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Siblings and inappropriate touching

(28 Posts)
roundwindow Tue 24-Aug-10 21:48:27

Bit of a possible minefield, this, but so far I haven't seen it mentioned in much of the parenting literature I've been exposed to so am hoping some of you can shed more light....

DS1 (6) has some social communication issues. Generally he's a lovely, bright, lively boy but doesn't seem too fussed about social mores and doesn't really mix very well with his peers.

Since he was small and especially for the past couple of years, he's seemed quite... don't know how to put this in a way that doesn't break any taboos... highly sexed blush. He masturbates a lot and sometimes a bit too openly (my way of dealing with this is to say to him 'yes it feels nice and most people do it from time to time but you do need to make sure you're in private, etc etc.) and quite disturbingly often will try to 'grope' my boobs and those of other females we know well. Obviously I've done everything I can to be crystal clear about how unacceptable this is, etc. but sometimes his impulses just get the better of him. Sometimes I can see the look he gets on his face as he approaches me and have to shield myself and the upsetting thing is often a lovely cuddle will descend very quickly into him trying to touch me inappropriately and I find it very difficult.

Anyway, the main thing concerning me at the moment with all this is DS2 (3). He adores his big brother and thinks any mischief he gets up to is just marvellous. But he's also been a target of DS1's 'advances' (sorry, can't think of a better word) and we have to be very vigilant when he's on the loo/in the bath/etc. Earlier on today I found them rolling around on the floor together, DS1 having dropped his trousers and pants, giggling wildly as DS1 encouraged DS2 to touch his bum, etc. AAAArgh!

I always try to stay calm in these situations, not wanting them to grow up repressed etc. And I know to an extent this kind of exploration is normal. But I've never come across another child quite like DS1. I know I need to take this seriously but just don't know how to handle it in a way which avoids further and different issues.

And another factor in all this is that we're looking at a possible downsize in house soon which will mean that the DSs will have to share a room. Would this be a terrible thing to inflict on them? Any ideas on how I can manage this situation? What experience does anyone have on this issue or similar? Like I say, it's not something that gets written up much in the parenting bibles or gets chatted about at the school gate.

I can be near enough 100% certain he hasn't been abused himself. It seems however that this is the only context in which inappropriate behaviour of this sort in children is ever addressed. I genuinely think these are just natural, primal urges but he lacks the usual taboo antennae, iyswim.


tinky19 Tue 24-Aug-10 23:45:57

I haven't got any real suggestions, sorry, but it must be very upsetting. I really think you need to seek help of some sort though as, as he moves through school, if and when this behaviour is identified through his actions with other children it is highly likely that the school would ask social services to be involved. My advice would therefore be to address it before that day arises. Perhaps speak to your GP for advice on who to talk to? Good luck.

DirtyMartini Tue 24-Aug-10 23:54:23

Not sure but you sound very measured about this, which is admirable (as opposed to panicky as I reckon some people would get). I hope someone will come along who can help; can't be easy to feel that yours is a problem nobody talks about.

Very lame offering from me: perhaps it's just a matter of time and patience in teaching him to manage his impulses?

winnybella Tue 24-Aug-10 23:59:23

Frankly, I think you need to speak to your GP about it. It is not a normal behaviour. Not the masturbation, although I've never caught DS at it (he's 8), but trying to grope his mother's breasts is not normal and neither the 'advances' you describe on his younger brother.

While it is ridiculous to demonise kids's experimenting with their sexuality, your son's behaviour needs a prompt intervention imo.

roundwindow Wed 25-Aug-10 19:53:47

Thanks so much for replies. I think it's time to seek help, as suggested... this has brought it home to me just how much of a problem it is, and how much it upsets me. Probably just been burying my head in the sand and hoping it will go away sad

He's under the care of a paediatrician for his social communication/developmental delay but I don't think this aspect of our difficulties has so far come up in any of his assessments (always so much to discuss, so little time). But I now think it's time to push it higher up the agenda.

Thanks again.

Hassled Wed 25-Aug-10 20:08:39

You're right that you need to push it with the paed - and until it is resolved, I really don't think there's any way the DSs can share a room - I think you should be extremely vigilant on your DS2's behalf.

You say you're sure he hasn't been abused - but is there any possibility he's seen something (TV, internet) inappropriate? I have to say, with 3 sons the youngest of whom is 8, that this is very unusual behaviour - and it's not so much that my 8 year old, as an example, knows the behaviour is taboo as that my 8 year old just doesn't, at this stage, even seem to have begun to be aware of sex at all - the odd bit of fiddling with himself, nothing more than that. He's not repressing urges - he doesn't have the urges. Which makes me wonder if it could be some sort of hormone level issue with your DS1 <disclaimer - am not medical>? But yes, you need to deal with this pronto - what a nightmare for you.

