Written by Doctor G

Parenting a Child Accused of Being a Predator

My 7 year old son has been touching a little girl in his class. This apparently is not the first time. How do I deal with it and what do I do. How do I go about fixing this before it develops into something I cannot handle. Not that I can handle this but I need help please.

Anonymous, no state provided


This challenge is incredibly hard! In most parenting situations we need only think about what we have to do to improve our own child’s behavior. In this situation, it is crucial that you also take steps to protect the kids around your son, until this behavior stops permanently. Some readers may wonder if your son is falsely accused, and we will get to that. You impress me with how straightforward you are, clearly you believe this to be true.

Let’s talk about the other children first.

Your son may not be unsupervised around any other children, younger OR older than he, or the same age. At school, at home, at sports practice, in the neighborhood – an adult who knows the situation must be in the same room with him at all times.  There are two reasons for this. One is the most obvious: he must not have the opportunity to treat another child (boy or girl) in any inappropriate way. The other might not be as clear but is just as important: most kids who act out sexually have been touched by someone else that way. He needs protecting!

Which brings up the next crucial step. There is some root to this behavior, or the accusation. Your son needs professional counseling to find out what is going on. If he is touching someone sexually, is he doing it out of curiosity? Is he doing it for approval or connection? Is he trying to feel powerful? Does he understand that it is not OK? Is someone else touching him? Is he or has he been molested?

When you talk to your son about this, ask questions and listen to the answers. Try not to talk much at first. He will understand from your demeanor that this is a problem, but you need some answers before you work on passing on your values to him. If he denies having done these things you need to get to the bottom of the story. Do not take anyone’s word for this. Talk to the school, to the other child’s parents, to the school counselor – do everything you can to get answers. Your son needs your support but also needs your guidance.

Your son needs your love. He also needs your values.

At the age of seven, it is helpful to lay down clear rules.

  1. No one may touch you without your permission.
  2. You may not touch other children.

You and your son, and any other adults in his life that you are certain can be trusted, need to have frequent, calm conversations about body privacy, touching, intimacy, feelings, communication.  Get good professionals involved! Listen to their advice, and, if it sounds right to you, do as they recommend.

Take heart. You are handling this. It is scary and deeply disturbing. But many boys play with this kind of power. The parents who ignore it, or deny it, are the ones who end up raising predators. You have taken the very hard first steps on the road to raising a good man. Please, keep up this hard work. And contact me anytime to talk more about this.

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49 thoughts on “Parenting a Child Accused of Being a Predator”

  1. This is very interesting issues and very touchy subject.Something very similar happened to friend of mine and her 6 year old. As far as I know the issue was resolved just with one talk and it didn’t happen again, but this is a great information I will forward to her in case it becomes an issue again.

    1. Thanks so much for finding this of value to pass along! I have read your blog as well and really enjoyed it!

    1. That’s the toughest spot. If your child has been honest with you in the past – almost all the time at least – and you really believe this, then you back up your child. But you don’t let that child be alone with the accuser again, and keep talking to your child about the risks of doing anything like this. Make it clear to your child that lying to you will make things much worse, because the truth comes out eventually. Lastly, it’s totally reasonable to ask a professional to talk with your child when you’re not in the room and give you their best evaluation of what happened. Often others can see our kids more clearly than we can.

      1. What kind of a professional? My 10yr old was just accused of touching a 6yr old. He has never done anything like this before. His father and I has told him how wrong it is and he should not ever do something like that. But my son was crying and saying that he did not do what the 6yr old said he did. She said he stuck his hand in her panties. But he didn’t touch her. All he did was put his hand down her panties. First she said down her pants and then she said down her panties too. But hes cryn sayn she lying he didn’t do that. So I don’t know what to do. Hes never done anything like that before.

  2. My 3yr old granddaughter said my 14yr old touched her. I am at a loss of how to confront this issue. I’m devestasted and do not want to do the wrong thing. How do I confront my 14yr old son? I want to approach this correctly. Please help

    1. You may not want to have this conversation alone. Can you bring in another trusted adult who has some experience? A child psychologist, youth pastor, your 14 year old’s doctor?

