thoughts wrt his nephew, or indeed have any particular desire to touch, flick, or otherwise. He might have thought it was a good threat to use to get him to put his trews on. <yick>
It is exactly the sort of shite that bil would find hilarious. <petitions for divorce on dsis's behalf>
I think you should have your husband read this. There is too much to say to get him to listen to it all in a conversation. I think he would just refute things and not be able to listen to anything further.
The time when your son was sobbing hysterically for two hours won't leave my mind. Poor little boy.
I've had my kids sob hysterically for two hours in my own company. Particularly if they are cold or overwrought from being out for too long.
It's a reasonably common thing in little kids and doesn't mean he's a paedo. He may well be, but a kid crying means nowt.
I am very u comfortable with this. I am always wary of "trust your instincts'. This man has done nothing wrong except make an ill judged comment. Which he made in the presence of the child's mother! And one person actually suggested that she should go to the police. She is risking a huge family explosion- on what grounds?
quite. The police suggestion is frankly risible.
What would you say? 'he offered to change my child's nappy and one time one of them cried after he took them out. And, erm, he threatened to flick x's willy because he was running round with no trousers on, and he doesn't make them get dressed in the house!'
If this was a single woman, or a bloke with kids, there would be a different discussion. Just because he's a single man doesn't mean he deserves a witch hunt.
You don't have to like the way he is with your kids. But it doesn't make him a paedophile. There's nothing on this thread that is definitive one way or another. Sure, you owe it yourself and your kids to think on it, but don't get carried away.
<and next time he says 'I'll flick yer willy' say 'don't be ridiculous x'. He'd probably blush furiously and go 'omg! I didn't mean like that!!' And be horrified that it had crossed your mind. That would save weeks of angst.>
Actually that is the one thing I would add, because in reality, it is going to be nearly impossible for you to prevent your bil having any access to your children, he's bound to have opportunities no matter how vigilent you try to be. The next best thing really is to show him clearly you are alert to him. Next time something odd happens, allow yourself to react enough for him to know you are not comfortable with whatever he has said/done. Try and create some discomfort so he doesn't feel so free with your boys.
Abuse is insidious. Parents are part of the target, if the parents trst you, you get access. Once an abuser has trust, the child is extremely vulnerable. I've read cases where a child was abused in the back of a car while mum drove. You cannot underestimate and the only thing that can prevent is your instinct. By the time there is proof, it's too late.
No, I wouldn't like this either.
On the one hand it could all be innocent, there's nothing wrong with someone being a fun uncle and hands-on but there are just too many "little things" that all add up to a slightly dodgy picture.
I do think it's odd that he didn't put the nappy back on the child immediately and that the willy-flicking comment was strange. My sister is a youth-worker and tickling is IIRC one of the things she regards as suspicious.
I think you need to tread a careful line here because if your instincts are not right and you steam in then the damage caused will be irreparable.
Someone further upthread suggested saying that you are teaching your children that their bodies are private and that is a brilliant suggestion and, played right, one that could protect your children whilst avoiding any confrontation with your husband.
Children with communication problems like your eldest often have difficulty interpreting body language or sensing danger. You can say that it is vital that you are consistent in teaching him that only mummy and daddy can bath him, help him go to the toilet etc. For the sake of consistency and understanding it's best that he sees the same thing happening with your youngest. If I were you, the only thing I would say to your OH at this stage is that the person/people involved with your eldest's special needs help is that it is important that he understands this for his own safety and just mention in passing that you realise this might be hurtful to his brother when you say no more bathing/changing nappies etc you are sure he will understand that it's for your son's safety as otherwise anyone could take advantage of him.
That's what you need to say - when he comes for Christmas just make sure he's not alone with the children for any length of time. I wouldn't fret about tickling tbh - I think it's sad that this is seen as a flag by youth workers.
