March 19, 2008,
E.B. asks from Aurora, IL on March 14, 2008
My Son "Touched" a Girl at School Now What Do I Do.
My son touched a girl at school and I don't know what to do next. He was repremanded at school, I have spoken to the girl's mother, the principal and the teacher. We have known the other family for a few years and there are no hard feelings between us. I and wondering if I need to go into depth about puberty and changes now because of this. I am so confused! Will it continue, has it happened before. As far as I know, he has never had sexual contact with anyone. By the way he is 8. Help me.
B.K. answers from Chicago on March 17, 2008
I would definitely have the talk with him now. Either he knew what he was doing when he touched her (and already knows some of the birds and the bees) or he is really confused at why he got in trouble, etc. It's time.
G.H. answers from Chicago on March 15, 2008
No you don't need to go into the sexual aspect but he needs to know that it is wrong to touch anyone without that persons permission. He probably already knows that people have private parts..they teach that pretty early on now a days. He must understand that noone has the right to poke or prod at anyones body parts
S.S. answers from Chicago on March 15, 2008
An 8 yr old boy at school touched my daughter and I do know the mother. After speaking to the mother she felt it necessary for him to write an apology letter to her and the parents. It really helped him understand the mistake and they still are friends. This was two years ago and they are still friends.
S.W. answers from Chicago on March 15, 2008
there is an awesome book written by someone in Barrington IL that I bought at Barnes and Knoble called my body is private. I also have 2 boys your sons age- 5and a half and 7 and they love to touch- and when they do I sit down and review the book and ask questions etc... I dont think its necessary to go into depth about puberty changes yet. I think its just natural. I watch my children closely and they dont see any adult content on tv or video games. my husband and I are open about hugging and kissing. its just natural for kids to be curious. I look forward to the day I can walk in the store and my boys dont touch the dummies privates.
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T.W. answers from Chicago on March 16, 2008
In my opinion, it definitely makes a difference on whether they were experimenting and both were sort of checking the other out or whether he touched her without her consent. If it's the former, I think it's completely harmless curiosity - the same stuff we probably all did as children. If it's the latter, then I think the situation was dealt with appropriately. As a child I was molested by a family member for 3 years, and I never knew how I was supposed to respond to his actions b/c of everyone telling me that it was "normal" behavior. At the time I thought I was just supposed to let him do whatever he wanted b/c he was a boy, and that's "what boys do." I honestly believe that my cousin did these things out of curiosity in the beginning, but it was allowed to be taken to a a dangerous level b/c no one told either of us that it was wrong.
I do agree that you did the right thing, and if it was a consensual experimentation then it's nothing to be worried about.
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A.S. answers from Peoria on March 16, 2008
Hi E., We went through a simular experience. I'm not sure what the details of your situation is, but I found in my sons situation, he had no idea what he was doing, there was no sexual intent there. He had not been exposed to that kind of behavior. He had in reality been restling with his dad and as some guys do his dad would give him a, for the lack of better terms "titty swister". The little girls parents wouldn't even talk to me so that we as a family could not appologize. Anyway at the time I realized I needed to sit down with him and talk to him about what behavior was appropriate and what wasn't. Also at that time the puberty and changes talk was not important, that he was too young for it. What was important was letting him know that he had limited boundries as to the way we can touch people. Indepth teaching my be to much information. Again all I can go on is from my experience and don't know the details around the situation. I hope this helps. A.
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W.S. answers from Chicago on March 14, 2008
I am assuming your son 'touched' this girl in an inappropriate place on her body. Good thing you know the family, some people would take this sort of thing to the extreme. I remember talking with my (now 18-yr-old) son around that age about the difference between boys and girls - he didn't understand that he couldn't play as rough with little girls - I just simply told him how God made girls softer for a reason - so they can be mommies when they grow up and how important it is for him, as a young man, to always protect girls and look out for them (basically, be a gentleman), no matter what girls say or do - that nice young men are expected to treat girls with respect, and that also means not going beyond their "personal space".