  3. I have a 14 year old daughter showing the same signs as the boys in your article. She is adopted, she has been with us since she was 2 years old. I noticed very early on behaviour that I never seen in my three other children, two boys and a girl. All grown and not living in the home when she came to live with us. We are the equivalent of grand parents .Her behavior over the last couple of years has escalated involving other children. She has been in counseling most of her life. We are heart broken not being able to get help. Some of the things she has done is. affecting our relationship with our grand children. My son and older daughter will not let their children come and stay with us anymore. I totally understand, but we are between a rock and a hard place. Please any help?

    1. Jeanette,

      I have such empathy for your struggle. You are doing the very best I can imagine in a nearly impossible situation. I do not know what else you can offer your granddaughter in the circumstances. As for your relationship with the rest of your family, make sure to validate their concerns and not pressure them to do anything they feel is unsafe. And then, perhaps, you can partner with your adult children to ask what they think you can all do to keep the family whole while keeping this teenager in your home. I wish I had more to offer than all the professionals you’ve seen so far.

  4. I am going through something similar my 4 year old told me that my 13 year old sisster poked him in the behind with a pencil.and touched his private area so I asked my Sisster and she said that never happens I took my son to see a therapist to get to the bottom of it and she believes my son was somehow touched inappropriately.she said she had to file a report and now I’m concerned for my little Sisster as well . As a child I went through this with my aunts husband so I didn’t take this matter lightly and won’t brush it off . But I just can’t believe my sisster would do this to my son they have been a part of his life all his life and at the moment I’m hurting for both . Please advise also I don’t know what to expect with the social workers .

    1. I completely understand how devastating this is to even consider. But you don’t have to imagine or figure out if it happened. You have to get your son to a counselor at a child trauma center who can help him express what he’s trying to express and give you an objective, professional opinion about whether or not it’s true. Then those professionals can help you get him and your sister help, or help you figure out why your son made it up and then help with that. This is too important to try to solve it alone!

  5. My 11 year old son is being accused of touching my 3 year old son on his private and when he told him to stop my 11 year old told him he didn’t have to. My ex wife called DCF immediately without contacting me at all and now my oldest is not allowed to be around my 3 year old I have to have them on opposite weekends. When I asked my 11 year old if he touched my youngest he told me “No dad I didn’t touch his privates that would be gay” I have my oldest scheduled to see a counselor but I’m having such a hard time with this because my 3 year old loves to fabricate stories that I know for a fact are untrue. I just really want to see my boys back together and after today I feel like it’s not going to happen. I was accused by the judge as not taking this serious and that is concerning to her. This is very serious and lives are being ruined here if you have any advice please help!

    1. I’m so sorry – this is such a painful situation. I can absolutely see why your ex-wife jumped to full intervention, and why you are concerned that it’s a story made up by a three year old who doesn’t understand the consequences of his words. I very much hope you can find a sexual trauma counselor in your city or area to help figure out what happened, and get your family reunited if that’s possible.

  6. My 13 year old grandson was accused of touching her friends 3 year old son. My grandson says it never happened but 3 year Olds don’t just come out with stuff like that. Where does my daughter go from here. And where does the other parent of the 3 year do.

    1. Susan,
      I’m sorry your family is facing this struggle. It will be difficult to find out exactly what happened but impossible to do so without some professional help. Your daughter and the parents of the other child should contact the family doctor or pediatrician of each child and ask for a referral to the right specialist in your area to talk to each of these children about their experiences. Even more important than getting answers to what happened that day is making sure neither is being serially abused and that both have the counseling they need to move forward.

