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Cher
Cher, Teacher
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 18676
Experience:  Extensive Experience working with Children/Teens; M.A. Teacher/Tutor 40+ yrs.; Parent of 2
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My dad (who lives with me) says he saw my boyfriend grab my

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My dad (who lives with me) says he saw my boyfriend grab my 15-yr-old daughter's behind. She says she never felt anything. I find no evidence to back-up my dad's claim, but he isn't the type of person to invent things out of thin air. There is no history of anything inappropriate like this by my boyfriend. I'm basing most of my judgment on my daughter's side of the story. If what is described by my dad actually happened, she would have felt it. I was standing right there and she would have physically / verbally responded if it happened. At this point, I don't think anything inappropriate happened. Is there anything I should be doing / asking / evaluating to come to the most accurate conclusion? I haven't discussed it with my boyfriend yet - I want to get a better handle on the accusation before I do. Thanks for any advice!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hello, and thanks for your question.

It would help me if you could provide a few more details.

How old is your boyfriend?

How long have you been dating him?

Do you live together?

How does your father feel about your boyfriend? Do they get along? Has he indicated to you that he's not happy with your relationship with this man?

How did you ask your daughter if this actually happened?

Where was your dad sitting/standing, when he thinks he saw your boyfriend to this?

Was anyone else in the room besides your dad, your daughter, your boyfriend and you, when your dad says this incident took place?

Has your daughter indicated and/or did you ask, if your boyfriend has ever done anything similar in the past, just joking around? Has he ever said anything which could be interpreted or misinterpreted as inappropriate, to your daughter? Do you have any other children?

Thanks for all your additional detail.

Cher
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Cher,

Sorry for my delayed response - I've been having a very long talk with my dad.

Boyfriend (and I) are both 42. We do not live together. We have been friends for about 2 years but started dating only a few months ago. He has a 15 y.o. daughter, a 12 y.o. son and 9 y.o. son. They seem to have a good relationship but the kids live in a different state so I haven't been with him when he is with his kids - I have been exposed to him speaking with them on the phone a few times.

I didn't really forewarn my dad about the relationship, so it was kind of thrust on him. They have interacted a few times and it has been pleasant. Dad hasn't conveyed any misgivings until the situation with my daughter on Saturday.

I just asked her if Scott grabbed her butt the other night - very blunt but not in an upset way. We were in a relaxed setting in the kitchen - just she and I. We have a very good relationship and speak frankly about all kinds of things.

Dad was at a counter in the kitchen pouring coffee. Ali was standing with her back turned, leaning on the island counter, about 3 feet away. Scott passed between the two of them and allegedly grabbed her rear as he passed by. He was coming around the island to come near me. I was to Ali's left, working at the island on food. My daughter had her face to me and I never saw any changed expression - although I wasn't looking for any. My girlfriend was sitting at the island, opposite me and to the right of my daughter.

Last night, my daughter and I hung out in my room talking about the situation. I asked if my boyfriend ever touched her rear-end or chest and she said "no". They are both gregarious, affectionate people and there have been hugs, tickling, etc., but nothing where his hands were in an inappropriate place. I also asked her if she felt safe around him or if she had any worries about things. She said she felt very safe with him and that she never felt him grab her. My son is 8 1/2. He was not at my house when this took place.

I know it's hard to clear through all the details, what history and family dynamics I can't possibly include for space and time consideration, etc. I am hoping to learn some methods for evaluating the situation so I can make the best decisions. I haven't spoken with my boyfriend about this yet - I want to have a clear idea in my head about whether he did something wrong or not before I approach him on it. If you have suggestions about how I approach him on this, I'm very open to your thoughts.

Thank you so much!
Kim
Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hi again, Kim, and thanks very much for your reply with detailed information.

Please allow me a little time to digest all this and picture the situation as you described it, and then I will send you a complete answer.

By the way, is Ali's father in the picture at all?

Is she a happy go lucky kid who does well in school, has a lot of friends, etc.? You mentioned she was gregarious and affectionate.

How does your son get along with Scott, and what does he think of him being in your life at this time?

How did Ali react when you asked her bluntly if Scott had grabbed her butt the other night?

Thanks,
Cher
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ali's father passed away at a young age; Ali was 7 y.o. I married my 2nd husband 10 years ago and we recently divorced. My son is from my 2nd marriage. It has bee a very amicable divorce and there hasn't been a bunch of nonsense going on there. Both the kids really like Scott, but Ali has interacted with him more (Elliot splits time between me and his dad). He rarely is around my kids when it is just the 4 of us, and Elliot is unaware of the dating aspect to things. Neither child have been alone with Scott.