Of course, my wonderful 18-yr-old son just got in trouble at High School for biting a girl - yes, he bit a girl on her arm (you can imagine how proud we are). They were just horsing around and he didn't know his boundaries. Luckily the girl's parents were understanding about it. So take my advice with a grain of salt :-) But MOST of the time, he is a gentleman.
It sounds like your son got repremanded at all the right levels. How is he reacting? Does he seem genuinely sorry - or is he just shrugging it off? I would just watch him very closely, you know the school will be now -- don't let him be unsupervised at all if you can help it and watch out for inappropriate stimuli (internet, magazines, t.v., movies & video games can all contain material that is just too explicit).
I believe that it's completely normal for children to be curious at that age, of course that doesn't justify 'touching'... sometimes just when we think they're mature enough to be somewhat independent - that's when we have to watch them the closest; I feel your worry - chances are nothing more will occur.
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P.O. answers from Chicago on March 15, 2008
You've had alot of great response but there one thing you need to make sure. Kids sometimes copy things that they know. I dont want to scare you but make sure there isnt someone touching or have touched him inappropriatly. I had something like this happen to my daughter by her cousin, to find out something happened to him so he thought it was ok.
M.L. answers from Chicago on March 15, 2008
My off-the-top-of-my-head reaction is that this situation isn't sexual, it's two little kids, one of whom touched the other. While you certainly want to have a "that's not OK" conversation it could be limited to the situation at hand--"it's not really OK to touch anyone in their private areas," and make that the thing you want him to remember from this incident. If he's been talked to at school, he's probably already got that rather firmly in mind! (I hope the school person wasn't too heavy handed; you'd want to know exactly what was said and get a sense of how it was said.) You won't find out if it happened before--it probably hasn't if you haven't heard about it. If it happens again you would up the ante a little in your conversation with him. Kids are curious, and need some help from grownups around establishing some boundaries around what it's OK to be curious about. The societal expectations in this area are pretty clear for adults but not so clear for 8 year olds. So I'd want to be sure that he had the message he needs, but not make too big a deal out of a one time incident. You'll undoubtedly keep your ears and eyes open now, and can help him if he brings this up again or brings up feelings about how he was talked to, etc., by others. If there are repeat incidents, then you would be increasingly concerned and could respond accordingly.
S.A. answers from Chicago on March 15, 2008
By touched a girl, I guess you mean inappropriately like on her genitals or chest???? If he hasn't come in contact with anyone that would give him such ideas...then he's seen something he shouldn't see. Do you have cable that he has access to without supervision? Do you keep videos in the house? Is there anyway for him to stumble on something while on the computer...do you have parental blocks on your computer? Does he have older cousins or neighbors that he is in contact with regularly?
I would just ask him where he got the idea to touch the neighbor girl like that...don't make it like he's in trouble, but just ask because you are curious. My husband was molested by a babysitter down the street when he was only a year or two older than your son. She showed him how to do things no child that age should know and as a result he became obssessed with sex at an early age. Of course, he wasn't ready for that kind of thing and that is why he got so engrossed. And, of course, he never told his parents whom never had a clue...or maybe they could have gotten him some help before it ruined his ability to do well in school and so on.
In any case, you may need to seek advice from a counselor to see what would be appropriate talk for this age. He has to understand that you can't go around touching another child's private areas....just like others should not touch his private areas.
I would research the datat that is out there in the libary or on the net...maybe even talk to the school counselor about good literature you can read on the subject and then go from there.
At his age it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to start a little of the birds and the bees.
I.R. answers from Chicago on March 16, 2008
I, myself, have a 12yr old son. I have always been open and upfront with my children when it comes to sex talk. I started these talks when he was about 4yrs. old and started coming home come preschool with questions. I guess, no matter how much we try to protect our kids from being expose to these things, it always manages to find it's way in. Anyway, one day, I was informed by the preschool teacher that my son was becoming "too" affecation with another classmate. It wasn't anything sexual, but the constant hugging was making his classmate very uncomfortable. I sat down with my son and simply explained to him that it was ok to show his feeling, but that it was very important that he understand that he needed to respect personal space and body.