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RealSupport, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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My 13 year old son briefly touched his 6 year old cousin, according

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My 13 year old son briefly touched his 6 year old cousin, according to him out of curiosity. He did not fondle her or penetrate her according to both of them. He said she allowed him then wanted to touch him which he said no. My family feels we should let it go and move on. What are the legalities and should my son get counseling or is this curiosity? He is very remorseful and immediately admitted to it and knows it was wrong.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am sorry to know about this situation and the way it has impacted you.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

From your words it seems you are truly concerned about what happened and want to do your best in order to take good care of it and prevent future problems.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Could you please tell me how did you find out about this incident?

Customer:

My son went to spend the night with his grandma and cousins. My son and his cousin were downstairs playing. The cousin wanted to stick a balloon up his nose. He said then we trade and asked if he could touch her privates. She shrugged and let him. He said he did so briefly and according to where he showed me he did not even touch her vagina. She asked to touch him and he said no. She walked outside found my mother and told her. She then asked my son what happened and he admitted to it.

Customer:

She brought him home and he told me.

Customer:

My mom and husband think I am making a bigger deal than necessary about this. My brother and grandmother want to just forget about, but he, my son, will not be allowed around his daughter, understandably. My mom said when my niece told her, my niece was not upset or even crying. Not sure if that even means anything.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see. Please, the first thing I need to say and would like you to understand is that this and similar behavior from infancy could be part of normal sexual development, where children out of curiosity do try to explore and learn how it feels to observe and touch , be observed and touched too. Many times they do have no idea or limited information about it, other times they could be older like your son, have general knowledge about things, of what would be correct or not, but still have the curiosity and lacking enough and sound sexual education to take good care of themselves and others in this specific area.

Customer:

Oh I have the age wrong she is not 6. She is 9.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If your son's reaction to confrontation happened to be very different then there would be a bigger concern. If this happened to be one of several episodes or matching other inadequate sexual behaviors, then it would be a real concern, if he would not feel remorse since aware it was not right, then it would be very concerning. But this isolated episode seems to be a challenging situation for you and family but should be taken as a concrete opportunity for you to work on improving sexual education you provide at home, open and honest dialogue about this and other sensitive subjects, to make sure he develops and growths in the healthiest and best ways, taking good care of himself and of other people.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I child presenting this behavior this way should never been considered to be a potential sex predator, pedophile or anything similar, that would be a serious distortion that could deeply damage the child and the whole family.

Customer:

Does he need counseling? If the mother presses charges against my son, what could happen?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Most times in scenarios like this it is lack of enough sound sexual education at home and at school what leads children to present these behaviors, most times driven by their own natural sexual development, curiosity and the impact media and society have on them.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

My suggestion is for him, you and your spouse to get counseling to work on this situation in order to get clarification, guidance and adequate support about it. That would be the best you could do about it. Please make sure core part of your work as parents is not to identify your son as a potential sexual offender, predator or anything similar, since that would be the worst approach that could indeed damage your son's personality, mental health and even push him to become one.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Take this situation as a very useful chance for you to work on improving the sexual education you provide at home, not only through intellectual guidance, but from everything you do, comment and how you cope with anything related with sex, including media, stereotypes, religious beliefs and more. Finding a competent and ethical MFT- marriage and family therapist could be the best approach to get the support you need, learn and grow from this incident.

Customer:

What charges could be brought against him?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

It's very good to know her mother's reaction and family have been this sound, as well as his cousin to have confirmed and expressed things happened the way he described, what should not lead to any legal problem, once both are minors and consented this exploration.

Customer:

ok thanks. SHould I get a lawyer just in case?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If consulting with an attorney licensed in your state would allow you to feel more comfortable and relax about it, for sure it would be a good idea. Each state has its own regulations about scenarios like this. This way you would feel more at easy, but the MFT or other mental health professional you find locally, should be very well aware and knowledgeable about it too.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. Thank you for your trust.

Customer:

One more thing. Will my niece be scarred from this?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

The way she feels , reacts and how much it affects her would mostly depend on the sexual education, parenting she receives and how ehalthya d functional her family and life circumstances happen to be.

Customer:

Do you mean how my brother and grandma react to it?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

A child having this experience could be just totally fine, while other get mildly or severely impacted depending on the way those adults taking care of them raise, educate, love, and support them. A child who is taught to believe that any thing related to sexuality is sinful and that any sexual experience would deeply damage her self and life, for sure would get seriously disturbed with the same experience that could not negatively affect another child in the very same scenario.

Customer:

ok you have been very helpful. I feel much better about the situation and think I can move on from this and assure he becomes sexually educated.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I mean those adults who raise her and have a close connection - responsibility raising and parenting her. Most times parents and grandparents, or those playing a parental role close to the child.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Sounds very good. Please be very understanding, assertively supportive, gentle and compassionate with yourself and towards him while working on it, for you to get closer, healthier and happier. With time they should be allowed to play together as any normal child and as cousins under supervision, for them to feel fine and not to be stigmatized nor alienated by this situation.

Customer:

ok thanks.

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