Is it appropriate for my 10 year old daughter to be fully bathed by her father?
My daughter just told me that her father insists on bathing her from head to toe every time she visits him. She begs him to let her do it herself and he gets mad at her and demands to do it so he can be sure she is "clean." She is developing breasts as well as pubic hair and is EXTREMELY modest and embarressed to let me see her body. When I asked her if he has accidentaly touched her "down there" she got defensive and said "NO." She can't look at me when I talk to her about this and she crawls into a shell and gets very quiet. Her twin brother is also showing signs of puberty and he told me their dad never bathes him. She sleeps with her dad and her brother doesn't. She begs me to not make her go to her dad's house because she always said there's nothing to do and she'll miss me. Now I know why she doesn't want to go. She doesn't want me to be mad at her dad and she doesn't want me to say anything to him cause he'll get mad. They were supposed to go to his house tomorrow 12/28 through 1/2/07 and I refuse to let them go with him. I have contacted Child Protective Services and Friend of the Court and wasn't given any advice/feedback/answers or opinions. I'd like to think I am being overly protective and that nothing invasive or sick has happened to my daughter but my gut tells me otherwise. I am bringing her in tomorrow for an examination to see if there has been any penetration. Other than the steps I've taken, is there anything I can or should do to help and protect my children? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
If she is capable of bathing herself and is embarrased by it then yes it would seem inappropriate for him to be bathing her. Some 10 year olds are not so developed nor self conscious and it might not be an issue for them.
If your gut is telling you there's something wrong then be sure to let the pediatrician know when you take her in. What concerns me is that while your daughter says their father insists on bathing her even though she doesn't want him to, your son says he doesn't ever bathe him even though they're the same age. That inconsistency is far more troubling to me than just the idea of a 10 year old getting bathed by her father.
I think the doctor who examines her and discusses this with you will be your best source of information on how to proceed. Obviously someone is going to have to talk to the father and you must be sure that your daughter understands she is not in trouble, she was right to tell you. She is scared he'll be angry and he probably will be, so she needs to understand that he is at fault for not respecting her bounderies and for making her feel so uncomfortable.
Be sure to document everything the kids have said on the issue and everything you do about it, and the dates. Hopefully you'll never need it, but you may find in the future that a journal about all this is extremely important. And don't lose the journal even if this particular issue gets resolved quickly, in case something else happens in the future. Good luck, I hope this is just an issue of pre-teen privacy and nothing more.
As a clinical social worker who deals with issues like this on a daily basis, I think you're doing the right thing by looking into this further. It's very unusual that he insists on bathing her, particularly if she doesn't want him to. And it seems like she is more than capable of bathing herself anyway. Calling child protective services was a good start, now it's up to them to investigate. Also, taking her to a pediatrician is a good idea also, however if penetration never occured, it would be difficult to tell if she has been sexually abused simply from a physical exam. I would reccomend taking her to see a child psychologist or clinical social worker who is used to working with children around these issues. It may take a few sessions before anything comes out and it is also generally reccomended if your daughter speaks with the clinician alone. I always invite parents in for the first session, after that, i find children are more liekly to open up if parents are not around for a number of reasons. After session is over, I always invite parents back in to discuss what was talked about that day (depending on age of child). Your pediatrician should be able to refer you to someone.
My daughter is 6 years old. She fully showers by herself. I only help her with water temperature, and do periodic checks to make sure she has cleaned herself properly. What does your ex say when you ask him why he physically bathes your daughter? Reminding her to wash properly is one thing, doing it for her is another. Also, does she want to sleep with him? Is this a behavior she does with you at home? I would find it very odd if she is independent at home with you, but dependent at your ex's house. You have done the right thing by calling CPS and not forcing her to go to his house. Try not to question whether or not you are doing the right thing. Like you said, you have a motherly instinct, and it is telling you that something is not right.
I want to hug you both! How awful, what you have gone through. If it makes you feel any better, you sound like a wonderful mother. You have been taken advantage of by your ex and his family. Have you and your daughter talked to a counselor? I highly recommend you do. Things may come out at first that your daughter doesn't want to deal with, but it needs to come out, so she CAN deal with it. Or do you belong to a church? That is another option of a place to turn for guidance. Please keep us posted as to new developments with your situation. I will say a prayer for you and your children's safety.
