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Not sure how to handle Daughter's behaviour

(7 Posts)
Di33 Wed 26-Sep-12 12:00:20

Hi,
I have just joined up to ask about something that's becoming a daily issue regarding the behaviour of my 2 Daughters aged 7 and 9 (almost 10)

This may seem very bizarre to some people and I'm really not sure how to handle the behaviour.

First off I'll say that I didn't breastfeed either of them (due to pre-eclampsia, special care babies etc).

I can't remember which of them started first, but it began when they thought it would be funny to start grabbing my breasts in a playful kind of way. I think they saw it as something that would annoy me and although I always direct them away from the area and say no they are persisting in doing it.
Also, they have been known to grab me in public which is worrying.

Recently this progressed into grabbing my backside (usually in the shower but also when I'm clothed) and making referenced to 'Mummy's nice bum'.
I made it clear that this was not appropriate behaviour but as they get a reaction from me they seem to think its funny.
Things have progressed even further and my youngest has started grabbing my crotch area which alarmed me somewhat. This is also seen as 'funny' by her despite me telling her off.

I'll react by saying things like ' you shouldn't do that' but I really don't know how I should react.

They both refer to my breasts as 'pillows' and will often cuddle me and rest their head there which I don't mind.
I think a clear line needs to be drawn though in what is appropriate.

They are not affectionate at all towards my husband so its not been an issue with him or other family members.

If anyone had any advice about this issue I'd really appreciate it as I'm not sure how to handle it.

Thanks.

Chundle Wed 26-Sep-12 12:05:25

Next time it happens I would say 'no' very loudly and firmly and explain in a very firm voice that they wouldn't like it if -- (insert name of child they don't like for maximum effect) grabbed their bum/private bits. Then go on to explain that if they do this to people when they're older the police can arrest them so it stops NOW! If it happens again XYZ will be their punishment and x toy will be removed from them

ZuleikaD Wed 26-Sep-12 12:17:19

I think you're making the behaviour more attractive by being clearly embarrassed and troubled by it. Not breastfeeding them is unlikely to have made a difference. They're curious about your body and how it differs from theirs which is perfectly normal in prepubescent girls. They're also reacting to your discomfort to get a rise out of you.

I think first of all you need to make it clear that your breasts are called breasts, not pillows. Name your other body parts to them as well - give them their proper names. Talk to them about pubic hair and how they'll have their own in a few years. Presumably you've done the birds and bees stuff. Then make it clear that they are not to grab your bum in public (with suitable punishment if they do) and you prefer it if they don't manhandle your breasts as well because breasts are sensitive and it's uncomfortable. Teach them that other people's bodies - while interesting - are not toys and if someone says 'stop' then you stop.

Sorry to disagree with Chundle but I think threatening them with the police for pretty standard childish behaviour is a terrible idea.

Chundle Wed 26-Sep-12 12:45:03

Nope I don't think it is particularly at 9 yrs old! What happens if they do this to a boy/girl at school ? School would take a hard line on it I talk from experience. I didn't mean it as a threaten them with the police I meant it in a ' we don't invade other peoples body space' and there are rules about this sort of thing way. 9 years old is a perfectly reasonable age to understand that you don't grab peoples genitals for obvious reasons! And I agree to teach them that stop means stop. They prob think that mummy is being a pushover as if they don't do it with daddy then they are realising they can't get away with it with him

Startailoforangeandgold Wed 26-Sep-12 14:46:11

I think pre teens are very nervous of stopping being very special to their parents. You wouldn't let anyone else invade your personal space like that. My DH wouldn't let any one else thump him like DD2 does.

They know they are at the cross roads of you saying a big fat NO.

The problem is how to say that NO while still letting them understand that you'll always be their parents and love them to bits, however grown up they get.

ZuleikaD Wed 26-Sep-12 17:31:42

Chundle the OP never suggested that this behaviour was being carried out elsewhere in the playground or anywhere else, which suggests that it's a specific part of the relationship between her and her daughters. I would put it down to them becoming aware of their own bodies and general prepubescent stuff - demonising it is just likely to make it worse. They need education from their mother.

adoptmama Wed 26-Sep-12 19:54:21

It is clearly inappropriate behaviour. Your children are young, but they are not babies, and I suspect your youngest will copy your elder daughter. IMO you need to be consistent and firm. My 5 year old recently went thru a phase of bum grabbing because she is at that age where bums, farts, burps etc are terribly amusing smile I told her very clearly that it is my body and you do not grab at anyone in that way. We also talked about which parts of the body are private. I'm also an adovcate of giving body parts their correct name as it takes the misplaced 'humour' out of it all smile

I think you also need to try to identify the purpose behind your DDs behaviour. Why is she grabbing at you in this way - is she amused by your reaction? Does she like the fact she is doing something that makes you uncomfortable? Is it a little power game for her - mummy can't stop me doing this.

I agree with Zuleika - you need to teach them to respect their bodies and those of other people. Personal boundaries are imporant and need to be respected. On a very serious and basic level they need to understand that everyone has a right to control who touches their body, and how, when and where.

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