MangoTango Wed 25-Aug-10 23:03:41

I'm not medically trained either, but Hassled's suggestion that it could be some sort of hormone level issue does sound feasible doesn't it. Are you seeing the paed soon?

roundwindow Thu 26-Aug-10 11:25:41

Yes, it does seem a possibility, hadn't really occurred to me before now. Yes, paed appointment is at the top of my epic list-of-things-to-do-when-term-starts. (although her response when I previously listed his tendency to look up my skirt as one of our behavioural issues was to tell me to wear trousers confused) Thanks again for replies, has totally helped focus my motivation to address this issue head on. Perhaps if the paed isn't taking it seriously enough then I need to go elsewhere.

SingleMumAndProud Thu 26-Aug-10 13:17:55

I think you need to go to your GP. Tomorrow.

I don't want to scare you but this isn't normal and the sooner it is sorted the easier it will be.

Please don't let your children share a room unless you really can't help it - TBH it would be safer for your DS2 to share with you if you couldn't get them a room each.

Have you spoken to the school about this? If they have a good system in place they may be able to deal with refering him to somebody relevant. I used to work with children with behaviour and social problems and there was somebody in the school, who was also the SENCO but was brilliant and delt with lots of things. We would go to her and say x has been displaying this odd behaviour, and she would help us delt with it, record it and refer children on if needed.

I do think his teachers need to be aware of it. What if he was to do something to another child? Usually at 6, they are allowed to go off to the toilets etc without an adult. I am not saying he would, but I think you do need to take this as a possibility. I do not think it is his fault and there must be some reason behind it.

Sorry for the long post - if you need somebody to talk to about it, please feel free to CAT me.

PandaSam Thu 26-Aug-10 15:20:32

OMG are you serious? Do you really think this is abnormal?

He is a child! He doesn't understand that his behaviour - which he probably thinks is just mischievious - is considered sexually inappropriate by adults. To him boobs are what babies feed off - they are not there for groping to bring on sexual arousal.

I'm really surprised so many of you think this.

I remember being this age and doing similar things and I certainly haven't turned in to some sort of sexual deviant. In fact, I would say the things my friends and I did when we were playing would have been considered by you lot to be a lot worse.

roundwindow Thu 26-Aug-10 19:48:16

Wow, that's interesting. I think I was broadly keeping a similar perspective to you, PandaSam but it's just recently wrt his younger brother that I've started to think 'shit, am I being really irresponsible here in not tackling it differently?' Hence coming on here to canvas opinions, which have made me realise quite how much of a problem it is sad. Still, nice to hear a singular voice that isn't quite so horrified!

School are already aware of his problems generally and I always feel like a bit of a nuisance trying to point specific things out to them, but it's probably worth it on this one from what you're all saying.

I'm not too worried at the moment about him behaving in this way with other children as he tends to just completely shut down at school and doesn't mix with his peers very much at all. Like many other of his 'problematic' behaviours, he tends to save them for home where he feels more comfortable and relaxed. Hence the feeling slightly like a hysterical mum when I try to inform school of things and they come back at me with what a little angel he is.

I hope I can get the Paed to take it more seriously this time.

Morloth Thu 26-Aug-10 19:57:25

From what you have posted roundwindow I think there is definitely something up with him. I have a 6 year old boy and hence know lots and lots of 6 year old boys and this behaviour does sound quite unusual.

You don't sound hysterical to me, you sound really calm which is great because it means you can help your son.

I would agree with the posts that say not to let the boys share a room until you get a handle on it.

It could just be that your DS1 is skating ahead of the curve here physically and doesn't have the emotional/social maturity yet to work out what is appropriate.

Nemofish Thu 26-Aug-10 20:09:51

What singlemum and morloth said!

Could well be hormonal, could well be that he is just overtly sexual.

I wouldn't have them share a room - I am not in anyway demonising your son, just recognising that he is only 6 and would not see the harm in 'what would happen if I did this or this' - as you have already seen! blush

AnyFucker Thu 26-Aug-10 20:13:55

I have absolutely no experience of this so can't advise you directly

however, I think you sound like a wonderful mother

just sayin'

roundwindow Thu 26-Aug-10 22:04:51

thank you so much, that's an incredibly heartening thing to hear in the midst of all this

chewitt Thu 26-Aug-10 22:22:05

I agree with Pandasam. I have three DS all of whom are obsessed with their private parts and will find all sorts of entertainment based around the subject - including the stuff you mention. I think its natural and like lots of things they are learning about they need to be reminded lots of times how to behave appropriately.

