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Anna, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1945
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 29 years in addictions and mental health.
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I have a 4 year old boy that has been "playing a game"

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i have a 4 year old boy that has been "playing a game" called butts and penises, it was caught by our friends niece, who was watching the boys, that was about almost a year ago....over the last year he was caught playing the same game with my brothers step son who is a year older than him....and as of lately he's been caught playing it with the boy he's made friends with across the street...we have told him several times that that isn't a game to play, that he wasn't allowed to play that game, and that his penis is private and that nobody should touch him and that he shouldn't touch them, in the last week it's happened more than the last year...we are sooo concerned, he was told not to do this yet he still did so he was punished and placed in the corner for "not listening to his parents" then he was told if he did it again he would get spanked...he did it again and so my husband explained that he wasn't listening again so he was spanked 3 times then placed in the corner again. help
Hello & Welcome to Just Answers.

Your son has been exposed to adult sexual activity either in person or through porn (in various forms). My guess is that his exposure has continued in some way, which keeps the topic foremost in his mind. What he's doing is not normal child sex play, but follows more along the line of a child who has been sexually abused.

He's repeating this behavior after the warnings because it's a child's way to ask for help with something they can't handle or set right in their minds. My recommendation is that you speak with his pediatrician and get a referral to a counselor that works with sexually abused children as they're comfortable with dealing with children who's play has become sexualized. This is more than a behavioral issue that needs correction, although that is certainly one part of the help he needs. He needs help from an expert so that he can learn to vocalize what he's been exposed to.

Since he has words and more than one behavior he's repeating, my guess is that his exposure isn't to magazine porn, but either to videos or human exposure. As a four year old, he knows way too much about the mechanics of homosexual experience, and has a level of comfortability that comes from having sexual interactions normalized. He didn't come up with this by himself and is begging for help. If you don't get him the help he needs, he'll escalate the behaviors until help is forced into his world, which will come through child protective services and law enforcement.

My greatest concern is that an adult male has introduced this activity to him, which is the most likely situation as well as the most common.

My best to you.

If you would, please fill out the feedback form after accepting. I appreciate this opportunity to help you out today. If I can be of further service to you, just put "for Anna" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

my son has only been left with choice people thus far in his life....grandparents..nieces, and my husbands best friend's family, who have been friends since my husband was 7 years husband trusts him totally. and he has 3 boys that have never displayed this type of behavior. i do however have 2 rottwiellers that are girl and boy, the girl is always licking his genitals, and when he was around 2 1/2 to 3 years old, he payed attention to it and i would always tell the dog to stop that, and even comment that it was disgusting. but he would always watch it when he noticed it...then one day about a year ago, when he was just 3 i heard him in the bathroom laughing, when i went in there the dog was licking him on his penis and he was laughing...i said don't let the dog lick you there that's yucky!!!! hay have done it one other time but then the behavior stopped then now this started happening, and i recall him playing "dog" ,with his friend he was found doing it with the first time, about the same time they were caught, could this be the influence?

It could be, but it wouldn't answer all of it. You're in a situation that no parent wants to be in, and you've got to take that into account. If this were my child, I would have a professional interview him, all the while hoping he was imitating the dog or acting out a friend's story. It might be the dog, but he keeps repeating the behavior, which is one of the most common signs that a child has been exposed to adult sexuality either through an adult or another child who has been exposed by another adult. He can be just one of the links in a chain of information, which you would want to know about as well ---especially since his exposure to other people has been limited to your loved ones. Perhaps another child has been put at risk and shared that with your son. It's very hard to tell, but something an objective professional can ferret out.

My best to you,
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
can this be stopped and how....i've limited his interaction with others at this point, i feel that scolding him with spankings, which he never normally receives, might be damaging to his should i stop this or how should he be repremanded?
These questions are more than can be given justice to in this forum or format, so I recommend that you seek further help through your pediatrician or a professional counselor. Your insurance company can guide you to someone in your area on your panel of providers.

My best to you and your family,

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