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Inapopriate touching - where on earth do I go from here

(24 Posts)
bluepuffle Wed 05-Oct-11 22:49:45

Not quite sure where to sart and have had to namechange.

Last week I becasme aware via dd who is in Year 5 that ds who has just gone into year 3 was being a pest in the playground.

They mixed the classes up between infants and juniors and it has been brilliant for him academically but not so good socially. Ds has always got on more with the older children who tend to baby him however it is only now he shares a playground with them. He has been complaining that no-one will play with him and getting quite grumpy about it vying for attention. So he has been playing with the older children espeically the girls. However there are times when they want to do their own thing and don;t want him around - dd included).

Dd complained that ds has been hitting them and touching them in inappropriate places. I was very cross and alarmed and spoke to hinm about it. I also spoke to his teacher about the problems he was having and told her about it - she said she had been aware thay he kept tryinng to kiss the girls but was not aware about the touching.

Dd continues to report incidents and dh and I had ds in tears - I donlt want to destroy his innicence but we exlained that he must NOT touch anyone anywhere they don;pt feel comfortable with - everyone has the right to say no to being touched including him and he was very upset - it ended up with him snuggling up to me sobbing when we explained that this was the sort of thing grown ups can go to prison for and children get taken away from their parents for.

Today I was called into school and told that ds had punched (not hard but nevertheless) a girl in Year 5 in the front privates and she had told the techer strongly that if it happened again she was reporting it to her parents.

It turned out (teacher obviously didn't tell us but we found out later) the girl is dd's best friend we are due to be taking her out for the day next week for dd's birthday treat. She is a quiet, reserved girl from a religeous family.

The teacher said the older children are still treating ds as a doll almost and then he gets frustrated. I know its all for ttention but what the hell do we do about this. How to get a 7 year old to understand what sexual abuse/harrasment is when he has no idea about sex.

He is such an affectionate little boy but he is turning into a bully. He has had some problems with some of the other children in his year outside of school in the local playground. He hd one best friend but was beginning to feel smothered by him - ast year he complained that his friend wouldn't let him play with anyone else. This friend is now in the other class andhas developed a new set of friends and ds seems not to be part of this group anymore.

When we speak to him he gets upset says he understands it is wrong, promises not do do it again etc etc but then it still happens.

howtocalmachild Wed 05-Oct-11 23:03:25

Just saw your post and wanted to respond. I'm not going to offer advice because I know there will be better responses than mine. You sound like a thoughtful person and your child is lucky to have you to help him.

lec0rnsillk Wed 05-Oct-11 23:07:08

he needs help (within school) to form friendships within his own peer group. The older children should to be guided to stop babying him. Why do you think he is finding it hard to make friends within his own age range?

bluepuffle Wed 05-Oct-11 23:29:05

I'm not sure. he used to be so popular but messed around a lot in class and stuff. When they mixed the classes up most of his friends were put in the other class which was great for his schoolwork.

He has always been targeted by the older children and he plays up to it. When he was in reception and year 1 therer was a groupd of gilrs who are now in year 8 at the high school they sort of adopted him bcasue he was cute and very small for his age. He gave them hugs and it was seen as cute. One especially he adored, she was small for her age too then she left to go to a specialist boarding school and he was heartbroken but he still sees her friends when they walk past the playground (high school is just over the road). They all wave and smle at him still.

lec0rnsillk Wed 05-Oct-11 23:32:29

sounds like he needs some help to form new friendships
could you invite some of his friends of his own age over for a play to kickstart it?

bluepuffle Wed 05-Oct-11 23:39:57

we can't really do playdates as we live quite a distance from school, I work and on the evenings i am free i have to take them to dance (dd) martial arts (ds) and swimming.

He has only just started doing activities, before that whenever we tried to organise something his friends were busy with their activities. he has occasionally had someone over in the holidays (the best friend i spoke of before)

lec0rnsillk Thu 06-Oct-11 00:00:36

tricky then...you really need school to help him with his peer group in school.

