Counseling for 3 1/2 Year Old?

Updated on July 25, 2008
T.S. asks from Angleton, TX
11 answers

OK, this is very difficult for me to put out there but I need some advice on this. Last summer my, then 2 1/2 year old son, was molested by my nephew and a friend, they were 7 and 8 year old boys. My nephew was staying with us for the summer and the friend is our friend's son who lives locally. My nephew was immediately removed from our house, to my dad's, and I got him into counseling immediately because he told us that he had a similar experience at a sleep over about 6 months prior, and I wanted him to get help so that it doesn't happen again and because he has a little sister 10mos younger than my son. I also went into counseling because this brought back some bad stuff from my childhood that really needed to be resolved. Both counselors assured me that my son would be fine and he would not remember the incident because it happened over a very short period of time. Well, the other day, right at one year later, my son brought it up, in almost a crude way. So my question is, is 3 1/2 too young for counseling to work?

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answers from Corpus Christi on

I think I would listen to the counselors who said he'll forget it, at least until he's old enough to really understand what transpired. If you make a big deal out of it when he brings is up, he'll keep bringing it up. If he still appears to think about it and remember it then, say at 5 or 6 years old, then I'd definetily revisit the counseling idea.

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answers from Austin on

Hi T.,
I am a counselor and I use play therapy often as a tool to understanding children. Your son is not too young. In the therapy session, the therapist will not bring up the incident, she/he will work in the here & now. Play therapy is different from talk therapy in so many ways that I can not begin to list them here. Just know that play is the language of chidren and toys are their words.
If you get an effective intervention now, you could save your family pain later.
Good luck with this very hard decision.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

T., I see that someone's already mentioned that play therapy is offered to children as young as your son (which is what I was going to add), so I'm writing just to let you know that I'm so sorry this happened to your son. I wish you lots of strength and peace as you, your son, and your family go through this time.



answers from Houston on

3 1/2 is NOT to young for counselling. I have had 18 month old foster children in counselling for horrendous acts. Make sure you get a board certified GOOD pediatric counsellor.



answers from Killeen on

I am sorry to hear about the drama and tramatic affect it has had on your family in its whole.

however, i can say there is no such thing as too young for counseling.

My daughter just turned four and has been seen twice - for a completely different reason, but none the less it was something that affecting her outlook and behavior. in my opinnion, the two sessions did a world of good and i would take her back in a heartbeat if i felt i needed to.

the counselor had a dog she was comfortable with and they played and talked and she just blossomed and opened up....

If the child is able to communicate with roll play or with worlds itself.... then let them be seen and see what advice a professional can give you in handling the after affects of the situation.

good luck!



answers from Killeen on

i would say he's absolutely not too young for counseling. i have memories from when i was 3-4 years old! and not only that, but there are emotional scars that go along with molestation, and those will stay with him the rest of his life.
my daughter is 4 and she already has an excellent memory. she remembers things from months and months ago in vivid detail. i think you should get your son into counseling right away so that his fears or frustrations don't turn into "bad" behavior or acting out sexually.
good luck, and i'm sooo sorry you have to go through this *hugs*



answers from Houston on

Hi T.,
I'm so sorry for your family and pray for God to give y'all strength and peace in dealing with this. I would say that if your son is bringing it up a year later, that means he's think about it and therefore is not too young for counseling. Ultimately, he probably won't remember this since he was so young and if it only happened for a short time, but you never know what types of underlying problems this may cause. So even if you think there is only a remote chance for counseling to work then I would still pursue it b/c you'll never regret doing everything you can to help your son deal with this in a health manner. Best wishes and I'll be praying for you.



answers from San Antonio on

Dear T.,
He is not to young and should get help as soon as possible. They will use play therapy to counsel him. I am so sorry this has happened but please don't loose hope. Maybe some of the moms can recommend someone who specializes in this area. Blessings to you and your family.



answers from Houston on

I agree that no he is not too young for counseling and I would also recommend finding a reputable child psychologist or therapist that specializes in this type of issue. I can't believe that you were advised not to worry that he wouldn't remember. i thought that line of thinking was long gone!

The statistics are unbelievable, 1 in 6 children are molested. (I think the stats for girls only are higher.) Most often they are molested by other children that were molested. It's a vicious cycle that can only be broken once the child gets help.

It sounds like your son wants to communicate about his experience and may not know how.

I know of a great child psychiatrist in Houston. I don't know it you'd be willing to travel, but if you'd like her info let me know.

I'm thinking good thoughts for you, I'm am sure you will be able to work through this!




answers from Houston on

No, no, no, he is not too young. They have counselors who specialize in just that age...and offense.

I am so sorry that you're having to deal with this and commend you for taking charge of it.



answers from San Antonio on

Dear T.,

PLEASE DO get your son in counseling. It is awesome how bad things from childhood -- even when kids are that young -- become deep seated and NEED treatment, so as not to cause real problems as he grows older. The "play therapy" sounds good as a place to start, but don't just assume that he will forget the experiences.

I have also seen the power of God to work miracles in healing the psychological wounds of ones who are dear to me. So I really encourage you to get your family involved in a Christian church, and then attend on a regular basis. As your son grows up, this will place him (and all of you) in an environment that exposes you to the forgiveness and grace that are available through Jesus Christ. Once an individual has a relationship with Jesus, then "ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE...". If there is any latent psychological damage, this is the best way to begin and complete the healing process. Besides that, church is uplifting and provides access to loving, caring people that can provide healthy friendships. Church can also be a LOT of FUN!

God Bless you and your son,

Matthew 19:13-14 - "Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Luke 17:1-2 - "He said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble."

1 Peter 3:18 - "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit..."

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