Help regarding age/gender appropriateness

[deleted account] ( 6 moms have responded )

This past Saturday my daughter (5yo) spent the night over at her father's (remarried) and came back on Sunday like normal. But on Monday, she informed me that her bedroom has no door, just a curtain. Her cousins aged 12, 14, and 16 all boys, and parents, had spent the night as well, which wouldn't have been so bad except for the next part she told me. Her father allowed her to sleep on the living room floor with the cousins, no adults were sleeping in the room with them as the parents were in the guest room, and her father and wife were in their room. She said that no one had touched her and she was open about talking about it, so I don't think anything happened. Her father saw nothing wrong with this and accused me of thinking like ‘a sl*t in the gutter’ for suggesting that the boys could have done anything, told me that they were good church-going people and I was out of line. Do I have reason to be worried or am I just paranoid? If there is reason for concern, what can/should I do about it?

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Beth - posted on 10/12/2009

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Maybe you want to remind your ex that the Palin children are also "good church-going people". I do think the language and suitability of what the older boys talk about and/or watch on TV may be the real issue. Are there controls in place for, say, no movies rated higher than PG are allowed when she is watching with them? Also, why not have her watch one movie with them and then go to her own room while they watch something for older kids? Win/win, no?

[deleted account]

Whilst I agree that you are not a s@#t in the gutter and I can see the concerns of yourself and the other posters on here because let's face it, bad things can happen. But let me be the devil's advocate and maybe here is another way to look at it. My husband has 2 sons from a previous marriage, much older than the 2 children we have together- a 3 yr old girl and a baby boy. As a treat the older boys have always been allowed to stay up later on weekend nights and sleep in the living room so they can watch the 'big' TV. Lately my 3yr old girl wants to sleep in there with them- under the below logic, I couldnt let that happen because 'something might happen'. You might say but that's different, they are siblings- well techinically, they are HALF sibilings, which is not that much different to cousins. The boys like to have her with them because, I think, it gives them 'permission' to just fun fun like a little kid; and I KNOW they dont discuss anything inappropriate in front of her because they love her and love and respect us. This could be the same with your daughter's cousins- just because they are cousins on her dad's side doesnt mean there's anything sinister in it. Maybe you could try to talk to her dad again and just say that you have concerns about her privacy and see what he thinks about maybe letting stay out there til bed time and then sleep elsewhere. I honestly think though that there's probably nothing to worry about.

Laura - posted on 10/11/2009

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You are not thinking like a "sl*t in the gutter!" You are thinking of the welfare of your child! I would try talking to him again, explaining that you aren't accusing anyone of being or thinking of being inappropriate, you are only trying to prevent anything horrible from happening to your daughter. Ask him how he would feel "if" something happened to her knowing that HE could have prevented it! There is nothing wrong w/ taking precautions. I would document the conversation and if this happens again, I would call social services and report it. I can't see how it could be deemed appropriate for a 5 year old girl to be allowed to sleep in the same room w/ teenage boys!

Gwen - posted on 10/11/2009

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I understand your concern. I'm frankly not even sure why teenage boys would want thier 5y.o. girl cousin sleeping with them anyway, it kind of limits what they can do and say, doesn't it? I wouldn't be worried so much about physical contact as what she might learn from hearing teenage boys talk! maybe you could approach it like that? Tell dad that you understand they are cousins and enjoys spending time together, but you are concerned that she may overhear somethings she is way to young to listen too. Offer him an aceptable alternative, maybe? Like maybe an adult stays in the room? or she have the choice to sleep with a favorite aunt instead?

[deleted account]

I think that unless you have something concrete to go on, you may be overreacting. However, if your concern is that your daughter should have privacy, that might be a better way to voice yr concern in terms of discussing it with her dad; rather than basically accusing his friends/relatives of being paedophiles. I'm sure you wouldn't like it if he did the same? Also- as a professional in this area- I would say be very wary of 'putting ideas' in your daughter's head with your line of questioning on this topic. You run the risk of exposing her to adult themes and also if she IS molested in the future she is less liekly to disclose if she thinks everyone will get upset- remember kids see conflict between parents as being their fault.

Ginger - posted on 10/01/2009

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I have been going through a similar situation myself, I have a 5 yo girl who goes with her 8yo sister to their dads, his new g.f. has a son and they let them sleep together, It makes me crazy!! No I don't think your paranoid you are a mother who is concerned about her child. If the boys were younger I may not worry so much but teens are VERY sexually active, christian or not! That is not ok by any standards including the legal ones, I feel children above the age of 5 need to be gender seperated for sleeping, they are curious and he should respect your comfort level as well.

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