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12 year old daughter sexually exploring with 7 year old son
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12 year old daughter sexually exploring with 7 year old son

Need help please.  My husband walked in on my 12 year old daughter naked with my 7 year old son.  Upon gently questioning them both about what they were doing, we found out that they had been touching each other and kissing, fondling breasts and my son rubbed his penis on her leg.  They were both crying when telling us of their actions (questioned them seperately) and afraid at first to share what they were doing for fear of being grounded or upsetting my husband and I.  I am so freaked out and sad and scared all at the same time and I don't know what to do.  I have calmly and lovingly although firmly discussed with my 12 year old that her actions are both inappropriate and how harmful these actions can be.  I have repeatedly told my kids (we have 5 children) about not letting anyone touch them or to not touch anyone.  Family expereince with a babysitter molesting my younger sisters when we were kids have made me fearful of my kids suffering sexual abuse.  I feel we have been so careful in protecting them and now my 12 year old is inappropriately touching my younger son.  Please tell me what to do.  I do now want to involve the athorities...child protective services...as I am afraid it will make this situation worse or bigger in my childs minds.  I can't sleep...could this be a sign that my daughter has been abused and is now becoming the abuser.  She was so very upset when I spoke with her.  When I questioned where she might have learned about this type of behavour she said it was from a book she found in my bedroom...joy of sex...a long time ago.  I feel horrible.  We dont' even have cable and we have one book (that we got rid of a few year back) and could this have over sexualized her.  She said that she sees stuff on TV about sex things.  She also says she wanted to feel pretty...I am so freaked out.  I have had a minimal talk with her about sex...she started her period back in september of last year so felt it was time to give her a brief overview of what was happening in her body etc.  I asked her as well if anyone at all had touched her to teach her these things and she says no one.  Okay, I will await your response.  Thank you for taking the time to read all of this.  
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This is upsetting stuff. It's sounds as though you've tried to be measured and reasonable in your response to the kids. Tha's a good thing.  How you and their father react to the discovery is very important. Supervision needs to be increased, right now. They should not be left alone. And, they should agree to cooperate with this.

The major issue here is the age difference. If they were 1-2 years apart, you'd be thinking of this very differently. However, don't lessen your concern because it is girl-on-boy. If your son was the 12 year old and your daughter 7, would you approach this any differently. In my opinion you should not. Your daughter has some kind of problem with her own sense of herself (not feeling pretty) - self esteem and sexuality.

There is also a family history of abuse which can raise their risk. Do they know about what happened to their aunts? How many times has this happened between your daughter and son? Has she done this with any of the other children? have you asked them? Do they know about it? Exactly, where did it happen? How extensive was the contact? How is your daughter doing in the rest of her life?

You need to reach out to your son to see how he is processing this experience. If there was no force, coercion or manipulation (breech of trust), it may be just helping him process the premature exposure to sexual overstimulation. How is his self esteem and general behavioral self control been over time?

Hang in there. Families do survive and can deal with these incidents.
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I know this is a tough and heart wrenching situation because it involves a sensitive topic with your kids.  But I ask you to please try not to automatically assume that someone has touched your 12 year old to make her want to do the same to someone else.  Children become sexual a lot earlier than we would like them to and they don't really know how to deal with what their bodies are screaming at them.  They are our "babies" and we don't even want to think about them in that manner.  I know that it is hard to keep your past from shadowing your opinions of your own children because I've been put in the same situation.  My children were involved in a similiar situation with their cousin.  Admittedly I freaked at first, but after speaking with them seperately and together I figured out it was a curiosity thing.  I never, in a million years, thought I would be dealing with that situation.  It doesn't make your children bad or always signal that something more sinister is going on.  All we can do as parents is be open with our children and discuss topics such as sex even though it is uncomfortable.  We just have to be sure to not make them feel ashamed.  I wish you the best.
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