Help.....Does your toddler tell big stories?

PLMCRZYNovember 12, 2001

This is going to be a long story, but I really need someones outside opinion. My four year old was cought the other day exploring hiself with my little 2 yr. old niece in his bedroom. He had his pants down showing hiself to her, when my sister walked in on them. He he pulled them up quickly then hid from her under the covers, when she scolded him. She calls me at work to ask what she should do, and I told her to ask him where he got this from or if someone had shown him. She went back in there and asked him and used my step father as an example, which is his papa. Then he said pa pa and went and hid like he was in trouble. She calls me back and tells me this and I freak out and come home thinking someone has molested my son! When I come home I ask him about pa pa and he tells me all kinds of stuff. I went streight to my mom and tell her, and ask if they have been alone with each other lately, and she say's no she can't think of any time when she or someone else has not been there. I call the child abuse hotline and the cops and start making reports that my step father has molested my son. I even recorded him on a cassette to take with me. After I make the reports they want him to see a forensic physcologist to determine if he did it or if someones else did. So I take my son and get him evaluated. I get a call the next morning from the investigator. He says my son did not say anything about papa, he was saying it was his little friends at preschool. I know I shouldn't have asked or probed for questions but I did later that night and he kept telling me that he was "ONLY KIDDING" it was Devon, a friend at daycare. What am I to believe now? I don't want to accuse the wrong person. And honestly, my step dad loves his grandchildren so much I can't believe he would even think of something like this. My son thinks he would be in trouble when pa pa found out about him lying. He asked me that after that interview, when he told me about "kidding". Can kids make something up like this? Now the whole story has changed, and now I have to investigate the daycare. I had a conference with the teachers to let them know what is going on and they thought maybe my sister could have put papa in his head when he was in trouble and she was asking him where he learned that, and he blamed it on papa instead of getting his friends in trouble at daycare. However I am very protective of him since he is my only, and would do anything to protect him and never thought this sort of thing would ever happen. Do you think we jumped to conclusions about papa? I mean that is what he told us in the beginning, now he is not. And the investigator even told me he thinks that his papa did not do it and we needed to check with our daycare, he never even mentioned him when they were questioning him, they asked if anyone ever touched him down there and he told them one of his friends named Devon and Andy. Not papa like he told us in the beginning. Where would he have the capability of comming up with a story them completely changing it, saying he is sorry for lying on papa and it was not him? I get no closure, so therefore I have no clue what to do. I don't want to exclude my parents from there grandchildren if they did not do anything wrong. This could be ruining peoples lives.

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I think you and sis both overreacted to the 'peek' game. Unless your son is exhibiting other unusual behaviors or appears withdrawn or depressed. My MIL has a swollen eye due to an allergic reaction and my 2-1/2 yr old swears 'papa did that.' Children are highly suggestible, even when parents aren't freaking out.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2001 at 10:37PM
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I also think you both overreacted- and if your sister scolded him and then asked him where he got this from and used your stepfather as an example- why would she use him as an example anyway?- it seems logical to me that if he knows he is in trouble and then someone asks him "Did Papa show you this" that he would say yes, just to get out of trouble. Kids are curious about their bodies, it doesn't automatically mean abuse- if you think there is a chance he has been abused, then why don't you take him in to see a psychologist who can work with him on a regular basis, tell her what has been going on, and she should be able to find out if he has been abused at all, or if he is just acting normally. I feel really sorry for your step-dad, you say he loves his grandchildren, but when this happened, you started calling the authorities on him without taking the time to find out what went on, especially since your son did not say his grandfather did anything before your sister put the idea in his head. I think you should have someone work with your son to determine what, if anything happened, before you start accusing people at the daycare as you have done to your stepfather.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2001 at 11:40PM
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Well I think both of you are absolutely right. I feel really bad now and have apologised to everyone, and things are looking much better. And I did take my son to a forensic physcologist and have him evaluated with her and a child nurse. Nothing came up, and I was sooo relieved. I am just very cautious about things like that because I was abused as a child once, and just would die if anything ever happened to my son. I don't think I can have children again after some "female" complications I am having. I think sometimes I over protect him a little. The reason my sister asked if my stepfather did it is because my stepp father and my son are really close since he is his only boy grandchild, and they are always going places like the races and ball games. Should I go back to normal now? That's what I want. And I am sure everyone else too. I am just afraid to let him spend the night anywhere now. Now will I ever lose this fear I have now of someone hurting my child?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2001 at 10:14AM
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Oh, well it's understandable why you over-reacted! I do think in this instance getting back to normal would be the thing to do. Just tell him your rules matter of factly and without seeming too upset. It may happen again, and if it does treat if like any other broken rule. I agree you need to watch out for your kids and you should only leave him overnight with people you absolutely trust. (and have reason to trust) From what you have said there is no reason not to trust step-dad.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2001 at 1:14AM
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Here are the facts:

Most predators are men.
Most predators are family members.
1 in 6 males under the age of 16 are sexually abused.
Quite often the victims act out the abuse to others.

Given this, I am not so sure that she over-reacted. As parents we need to trust our instincts. If we feel that something is not right...there is often a very good reason. Now, I am not saying that step-dad did anything, but if she had a reason to believe that he did, she needs to follow up on it. She is lucky that nothing turned up. Would you think that she over-reacted if the step-dad had been exposing himself?

Don't beat yourself up. Your son depends on you to stand up for him. Please don't let your guard down because you were wrong this time. The effects of sexual abuse are life-long. I hope I have the courage to 'over-react' if I ever need to. We want to believe so badly that this never happens...but it does.
A great book for you to read is Protecting the Gift by Gavin de Becker.