Ali is a happy-go-lucky girl, artsy type. Not great at school but has a variety of friends; plays sports and has been involved in lots of volunteering things with her school. She's had pain in her life, and is amazingly pretty grounded (for a 15 y.o. anyway!). She and I speak very openly and have a trusting relationship.

When I asked her about Scott, she said "no way". She said he did a "pinch / tickle" to her side but she never felt anything on her rear. She seemed a little mixed emotionally - like she wasn't sure how she was supposed to respond. As we spoke later in the evening, it seemed to me she had taken on the child mentality of "when an adult tells you something, it's true because an adult said it". Where she has been consistent is that she never felt him touch her behind, and she has never felt unsafe around him.

My dad demo'd on me what he saw. It was a grab. I'm certain it would have been felt. Neither Ali or myself believe my dad would just make something up, though. My best guess at this point is that there was a touch of some sort that looked one way to my dad from his position and felt another way to my daughter.

I will be speaking with Scott tonight after a board meeting at school. I appreciate your time and look forward to any feedback you have to offer.

Thanks!
Kim
Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hi again Kim, and thanks for your reply.

I agree with you completely, that I think from the angle your dad saw Scott gave her a 'pinch/tickle' to her side, it looked like he 'grabbed', 'lower'.

I don't think your dad would make something like this up, either, but of course, he's concerned for his grandaughter's (and your and Elliot's) safety.

I'm glad you'll be bringing this up to Scott, tonight, and it might be a good idea to ask him not to touch Ali at all, in the future, even fooling around, with a tickle, etc., just so there's no room for misinterpretation, again.

I know he has a daughter Ali's age, he's a father of 3, you know him for two years, and trust him, and your kids trust him/feel safe around him, but having been in a similiar situation, and having been the widowed the mother of a teenaged daughter, there's no such thing as 'too safe'. It's just a built-in instinct. We see programs on TV, etc., about the most 'normal' looking/acting guy who is a father himself, has lots of friends, etc., and turns out to be a predator. I'm in no way implying this is Scott, just making the point that you can never be too careful, and even though we want to trust a man we date, who we feel we know really well, and is around our kids all the time, there's that little nagging 1% of doubt in the back of our minds that won't be quiet when it comes to our kids' safety.

I do think your dad saw this 'motion' from Scott as he passed Ali, and thought he grabbed her tush, but his perception was off, at the angle where he was sitting. There's no reason for Ali to not tell you the truth, and I LOVE the open and honest relationship you have with her.

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your first husband/Ali's dad, at such a young age. I was in the same situation, and my daughter (oldest child of two, also, and younger child, a son) was also seven at the time of the loss; my son was almost 4. It's difficult for children to grow up without a father, but thank goodness you married again, and Ali had a second dad throughout her formative years, plus you had the support of your family, luckily, as I did, too, and your dad is always there for you and the children. That's very important.

I hope this was just an optical illusion/"trompe l'oeil" if you will, on your dad's part, and since Scott DID touch Ali, just as a gesture of friendliness, affection, fooling around, at that same time, that's what he must have seen.

You don't want to blow this out of proportion and have Ali no longer feel safe around Scott, so don't bring it up again, and when you discuss it with XXXXX, XXXXX't sound accusatory at all, just ask what he did/where he touched her, because your dad seemed to think he patted her (grabbed her?) tush. I hope this discussion doesn't cause any trust or other issues between you and Scott, but it sounds like you will know how to phrase this perfectly!

Please let me know how it goes, after you speak to him, tonight.

You sound like you have a wonderful family and have compensated well, over the years, re: the loss of Ali's dad. Unfortunately, there are not as many parents nowadays, who can proudly say they have an open and honest relationship with their teenaged daughter, so you are to be applauded and complimented for the great job you have done, and are still doing!

Cher
Cher, Teacher
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 18676
Experience: Extensive Experience working with Children/Teens; M.A. Teacher/Tutor 40+ yrs.; Parent of 2
Cher and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Good morning, Cher!

I find it miraculous that your "mom" background is so similar to mine. If one were to only look at my demographics and statistics, they would miss the essentials of who I am. That you have navigated some of the same waters as I, allowed us a "real" and helpful dialogue even as complete strangers. So thank you for sharing that information with me.

Scott was very hurt, yet he remained open and engaged in the conversation. My dad gave me some clues to watch / listen for that would indicate innocence on Scott's part. I shared with Scott what my dad saw, what Ali said and what investigative steps I had been taking. I told him that my conclusion was nothing inappropriate happened. Then I just listened and watched. His responses followed almost exactly what my dad described for an innocent person. It was remarkable; it was painful; it opened up yet another opportunity for us to show each other our personal character and integrity.

