Child Behavior Expert Forum
Is this just kids experimenting or should I be concerned?
About This Forum:

This forum is for questions and support regarding child behavior issues such: Child Discipline (behavior management), Normal Child Development, Parent-Child Communications, Social Development

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Is this just kids experimenting or should I be concerned?

My four year old daughter told me that her five year old girlfriend licked her private parts.  I called her friend's mother and she asked the little girl. She then told us that yes she did lick her and that two other little boys have also done it to her(the five year old). One of the little boys is a my daughters friend. I then asked my daughter if he had touched her private parts and she said that he had tried but that she would not let him.  I then called the little boys mother and she asked him about it and he said that he had done it and that he had seen it on a movie.  The mother claims that she doesnt know where he saw it at because those kind of movies are not allowed in the house.  I am concerned because I am not so sure that this is just experimenting like the other parents are saying.  They are saying that since I was sexually abused as a child that I am just overreacting.  Am I?
Related Discussions
242606_tn?1243786248
The episodes you describe go beyond normal experimenting. It is not unusual for young children to remove their clothes and to look at and even touch each other's genital areas. However, the explicit behaviors you noted do not normally occur to children. Left to their own devices, they do not simulate the sorts of sexual behaviors in which adults engage. If they do so, it is due to some form of exposure to such infomation: e.g., witnessing sexual acts between adults or others, viewing such behavior in movies or videos, etc.). And that is really the worry in the situation you describe. Hopefully the mom of the boy who mimicked what he saw will figure out what occurred and protect him from exposure to such 'adult' subject matter.
14 Comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Just my own personal comment.  Sexual curiousity is one thing - or curiousity about their body parts.  But the licking strikes me as sexual behaviour that I would never expect a child invent on their own.  Touching or looking is one thing, but i can't imagine a child coming up with oral curiousity all on their own.  I think someone's seen it or experienced the behaviour - both of which are completely inappropriate for any child.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
So what do I do? Should I not let my child play with the kids anymore or should I report it to the authorities? Please help
Blank
242606_tn?1243786248
Continue to talk with the boy's mother, if she is receptive, and be sure to supervise the children during play. They need such supervision to protect them from their own impulses. Disallow play if you don't think that adult supervision is available, or if behavioral standards are weak. Officials needn't be notified unless you are aware of abusive or neglectful behavior on parents' parts.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
It is puzzling how showing each other their privates is accepted as natural exploration, but the licking is not.  Sexual exploration, at any age is natural.  Has this encounter caused any negative behavior in your daughter?  Has her personality changed?  It is unlikely that, unless she is made to believe something wrong has taken place, she will ever suffer any negative effects from this and may benefit from the positive feelings she may have experienced.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I havent noticed any change in her. I just want to make sure that she does not let this happen to her again.  I also dont want her to do it to someone else.  My mother is flipping out about it she is saying that I should call child protective services because their has to be a child that is getting abused in order to know how to do this.  How do I explain to her and calm her down.  Because my family is making me sound like Im a bad mom for not rushing her to the doctor and reporting it.  Please help
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
First, none of this is all that big a deal.  Second, alerting child protection will cause the child and the child's family more harm than if he were being "abused."  That is my opinion, obviously not everyone will agree.  If your daughter does something with another girl (or boy) would you want someone calling child protection and having them interrogate your daughter in private and ask you a series of uncomfortable questions intended to uncover potential "abuse?"  Do not let others make decisions for you.  Doing what you believe to be correct is correct.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
No offense...who is the doc here?  I've noticed with every single problem with masturbation posted you have always commented with, in summary, "it's okay..."  "let them do it if they like it..."

Quite frankly, if I found out my childs genitals were "licked " by another child I would DEFINIETLY contact someone besides the parent of the child who performed the action.  The parent is in HUGE denial to think nothing from their home could have caused this.  Where on earth would a child get an idea like that!