DownbytheRiverside Thu 06-Oct-11 06:32:57

He does need help and support from the school, the average Y3 understands about inappropriate touching and personal boundaries by now.
Do the school have a learning mentor?

savoycabbage Thu 06-Oct-11 06:48:31

I agree with the others that he needs to make friends with the children who are his own age. The teacher should be able to help with this a bit.

My friend has a ds (9) who plays with the younger children at school. He has no friends his own age at school. My friend asks the people in his class for playdates and they are never available but it's because he is a pain in the bum. He is quite aggressive and the other children don't want to go to his house. My other friend is the mother of a five year old girl who is one of the nine year old plays with at playtime. She has found that her dd is getting left out of her peer group as she is playing with a much older boy.

yummybunny Thu 06-Oct-11 06:58:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DownbytheRiverside Thu 06-Oct-11 07:04:01

He doesn't sound cute at all! He is 7 years old and punching girls in the groin, trying to kiss them when they don't want to be kissed. It is the beginnings of bullying and domineering behaviour, which the OP has recognised and is trying to resolve.
The 'Ahh, bless isn't he cute' is a ridiculous response which helps no one. Do you want him excluded, yummybunny?

meditrina Thu 06-Oct-11 07:15:48

It has to be teachers who deal with behaviour in the playground.

Talk to them if you think you need to co-ordinate disciplinary techniques. But DD needs to be reminded that she should tell the teacher/supervisor when incidents happen. If she talks about it at home, ask who she told. I'd be wary of telling off your DS again - but you should satisfy yourself that the school is tackling his violent behaviour.

You need to ensure that DS does not interfere with DD and her friends (ie play with them when they do not want him to). If you have go back to the basics if how to share nicely (time and attention, not just objects), then so be it. You may need to take a more active role in supervising when at your home, as you know there have been incidents elsewhere, but it is important that DD does not suffer in her peer group because DS is behaving badly.

savoycabbage Thu 06-Oct-11 07:19:34

Cute confused Ahhhh, I love being punched in the groin, it's adorable.

I would be wary of your DD being the teller of tales here. Not that I'm saying she is making it up, but it us making it a family problem rather than a school problem.

School have chosen to mix the classes like this, and they need to find solutions to the problems that have arisen. I would be very firm with them about that.

Your DS may feel very 'got at' at home, if he is being told off to the point of tears on the say so of his big sister.

DownbytheRiverside Thu 06-Oct-11 07:27:05

Teacher was already aware that he was trying to kiss the girls.

ShroudOfHamsters Thu 06-Oct-11 07:32:52

Agree with Alibaba. Part of the problem seems to be that your DS is having to negotiate with an older group of children. Without sounding as if you are turning the blame back onto the school, acknowledging that has to be a part of the discussion. I would be surprised if your DS is the only child finding the social situation tough.

Good luck.

DownbytheRiverside Thu 06-Oct-11 07:35:52

I'm not demonising the child BTW, but I do think he's struggling with the idea of boundaries, and he needs support and clear guidance on what he should and shouldn't be doing in order for him to keep friends, make new ones and develop maturity that is age-appropriate.
Otherwise he'll either be mocked, beaten up or parents will start complaining.
So the 'cute ikkle boy' approach is not a good one.

Downby - I agree, but if the school had already noticed the kissing then what were they doing about it?
They must have thought about the social aspect of mixing the classes this way, and have a strategy. To remove someone from the same class as all his friends and leave him floundering in a group of largely older kids is outrageous. If it happened to one of mine I would be furious.

Aside from all of that, clearly the boy does struggle with boundaries and school and home need to work together to set those correctly without making him feel rejected.

Notquitegrownup Thu 06-Oct-11 08:45:03

Agree that you need to work with the school on this one. From an early age he has been "targeted by the older children . . . . When he was in reception and year 1 therer was a groupd of gilrs who are now in year 8 at the high school they sort of adopted him bcasue he was cute and very small for his age. He gave them hugs and it was seen as cute."

