Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Preschool Predators

I was perusing homeschooling blogs today and ran across an entry at Coffee with Mrs. Dani. Apparently she had an, "Absolutely Terrifying experience at McDonald’s."

When we got home, my youngest, around 6 years old, looked odd. I asked her what was wrong. She told me the little boy, who was a little younger than her, pulled down her underwear and touched her backside. He told her if she told his mommy he would poke her eye in the middle and not be able to see again.

I was just expecting more I guess. I was thinking she almost had an accident in her car or came home to find her has had been burgled. No...A little boy touched her daughter's backside.

It's not that I don't think inappropriate touching isn't a big deal, I guess it's that the post and the comments are so loaded with an adult's reading of an incident between children. Take the lady who's already labeled the boy an experienced sexual predator:

Man, the scary part is, he already knows how to threaten and manipulate. You have to wonder what is going on in his home.

There's always that temptation to wonder I guess but barring real evidence, is it warranted? Sure the kid behaved inappropriately but to start reading dark family secrets into it seems...stretched.

There was a case of a little boy who was suspended from his pre-kindergarten class for hugging a teacher's aide and rubbing his face in her chest. It came from an adult assigning adult motivations and understandings to the act of a child. It also made a lot of homeschooling blogs and message boards as homeschooling moms were horrified that a young boy would be labeled and punished for something ultimately so trivial. It could only happen in the school system.

Uh huh.

Anyhow, nevermind the poor daughter who was likely a little upset and worried about the event. A calm talk and a hug and the incident would have been dealt with. Instead the mother ran back to the restaurant to inform the staff, hunt down the parents and ultimately try to get a license plate number as the family (now labeled holders of dark secrets) left. Now the daughter may be convinced that the incident, instead of a little confusing, was, "Absolutely Terrifying."

Look, I'm all for being wary. But be wary of looking at childrens actions with adult motivations. Be wary of labeling a young child, either as pervert or victim.

Feel free to disagree with me on this one but I've seen to many pantsings and threats of retribution amongst kids to summon up the suspicions that surround the McDonald's event.


kitten said...

I don't disagree. People are so fast to label people. The boy may have got it off TV.
Good Gosh! My middle child got really mad at a teacher and told her he was going to blow her head off when he was really young, before we pulled them out. He had been watching a TV show where you can blow off someone's head and it comes back, plus I don't think a child at that age can fully understand their actions.
As far as this, I don't know the story on either side. This mom may be looking for attention, law suit, or what ever.
I do put a lot of personal stuff on blog, but I don't think I would have put that out there so quick if even at all.

Housewife said...

All I've got is an Amen Sistah!

I've got a son and butts are funny. The only thing funnier than a butt is a fart and they're much less reliable, butts are always there.

Dawn said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one. Adults seems to have adopted sexual predators as their personal boogeymen these days and see them in every shadow and behind every door.

A bit of paranoia I don't want to share in.

JJ Ross said...

I guess it depends on how the story is told (and heard.)

The mom may indeed have way overreacted, but OTOH, accusing her of that and suggesting it was just play could sound like "boys will be boys" too. Makes my skin crawl to hear that defense. As a mom and feminist there is nothing funny to me about a female of any age having a strange male of any age touch her in any furtive or unwelcome way, much less THIS one. Much less followed by a threat if she tells.

If it had been a friendly dog pulling down her pants and licking her posterior (or the boy unwrapping her hamburger and licking IT, or even the dog and the burger!) I would still be alarmed, without any sexual component to overreact to. And I would darn well complain to the management, especially if it were my neighborhood McDonald's.

OTOH again -- how many hands is that? ;-) -- age and maturity do matter, context matters, everything matters. That's the bottom line (pun intended) for me. I can't take one side or the other here; I do think it's more frightening in some ways than a fender bender (which btw, I would also report to authorities and track down a party to it who left without being accountable, ack, there's no end, turn it off, make it stop!)