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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I know something is just not right. But not sure what to do

Resolved Question:

I know something is just not right. But not sure what to do now. My husband and I have been married 21 years, have 4 kids ages 15,12, 4 (in May) and 2. In the past 2 years I noticed strange things with my husband and 4 yr old son, there have been times when our son would sleep with us, usually between us and on occasion in the middle of the night I would hear 'whimpering" and wake up to find my son on the other side of my husband with his pullup off and my husband saying he is soaked 'I am changing him" but they'd be lying there until I would sit up and say is everything ok, then suddenly my husband would get up to get a different pull up?? recently, we went snowboarding and my son takes naps still my husband stayed home with the toddlers, while I took the older girls snowboarding, when we came home my son had been changed to PJ's for his nap?? My 2 yr old daughter recently When I change her diaper and her genitals are exposed, she licks her fingers and than touches her privates
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

Have you taken your toddlers to their doctor yet? You may want to try taking them first to see if there is any evidence of sexual abuse. Keep in mind that doctors are mandated reporters of abuse so if any evidence is found, they will have to report it. But if your child or children have been abused, you will need to report it anyway and the doctor can support you when dealing with the authorities.

Was your husband abused as a child? That might also give you an idea of whether or not it is possible that he is touching your children inappropriately. Adults who are abused as children often repeat the abuse unless they acknowledge their own abuse and get help.

Have you tried talking to your son about who is allowed to touch him? He is a little young yet to grasp the meaning of sexual abuse, but you might be able to talk to him in a general way about what is appropriate and what is not. Do not mention your husband to him, but instead let your son lead the topic. Here are some ideas of how to talk with him:

Ask him open ended questions that require more than a yes or no

Be calm when he answers.

Let him know that he can tell you anything and you will not be mad

Reassure him that if he feels bad about anything or confused, he can tell you

Make sure he knows he is not to blame if something did happen.

You also may want to have your son talk with a counselor. They are trained in helping your child talk about what happens and a therapist can help you determine if there is something going on. Ask your son's doctor for a referral. You can also contact the children's protection services in your area and ask general questions on how you determine sexual abuse.

I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

what do you think of my daughters recent odd behavior with her diaper changes? to me that sort of "sealed the deal" that something may be happening to them. So weird, when I take her diaper off, she puts her hand/fingers in her mouth than touches her vagina?

My husband has not been abused, that I know of. He has never spoke of it. This is so confusing to me, because he has always been such an attentive husband and father and really does a lot for the kids.

Some additional background, we have a poor sex life, I have caught my husband looking at porn. Also, my 15 year old daughter brings friends home and I have seen my husband looking at her friends in a "not so innocent' way.

Guess, i am trying to find reasons to feel this is not possible, but my gut feeling says something is wrong.

thanks for your feedback thus far.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Your daughter's behavior is hard to determine. Children at her age often explore their genitals without realizing what they are doing. However, the fact that she puts her fingers in her mouth first is somewhat unusual.

Have you tried asking your older children about this? I would not do it directly, but in the way I described in my last answer, only at their age levels. They may also let you know if they experienced anything like this.

Your husband looking at porn is really not an unusual behavior for a married male. It is not an indicator of a sexual abuser. It just means he is open to that as a means of sexual stimulation. If, however, he was looking at child pornography, that would be a sign.

I am a very strong believer in listening to your gut. If you feel something is wrong, then it probably is. I would follow through and see what happens. It cannot hurt to look into it, as long as the kids do not know you suspect their father.


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