I spoke to my dad immediately after getting home last night and shared the details of the conversation. Specifically, Scott offered to speak one-on-one with him to help create assurances of his good intentions and said he would apologize, "not because I did anything wrong, but just because we're having to deal with this." When my dad heard that, I could visibly see the relief come over him. My dad said he also couldn't apologize for bringing this up, that he had no intention of false accusations. But he agreed that it was probably a mirage - "an optical illusion" as you put it - where things looked one way from his point of view and, in fact, were another thing entirely.

I spoke with Ali this morning driving her to lacrosse practice. I told her she was right - that nothing inappropriate happened - but that it appeared that way from my dad's position. She was relieved - said she had felt sure nothing bad had been done. I told her that the real truth - underneath all this - is she has two men in her life that appeared to be on opposite sides of a question and all they could think about was her safety, regardless of the cost to them personally. I told her she is blessed to have two men in her life who feel such love and care for her. Then we smiled and talked about which lip gloss to put on - LOL!

Thank you for your words and guidance. Your "optical illusion" phrase carried the day - it created a space where both men could be right, both have dignity - even on opposite sides of a question.

I wish you and your family a wonderful day! My direct e-mail is:XXX@XXXXXX.XXX if you ever wish to reach me for anything. Blessings to you!

Kind regards,
Kim
Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hi again, Kim, and thanks very much for your detailed reply and your accept.

My apologies for not getting back to you sooner, but I had an 'emergency' of my own, last night (well, early this morning), when I had to take my cat to the ER animal hospital (he's doing well, now), so my entire day was not a conventional one, where I'm usually online for the better part of the day and night.

I'm so glad you had an honest, heartfelt discussion with Scott, your dad, and Ali, and all is well, now. The words you used to communicate with Ali AND Scott, were so wonderful, and it's refreshing to hear successful stories of great parenting, with everything that's going on in the world today!

Yes, it IS amazing that we share a common past with the unfortunate loss of our husbands at an early age, when our firstborn girls were the same age! I also live in Florida, near Ft. Lauderdale. It would be nice if we could talk further, but, unfortunately, email addresses and phone numbers, etc. (personal info) are automatically X'd out in posts on Just Answer, to protect your information. If you can write your e mail address with just your username, leaving out the 'at', then the server, and also leaving out the 'dot com' at the end, we should be able to keep in touch, which would be nice.

I'm so glad I was able to help you with this 'delicate' situation, and do hope to hear from you again.

I hope your day was wonderful as well,

Regards,
Cher
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Cher - thanks for the tip on the e-mail. I printed out our dialogue and saw my address x'd out. BTW, I printed it as a "transcript" of sorts to document this situation for the benefit of all - so that stories don't change later...you know?

I'm in St. Augustine for the past 8 years and I love it here! My aim is to remain here as "home" for the remainder of my life. I lived in South Beach the 2 winters I was pregnant with Ali and she was a young baby. I loved it there, too - the energy and great "stoops" served my writing inspiration a lot. But no place to raise a child IMO. I'm a product of a long Norwegian / Minnesota heritage. I am the black sheep who actually left MN. But I hate snow and cold and an endless stream of cloudy days! I am very happy here so it works for me!

I'm glad your cat is ok now. Ali and I had to put our cat down 2 years ago - at 17 years of age. It was tough because he had belonged to Ali's dad and was the last "living" remnant of her daddy's life. So I caved and payed to have the cat cremated. We were heading out on a short trip to the Bahamas - the guys sailing our boat over and me flying over with the kids. Ali and I thought it would be cool to bring the cat's ashes with us and sprinkle him there. It was an hysterical disaster - including gale force winds til the last hour of our visit; somehow getting the can and ashes through U.S. security AND customs (which I had never thought about ahead of time); then when Ali and I finally HAD to sprinkle the kitty, the baggie dumped in one pile on a rock above the water line... There was nothing left for us to do but laugh and reflect and walk back to the boat holding hands, which were covered in kitty grit from getting his ashes into the water... It was such a story!

I'm an earthlink(dot)net user. First part of my address is kbeddard. I wish you the best of days tomorrow - no kitty drama!

There are a lot of people out there without access to sound advice nor peers who are healthy sounding boards for good ways of relating. You are kind to invest your talents and training in such a medium as this and I'm very glad you responded to my particular question! Stay in touch anytime, Cher ~

Take care, Kim
Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hi again, Kim and thanks very much for your reply.

So, Ali is a Floridian! I agree, South Beach is not a good place to raise a child, and now it's all clubs, restaurants, and retro art deco stuff, but a 'must see' for any visitors to SoFla! I've only been there a few times, myself, when bringing visitors from other States, to 'sight-see'. I, myself, am a native NY-er; love the non-snow in FL, but hate the lack of 4 seasons. Now, it's beautiful and well worth living here; come June, heat, humidity, and hurricane season, not so much! lol I've been here almost 21 years.

Thanks for including your information, and I'll speak with you again, soon.

Regards,
Cher

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