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8-year-old boy exposed himself to DS9. WWYD?

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20WrongsVs1 posted 7/5/2014 19:41 PM

So proud of DS9, that we've made him comfortable enough to share these occurrences with us. Today he was at a huge indoor playground with my parents. DS and his friend (who he'd just met there) were going down a large slide together, and another kid was getting impatient for his turn to slide. This (DS thinks he was about 8 years old) kid pushed a smaller child down the slide, to get him out of the way, and when DS and his friend confronted him, this kid pulled down his pants, exposing his penis, and laughed. DS went down the slide and confronted the kid, said he was gonna tell his mother what happened if he didn't. Other kid *said* he told his mom, but DS said she didn't react.

If I'd been there, I'd have told the staff immediately, and been tempted to call the police. Clearly if an 8-year-old is acting out inappropriately like that, DCF should be paying his home a visit, because (IMO, which is obviously tainted by my own CSA) probably something bad is going on at home. Kids from normally-adjusted homes don't do that sort of thing, do they?

WWYD? If it matters, the mother was wearing a head scarf and long robe, most likely a Somali immigrant, there are thousands in this area. My "worst case scenario" guess is that the boy is being molested at home, and if Mom knows she may not have the guts, culturally, to do anything about it. So annoyed that DS was exposed (literally) to that, and I just do not know what can/should be done about it.

Kajem posted 7/5/2014 21:57 PM

This is tough. What can you do?

I'd go back and speak to the manager. If this kid is a regular visitor to the playground, they are aware. It may be enough to ban him from the playground altogether. Suppose the kid he pushed got hurt? What is the playgrounds liability?

As for your son, he needs to be taught to go to an adult as soon as it happens. That would be the best possible time to bring behavior like this to light.

I'm sorry your vacation was tainted with this incident.


Bluebird26 posted 7/6/2014 01:49 AM

I don't think you can jump to the conclusion that a child exposing himself once must be 'something bad is going on at home'.

Kids experiment, some kids do this for the shock value, some do it for attention, some kids haven't been taught that their privates are exactly that, some kids do this because they may have some special needs and have difficulty understanding that their privates should remain that way, some kids haven't been taught that this isn't appropriate behaviour, unfortunately, some kids might be doing it because of something sinister. But I would find out all the facts before jumping to any conclusions or judgements.

Whilst this sort of behaviour is probably outside the norm for this age group (if your son's age description is accurate) it does happen. A lot of little boys do this sort of thing and think it is hilarious. Kids experiment with both good and bad ways to get attention. Chances are this kid was doing it for shock value and it worked.

If it was a frequent occurrence then I would probably raise it with the parent or the manager of the play centre so they could keep a closer eye on the situation. Otherwise let it go, be thankful your son is comfortable in telling you and knows the difference in the right and wrong behaviour in a public place.

Want2help posted 7/7/2014 22:48 PM

This happened at our local park. I called the police (after consulting with a friend with a master's degree in childhood development who concurred that a home visit was called for).

20WrongsVs1 posted 7/7/2014 23:56 PM

Want2Help thanks so much for your response. DS was clearly shaken by the event, and I need to remind him again that he did the right thing in that situation. I'm admittedly hypersensitive to such ocurrences, so the third-party reinforcement is really comforting. Thanks again.

Want2help posted 7/8/2014 11:27 AM

I'm admittedly hypersensitive to such ocurrences, so the third-party reinforcement is really comforting. Thanks again.

Me, too. That's why I called my friend, who also has many, many years experience with young children. I called, kind of freaking out, asking "Am I overreacting?!"

Now, I am not an expert, but my opinion is that yes, sometimes children do these things. I remember swimming in the pool with my best friend (a boy), in kindergarten, and him pulling his shorts down to swim with his penis out. I thought it weird at the time, but it really had no affect on me emotionally. his is what I consider "normal" kid behavior (once again, I am not an expert).

Kids who do it to shock other kids, or arouse some kind of emotion are not the "norm", in my opinion. Something is going on.

[This message edited by Want2help at 11:28 AM, July 8th (Tuesday)]

Jomarion posted 7/10/2014 20:07 PM

My son actually exposed himself to a girl, when he was about that age. The father did not tell us he had, but went to the police. it was very upsetting because we got this phone call just before going on holiday.

I was very upset, and worried people would think something was going on in our home!

Social services stepped in because of the police. I was so upset that the parents had not told us. Social services also was upset at the parents of the girl because we had not been told and the police were contacted behind our backs. They said this is in fact more common than one thinks, and girls do it too, it was not a matter for worry. Case closed.

My son has autism and ADHD. The autism means he has trouble understanding what you can do in private versus what you can do in public. A typical autism problem. They will not be able to pick up from their parents or those around them normal social cues, like don't flash your privates in public. This can make it VERY hard for a parent, as other parents are judging them when their child does weird behaviours, like flashing or saying inappropriate things. An autistic child usually has a lot of trouble making friends. For my son, this girl was his first friend, and he ruined it by doing that. He was so upset and hurt. He had not meant anything by it, he was excited by his penis and wanted to show it off.

When he had this first friend, I was so nervous, hoping he would not do anything weird to frighten her away. But he did. With an autistic child you never know how they will surprise their parent next. I never thought he'd do that.

So when a child does something inappropriate, try not to jump to conclusions that something is happening at home. Invisible disablities like autism , tourettes, may explain the behaviour.

Before I had an autistic child I was not aware of this, and would have wrongly judged the parent. Autism has opened my eyes and opened my judgements.

Hope this helps.

Girlietoo posted 7/10/2014 20:14 PM

My daughter did this when she was younger, I was horrified. In fact, she and her friend were naked under the covers. I did call child protection and they said that it was not uncommon and since the children were the same age and it happened once,' not to worry about it.

That said,'if your radar is off you could have called the police and they would have spoken to the child about not doing such a thing again. Age 8 is old enough to know better, assuming the child doesn't have special needs.

If it happened again I would absolutely call the police and have them talk to the family. If nothing else, to impress upon the parents that they need to supervise their child more closely.

I understand being hyper vigilant. I am right there with you.

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