Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dear Dr. Cason- My Son Touched Another Child

Dear Dr. Cason,

I've just come home with my 5 yr son from school after speaking to his headteacher and am very upset.

Another boy in his class has recently told his mother about an incident that occurred a couple of months ago between the 2 of them. My son took his classmate into the classroom during break time and told him that they were going to hide. Once hidden my son asked the other boy to pull down his pants, my son then put his finger into the boy's bum. The boy is very upset about it and has started wetting his bed, although his mother thinks he is more upset about the fact they were in the classroom when they shouldn't have been. It was my son's idea and he has told me as much.

This is unfortunately not the first time my son has behaved inappropriately like this. About 4 months ago him and his cousin (girl, same age) were putting marbles in each other. They put some in his bum and her vagina, which resulted in her being hurt and there was blood found in her pants. Her parents reacted hysterically about it and they put the blame entirely on my son, however he insists that it was her idea.

I've have been very calm and non judgmental when questioning him about these incidents, but the fact that it has reoccurred has made me question how we may have dealt with it. I am deeply concerned as to where the behavior has stemmed from. Is it normal child curiosity or something more serious?

Dear Anonymous,


Thank you for the comment.

I really feel for you. In some ways we want to downplay our child's normal exploratory phase and not make a huge deal of it. But also we want and need to set limits and let them know what is and isn't appropriate. This clearly is inappropriate touching and needs to be addressed. Does he recognize why the boy is upset?

Kids are kids and do explore but need to be reminded what is acceptable. I have three children and once my three year old thought it was funny to poke his sisters in the bottom. It's not and I very clearly let him know he shouldn't do that to others nor should someone do that to him. But he's three, my other two who are 5 and 6 know this is wrong and tell him so very clearly!

I make sure to mention privacy at least 2-3 times a day. Private parts are private and it's why we wear clothes and shut the door when we are using the bathroom. Once my kids reach school age or are going to daycare, I let them know what are good and bad touches. Hugs are fine, but no one should touch in the private area.

Without knowing your son, it's hard to say whether this is indicative of anything or just normal curiosity. Is he seeing adult material? Magazines/videos...Children love to imitate. He is trying to get a reaction? Does he have other discipline issues or inappropriate behavior? This is all best addressed by a professional such as your pediatrician or a psychologist.

Remember to be strong and brave about finding the truth. There's nothing worse than ignoring something and having it later come back in other stronger behavior.

Best of luck to you. Please let me know if I can help in any other way.

Sheila Cason MD


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fresh Air Fund- Host a Child This Summer

Hi Everyone,

Do you remember your summer camps? Do you remember all the fun and activities? Summer is almost over and yet for a few more weeks you can help an inner city child have a great summer experience!!

THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2008, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.

Don't underestimate the power a new experience can have for a child. Go to The Fresh Air Fund for more information on how you can make a difference.

Sheila Cason MD