  7. Just recently my step daughter (age 11) accused my 7 year old son of inappropriately touching her. He was playing around, all the kids were, when he reached out and tickled her waist, then laughed and ran off. We were all there and it was in no way a sexual touch, nor was he trying to hurt her in any way. My step daughter was touched by her step brother in her mother’s home, has been removed from the home, and is currently in counseling for this. She has been know to tell stories for attention. My worries are that she’s going to be telling people that my son inappropriately touched her and it’s going to create a huge mess, when infact, it was a 7 year old playing around, with all the kids. I think she’s confused about what ‘real’ inappropriate touching is, and of course her dad is ok with her views of what inappropriate touching is. What should I do to protect my son?

    1. I’m sorry for your struggles, sexual issues are deeply emotional and accusations can be scary for all involved. I’m so glad your step-daughter is in counselling. I’d recommend calling that counselor now, and involving them in the process. Offer to have that person talk to the folks who were there. Not in order to invalidate your step-daughter’s feelings – you can honor how she feels while still getting her dad and her counselor to talk to her about definitions and how to use her words really accurately. She needs more skills to explain how being touched on her waist made her feel vulnerable or exploited while recognizing that her step-brother didn’t know that and can learn not to do it again. She may even be able to feel good about advocating for herself and becoming an educator, without needing to accuse.

  8. My 11 year old daughter was accused of touching my best friends daughter who was 6 at the time. My friend had recently moved and there were boxes in her daughters room. My daughter and her daughter were up stairs in her daughters room, they were going through the boxes and found my best friends dildo. Her daughter pulled it out touching and playing with the dildo and my 11 year old came downstairs and told me what was going on. I told my best friend and she went to remove it out of her childs room. My daughter went back up stairs to play. When my daughter went back upstairs they played until we left. my best friend and I went our seperate ways for other reasons. She texted me about a year later to tell me that my daughter asked to put the dildo in her child. She told me that my childs DNA was all over the dildo and she could press chargers on my child. Then she told me that the dildo did not go inside her daughter but it went inside my daughter.
    About a year ago my daughter was molested by my ex finacee and my best friend was aware of it. I dont know what to believe. I need some advice. I am wanting to test the dildo for my childs DNA but have no idea how to go about doing this.

    1. I’m very sorry you’re going through this. You know your (previous) friend well – you may have some idea of whether she is trustworthy. I can tell you that a DNA test would likely have been done (assuming it ever was) by law enforcement, that your daughter’s DNA is unlikely to be on file anywhere, and that the results (if they had been obtained by law enforcement) would have been followed up on with you but not shared with your friend. So this all seems pretty unlikely. What IS likely is that something around the area of sexuality happened, and you should have gentle but meaningful conversations with your daughter. If you have any concerns, please talk to her doctor about them, or seek help at your local Children’s Hospital in their center for abuse.

  9. Long story short, my sister thinks my 6 year old son needs counseling for demonstrating “sexual” behavior when he is at her house. Apparently it occurs every time she allows him and her 5 year old son to change into there swim trunks on the back deck and in front of her 2 year old girl. He thinks it’s funny to grab his penis and dance around. She says she has to repeatedly ask him to stop(not in the same day, every time they change), if he needs to explore himself he needs to do it in private, and I have also had talks with him. I suggested to her and also told him when it is time to change go to the bathroom, he is to old to be changing on the deck. She also has a 2 year old girl who is now into changing her dolls diapers. All three of them were playing and my sister over heard my son say “check my but, Sara” my sister saw Sara run from her brother over to my son and started to lift up his shirt as he was lifting his butt up in the air, as you would to get your diaper changed. Both boys said she checked her brothers butt first, which my sister did not see. My sisters words were “and he thrust his pelvis up in the air so I swooped down and grabbed Sara and told her she does not ever check anyone’s butt.“ Redirected my son to go play somewhere else away from Sara. He loves Sara, helps her, looks out for her, so this hurt him, when he doesn’t even understand why. He has no idea what else his penis is for besides peeing and it feels cool when he touches it and look It Gets Big, it’s amazing. I picked him up shortly after, she loudly told the whole story right in her driveway in front of the children, making my son feel like he really did something wrong, looking at him as if he were a predator and then says “IDK, if he does something like that again, idk I may physically harm him, he has not been back since. She was in fact touched in her chest by an adult family member when she was around 10, and never told anyone until just last year, I feel she is taking her emotions out on my son, he does not do these things at home or around his 4 year old niece.