Thank you all for your support, feedback and suggestions. I feel more comfort in knowing I took the right steps and not jumping to conclusions. At the age of 4 when we were going through our divorce and living in separte domiciles, my ex broke into my home through their bedroom window (which at the time, both kids were sleeping in the same bed due to her fears of sleeping alone. He had parked his vehicle 2 blocks away and snuck in through neighbors yards with full intentions to take my life and not get caught. He stripped me of my clothing and forced his fingers/hand inside of me, ripped out my hair, choked and beat me profusely. All this occured directly above their bedroom and by the mercy of God and their Guardian Angels, they never woke up nor ever mentioned this incident to me until just recently. I did press charges (as did the State) and he was charged with CSC 3rd Degree 15 Yr. Felony. Through begging and guilt trips his father and mother put on me, I recanted the finger/hand penetration and said I couldn't remember if that is exactly what happened. Hind sight is 20/20 and I terribly regret the poor decision I made as this particular incident would not be taking place today. She has always had fears of sleeping alone and yes there are times when she crawls in bed with me in the middle of the night and others when she is to afraid to go to sleep alone. She fears someone will break into her room and kidnap her or kill us all in our sleep. As I said, this is all just recent so I'm just now putting the pieces together. She has terrible nightmares and has bags under her eyes from not sleeping. She is an all A student and a beautiful, delightful and caring little girl. I am concerned that counseling will traumatize her as she does not like to discuss this at all. Can child psychologists teach her and I both to trust and feel safe with these sessions? God bless you for your guidance and suppport.
yes, through talking with a counselor, she can learn how to trust again, etc. The point of her going to a counselor is to get to the bottom of what's going on with her behavior. Once there is a clearer reason why, she can begin to deal with it. It will be difficult for her to talk about these things, as you said that's one of your concerns, that going to a counselor will traumatize her. I can assure you she is already traumatized, which is evident in the behavior she is displaying. If it continues to go unaddressed, it will just get worse. Early intervention is necessary, otherwise, these issues could very well follow her into adulthood and she may find it difficult to lead a normal life. This is not one of those situations where "it will just go away if we don't talk about it." I would also reccomend you attend counseling as well. Family counseling never hurt anyone
You are a great mother! My goodness, the picture just turned dark when I read about your ex-husband`s intrusion. If he ever reacts angry because now your daughter is not coming to his place anymore, please find a way to protect her. Wishing you best of luck.
She definately needs counseling. Don't think for one minute it will traumatize her. Sure she will be reluctant at first, but my guess is that is because your ex has made her feel at fault or guilty or ashamed. Her actions are indicating something isn't right and you did the right thing to contact the athorities. I would take it step further and put your son into counseling as well. If there was some sort of abuse and he knows of it it could affect him as well (my husband knew of his sister's abuse and was threatened into silence).
You sound like a great mother. Don't feel wrong for what you are doing. Your #1 duty is to protect your children. I agree that you should keep a journal to document everything that has happened. You may also want to contact a lawyer and work on getting full custody of the children pending the outcome.
Best of luck to you!
Go with your gut. Take her to a doctor, tell him your concerns.
I agree that it is just plain creepy for a 10 year old to be bathed by an adult.
This may be hard, but you should also talk with your ex and tell him how uncomfortable this is making her feel. I would also have a counsellor talk to BOTH kids. Your son may have vital informatino that your daughter cannot share.
My apologies for not posting this over the weekend but our family has been celebrating the WONDERFUL news we received on over the holidays.
To give you an update, I contacted Child Protective Services and filed a complaint against my ex. I also contacted Friend of the Court and the Circuit Court handling our case and told them in "NO WAY" were my children going to be with their father regardless of the court order for his visitation rights. They told me I could be arrested for contempt and I told them I would rather go to jail for these frivilous charges than to ever see my children hurt. If they couldn't guarantee their safety why would I put them in harms way?
I took both my kids to CPS and after 5-1/2 hours of individual and joint interviewing they determined nothing had ever happened to either of them physically, sexually or psychologically. That wasn't good enough for me so I demanded further action would be taken before I granted him visitation. The Director of CPS contacted a private Forensic Specialist that strictly deals with children whom are victims of sexual/physical and psychological abuse. At this interview both of my children were video taped by a specialist with 22 years experience. This person was wonderful with my children and they both warmed up to her immediately as she resembles my mother in many fashions. At the conclusion of their individual interviews, the specialist was 110% confident that neither of my children had been abused. My daughter wasn't being "bathed" by her father he was rinsing conditioner out of her hair at the end of her shower/bath. She contacted their father and taped their conversation and without giving him "leading" questions his answers were consistent with my daughters. Not only does my daughter have a poor sense with time but she also confused the bathing of her body with that of washing her hair. It was stressed by the specialist and CPS that he never enter the bathroom while either of them are bathing or going to the restroom as charges will be brought against him by the State.
