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.
- No one may touch you without your permission.
- 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.