    1. I’m very sorry for the trauma your sister experienced. I hear that it made your son uncomfortable, and that it might be hard to make sure that you are there when he is there. Her reaction is understandable, given what she went through, even if it’s out of proportion to what happened. You didn’t actually ask a question so I’m trying not to assume you have one. 🙂 Even so, you might try expressing to her empathy for what she believed was happening to her daughter and admire her determination to protect her daughter, and then ask her help in raising your son (her nephew) to grow into a man who protects his family too and understands both love and support as well as boundaries. Hope that is helpful!

  10. My 14 yo daughter is accused of touching a 10 yo boy genitals, reaching in his pants to do it. His mother says that someone saw and that when she started talking to him he said that she put her mouth on his penis. I didn’t know what to do, my whole world was a state of confusion/shock for hours. I asked her about the allegations and she said she did touch him but that was it. I asked her if anyone had done anything to her and she said no. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to even approach getting counseling. I don’t know if i should call CPS, not because i want her in trouble but because they will label me as not doing abiding by law when i have other children in the home. Please tell me the first thing i should do. How do i get help ? i don’t want her in trouble, but i want to get her help and not leave anyone vulnerable, i dont want anyone to say i should have done something and i didn’t think about it because it’s hard for me to think. I was only told a few hours ago

    1. I completely understand your overwhelm. It is most important to get your daughter the help she needs now, while she is still a child. There are more services available and less penalty for this action than a further action she might take. Give her a lot of empathy for her own fear or shame. Ask good questions about what she herself has been through. And call the Children’s Hospital nearest you and ask for the Child Advocacy center or department. You and she need help and support so that healing can start and she and anyone around her can be safe.

  11. Hi my 6 year old son (1st grade) was expelled from his School aftercare program for grabbing another child’s (boy same age) privates. I was told they were sitting next to each other and he was told to stop but he grabbed again after being told to stop. No more detail was provided by them and this was the first instance. Does their immediate expulsion seem appropriate? Should I be doing more than having conversations with my son that what he did was inappropriate? Just trying to gauge the situation

  12. Hi,

    My 9yr old son woke me tonight in hysterics. He told me he was having bad thoughts about a 3yr old girl we know. He said he feels like he may have touched her genitals and then he tells me but he thinks its only his thoughts. He suffers from adha and I believe he may have a little bit of autism.

    I have caught him and some of his mates the same age before playing with each others penis.

    I talked to him softly and calmly and told him his not in trouble but I need to know if what he is thinking is what he wants to do or has done. He told me whilst crying hysterically dadie I think I touched her on the vagina. I asked if he did defanatly do it or just thought about it. He ended up telling me he did and feels extremely bad and regrets it.

    I feel blessed he come to me with this. But I feel scared out of my brain that he has touched the 3yr old girl.

    He is showing extream signs of remorse and regret my heart is breaking for the little guy.

    Just some advice would be good. Thanks.

    1. It’s wonderful that he has the relationship with you to tell you the truth. He needs to speak to a psychologist to help him understand why he wants to do this, and how to not actually do this. It’s possible someone in his life has touched him as well, and he needs protection and support in that. Also, this girl’s parents must be told.

  13. My 9 year old Nephew was accused and admitted to exposing his private to my 4 year old niece and asking her to touch it . He has never done anything like this before and we are all shocked and saddened. He is going through some things right now with parental custody and isn’t seeing his mom at the moment , I’m thinking something may have happened to him that he isn’t sharing. I know he needs some sort of counseling. This is starting to tear my family apart with the 2 fathers highly upset. Any advice? Thanks

    1. Whatever the cause, he needs help to process what happened to him, and also needs strategies and support from professionals so that he doesn’t put other children at risk. The right answer is to get him help and not give up. Both dads are right to be upset, but also need to step up for your nephew to make sure he gets compassionate help, strong supervision and good boundaries.

