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Parent Puzzler: Inappropriate Touching

Dr. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker

POST UPDATED with my advice.  Click below to jump to my answer:

Sometimes the toughest questions from our kids are the ones that catch us off-guard, make us do a double-take and leave us really scratching our heads about what to do.  Here’s one of those scenarios in today’s weekly parent puzzler:

Your 8 -year -old daughter came home from school and said that a little boy in her class approached her and told her to pull her underwear down so that he could touch her. You are friends with his mother and you know that he is a nice boy.

Moms and Dads, What would you do?

Answer:

First, don’t over react in front of your daughter. The fact that she came to you and told you shows you that she is comfortable telling you things that are embarrassing and you want to keep that communication open. So, when you speak to her, act very matter-of-fact and pleasant. Then, ask her what she said to him and whether or not she pulled her underpants down. If she didn’t, you praise her and if she did, ask her how it made her feel. Then, you tell that that her response is normal (whatever it is) and then explain to her that her body is very wonderful and private. There are places on her body that no one but Mom, Dad or the doctor can see and those are the areas on her body which her bathing suit covers. So, tell her that it was wrong for the boy to ask her to do that and that if anyone ever asks her again, she should say “No.” Tell her that since she has experienced this now, she is smarter.

Second, definitely call the boy’s mother. Be kind and gracious but let her know what happened. If she puts you off or tells you that you are over reacting, go to the teacher and tell her what happened, so that she can monitor the kids more closely.

Many kids are curious about their bodies and those of the other sex and will experiment with looking and touching. While this doesn’t constitute sexual abuse in my eyes, all kids should be ready to refuse advances.

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Feeling a a bit uneasy about having "the talk" with your son or daughter?
Dr. Meeker is here to help! “How to Talk to Your Kids about Puberty & Sex (ages 8-18)” is her most comprehensive course ever and she’ll equip you to have that conversation with knowledge, confidence and sensitivity. Check it out!

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