moajab Sun 29-Aug-10 18:02:03

I have three DSs and find that an obsession with their privates is normal, but not in any sexual way. So I would consider masterbation unusual at this age, but not just touching out of curiosity. Wanting to grope your boobs is unusual if he's doing it for pleasure, but on the other hand if he's only doing it because he realises it annoys you then it's very normal. You mention the look on his face, but is it lust (for want of a better word!) or just a 'lets do that thing that annoys Mummy' look? His behaviour with his brother may not be unusual. My older boys think it's funny to run around with no trousers on because the baby likes to tug at the dangly thing between their legs! It's annoying but I don't see anything sexual in it - quite the opposite - it's a sign of their sexual immaturity. I suppose it all depends on whether your DS finds the contact with his brother pleasurable or just funny. If this behaviour continues to worry you then you should definitly speak to your GP or someone about it, but hopefuly they will put your mind at rest and this behaviour will prove to be just a stage that he will grow out of. Agree that you do sound like a great mum! Good luck.

roundwindow Sun 29-Aug-10 21:57:06

Good point, moajab, I think my utter exasperation is bound to be coming across and yes that would be a major motivating factor for him! Will definitely be mentioning it to paed/gp very soon, but it's really useful to hear others' experiences so thanks again all.

Ineed2 Sun 29-Aug-10 22:18:33

FWIW I think you need to think about his level of understanding about his behaviour, my Dd3 also has social communication difficulties and regularly grabs my boobs and generally invades peoples personal space. However she has very poor understanding of how her behaviour affects others. She does things because she wants to, she never thinks about the consequences of her behaviour, particularly in social situations. I once watched her talking to a male teacher in the playground at school. While she was talking to him she was fiddling with the whistle hanging around his neck, it did not occur to her that this was inappropriate. Imo you need to tell your son everytime his touching is inappropriate, it will take time for him to get the message but if you give him the same message each time eg. "Stop touching me/whoever, I don't like it when you do that".
Maybe your son is just in the toilet phase that all 6 - 8 year olds go through but his social communication issues have meant that he is taking it too far.
I hope you can help him to understand, Good luck.

mammanl Mon 30-Aug-10 02:42:32

I think this is one area where really only a trained professional can offer you sound advice. Fact is it is a taboo area - we don't talk about children's sexuality openly and probably prefer to think of them as pure innocents. Simply having a child doesn't qualify us to know the family secrets of how other children behave and declare what is or is not "normal". My guess would be that your child's behaviour is probably more common than we realise and it is just one end of a spectrum of behaviour. Of course because he doesn't understand what he is doing you have to take measures to protect him from himself and protect your other child. Hard for you - try not to worry too much as he will probably grow out of it.

Contra Mon 30-Aug-10 03:00:24

I was about to post pretty much exactly what mammanl has.

This sounds like behaviour that is at the higher end of a scale, but I disagree with the posters who think this is abnormal and that you need to see a GP before the day is out etc etc.

I have a son of a similar age and he doesn't behave like this. But I remember my nephew furtively (and repeatedly) trying to get his hand into my top when he was 6-8ish.

I think you are absolutely right not to demonise his behaviour, but also right to think that it is the time to seek some professional guidance. This is primarily for him, but also to inform any future concerns that the school may have, if his behaviour escalates.

I also think you have dealt with the situation incredibly well, and I think you will continue to do so. I hope you don't let the easily shocked people upset you from your course. The very best of luck to you and your family xx

SingleMumAndProud Tue 31-Aug-10 10:54:40

Hi. Just wanted to see if you are OK OP? smile

Onebigtwosmall Mon 20-Jun-11 21:20:16

Hi, I'm very new here smile
@OP Not sure if this is the way to post in this forum but I'm interested to see how things are with your son. I was searching the forums for inappropriate touching and this thread came up. I have the same worries about my son and was curious to see if you got professional help or if he has 'grown out of it'.

allegrageller Mon 20-Jun-11 21:31:50

I don't think it is abnormal either. I suspect that children's interest in sexual sensation varies as much as adult's does- but as it's never discussed, we end up feeling our child must be 'abnormal'.

Ds1 went through a definite phase of this. Grabbing mine and nanny's tits, looking up skirts including mine, saying 'oh she is sexy' about women he saw on the street! He was 6! He also made references to 'my willy going crazy' at the sight of good looking women in films etc. I was mortified, frequently.Our nanny at the time was openly condemnatory about it and accused me of having 'exposed' him to something and even made remarks about potential abuse from my DP which I found horrifying...

This has largely now stopped. He's a very happy, tactile, energetic boy. I think he's gone into the latent phase! However I personally suspect he just has a high sex drive (something I am 'not allowed to say' about my 7 year old).

The issue with ds1 playing with ds2 is more delicate. I agree sharing rooms right now might not be ideal unless you are watching them a lot. But you may well find ds1 goes 'latent' very soon anyway.

firstsupermum Mon 20-Jun-11 23:53:23

i think you have to get him checked, i dont want to make you worried but he may have autism, but as i am not an expert on this, i hope you will get the help that you need. good luck.

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