Nov 14, 2012

Young Child Exposing Herself

Category: Children
Posted By: Denise

Question: Hi Ryan, my son's classmate is showing her bum and genitals to him at school. Inside the school and outside at recess. She is always asking him if he wants to see her peepee. They are both turning eight this month and have known each other since they were 5 years old.

The other day when leaving school we were all walking together, my son and daughter and my son's classmate and her mother. My son came running up and told us that she pulled down her pants and showed her bum and vagina to him. They were only feet away around a corner. She denied it at first then confessed to doing it. When I asked my son if she had done it before he told me yes. Her mother was very upset and took her home for punishment. I haven't spoken to her yet about what action she will take. We both need some good advice on how to handle this delicate but very serious situation. I don't want my son getting in trouble at school because this girl cornered him and showed her privates. He is upset that he had to see that. He doesn't want it to happen again. I would appreciate any advice you can give me.

Thank you,

Denise

 

Answer: Hi Denise, I’m sorry your son has been caused distressed by these incidents.  I’m afraid its quite hard to assess at a distance what might be behind the little girl’s behaviour.  It can be quite normal in some circumstances for children to play or experiment in this way.  However, the situations which you describe don’t seem to fit this bill.  The fact that the little girl is exposing herself during school and in social situations when it is clear that it would not be appropriate make it seem a little less normal experimentation and more driven by some more compelling motivation on the part of the girl.

With regard to how to deal with it, I think that the mother of the little girl needs to think about and assess what might be behind her daughter’s behaviour and whether she is acting out of some distress of her own.  If she is uncertain then it would be important for her to seek some support and advice with this.

From your point of view I think it is important that you talk to your son about why it is inappropriate and help him understand the feelings that society has about exposing genitals in public.  If possible I would suggest that you try to do this with as little stigmatism as you can.  It is not inherently wrong, there are other cultures where it would be perfectly normal and there is no need for him to feel bad about what happened.  In order to protect your son and make sure that the little girl gets the support she needs it would also be important that your son is encouraged to tell the adults in charge if it happens again.

I hope this information is of some use to you.  I do wish you luck with managing the situation,

Ryan



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