October 19, 2010,
J.R. asks from North Richland Hills, TX on December 17, 2008
Child Exposed Himself to a Classmate
So, today my six year old son exposed himself to a little girl in his class. My son has slight behavioral problems in school (talking, and playing when not supposed to), but never has he done anything so bad. Unfortunately, he had a little boy expose himself to him earlier this school year. So we have already talked with him about keeping his body parts to himself and not sharing and not wanting to show or been shown private parts. I don't know how to discipline him for this? Any advice?
So What Happened?™
Thank you to everyone who responded. It turned out that he did not expose himself at all. He poked his butt out at a little girl and she saw the band of his underwear and said ewww gross, then another little girl (that my son had just tattled on) told the lunch monitor that my son showed his privates. And he, knowing that he had done something he was not supposed to (poking his butt out), admitted that he had done it. And was so upset in the pricipals office that he did not try to explain what happened.
A.O. answers from Spartanburg on October 19, 2010
My Child has done the samething. My 6 year old is known to be the Class Clown wants to make everyone laugh etc.. During Carpet time he apparently pulled the front of his pants down how far is still not known. The teacher didn't see it but the kids did. We punished him and you name it we took it away. We explained over and over at how only us,g-parents and docs see that.
I think its rather rude that when someone else reads these topics they automatically assume your child has been molested etc.. Our child is not a outgoing child and is hardly ever around anyone new never has been so that wasn't even a issue for us.
I know if I was a parent of a girl I would be worried but I also try to think of how the parent of the child that did the act must feel. We were embarassed, mortified etc..
We realized that he was only doing this to make folks laugh and he a immature 6 year old boy.
G.G. answers from Dallas on December 18, 2008
Don't punish him ... at least not as if it were a big deal. Sometimes I think we, as adults, assign too much "meaning" to the innocent things kids do during their journey into adulthood. When WE make a big deal out of things, THEY learn it's a big deal. The more low-key you can keep it, the less likely he is to repeat it. Then, if it continues, you should wonder why. But for now, I say teach him about privacy, etc., and try to let it go.
B.. answers from Dallas on December 18, 2008
Debbie D is right on target. Deal with it as another infraction of rules and NOT to be repeated but not enough to cause shame. Do check up on the possibility of molestation, even though it doesn't have to be present, so believe him this time if he says no. It also happened with a friend of mines child who was "dared" to expose himself in the lunch room. He is now much older and a great child and did not grow up with "issues". They just have a bit of a problem with impulse control and knowing right from wrong. Hang in there mom, he is ok!
S.L. answers from Dallas on December 26, 2008
You mentioned that you have been with other people for 5 years each. Not quiet sure what "each" means but I'm concerned about "other people" in your life and what this means for your son. He could be acting out due to this. I am not trying to judge you because I don't know how your handling all this with him. I'm sure your a loving, carinmom or you wouldn't even be asking for advice. Just some things to think about. I hope you are being very careful with these relationships in front of your son. I would be more concerned with "WHY" he is doing this instead of how to punish him. If you have a church please ask for free counsel and look into the "why". Check the internet for "WHY CHILDREN EXPOSE THEMSELVES". Our children not only need discipline from us but they need us to help them find their way. Your son is acting out like this for a reason, help him! Good luck!
J.D. answers from Dallas on December 18, 2008
you need to make sure you nip this behavior in the bud now. at six years old your child knows that men and women's anatomy is different. just continue talking to him, increase his knowledge of privacy, good luck. You should also have him write a letter of apology to the little girl and her parents because if a little boy did that to my daughter i'd be furious. also you should talk to the teacher and find out how he had enough time to do this, good luck!
D.D. answers from Dallas on December 18, 2008
I'm sure you will be able to determine the proper response, but my first inclination is to suggest that you talk to him, explaining why private parts are to be kept private and do nothing more than that. Along with the explanation, you could tell him that, if he does it again, there will be consequences. Right now, he may not even realize what he did is wrong. I remember drawing an anatomically correct picture when I was around the same age. (Did I forget to mention that I drew the picture in Sunday School!?!) Until someone told me I shouldn't do that, I didn't know.
If he repeats the behavior, you should act quickly, but right now, I wouldn't worry too much about it UNLESS YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THAT YOUR SON HAS BEEN MOLESTED. If that is the case, please get counseling for him as soon as possible. When you have the conversation with him about "keeping private parts private", you might also ask him if anyone has touched him inappropriately. Don't make a big deal about it, but also mention that we don't touch other people in their private parts and that he should tell you if anyone ever touches him in that way. Then ask him if that has ever happened.
Don't be alarmed. Most likely, nothing has happened. He is most probably just repeating the behavior that was done to him by the other child. If he never exposes himself again, and he assures you that no one has harmed him, I wouldn't worry about it.
I've said a prayer that you will know the right way to handle this and that your son will be a happy, healthy and normal little boy. Enjoy him. He is a blessing!
E.B. answers from Dallas on December 18, 2008
You got some great advice! Even though it turned out to be not exactly what you thought.
Love you, girl!
Hang in there!!!
B.T. answers from Dallas on December 24, 2008
When your son was 'shown the way' by the earlier child, there was probably some kind of 'emotional charge' that accompanied this event, (how people responded to it afterward.) Most of the time, when traumas happen, what the child remembers a lifetime later is how the adults around responded, whether there was hysteria and recriminations, ie., 'emotional charge'. For some reason, perhaps your son felt a need to experience the drama and energy associated with the earlier event, if that was the case. So he instigated another event himself. If you're sure he hasn't been molested, or pre-set toward such things by inappropriate contact with adults in his world, then this was possibly an innocent tease to get a reaction, nothing more.
If more, he may need some counseling. Certainly, nothing is to be gained by you becoming hysterical, as that itself will probably build in a sense on his part that this is a sure-fire way to "get to Mom."
Beyond that, being firm with him about the appropriateness factor, about how some things are not appropriate to do, about how other people's children (because of how they are being raised, their own values and mores, etc.) must be respected and protected, about how it is not respectful to do such things to others, about how every choice comes with consequences, some positive, some negative, about how one must consider beforehand the costs of various actions to determine whether the inevitable costs will be experienced...
All these are object lessons that kids must learn, that we as parents must put before them when the time is right, at "teachable moments." How else will they know?
Best wishes on this parenting thing. "If it was easy, they'd let just anybody do it!"
B.H. answers from Dallas on December 18, 2008
Punish him just like you would punish him for anything else. Children pick up a parents' anxiety on this issue which can lead to shame. He does not realize what he has done, so don't classify this as the worst thing he's ever done. Talk with his teacher and if she's been teaching for a while, she'll know this happens at this age. Resist the temptation to over react.