Published May 31, 2004
I need an unbiased opinion. I have a 4 year old who said some disturbing things to me. She was recently over at her grandparents house (husband's parents). They always babysit, and from what I know she has never been alone with her grandfather. I have never really liked him, so perhaps this is skewing my view. But she was shaking her butt to music and all of a sudden she said "my grandpa washed my pee pee". i waited till we got home to ask her about it. I said where, she said "kitchen" and showed me how (rubbed herself). She said she it was because she was "goofy". I asked when and she said "today". That part makes no sense because he was never around her at all (was out) on that day. I don't know what to make of it but I find it quite odd and disturbing. I told his wife and she seemed upset but said it could not be because he was not there that day. But who knows about her sense of time! Now she wont talk to me and I am unsure what to make of this! Is it a possible abuse or a four year old daydreaming? She does tell a lot of stories..but this is omething I can not just ignore. Any advice?
My only advice is this. It sounds as if you are truly concerned that something improper may have occurred...and if that's the case, then you need to take your daughter to the pediatrician and perhaps a child psychologist. They can help you to figure out the best way to proceed.
regardless of when this happened, her grandfather washed her....i don't think a 4 yo would pull that out of a hat. so as the op stated, you need to follow through w/your pediatrician. good luck.
It is true, I am so very concerned. I know she says a lot of stories that are quite imaginative but you are right, it is hard to envision her pulling these phrases out of her hat!!
Now this has changed everything already. Just those phrases has turned my world upside down. I don't want to go back over there or ever see them again.....I am angry at my husband's mother (who acted as though she did not believe that my daughter said these things). I am scared that, what if something really did happen and now she will be scarred for life. I am so full of emotion and don't know what a doctor could do. For example, there are no visible marks and what if they question her too much about it and confuse her if nothing did happen
I am soooooo confused and just want to cry for my little one
phenomenon, do not jump the gun!!!! you already stated that your dtr. was wiggling her bum to music; at this point she does not sound traumatized. her pediatrician will be able to guide you in the right direction; maybe the doctor will suggest a consult with someone who specializes in this; maybe the doctor will tell you that it's normal for 4 yo's to tell stories...whatever it is, the doctor should lead you in the right direction. i wouldn't bring it up to your dtr again as it sounds like she's sensing you're upset. maybe you'd feel better if your husband asked his father what happened???
What a terrible situation to be in. What does your mother's intuition tell you? Why don't you like your father in law? My daughter had a bad feeling about a family friend. My neice did not like him either. One day he rubbed his hand across my daughter's leg. He claimed it was innocent. We believed her. Later we found out he was accused by his co-worker of fondling her daughter.
I would get another babysitter and make sure the visits are supervised. I would also recommend that you teach your daughter all the correct names of her body parts. This will prevent her from being ashamed to mention any one of them and will help her communicate if anybody touches her. Sorry this is happening to your family. I imagine your husband will not want to think his father is capable of anything like this. So he might tend to not take your daughter's story to heart. I know it is slippery ground- but I would err on the side of caution even though it might cause problems.
canoehead, BSN, RN
I would watch their reaction to what you have told them. I assume when you mentioned it to your MIL it was just a "by the way..." kind of comment. You can tell them you want to keep your child out of situations that she might misinterpret and ask them if they have any ideas about how to do that. Expect they'll be uncomfortable (wouldn't we all be) but hopefully they'll agree that it's better to discuss it than to be suspicious.
If a family who wouldn't dream of doing such a thing got feedback like that they would insist that your daughter never be alone with her grandpa, I would expect them to initiate that without you insisting. If only to prevent your worrying, and to protect themselves. If he is a pedophile I think that nothing will stop him, and he will already know a way to shame you and/or his wife into letting him take care of your girl. So be aware that you may have to deal with manipulation in order to protect her.
I agree that you need to take anything she says seriously, and go to the doc, but even if the doc finds nothing that wouldn't mean she's not at risk. Good luck.
This might sound incredibly naive, but has he ever cleaned her up after an "accident"? That's what it sounds like to me, more than actual molestation. The people I know who have been molested were all cautionned not to speak about it, and it sounds like your daughter wasn't or she wouldn't have just volunteered the information. A molester will often threaten a child ("If you tell, you'll be in trouble" or "I'll hurt your mommy if you tell") or try to make it seem like a game ("This is our little secret now").
Good point, fergus.
I wouldn't say another word to your daughter about it. She can sense you are upset and she has no idea why except for something she said..she may not even know which word upset you.
Don't offer any questions..it will only be added to her story...children will embellish a story with the details an adult provides so be really careful what you say.
Something as simple as..did he use a towel to wipe? is too much information..the child will just incorporate the towel into the story.
You need to take your daughter to an adult she likes and the adult must not have any coaching by anyone. That third party adult...I really really wouldn't make it a doctor..unless she absolutely loves her doc..it needs to be someone she knows and is comfortable with.
She will not talk to you because unfortunately you freaked out and she knows it...you might want to see if her father could introduce the subject but kids aren't stupid..she knows mom and dad are a team..she may clam up expecting the same upset.
She needs to be questioned..of that there is no doubt but I hesitate to drag out the big guns..just yet.
I would ask your husband if he or any of his siblings experienced any form of abuse as children..
I have some experience with a smiler situation.
My son once came home with a story like this when he was 4. We did take him to a Doctor and although I can't tell you what the right choice is for you I wish we hadn't.
He told his mom that an older child at daycare had stuck his finger in his butt. He was crying and saying that it hurt. I was really worried so I called one of those hotlines and was trying to get some information on what I should do. They wouldn't tell me anything unless I brought him in so I reluctantly brought him to the center where he was examined and questioned about the incident. We never found out for sure what had happened. 4 year olds aren't really able to distinguish between reality and fantasy and he used to have problems with constipation that could have explained the pain. I do however know that he remembers the visit to that place he sometimes talks to me about it and he is 6 now. Also the daycare had to be shut down for a few days and undergo investigation.
There is a bunch of literature out about molestation and so many different opinions on this subject. After reading allot of books and thinking about it I wish I had just talked with him about it and helped him to put it in a healthy frame of reference. ie " something bad happened to you and it wasn't your fault" even though we don't know for sure it ever happened I think that message would have rooted it's self in his subconscious if it had happened or he would just forget it if nothing really happened. As it stands now he has a memory of the doctor examining him and the memory of the questioning. We did pull him out of the daycare and that was the one good choice we made.
If it were me, I would just explain to my child that it's mean for people to do things like that to them. That it wasn't their fault and that it was good she told. I wouldn't let her be alone with the grandfather but wouldn't mention it to him, If you ask him about it all he will do is deny it. If you want to send a message to him without accusing him I would just say "my child said that someone touched her, I believe her and just wanted you as her grandfather to know. If he did do it he will get the message loud and clear but if he didn't he will just think your strange. In any case I wouldn't let them be alone together.
I would call child protective services and let them come and talk to the child.
I was "molested" when I was a child. I sure wish someone would have called them for me. If it is just a "story" child protective services" doesn't get mad at you. It's their job to figure out if it is true or "just a story". Good luck
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