To Mention or Not To Mention Disturbing Behavior?
Dear Margo: I live in an affluent community where my 7-year-old son has many playmates. Directly across the street is one of his closest friends, “Sam,” 8, who’s the youngest of three boys. I know the parents, etc. Sam has recently started acting out. It’s nothing serious, but he often does hip thrusts toward others. I initially thought it was the result of the “I’m sexy and I Know It” video. However, this past weekend, my son told me that Sam said he’d performed oral sex on his brother.
What do I do here? I don’t want to shirk any responsibility, but I don’t know what to do or how. I’m not close to the parents, although we do talk. Is this normal childhood experimentation? What do I do with this information? And should I worry about my son being unsupervised around these kids? — Alarmed Mom
Dear Alarm: An 8-year-old who is this sexualized is getting input from somewhere. Either he is being molested (possibly by that brother?), or he has unfettered access to porn, which I somehow doubt. Playing doctor is one thing, but fellating a brother is quite something else. I would risk being rebuffed and approach the mother. Tell her what you’ve observed and what you’ve been told. She deserves to know. Then let the chips fall where they may. With luck, the “chips” will fall into a child psychiatrist’s office.
As for your own son, I doubt he’s in any danger because his telling you proves he knows there’s something wrong with the situation. For good measure, explain to him that his buddy’s behavior is nothing that children his age do and there’s definitely something wrong. — Margo, preventively
Things Best Decided Before Committing
Dear Margo: I am trying to figure out whether to break up with my amazing long-term boyfriend. The short of it is he has very suddenly (like on a trip home one weekend without me) decided he wants kids, after telling me for the longest time that he would be happy either way. As for me, I am deeply undecided on the issue, and despite having tried to badger myself into wanting what he wants, I can’t seem to do it. I don’t rule children out, and the idea of adopting appeals to me on an intellectual level. But all the arguments I’ve heard for having children seem pretty sentimental, while the ones against seem more rational.
He is saying this is “not a deal breaker” for him. I have attempted to tease out why he feels this way, and what he says boils down to his being incredibly happy with me and children being something he doesn’t need “right now.” It’s this latter thing that worries me. If he broke up with me over this issue, I would feel that he was prioritizing a potential relationship with someone who doesn’t even exist over me. It’s the suddenness of my boyfriend’s decision that has thrown me for a loop. — Spooked
Dear Spook: Reading between the lines, I would venture that, right now, you do not see yourself as a mother, and you believe he will love you less if he loves a child. While I find your thinking about primacy and different kinds of love unrealistic and perhaps competitive, these are your thoughts, and I respect that. There are women who think “absolutely not me,” and then, often by accident, they have a child and wonder how they ever could have thought as they did. For now, until both of you figure out what you do want, I would coast. Time has a way of revealing answers that often seem unknowable. I do feel strongly, however, that the issue must be resolved before you move to the next phase. — Margo, decisively
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2012 MARGO HOWARD
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