You need to balance your need to protect your children with the possibility that your instincts are wrong. I think that if you are vigilant and don't give BIL the chance to abuse your boys then things should be fine. Don't be frightened though, if he says/does anything odd in your presence again, to say "that's a bit of an inappropriate thing to say" or "that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, why would you say something like that"
Hope this helps - might be a better option than having a huge row with your OH x
I think the important thing for weighing up 'red flag' vs 'not over-reacting' is about proportions.
If someone is very involved in your childrens lives and helps out in lots of ways, then that is likely to include but not be limited to nappies and baths.
Similarly if someone in your life tends to volunteer themselves for all the messy jobs then that is likely to include but not be limited to nappies.
So, if someone happens to volunteer to do those things, but they are also likely to volunteer to make up bottles, amuse fractious children, and help with everything else and/or they are also the one fetching the bucket when you throw up, cleaning up after the dog, etc, then it's probably not an issue.
It's when someone who doesn't do much else with your children, and doesn't generally volunteer for mucky tasks, specifically seems to be always volunteering for the jobs which include near-naked children that it is fair game to wonder why that might be the case.
It doesn't prove it - they may have just heard a heart-felt plea from another parent that no-one ever volunteers for nappy duty and feel they are helping you out. But it's reasonable to think about it, and to consider whether you need to be a bit more cautious around them.
Tickling is not actually v enjoyable and it gives the tickler power over the ticklee. It's something that people who don't understand children v well do to try to appear great with kids.
The nappy changes, willy flicking is totally inappropriate and it appears your bil has no insight into his behaviour.
Your boys need you to protect them from this man.
Hard. You and your dh have to be on the same page and he's in for a shock, but it has to be done for the children's safety.
I wonder if you could obtain some guidance from the NSPCC... sorry OP it's painful. Have been through similar, v stressful. Glad you are getting lots of kind and helpful responses in here
I was abused by a man who used tickling as the first step to other things.
Hi, I know how you feel as I went through something similar, my sisters partner was acting very odd around my children too. Especially my ds. Too much to write down but long story short I went online and get the details of how to do a police check on him. It can tell you if they have ever been reported for something of that nature before and like someone said before taught my ds about our "private" parts and openly discussed this with my family in front of him. I really think this is your best route as he didn't try any odd behaviour again and my him and my sister broke up after her baby was born. Have not seen him since last Christmas :-) x
I think talking about this issue with your DH will be better, because he is the brother he will know better if his brother has the capability to be a paedophile or maybe he is just excited to be a parent/father.
My brother is also playful with the kids and also we also joke the kids about the flickering things though he never offered to change any of the kids diaper, but I must admit mother's instinct should not be ignore. So talk with your DH and solved what is the next moved both of you will do for this issue. Goodluck!
Went cold when I read this thread .
If I were you I'd begin the conversation by saying - your brother said something I felt very uncomfortable about last weekend ... Then explain the flicking comment and see how he reacts. I agree he needs to know but completly understand its Really tough for you. We found out some stuff about my dads uncle who use to try it on with boys, made me feel sick to the stomach & want to find said uncle who is still alive and chop it off quite frankly! We also had a random relative who liked to tickle a lot and I always remember hiding behind my mum as a kid when he was there. My gut feeling as an adult is that he was not right.
Hope the conversation goes well, keep us posted. Really feel for you.
It's difficult as others have said you've listed how hands on he is at volunteering for happy change, baths etc but not other things, if he's hands on with everything then maybe u are being over cautious and honing in on the happy changes etc.
The flicking thing is bizarre but not totally out there, I often tell my DS and possibly friends DS's to put their pants on else a birdie will fly down and peck it off, maybe the flicking thing is a variation on that, maybe his DM used to say it to him?
Just putting out all possibilities.
How do u think DH will react? Is he generally calm and weighs things up? Or will he likely be shocked and angry?
Either way u have to make sure DBil is not left along with them and keep them covered up, no more naked messing around when he's around.
what an uncomfortable situation for you.