Here is a link that might be useful: Procting the Gift

    Bookmark   November 15, 2001 at 10:56PM
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She has reason to suspect the step-dad? I don't think so. This was suggested to the boy by the ADULT. I agree you should not minimize your hunches, but neither should you over-react. In the absence of other evidence this appears to be a case of over-reacting.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2001 at 11:52PM
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Preschool children (and some a little after starting school) have no short term memory or real life experience to guide them and to inform their actions. They live in the moment, and so do their thoughts and feelings. They will tend to answer questions based on what they think or feel or are experiencing at the time the question is asked. A young child fearful of a scolding who ducked under the covers might answer _any_ question with the name of the first comforting adult that comes to their mind; they might answer a 'yes' or 'no' question, or a name question with whatever they think the asker wants to hear (to please the angry adult). They also are not so good at differentiating 'good' from 'bad' attention. They just tend to like attention and need attention for their survival... All that normal developmental stuff can end up with the most convoluted stories which do nothing more than illustrate the internal world of the toddler's thinking processes (normal for a toddler is not normal for an adult).

Talk to your pediatrician about the situation and ask them for recommendations for your son. A child psychologist might be able to help sort out whether your son was likely having a problem. That you can do, to help your son or figure out what if anything can help you and him communicate better.

The law enforcement processes are out of your hands at this point. Talk to the investigator about the interview they got with your son, and find out what the next step would be. They probably have a protocol they will follow as to charges, or what would happen with the accused person. You may or may not be able to exert an influence by sharing your doubts or expressing an unwillingness to proceed based on your current understanding of the situation. You can give it a try though.

The daycare center will probably act to preserve itself no matter what. They have an interest in portraying everything as normal or as not related to their environment. That's normal and expectable, and if it seems possible that your son was not harmed when he was there then it might not be worth pursuing. This is where taking your son to a child psychologist can help because they can help with that first assessment of whether your son seems to have been harmed/molested and then work on where or who did that.

Relatives, and apologies for major accusations are difficult. It's something that time and being consistent and stable can help them and you. Mothers of young children are generally known and respected for being protective. If a mistake is to be made, erring on that protective side is usually understandable at least intellectually in the abstract. You can share what you felt and what you thought which guided your actions if you want, or not if you don't.

the books 'the gift of fear' and 'protecting the gift' are really good at explaining how you can take charge of your security and your children's security, and how you can notice your own instincts and honor them as situations call for

    Bookmark   November 21, 2001 at 5:02PM
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Thank you all for your helpful advice. Right now things have settled down alot, just trying to get back to normal. The only problem now is trusting anyone now. I have since been over to my parents house and talked with them, and let them see the kids. But now they want them to start spending the night again, and I am not ready for that yet. I do not want them to spend the night. Then I have to keep making up excuses saying we are busy or have to go somewhere. I do not want to make anyone feel bad, what should I do now? I guess nothing is ever easy. I think they are getting the feeling that I am kind of uneasy still, and do not trust them. I don't see how a person can trust anyone for a while after something like this has happened.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2001 at 4:02PM
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How long has your step-father been a part of your son's life? Has he been close to him his whole life?

    Bookmark   November 23, 2001 at 5:02PM
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Yes, he has. Since he was born. Now he is almost five.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2001 at 1:28PM
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I think we have another hoax here. I asked how long her stepfather (apparently married to her mother) had been in her life. I wasn't really interested, I was just letting her set herself up in another lie. Her answer was almost 5 years. In her home page she states that she was taken away from her parents at a young age and lived with her grandparents until 5 years ago when she moved out because it was not working out. She claims to have been on her own ever since. How could this stepfather have been a part of their lives for the last 5 years? If she was taken away from them he legally would not have been allowed near the grandson for the last 5 years. It doesn't add up. These stories are becoming easier and easier to spot.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2001 at 5:14PM
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Lady, maybe my story was not right on the spot, I am not adding up the years correctly or misconfigured somehow but this is not a lie, and how dare you come on the internet and say I am a lier when you don't even know who I am, when all I came here for is help and someone elses opinion's and yes my story is true, why would someone tell a lie like this. What are you some "forum investigator". Who cares, I know what is true, and I am glad these other people have helped, and thanks to them I don't need people like you! So you can go about your accusing but I think you better have "YOU'R" story straight before you come accusing me!!! THE WRONG PERSON!!!

As if it is any of your business, but you have misconfigured the story way out of proportion! I am the mother, I lived with my grandparents of my biological father until I was about 15 then moved out when I had my son. He is almost five now, I am almost 21. Now does that add up, am I making my self clear for you to understand!! And I am talking about my "MOTHER" and her husband which would be my step dad and my sons step grandfather. I did get taken away from them at a young age, when I was about 12 or 13 yrs then I went to live with my grandparents.

By the way I think you owe me an apology. You were wrong!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2001 at 9:53AM
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Why were you removed from the home?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2001 at 2:02PM
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I remember when I was about 5, the boy next-door and I having show and tell. I was never abused and neither was he, it was just pure curiosity. My mum who was extremely modest/prudish caught us. I don't remember what I saw, but I certainly remember the aftermath.
You son may now be too frightened to tell you the truth, especially if it is just because he thought it was fun. It's sad that your sister couldn't have just talked to him calmly first off.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2001 at 12:59AM
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Children at that age are curious about different body parts. At five, I had a best friend that I played with everyday who was male. Evenutally, we "showed" each other how differnt we both were. It was innocent and satified both our curiosities. Kids are fasinated at that age and everyone is over reacting. If it involed an adult or much older child then there is a problem.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2001 at 4:46PM
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