My 6 year old boy and 3 year old boy were playing with squirt guns. My 6 year old told the 3 year old to pull down his pants. When the 3 year old did, my son squirted the 3 year old's penis with water. Is this normal inquisitive behavior or should I be concerned.
My son is an only child. He is not exposed to nudity, except for occassionally seeing his father naked after a shower. Lately, he has obsessed with his bottom. A few weeks ago, the children at his after school program had water day. We were instructed to send dry clothes for them to put on after they were done with water day. He was fascinated and told me a dozen times that he saw his best friends penis when they were changing clothes in the bathroom. He has asked me how women pee if they don't have a penis. He has started calling breast boobies. When asked where he hears it, he tells me someone at school has told him. Apparently, he also at some point (I did not observe the incident and was only told about it after the squirt gun incident) that he pulled the back of the same child's pants and said he "wanted to lick his butt". He does not hear this language in our home.
We told him this behavior is not acceptable or appropriate. That everyone has private parts and they don't let anyone see their private parts or look at anyone else's. We told him it was up to him to make good choices or bad choices, and that this behavior is a bad choice. We also told him that bad choices have bad results and that he needed to listen to his brain when his brain tells him to make good choices. His reaction was appropriate as he was very upset at making a bad choice.
Now, our neighbors have decided that they don't want their child to have anything to do with our child. My question is twofold. Does the squirt gun incident go beyond normal inquisitive behavior? If so, what appropriate action should I take. How do I handle advising him that this child can no longer play with him. There are 15 kids on our street. I don't want my child to be ostrasized for one bad decision. I also don't his self-esteem to bottom out for one bad decision. He has not exhibited this type of behavior before, at least not that I have witnessed or anyone has conveyed to me until this evening. At school, his, preschool, before/after school teachers and kindergarten teacher have done nothing but praise his behavior. Since he is the one that did wrong, I want to respect the concerns of the other parents. If I see this child outside, should I attempt to re-direct my child and not let him outside to play. I am going to sign him up for swim lessons in the evenings just to get him out of the neighborhood and away from the situation for a couple of weeks. I want him to learn from the incident not be made to feel like he is a bad child and be punished. Any suggestions?
You're doing fine in the way in which you are handling this, and your son's behavior is well within the norms for a young child. Continue to set patient, clear limits, as you have been doing. When the dust settles, try to engage your neighbors (the child's parenst) is a conversation about the episode. Don't restrict your son from going outside, but instruct him not to go out of his way to play with the other child until the situation calms down.
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