Intimidating behaviour by other parent to DS(84 Posts)
Looking for help. DS is 7, and was changing after Swimming Lessons. There are two sisters, same age. he knows well from school (he's moving schools shortly), also in the same swimming lesson, they often talk and lark around with him. This time they were in adjacent cubicles. Wife leaves him to deal with younger DS outside, she left him mostly dressed just finishing off. I arrive outside.
We hear a commotion after several minutes to discover a scared son, and angry other dad.
According to son - who I believe - the girls wouldn't let him concentrate on finishing getting changed so he tried to get them to stop talking at him - getting nowhere he tried to carry the conversation further by looking under/over the cubicle wall. The Dad walked in on this and erupted. According to witnesses he intimidated my son - who we later discovered wet his trousers - unfortunately we found out too late to stop this intimidation. My son has a happy and innocent nature, making friends with other children easily.
The dad is African and comes across as very strict - unlike other parents his body language is unapproachable and unfriendly since starting the class - and staff confided in us they have had other problems with him. He gives the impression he doesn't want to be there.
It wasn't possible to have a reasoned conversation parent-parent with this man, who clearly was suggesting my son was a voyeur. Not sure what to do next? - there is a 4 week break before the next class - I will be in the changing room next time without doubt
Any ideas on what to do next? Many thanks for anything...
Thanks for reply - we are going to try that when we next see her. She seems much nicer...
It's not unreasonable of him to have reached the conclusion that he did. That's how it would look to many people. he was unreasonable to be so aggressive to a child.
The staff should have dealt with it instead of gossiping about him to you.
Explain to your son that he shouldn't have done what he did because of how it looked.
It IS unreasonable of him to have reached that conclusion at the age of SEVEN! 7 is not 10, or teens or anything! FGS. Voyeurs at 7 now, ridiculous!
Well, the father would not be unreasonable to for coming to that conclusion as that is what it looks like, and seven is an age where some boys start to do that sort of thing in a less innocent manner. It was unreasonable of him to intimidate/shout at a seven year old boy though, especially to the point where your DS wet himself.
Definitely have a chat with your son about appropriate bathroom/changing room procedures, but perhaps also talk to the girls' parents. Maybe their mother as coldcottage suggested.
Oh, massive cross post with mythicalkings
What kind of changing room was this? Not a women's room if the girls' father was in it, not a men's room if their mother was in it. Was it family changing cubicles or a general unisex room?
The three of them were probably larking around.
Why does your DS need not to be talked to whilst getting dressed?
Where there any other parents and children in the changing room?
Thanks for replies so far. Unisex changing room. Goes without saying I feel his aggression to a 7 year old was unreasonable. And we've already spoken to him to explain the sensitivities of people when changing / on toilet / in the nude blah blah blah. But come on he's SEVEN (just) and still hopefully in the age of innocence - way too young to deal with the insecurities of adults and their hangups..
I used to teach 7 year olds and they are not always that innocent. It's the age of curiosity and watching each other changing is not unusual. Not saying that's what your son was doing but it is something a seven ear od boy would do, in my experience.
Ok fair enough - I only have the one 7yo boy and this would be a ridiculous assumption in his case.
I have DGC and they were very giggly about naked bodies when they were seven.
7 year old boys more keen to look at girls changing than basically anyone in my experience. So even if this father had it totally wrong about your son he might have been basing in on other experience. I don't really understand why he had to talk under the door but I suspect it's one of those things that makes sense when you see the room layout.
Protective father should have been more measured though and spoken to you not your son if he was that worried.
Honestly, if it's four weeks away I would just leave it. And remain in the changing room in the future. It just sounds like you're spoiling for a fight.
I don't think your son should have been peering under the cubicle. That's behaviour for a 2 or 3 year old. But it is entirely wrong for an adult male to intimdate a confident 7 year old to the point he wets himself with fear. It shows very real anger issues IMO. I would talk to the safeguarding person at the school and if there have been other incidents this is social services worthy in my opinion. Does that anger get turned on his girls? Its very wrong. I'd also check with the other parents as to how the level of anger was interpreted by others.
The intimidating guy is horrible,his being African is irrelevant,
peeping, staring little boys' eyes in changing rooms are a right pain in the arse. However "innocent" I am very glad that so many places are moving towards individual large cubicles and away from open plan "women's" changing rooms, because they always have boys in them, and some of them always have eyes out on stalks. If some little kid decided he was going to look into my cubicle anyway, despite this very sensible arrangement, I would be furious.
The angry dad is being a patriarchal bully as well but he is conditioned by milennia of female bodies being available to male ones unless some male owner physically prevents it, so what are you going to do?
The man made your 7yo DS wet himself! There is no excuse for that. Even if your DS had done something serious, which he did not, the other father should have talked to you directly.
Could I just add that as much as 7yo boys are given to peeping, girls of the same age are given to squealing and shrieking. I'm guessing that all the kids thought it was hilarious, but his girls' reaction to your boy's innocent larking alarmed this man. His reaction was OTT, though, and his ethnicity irrelevant.
Your son shouldn't have been looking under the cubicle door. I teach 4 to 7 year olds and they all know this, however, they sometimes do it anyway! Just larking about and being a bit silly really. I can understand any parent being annoyed about that but clearly it didn't warrant the ott response of this dad.
I think I'd try to forget about it and be there next time to prevent any further mishaps.
DW who is African would disagree that his ethnicity is irrelevant. She talks of very strict, formal "African parenting" a lot and it's taken her a long time to get used to the seemingly more relaxed style of parenting we have in this country!
However, he could also just be a volatile, unpleasant man.
Thanks for replies so far. Can I add I am keen to make sure this doesn't 'scar' (maybe this word is too strong) my son too much - perhaps he will move on from the intimidation quicker than we will. He seemed to sleep well last night - any thoughts on making this better? cheers (We are going to talk to him again about 'how it looks' and perhaps we will start the whole sex education chat now given the modern world...
The dad over-reacted, but presumably he thought your son was being highly inappropriate with his daughters and blew up.
His ethnicity may be very relevant, I know a number of Nigerian parents who feel that white British children are ill-mannered, disrespectful and disobedient to adults and are over-indulged. Mostly they just judge and comment rather than getting actively involved.
Your judgements on his body language and his strict, unapproachable manner may be culturally-biased too.
Wetting himself, hs he done that before? had he been to the toilet before getting changed? Because I've had several Y2 boys who need reminding about that sort of thing who would have wet themselves if under minor stress.
What to do next? Talk to your son about how and why the girls' daddy might have overreacted and tell him again about changing rooms, toilets and privacy. It's not going to get any easier as he gets older.
What age are the girls? I know you say they are sisters and they are both the same age as your son - are they both 7? I've a 7 year old daughter, she'd be absolutely mortified if some boy from school was peering under or over her changing room door . Her older sister too, although she'd have torn strips off your son herself. They weren't stopping him getting changed. The other Dad completely over reacted and yes it was horrible for him to scare your son to the point where he wet himself but at 7 I think it's time you talked to your son about privacy and other people's bodies especially if you haven't talked to him at all yet.
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