Some things we just shouldn’t have to talk about, and this is definitely one of those things. Apparently during last June and last September, a five year old preschool girl initiated sexual contact with approximately six other preschool boys at the First Lutheran Church of Carson School, in California. And by sexual contact I am talking about oral sex.
These disturbing sexual behaviors apparently went unnoticed until last October when another preschool girl was caught with her mouth on the genitals of a four year old boy at the school. That incident was then dealt with internally.
The school is now closing after these disturbing allegations and legal complaints have been filed on the behalf of the six parents of the children for negligence and “intentional infliction of emotional stress.” California’s social-services department cited the school for supervision “deficiencies” during their evaluation of the school last Thursday.
The community of course is outraged and want answers, from where were the teachers during these times, to how did this five year old girl who initiated the “oral sex scandal” become so sexualized.
While I understand these parents outrage and the need to blame someone, I also know that it is important that they handle this in a way that doesn’t dramatize the event and traumatize their children.
Chances are, if they don’t make it a huge deal, these children are likely to move on from this situation as normal, well-adjusted kids, but if the parents make this a traumatic event, these kids are likely to develop psychological and sexual issues that may follow them throughout their life.
As far as the little girl who initiated the behavior goes, the county of Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services interviewed her family and the family of each child involved and found no evidence of abuse. This in my opinion doesn’t mean that somehow, this young girl wasn’t exposed to adult sexual activity somehow, someway, even if unintentional.
Any parent or person who spends time with preschool kids can tell you that sometimes they do things such as play with their genitals, exposed themselves, dry hump the arm chair of a sofa, a favorite teddy bear or even masturbate.
These are all natural and innocent behaviors that aren’t sexualized at all, until we as adults make it so. Children can’t comprehend what they are doing at this age, all they know is that they are playing with parts of themselves they were told to keep private.
These type of behavior can be discouraged by simply letting the child know that this isn’t something you do in public. If you traumatize the event or make the kid feel bad about it, they can develop a complex about themselves and sex that they take into adulthood.
However, mouth to genital contact certainly is not a natural act for any child, which to me says she was exposed to this adult behavior somewhere, somehow.
Perhaps someone in her house keeps adult magazines or movies around, thinking, she’s only five, she has no idea what this is. Perhaps she’s seen adults engaged in this behavior or worst case scenario, maybe she has been sexually molested by an adult or older child and she is just modeling this behavior.
In the book The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, child psychologist Bruce Perry talks about a seven year old patient named “Tina” who, during their first session, attempted to touch his penis. This girl had been sexually abused for two years, from the ages of four to six by a sixteen-year-old boy, her babysitter’s son. Despite the improvements she made in therapy, at the age of ten she was caught performing fellatio on an older boy at school.
The girl in the book had been traumatized and was responding to her trauma in the way she had been traumatized, which is very possibly the same thing the five year old preschooler is doing.
While I think all the children involved will benefit better if the situation is not over dramatized and if distressful signs, behaviors and situations are addressed appropriately if they come up. I do think this young girl needs some professional help to figure out the source of her sexualized behavior or she is likely to grow up into another “Tina” who doesn’t learn how to control her impulses and deal with her trauma (if there is any) in a healthy way.
I think the take away from all of this is that we need to protect our children. As they say, “hurt people, hurt people”, the same goes for traumatized adults and children. If they are not helped, they go on to traumatize other adults and children.