Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tough questions

I receive parenting questions on my webpage that I thought I would use as my blog today. That is always helpful for me when my brain is dead.

When problems occur with our children, we sometimes ignore, hide or pretend they don't exist. Better to ask the question when you are nervous about your child's behavior. It is also good to find out that we all struggle with kid problems. I have found it is best to face them head on for a solution...rather than ignore and have them surface years later in a more difficult format! Here goes:

Hi Maggie,
I am recently faced with a challenge my nine year old son has placed before me. He dared his 5 year old brother and his 4 year old cousin to take their clothes off and he thought it would be fun to take pictures of them (without thier clothes) with my brother's cell phone. I am not sure how to talk to him about it. I have talked with him several times about our bodies and private parts, and not letting anyone touch or see them. please help.

Hi Rie,
If it is an isolated incident, you can probably chalk it up to young boys inquisitiveness. I wouldn't be overly concerned. It gives you the opportunity to once again explain body parts and why it is not a good idea to expose yourself (or your brother) in pubic or in front of the camera. Explanations like this will need to occur often during the life of your child. Although I'm sure it is not something you look forward to, having open discussions with your child will strengthen your relationship. This is a teaching opportunity. Make sure you talk simply, anger free and with no punishments. Talk to him alone. Also, talk with your 5 year and explain this is not something that we do. And that our bodies are private, sacred and we don't touch each other. Assure them both that they should talk with you if anything like this ever happens to them. That you are there to protect them. Make sure to hug each boy and let them know you are not angry with them. You will have to apologize to your brother and assure him you have addressed the problem.

Now, if this is not an isolated incident, and has happened multiple times, this behavior may be a sign that your son has been abused or introduced to pornography. If that is the case, I would strongly recommend visiting with a child psychologist.

Please feel free to ask additional questions. I would like to know how things go.

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