  14. My son is 8, and I have caught him several times touching on his little brother and also attempting to get his little brother to perform acts on him, such as trying to get his brother to touch on his “private area”. My son has told me that he was touched by a kid on the bus 2 years ago. I have placed him in a mental health hospital to attempt to get him the one-on-one help he needs. Unfortunatley, the hospital was not meeting his needs and did not communicate with me (his mother) on his devolpement and those kinds of things. So we brought him home and he seen a therapist the same day he came home. (October 27th, 2020) He has since been back at daycare and school and in therapy and I enrolled myself in parenting classes to better help the situation and NOTHING SEEMS TO HELP. I have also put a camara in the bedroom his brother and him share, and it does not stop him. Today he threatened to “go back to being the kid he was before he left for the mental hospital”. Which scared me, for many reasons. One because he threatened to hurt his brother again when he knows it is wrong, and two because his reasons for the threat, was because he wasn’t getting his way from me and I am just lost. How do I love him and protect his siblings and HIMSELF at the same time? What have I done wrong and what can I do to help him? PLEASE HELP!!!!

    1. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this, and he’s obviously in a lot of pain. I don’t know that you did anything to cause this, and blaming yourself (though totally a normal feeling) won’t help you or him or the situation. Remember that the hospital can help, and isn’t necessarily going to be a bad choice this time, even though the communication was bad last time. You’ll be a stronger advocate this time because you know what to expect and what questions to ask. This sounds too big for him or you to handle alone. Please do get help for both of you.

  15. Long story short, I was just informed by a close family friend that her daughter confessed that her and my daughter (both 8 years old) have on multiple occasions kissed and unbuttoned each others shirts, and I’m assuming other touching acts with each other. Apparently this has happened more than once and I am confused and concerned and upset but neither of us know which kid initiated the acts but they both have been engaging and knowing it was wrong. I don’t even know where to begin with approaching my daughter.

    1. Crystal,

      I hear that this is upseting to you. This may well not be predatory behavior, but rather mutual exploration. It’s a normal discovery for kids this age that touching bodies feels good, but it’s not OK to do with other people. I’d try hard to take shame and anger and embarassment out of the conversation and just let her know that touching herself is fine and healthy, but touching anyone else is for much later in her life. Does that make sense?

  16. i have been accused of touching my god brother he was 4 or 5 at the time and I was 12 (i am a girl). I was and not a inappropriate person. I would never do anything like that. At the time his parents were going through a divorce and him and his sister were not the best behaved kids they would not listen and they would lie a lot. His mom then called CPS on me and my family I was questioned but the case was closed because it was a she say he say thing. I have not seen them in 3 years i just needed to tell someone that. I just want to know if they can press actual charges on me or reopen the “case” if he sticks with the same lie when i’m a adult. (i’m about to turn 15)

  17. Hello there,

    I need some advice. My 3yr old niece has expressed that during a family get together, my other niece who is 9 – tickled her private parts quite graphically. We have spoken to her, and she has denied it. Where do we go from here?

    1. This is a tough situation, but clearly someone has introduced this idea to your three year old. Talk to your neice’s doctor about a counselor who can work with her to help understand more what she has experienced and with whom.

  18. My 7yr old slaps my daughters butt and when i ask Him about it he cries and denies it. We also caught him in the dining room with my 3yr old niece on his lap should i be Worried??

    1. These are concerning behaviors. He obviously feels shame but it’s not clear what his motivations are or if he understands WHY the behaviors aren’t ok. He needs support, conversation, and boundaries – an adult needs to be in the room with him and these other children.

  19. Our friend’s son, who is now an adult, is being accused of touching his younger step sister when he was a young teen. His mother is beside herself and looking for advice but she is struggling with finding resources and information to be better prepared to address the topic with her son. I’ve tried to help research the topic, but am also having a hard time finding guidance on this topic. She’s scared that when her step daughter goes to therapy, they will arrest her son instead of recommending help since he is now an adult. (The daughter is saying it stopped when he was around 14).

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