Ask Amy: Childhood incident is framed as assault

Dear Amy: Six years ago, my two grandchildren were playing “family” in a makeshift fort with blankets hung for walls. These two cousins were both 6 years old at the time.

Sometime during their play, clothes were removed and my grandson kissed his female cousin’s bottom.

Since then, my daughter-in-law sees her daughter as a victim and her nephew as a sexual predator.

The kids are now 12, and have never been allowed any time without adult supervision.

We have a large family. We rarely have get-togethers that include those two families (my only two sons) at the same time.

My daughter-in-law asked me how I felt about this some time ago, and I told her that I felt the kids were young and innocent and that it was a natural curiosity and maybe we shouldn’t make such a big deal of it. I said I would never ostracize any of my children or grandchildren.

She has discussed this with my daughters as well, once when she was drunk, and it got pretty ugly.

We all love her. She’s a very good mom, but I just feel she’s a little over the top on this.

Do you see any way out of this?

— Gramma

Dear Gramma: I agree that this episode, between two children of the same age, doesn’t seem serious. This sort of behavior is common and provides parents with teachable moments concerning curiosity, privacy and bodily autonomy.

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If the play seemed lighthearted, fun, mutual and spontaneous, then the reaction should be proportional.

When adults encountered this, they could have asked, “Tiffany, did Charles doing this bother you?” She might say that it was scary, yucky, gross, or — “Well, we were just playing and I kissed his bottom, too.”

If you discerned that it scared or bothered her, you would turn to Charles: “Tiffany says she did not like this, so you need to apologize to her and not do this again.”

To both children, the

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle


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