Did he know you could hear the flicking comment?
Did you say anything to him at the time?
I'm not going to name the country for fear of upsetting a whole nation but I have a bunch of relatives in another , English speaking country whose sense of play and humour regards boy children is exactly like that and it makes me cringe every time. In their case there is definitely nothing sinister going on , it's just a really odd cultural thing.
Have you had a chance to speak to your husband?
Just another though...say your instincts are right, but you don't say anything to you DH for fear of your relationship falling off a cliff...what happens if something happens in the future with this man? Would you tell DH that you knew something was wrong previously? How would he react if you knew something and didn't tell him?
For me there would be no question. Tell DH and protect the kids, at all costs. Don't wait until it's too late. You have more to lose than gain by keeping your feelings from your DH.
Just been reading through all of this, hope you managed to speak to DH about it
Hope it went ok op, been thinking of you x
Is there a chance that he didn't put the nappy back on because he didn't know how?? Or ds wriggled too much & he was embarrassed to say he couldn't get the nappy on? (clutching at straws..)
Anyone who thinks they can excuse someone who thinks its ok to flick someone's willy, is, quite frankly, off their rocker.
Keep this man away from your children.
There are no suspicions, this is real FFS.
He didn't flick, he said something like "shall I...." My ds's grandfather used to talk about cutting off any willies he saw. He wasn't a paedophile. The OP's bil may or may not be a paedophile, but I wouldn't convict a dog on the evidence given on this thread.
I agree that there's not enough 'evidence' to 'convict'. But I also agree strongly with those who've suggested letting BIL know in no uncertain terms that you are uncomfortable with his behaviour, regardless of whether you take it any further, and that it's hands off with your children now. I am a childminder and one of the things we were taught in safeguarding training is that potential abusers are often very easily put off - if they think there's the slightest chance they've been rumbled or that someone is being vigilant then they will back off.
You couldn't convict him, of course not. But I wouldn't leave my child alone with him either.
Good advice about firing a warning shot to him that you are not happy with his inappropriate behaviour. You are right to protect your DS by not leaving them alone with him / teaching them that their bodies are their own etc, but you may need backup from your DH as you cannot always be with the DCs 24/7.
I really feel for you as it is an awful position to be in.
I think you'd have to be insane to write it off as within the realms of normal.
"would you like me to flick" is not the same as an empty threat. Not how I read it.
This sort of blasé attitude is exactly why children are more at risk of abuse within their own home by supposedly caring family members. People turn a blind eye, laugh it off and cannot believe that "uncle x/granddad/Aunty" would do such a thing. They think of paedophiles as being scary strangers with long coats and dirty beards or at the other end of a dodgy Facebook account.
iggly I completely agree 'would you like me to flick?' implies that it will feel nice and is very different from 'cover yourself up or I'll chop your willy off' comments from grandparents about wanting to protect modesty.
Actually if this was a girl and a relation(male of female) said 'Shall we touch your breasts?' I think people might see it as more inappropriate.
Don't know why I used breasts as an example
'Shall we rub between your legs?'
Appropriate? Nope, don't think so.
Right, but rubbing has completely different connotations. Flicking (ie with a rolled up towel in a similar naked changing room scenario) in this context isn't sexual at all.
Or it doesn't have to be anyway. It smacks of adolescent 'we're so funny to do this to each other if we get the chance' behaviour, which could presumably be typical from a single bloke who didn't evolve past that stage.
Girls don't do towel flicking, in my experience, it seems to be a uniquely male preserve.
You are changing the whole scenario to use the word "rub". "Shall I rub your willy?" BIL out the door and police called.
There was no mention of flicking with a towel - the presumption is that it would be flicking with his hand. It's just a supposedly non-threatening way of saying touch. If you alter the question to be 'do you want me to touch your willy?' how does that not make your stomach churn??
How did the discussion go, op?
I wouldn't have thought with a towel either.