I'd love to see what you would do if you found out your daughter or son had basicallt "oral sex" performed on them...doubt you would just "let it go".
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
so what should I do.  I mean what is child protective services going to do anyways  okay lets say that one of the kids did see something on tv what are they going to do they arent going to take the kids away for it are they? of course not just give the parents a warning.  I think that by us all being more aware of what the kids are doing in the room and letting them all know that what they did was wrong and not allow sleep overs or baths together etc. will take care of the problem  but if it happens again then of course there is a problem and I would be forced to report it to child protective services
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I agree that this behaviour must have been something this child observed. We thought back in the 70's that everything to due with sex was  natural and therefore ok for children to see or at the least to be encouraged that it was natural. Hind-sight has made us realize that it is'nt ok for wee ones to be exposed to sex and pot smoking and situations that children are'nt ready to be exposed to. We know so much more about child developement and child pyschology now. It could be that this is something this child saw by accident and only on one occasion, but I would be very vigilant in regards to it. It's ok to make subjective observations when it comes to children. Looking the other way is just not on. Children rely on adults to teach them what's acceptable and what's not. They're not born with social norms. They are taught.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  I gave mine and you gave yours, only you had to take a shot at mine.  Why?  Because you feel I am wrong?  Should I then do the same because I feel you are wrong?  Someone ASKED for help, I gave it.  While I certainly would not encourage this behavior I simply do not see what the big deal is and more importantly it is likely that the children do not either.  Why send the wrong message about sex and trouble them with stories and questions and lectures about what they did that will only serve to make them feel uncomfortable?  Contacting someone other than that child's parents will more than likely, almost certainly, lead to a situation in which that child's parents are investigated and both they and the child are subjected to a series of actions that will cause them far more trouble than has been caused by a single, natural, exploratory act.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Your last post was I think the best way of approaching it.  I wouldn't let the kids be alone without an adult for quite awhile.  And if it does happen again then there most definitely is something going on in the other childs home.  are you good friends with these mothers?  Would it be a great loss to cut off contact?

To alaaron,  didn't mean to sound so harsh, but I was in shock when I read this post about this child.  I would totally freak out if that happened to my child, I tend to get a little more emotional than others and jump the gun.  You are most definitely entitled to your own opinion...sorry to judge.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I was sexually abused as a little girl myself and understand your desire to handle this correctly.  
I impress upon my children the impotance of their private parts being private. Theirs and theirs alone to touch or look at.  Dr's or parents may have to look at their private parts if they hurt or need cleaned otherwise they should tell me about anyone wanting to see or touch their private parts.  My fear in not addressing it with your daughter is that she may not think that it is wrong for someone, an adult, to touch her there or ask her to touch them there.  This is because it happened to me.  They are totally innocent and, if not impowered with information to protect themselves, can just think that this is a normal thing to do.
I have an autistic child.  He is very high functioning and does lick things.  As a matter of fact all three of my children do lick things sometimes.  It is an atypical behavior, but could be an explaination.  Although it sounds like this little boy knows what he did, because he said he saw it on a movie.  
I would definitly not allow them to be alone when they play.  I would talk to all the kids.  If all mothers know each other well then I would find this perfectly fine.  I would tell them what I tell my kids.  
My neighbors son is 5 and has taken to sharing his penis with everyone.  It is a little concerning to me and now my 4 year old son has done it a few times.  This little boy does it on the playgroud.  Of course his mother isn't there when he does it.  I have told this little boy that anytime I see him without his pants on I will have to not allow him to play at my house that day.  It has helped but not gotten rid of this unpleasant habit.  It just happened yesterday.  As I said before they are so innocent and do not understand why this isn't okay to do.  Some kids will get it right away and others will take a long time.  I want all kids to keep that innocence as long as is normal.  They deserve to enjoy being children.  That was stolen from me as a preschooler.
Sorry so long,
Barb
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Hello there,

Your instincts about this being a serious matter are correct.

I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.  My abuse has given me the opportunity to learn a great deal about sexual abuse.  One of my therapists also counsels child victims.  I "acted out sexually" at very young age too, because that is what I was taught.  In an attempt to understand and come to terms with my own behavior, my therapist offered her advise, based on her 20 years experience working with abused children:  

Children will explore and play, "I'll show you mine, you show me yours".  That's natural curiosity.  However, sophisticated adult sexual behaviors, such as licking, are learned behaviors.  If a child is repeating these behaviors, that usually indicates repeated exposure.  This is a very, very serious matter for this other child.  "Acting out" sexually is not just copying a behavior---it is an attempt to understand-and sometimes revictimize someone as they have been victimized.