I didn't send the kids with him over the holidays and he called me to thank me for doing what I did. He apologized for his ignorance and for the first time in years I believed he didn't realize what he was doing was wrong.
I am the most elated Mother on this planet knowing my children have never been violated. Again, I want to thank you all for support, guidance and encouragement. May you all have a safe and blessed New Year! I know I will! :)
It seems to me had you spoken to your ex and asked what his input was on this bath time issue with your daughter you could have avoided a whole lot of trauma the kids had to go through with CPS and the interviews, exams, etc. To accuse him has very negative ramifications even if he is 100% innocent. I do think it was necessary to follow up on your daughter's claim he was bathing her at that age, but maybe if you had started with asking him what was going on a lot of trauma could have been avoided.
If you distrust your ex so much you dont feel you could bring up such a thing then I do not think that is good for the kids at all and I think you and your ex would benefit from counselling. Your kids will sense your distrust of him and that could cause your kids additional stress. It sounds to me like your daughter knows a lot more about that awful night when her Dad broke in than you thought, I think she needs counselling as well as your son.
I find it boggling that they are free to visit unsupervised in the first place a man who broke into your home and attacked you even if he is their Father. Even though you recanted some of the violations that doesn't mean he didnt do it. I'd want to be in counselling with this person even just to try to keep a closer eye on him if your recantation reduced his charges and allows him to see the kids unsupervised, counselling seems extremely necessary important to you all.
I don't see that he did anything wrong either, and yes, either way you should've contacted your ex before running to CPS. The outcome could've been a lot worse--and for nothing! And it could be a lot worse in the future if you involve them again. It should be between the 3 of you what levels of modesty are observed in your homes, not the state!
glad you're excited but i would feel apprehensive about sending my kids to a felon. father or not and she could have been coached about the cream rinse story. why would she need help w rinsing cream rinse when she can rinse shampoo out alone. after all shampoo stings eyes. i don't buy it. something isn't right. I'd keep my antenna's up or move to another state w/ permission from the courts.
This needs to be looked into and your ex should respect her decision to bath alone, especially at this age. Did he bathe her when you guys were married? Is her brother around when he bathes her or cries about being bathed? Do you have a court order stating that she has to go see him at certain times? Im not a legal advisor, but this makes me sick to my stomach, and if you can stop the visits for now, just say shes busy or sick or something, then please do, at least until she goes to the doctor or you can get a court order or a counselor to talk too. If she does have to go again, be firm with him, in front of her, and tell him that he DOES NOT NEED TO BATH HER, SHE IS OLD ENOUGH TO DO IT HERSELF AND IF HE DOES NOT RESPECT THIS THAN SHE WILL NOT BE COMING FOR VISITS AT ALL. Ask your son to help by keeping an eye on his sister and telling his father that you and his sis wish that she bathes alone. Your daughter is embaressed in front of you, poor thing shouldn't have to undress in front of him and then be bathed. Does she sleep with him? Does he make her? Im sorry to hear this and doctors visit and possibly a visit to the court house needs to be done. I have a 5 yr old and I stopped her dad, which is my ex, from showering with her at 3. She was just to old, I taught her to respect her body and keep her privates private to ensure that she is secure with her body and she knows that it is wrong for anyone to see or ask to see her naked. I start her shower and she bathes and dresses by herself. We kept our privates private here.
Not all men are pedophiles. I'm a lawyer and a husband and father. I've had many clients who are the victims of nasty accusations by their soon to be ex-wives who accuse them of nasty and criminal sexual acts against their children. Still, I advise all men to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. They get mad with me that they should change their behavior to match the unreasonable expectations of society. I tell them I understand how they feel, but that they could either change some behavior, be irritated about it, that could be misconstrued and be safe or continue on feeling justified and face the wrath of a society that views men as aggresive (aggressive) sexual perverts who are all waiting to rape and molest anyone at their first opportunity. That sounds really pathetic and it is, but it is the truth. That's the choice. And, unfortunately, just one man who commits such perverted acts causes such great harm that we must be vigilant in protecting all children.
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