"Shall we flick between your legs?"
Nope, still wrong.
Doesn't say anything in the OP about the Uncle having a towel either so presumably he meant with his hand. Either way it's inappropriate.
No, I know he didn't have a towel, but it's just the locker room, all boy's together, male bonding crapola.
It does not have to be sexual.
And highly unlikely to be.
But nowhere near the amount of handwringing and gut wrenching and 'makes me feel sick' drama going on here.
He's a single bloke who quite possibly does not get the parental angst related to children's genitalia. And so was employing his own adolescent stylee bonding techniques erroneously.
It's still innaproprriate, but it doesn't make him a paedo. I doubt he would have said anything if the op had had a girl (and probably wouldn't be so free about nappy changes etc) as he's probably grasped community paranoia about little girls and paedos. But thinks he's just bonding with his nephews in an all men together way that couldn't be misconstrued.
How wrong can you be, eh?
Madwoman my DH is no hysterical hand wringer, but what was described in the opening page would give him pause for thought too.
Pause for thought, yep. It made me pause for thought too. And I'm encouraging pausing for thought.
I'm not encouraging 'he is a single man and is happy to be around naked nephews = he must be a paedo'.
He could just be a caring and helpful uncle who needs a wee bit of guidance as lots of people have bigger hang ups about genitalia and little kids than he does.
He could still be a danger.
But he might not.
I's the thought that's important, not the knee jerk stuff. Instinct has to play a part (and at no point have I said 'oh, ignore it, he's not a paedophile'. I have merely attempted to dissuade the hysteria lest an innocent man get burned and a family broken up as a result.
And yy <waits for wave of hysteria about lest the innocence of babies get tarnished) I get that too.
But don't overreact without due cause.
Thought is jolly important.
Is it possible that the most horrified on this thread do not have older sons, or did not grow up with brothers?
Because while it is a bit of a daft thing to say, and if a no family member said something like that, or if I overheard anyone saying it in a covert way to a small child, then I would be alarmed. But with a loved and involved uncle I would probably just put it down to boysie banter. Particularly as it was said openly in front of the OP. And it is completely different to saying "how would you like me to touch your penis?" or anything similar to a girl. Simply because girls are not entertained by their own and others genitals the way boys are- and the way some men still are.
Yes, he could be a paedophile. And the op should be vigilant. But nothing she has said suggests to me that drastic, damaging action needs to be taken at this stage.
Is it possible that the most horrified on this thread do not have older sons, or did not grow up with brothers?
Not in my case, no.
OP, the main thing here is that you feel something is not right. I have a boyfriend who tickles my little girl who is 3 and I have never got the feeling there is anything odd about it. It is not what is being done but how it is being done and how it makes you feel - you are not being ridiculous here. The flicking willy comment is very very odd.
The most important thing is not to let this man be alone with your children at any time imo.
Is it possible that the most horrified on this thread do not have older sons, or did not grow up with brothers?
Er I have two brothers.
I was horrified because of the combination of things in the OP. to dismiss a mother's concerns - her instinct is telling her something is wrong - is foolish.
I am not dismissing her concerns. I am saying that she needs to be vigilant. But that as far as I can see the only thing this man did which was not the perfectly normal action of an involved uncle is the willy flicking remark, and the are many families where that would be perfectly normal too.
I don't think the nappy thing is odd...when I used to change my nephews' nappies I'd often let them run/crawl around bare-bummed for a while afterwards. My sisters/ILs/parents used to do the same with DS when he was in nappies.
The willy flicking comment was odd, but I'd have pulled him up on it at the time. When my FIL made a random comment about chopping DS's willy off I laughed and said 'what a strange thing to say, there's no willy chopping going on in this house' (more to reassure highly sensitive and literal DS rather than because I suspect FIL is a paedophile).
You have been given some good advice about how to deal with this, but please do tread carefully, there is a lot at stake here for everyone involved. Good luck OP.