As far as your daughter is concerned, I think it is important that she express her feelings about this and it is important that you find out if she is feeling bad about it.  This wasn't technically a molestation, because of the close age of the children--however your child may have some feelings about it that she is unable to articulate.  I was molested and it was very traumatic, and I didn't show any outward behavioral signs or changes.  Children are very resillient and adaptive.  They don't know how to articulate, "This made me ashamed" or "I felt forced and now I feel bad".  I think it is always prudent, when these things happen, to allow children the opportunity to vent in a safe environment, with a therapist who specializes in sexual abuse.  A professional will be able to discover if she is upset or feeling violated.  

I am truly troubled by the poster who insists that this is all well and fine--and that "she...may benefit from the positive feelings she may have experienced".  Children never benefit from sexual behavior or from being sexualized at an early age.  Never.  That's why sexual behavior with children is against the law.  We are all sexual beings, but it is unnatural and illegal for sexual behavior to occur to a child, because consent is impossible.  There is no choice in childhood, because children cannot comprehend the act and they do not have the power or the ability to give consent.  The fact that sex is pleasurable, even to a child, is a moot point.  It is still abuse, even if a child responds physiologically.  Many sexual abuse victims, who are severely traumatized, responded physiologially to the abuse when they were children.  I also know that many perps use these response against them, in an attempt to emotionally blackmail them, or to rationalize their own behavior, "Oh, she enjoyed it...it's not really hurting her". A human body will naturally react when touched, and that is never a reason for minimizing, justifying or rationalizing the horrible crime that is childhood sexual abuse.  

You NEVER know how a child reacts to these things.  Quite possibly, your child is just fine and this was a one-time action that will not harm her.  However, I am a member of sexual-abuse survivor support groups and I can't emphasize the seriousness of childhood sexual abuse and what it does to children and the adults they grow to become.  The devastation is horrendous.  Suicide, self harm, eating disorders, panic attacks, depression and relationship problems are only a small slice.  Recovering from my own sexual abuse took years and is still ongoing.  It is the most horrendously emotional painful experience.  I could not articulate the pain, trauma, loss, sadness and anger I felt as a child, but my mind is processing it now and it's a very tumultuous road.  Again, your daughter did not experience the molestation that I did, but I feel the need to emphasize what molestation does, because others here seem to take the issue lightly and that disturbs me.

I am also concerned about the child who did this to your daughter.  I hope this child gets proper attention and help, to discover what his happening to him/her.  One thing you must think about--even if it is uncomfortable; the child who abused your child is being exposed to oral sex somehow--any might be a sexual abuse victim.  Most children are abused by someone they know, someone who lives in their home or who is a close relative. This situation means that possibly there is a perpetrator in your midst--either living with this other child or someone who visits, babysits, etc.  I would NEVER allow your child to play unsupervised with this child or be unsupervised at their house until this matter is fully resolved.  At this point, you don't know what is going on--and there are potential risks for your child until you do know.  One in four girls is sexually abused and one in seven boys.  This is not a rare thing!  Everyone thinks it can't happen on their street or in their family...but it is a very prevalent problem.

I'm not a doctor, but my opinion is that you allow your daughter the opportunity to speak with a therapist, just to make sure she doesn't have any shame or bad feelings about this.  Like I mentioned, "symptoms" don't often surface until later in life.  She may feel "dirty" "ashamed" or like she did something wrong.  You can find out if she does have these feelings and you can work with a therapist to help her work through them if she does.

I also think a therapist who specializes in childhood sexual abuse can guide you to the next step.  She may recommend that you call CPS.  She will have suggestions for you that will help you decide what to do.

My best to you and your little girl.
Glostar
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Its just so scary as a parent 2 knw wat has happend 2 ur child. I feel like I did sumthing wrong. We do not watch programmes like dat. A 7yr old child did dat 2 him. & he did it 2 1 of his friends. I actually had 2 take calming tabs, coz I cried all da tym. Even knw I'm so scared coz he is going 2 school bnext year & so affraid he wud do it. I talk 2 him all da tym & tell him it was wrong & nt 2 let any1 touch him, coz we dnt do dat.
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank