Monday, May 10, 2010

Is my 2 yr old grandson being abused?

Rating: Knowledgeability Clarity of Response Timeliness Politeness
10       10                        10                          10
Questioner: Pattie

Subject: questionable abuse of 2 yo boy

QUESTION: I have custody of my 2yo grandson (since 1/09). His parents have every other weekend unsupervised visitation. My questions and concerns are:
1) is it normal for a 2yo boy to hump the air when you change his diaper?;
2) is it normal for him to get hard every time you change his diaper, pants, give him a bath etc?;
3)is it normal for him to pull on his penis, I don't mean touch and explore, I mean pull hard on it as in trying to stretch it?;
4) recently he has been screaming out at night, he doesn't wake up, but becomes restless until we speak to him softly or touch him (rub his back). He doesn't sleep in his bed any longer (if we put him in it he may stay 30 mins or 3-4 hrs, but never all night. He either sleeps in the bed between us or in a playpen in our bedroom.
5) this week (last weekend was a visitation weekend) when he got ready to kiss me good night, he grabbed my face in both hands and kiss me (the kiss was one I would have expected from my husband in a romantic sitting). He held my face and kissed me on the mouth with his eyes closed and pressing his lips into mine for several seconds (more than 5-6).

 I was in shocked, but didn't know what to do. I took his hands from my face and he became upset and told me "no". Then he put his hands back on my face and pulled me to him and this time when he tried to kiss me, he tried to tongue me. His eyes were closed and he was very serious into his kissing. He also started rubbing up against me.

I stopped the kisses and turned him so he was not against me. He fell asleep a short time later and I put him in his playpen. I am in total shock. I know or feel like this is not normal behavior for a 2yo. What do I do and is this signs of possible sexual abuse or him witnessing sexual acts between his parents. I am very concern about him and what happens to him when he is with his parents. They have been arrested for domestic violence between each other.

She has been and I still feel is being abused by her husband. There is also a question of drugs and alcohol in the house and them using when they have him. We are due to return to court in July for final disposition of custody. Until then his parents get him every other weekend.

All of this behavior started in the last month. We were in court May 1 and his behavior has increased in inappropriate behaviors every time he comes back from his visit. Can or could a child psychologist tell if he has been abused or has witnessed inappropriate behaviors at his parents' house.

I don't want him to go for visitation for fear of what could be next. Without facts, what facts do I need to stop visitation, I can't refuse them visitation. Please help me. I cry myself to sleep at nights when he is with them sometimes.

ANSWER: Dear Pattie: I am so sorry you are hurting so badly. This is a heartbreaking situation.

First, remind yourself how lucky this child is to have you in his life. Can you imagine if he didn't have anyone?

Next, someone needs to have him evaluated. I am not saying he is being abused I am saying something is going on as worried as you are about him. Someone needs to find a qualified child counselor. Someone with the credentials (check their training record# and the experience #check their length of time and success in assessing children of this age) and the associations they are involved. Always compile documentation. I suggest a diary, a journal of behaviors. It is most useful when attending court dates.

Does he have a lawyer or a guardian ad litem who is assigned to his case? Share the journal. The journal needs to be very factual with daily events. Don't let your opinions or suspicions creep into it or it won't be of value to anyone.

Buy lots of books on grief and separations that are available in the local bookstores under the children's section. He will need lots of coping skills to help him adjust to his family situation.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller

---------- FOLLOW-UP ---------- QUESTION:

I have kept a journal from the day I received visitation rights until the present. It is an ongoing journal. It includes notes on who picks him up, what time he is picked up for visitation; his behaviors when he returns to us; his nightmares, when, how many, etc; any notes from the doctor (immunizations, weights, concerns); any and all law enforcement involved with own custody and their visitation; etc.

I send a copy of the journal to his guardian ad litem about 2 wks before we are due in court. I plan on making appointments with both a psychologist and a psychiatrist who specializes in children/toddlers.

Answer: Sounds like you have done all you can do!

Good Luck!

M Kay Keller

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