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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: 6 year old accuses 10 year old of sexual behaviour


 shasplus - Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:48 pm

Dear Doc,
My 10 year old, (well-adjusted, top-achiever, artist, writer, farmer, happy, normal) daughter has just been accused by my sister and her 6 year old son of incredibly explicit oral sexual details. He communicates some really graphic details of this act, while jumping around, playing and laughing and giving me a school lecture that this is wrong. He repeats this again. He then jumps around, and laughingly begs for my daughter to please visit him, and asks if I can watch him perform some act. I don't believe that this is normal behaviour for a child who has really experienced this.
My earlier and current observation of my nephew is that he has a type of echolalia. He has a habit of repeatedly making the same sounds, or words, or actual phrases and sermons that he has heard. He can repeat this verbatim and with the same words, tone and inflection as adults do. He gets stuck on an idea about my daughter and gets into uncontrollable rages that she may not want to play with him. He also has a habit of some type of maniacal laughter at the most inappropriate times. He does have developmental issues at school which my sister is not taking seriously. In fact, she does not acknowledge any problems with him.
He has been accused by a few other parents over the last couple of months, of playing sexual games with their daughters.
His parents are divorced, and his mum had a baby last month. His dad and new girlfriend are expecting twins soon. He really feels left out, and I am wondering if this is his way of getting more attention from them.
I am not taking chances and have taken my daughter to a therapist. My daughter is not aware of this accusations of sexual abuse.
The wider family circle have heard of this and the damage to my child's character and reputation has already been done.
Please give my your intuitive thoughts on this situation.

Thank You
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:49 pm

User avatar Hello Shasplus,

This can be a very difficult situation. Generally six year old boys don't know anything about sexual behavior. As such, there is a decent probability that he has heard this from someone somewhere. Many often wonder if this behavior is because there was abuse of the children saying such things. This can be correct since some children that have been sexually abused exhibit sexual behavior inappropriate for their age. However, caution must be used in deducing this because it may also be that the child simply has been exposed to this type of language from a TV program or other source.

How to handle this is also a delicate issue. If you have a relationship with your sister that is open and trusting enough to discuss this then it may be helpful to discuss the possibilities with her to see if there is concern that her son may have been exposed to something such as this. Be sure not to be accusative; rather, approach it from the perspective of doing what is best for her son.

A good resource is her son's pediatrician. His pediatrician can also help determine if there should be any other behavioral testing done regarding his behaviors.

Best wishes. I hope this helps some.
 shasplus - Thu Feb 28, 2008 4:16 pm

Dear Dr. Lowe,

Much obliged for your clinical observations and sensible/sensitive recommendations. My sister mentioned that her son had a school lecture about sexual topics, and saw or heard something on tv that triggered this talk. She calls it a memory that he repeats, while I believe that it might be the echoing talk I mentioned earlier, as he repeats it in a monotonous way.
I forgot to mention that he has always displayed abnormal, visible and verbal excitement at seeing family women in a state of undress, even his mother has never been comfortable changing in front of him, since he was a toddler. He keeps on wanting to touch private body parts which makes everyone uncomfortable.

How do I handle the damaging stories about my daughter? She is oblivious to this, and I have just cancelled a work trip to be with her right now. As a single parent who runs a business entailing travel, this is a difficult decision but the only RIGHT one I can take. She has to be my priority.
I will take your advise.
Warm regards
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:39 pm

User avatar Hi again,

If your daughter is unaware of the accusations there probably is no need for her to know about it. It would be wise for you to sensitively find out what your daughter does know about the things being talked about, in particular if she is aware of any of the acts being spoken of so that you can help cover the issue with her and answer any questions she may have so that she doesn't become confused (keeping in mind that 10 year olds don't need to know very much about sex and generally don't want to know much about it).

Regarding what the rest of your family think it may be helpful to see if your sister will also be willing to let the rest of your family know what is going on (only as much as they need to know) to help ease the idea that these things may have happened.

It would still be a reasonable thing for your nephew to be evaluated by a behavioral pediatrician to see if there are any concerning patterns in his behavior. A pediatric psychologist or psychiatrist may also be helpful.

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