Now he is seeking friends and attention and is being told that that behaviour is no longer acceptable. He's only 7. It's a big change, and he needs to learn a whole range of new behaviours in order to make new appropriate friendships.

Work with him and the school on strategies for what to do at playtime, how to make friends, what to play with them. When my ds1 went through a hard time with mates at about that age, he decided to give them all some space. He chose magazines and football books to take into school. We talked about where he was going to go at playtime, and how he would feel at playtime. We talked through all of the possibilities - what if X says this, what if Y does that and we roleplayed good responses. The school also had a friendship pole, where kids with no one to play with could go and stand. Someone else who was looking for someone to join in their game could go up to them and ask them to play.

Ask your eldest dd what games the children his age, particularly the boys play together. Is it "it" or "cops and robbers", do they collect football cards, or watch a particular TV show and act out the characters - see if you can encourage him to understand their games too, to give him a way in . . .

Best of luck. It sounds like an entirely understandable phase he is going through and hopefully the school and you can encourage him to build up new friendships. The marshal arts classes outside of school will probably help. Is there a beavers/cubs group too perhaps which he could join - they will have lots of structured activites which could help him to meet new people/find new lines of relating to people.

JackyJax Thu 06-Oct-11 09:25:21

In addition to lots of the valuable advice here, I'd try some role playing games with him. I'd set these up so that he didn't realise that I was trying to teach him something eg I'd get two lego figures and role play different scenarios before honing in on the ones I really wanted to target.

My son is very small for his age too and when he started school he was constantly picked up and kissed by the girls. Lots of boys in the school would kiss him too. This was all in innocence but was very annoying for him. I went through strategies with him for how to handle it and role played some ways in which he could deal with it.

I'd try to look on this (as I think you are) as a behavioural issue not anything else. You need to tweak his behaviour at home and school needs to reinforce it there.

I agree with lots of the advice re sister needing to tell teacher and the school needing to take responsibility.

MammyT Thu 06-Oct-11 10:45:42

I think this is a tricky situation. A "cute" child was mothered by older children for some time, probably loving the attention, and is now feeling adrift because he's not getting the same type of attention.

I think the only way forward is to foster relationships with his own peer group. I know you say you're busy with other things but could you sign him up to the cub scouts? They're very big on promoting peer relationships and they keep them busy while they do it!

MosEisley Thu 06-Oct-11 11:07:27

Hello OP,

Sorry to hear about your concerns. You have had some good advice on here I think.

I would add - this is a child being naughty, which is not the same as an adult doing it, when you would call it 'sexual harassment'. As you said, he doesn't even know what sex is, and it might scare him to be told at home that grown ups get put in prison for this. Deal with it as you would any other naughty behaviour. It does sound like he is doing it to get attention.

I feel a bit sad for him and hope you succeed in helping him to make some friends so he doesn't need to get attention by being naughty. You sound like a thoughtful, caring, balanced person who is taking the right steps to help her child.

bluepuffle Thu 06-Oct-11 11:52:20

I'm at work at the moment so have to be careful but wanted to say thank you so far. I had prepared myself for being told my lovely little boy was a pervert.

Will come back later tonight I suspect today might not be the best day to stop it as it is dress up book day and as we walked to school the high school girls were cooing over him and asking for hugs.

AgentProvocateur Thu 06-Oct-11 12:09:36

This may or may not be useful, but I've done some work with adults with LDs about boundaries and appropriate touch. Some of them had support workers who would cuddle them, and then they, in turn, would try to cuddle people when it wasn't appropriate. As well as working with your son, you maybe need to speak to the older girls about not hugging and touching him - he'll be getting mixed messages.

He needs to be able to say, "No, don't touch/cuddle me," which is hard, when he's happy with it. If he's being touched all the time (without giving his "permission") then how can he learn that it's wrong for him to do it?

I don't know what the solution is - but I do feel that it's not just your son who is part of the problem - the older girls are too.

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