No one is dismissing any concerns.
Merely trying to provide an alternative and perfectly rational other explanation to counter the rising tide of paedo fear against a single bloke, who <hang him> helps with his nephews.
Every single 'it could be an entirely innocent' explanation was accompanied by a necessity for vigilance, rather than knee jerkery.
To pretend that anyone who can see an alternative to this bloke definitely being a paedophile is somehow missing the point, is, er, missing the point.
It could all be perfectly innocent, just a bit misguided in the flicking department.
And quite, as I said earlier, bil has three sons. I can see him making the willy flicking comment without a moment's pause for thought. He's an idiot, and I dislike him immensely, but he ain't a paedophile.
I always tell ds to leave it alone or it'll turn blue and fall off.
Bil would see the 'put it away or I'll flick it' remark in exactly the same light.
i think OP, it matters not what he is or isnt - the fact is that you have witnessed behaviour that you dont like and makes you feel uncomfortable is enough for you to say you dont like it and you dont want him to to do it. End of. You are the boys mother - you get to say who does what with who.
i actually do think that instincts are there for a reason.
Did i see a post earlier up thread about him having a relationship end due to him looking at underage porn?
"i think OP, it matters not what he is or isnt - the fact is that you have witnessed behaviour that you dont like and makes you feel uncomfortable is enough for you to say you dont like it and you dont want him to to do it. End of. You are the boys mother - you get to say who does what with who."
Oh, lord, I can't begging to express how much I disagree with this sentence!
well, im just thinking about my own personal experience there seeker really, i used to jump every time my SF went anywhere near my son.
when i realised i could stop the behaviour that was causing me anxiety it was a relief.
but he was a bastard and i knew all about it. i wasnt guessing.
i just think that without getting hyserical, if the mum is jumpy about something, she has a right to feel that way and put a stop to it if it makes her, or potentially her child, feel uncomfortable. im not sure id have felt ok if my brother in law had told DD he would flick her vagina
i cant begin to speculate about the man or his motives one way or the other.
older children you can talk to. it may all be absolutely innocent. but usually, for me, i go by one rule - if it looks wrong, if it feels wrong, its wrong.
But the trouble is, until someone actually offends, then you don't have a case. And by then, the damage is done.
You have to go by those feelings that something isn't quite right and of course you have a right as a parent to tell someone that you're not comfortable with their behaviour.
And there isn't a paedophile on every corner, by any means but far better to put a stop to slightly suspect behaviour rather than regret it later.
Z" im not sure id have felt ok if my brother in law had told DD he would flick her vagina "
No, neither would I. But for all the reason I and other have sqid, that's different.
It was a more of a ' I heard he looked at teen porn, and the relationship finished some months later/ the next year, I wonder if it was connected' type thing, I think.
Given that this has been known about for some time and wasn't deemed to be a problem originally by the op, I presumed it had been 18/ 19 yos, rather than 13 yos. It was largely presumption and hearsay, in any case, I think. Certainly the information hadn't been much of a red flag to her at the time, and she didn't see him as a threat to her dcs at that point etc.
Sure, the op should have made clear it wasn't appropriate. But surely in your line of work you wouldn't be following the advice of a poster up thread to call the police?
Parents have an absolute right to raise their kids how they want, and innaproprriate willy flicking threats are included. I wouldn't want him branded a paedophile on that basis alone, though. One wrong word and he's going to get a good kicking from some vigilante.
(Lol, I meant they had every right to stop inappropriate willy flicking threats . I suppose I do know a good few parents who would think willy flicking threats are indeed appropriate, but it all depends on context and parental views)
no - calling police would be a bit premature i reckon! im not saying he is some raging child molester either.
really far from it.
but i am saying its not wrong to trust your instincts and be guarded around people who make you feel odd or uncomfortable.
every day i go to work we get shown a new photo....they are all someones uncle/brother/dad/partner. its ridiculous to get hysterical about it. its not ridiculous to teach your kids about whats ok and whats not ok and to watch out for them if something makes you feel a bit odd.
thats all im saying. nothing more.
My bil is a police officer. He said he has been shocked in how many people have this kind of disorder....the appetite for child porn...as in the numbers of people viewing it. Be cautious. Not many men are keen to change nappies and give baths even of their own children so that is a red flag.
Former Mayor of my home town - pillar of society, school governor, County Councillor who at one time had responsibility for Children's services - has just been sent to prison after being foiund guilty of ammassing FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND indecent images of children on his pc over two decades. It only came to light as a result of a fraud investigation.
Men who do this kind of thing are adept at covering their tracks
Pitmountainpony, that is an outdated and deeply crap attitude, to be frank. With idiotic comments like that rife amongst women, it is no wonder that men can't be arsed or are too afraid to do their share.
What a lot of horse.
Is the former mayor the op's bil, forty plus? That would be the only reason I can spot for it being relevant.
Hope you managed to talk to your dh.
Hi OP, sorry I came late to this.
OK, as I see it
a) BIL is a paedophile
b) BIL doesn't know what it or isn't appropriate. At first glance I thought the 'flick' comment was odd, but it could be embarassement on BIL's behalf. My friend's sister cannot stand to see children naked. Even a toddler on a beach and will say some things that could be interpreted a number of ways.
In both cases you want the same thing. For your children to be safe and for his behaviour to change.
You need to talk to your dh and BIL.
If you want to think the best, then explain that due to ds1's special needs you are having to train him about acceptable contact earlier than you would like, and that you are doing this with both children. In fact you can tell the wntire family this.
Both boys are going to be told about 'the bathing suit', and that no adult, unless they are mum / dad or a Dr /nurse should ever touch them in the area that their bathing suit (trunks / shorts) covers when they go swimming. Even if it is a Dr or nurse mum or dad will have to give permissiom or be there.
If anyone does touch them there and they can't get straight to mum or dad then they should scream and shout and kick and bite.
The same applies to anyone suggesting touching them there, or wanting to see that area.
I know that is quite adult language, but I'm sure you can scale it to your own children.
Hi op I just wanted to add as I think this is such an awful situation to be in that I work in protection services and to please not wait until you have hard evidence as such. Please act now to protect your children in simple ways as everyone should. Try your best to I still in them what is private and that no one should touch them there unless its really necessary as in infection etc and try and ensure that your bil is not alone with your children if you are concerned or doing any intimate tasks. Also let him know as others have said that you are instilling boundaries, eg if he makes any inappropriate comment say, please don't say that I don't want him getting a wrong impression, or I don't think that's appropriate, please don't do/say that.
Most paedophilias start off with minor transgressions and increase them as they realise they can get away with it/ gain trust of the adults and child.
Your bil may or may not be inclined to do anything, but don't take the risk and protect your children from potential abuse from him or others. Teach them now and build an atmosphere of awareness and safety.
Your dp may well be aghast at any suggestion of impropriety by his brother and do discussing it with him may result in him opposing you and going out of his wag to show that his brother is trustworthy which may backfire on any protective measures you can put in place. You are the best one to judge your dp and his reaction. I just know that families can be totally blind to abuse even where there is strong evidence.
Good luck and I'm sure you will act appropriately.
I think you know the answer to your own question OP - and in my book your BIL is behaving very inappropriately indeed: he sounds like a paedophile to me.
I wouldn't go to the police about him yet, but if anything else happens over christmas, do go to the police.
In fact, I'd ask that the BIL DIDN'T come for xmas. Just tell him, sorry, and don't explain.
If your DH isn't on board, it will be difficult, but you have your boys to protect.
Don't worry about what happened in the park years ago - you can't do anything about that now, and your instincts are right, so you are a good mum.
Good luck with it - It's a difficult situation, but paedophiles invariably are someone you know and trust - not strangers.
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