When someone tells your child “it’s a secret”

So I just learned something a few minutes ago that quite honestly has me so pissed off that I’m shaking. As I’m writing this, Gavin is having a huge meltdown.

As I have explained before, the Lost and Tired family has been forced to adopt a zero tolerance policy for touching. This policy applies to Gavin because he has a long history of inappropriate touching.

Now before I get any more emails telling me that there’s no such thing as inappropriate touching because some cultures endorse it, save it. I don’t want to hear and nothing you can say will convince me otherwise.  And yes, I have actually heard from people telling that.

When I talk about inappropriate touching, I’m referring to Gavin touching people in areas of their body that would be covered by a swim suit.

Because Gavin just can’t seem to grasp that concept, we have had to adopt the aforementioned, zero tolerance policy in regards to him touching anyone without their permission. Elliott is very good at telling us when Gavin touches him, Emmett on the other hand isn’t for obvious reasons.

Gavin just keeps testing the limits and this afternoon Elliott informed me that Gavin touched him. Apparently, Gavin had pushed Elliott’s finger with his finger.  While that doesn’t seem like a big deal and it really isn’t, he knows he’s not suppose to be touching.

Gavin, when confronted about this, immediately freaks out because he knows he’s been caught.

I had sent Gavin upstairs because he was freaking out.  I wanted to speak with Elliott who was upset. Elliott was worried that he had done something wrong because Gavin was so angry.

What Elliott told me next, set my blood boiling and me into a panic. Elliott informed Lizze and I that Gavin touches him and then tells him not to tell us because it’s a secret. Now, I don’t know what kind of touching he was referring to but honestly, it doesn’t matter. I mean, obviously it matters, but at the moment I was focused on the whole secret thing and the principle of it.

I spoke with Gavin about this and he admitted to this before freaking out that he was caught once again.

Are you friggin kidding me?

No one tells any of my kids, including Gavin, to keep secrets from us. The fact that Gavin is the one telling Elliott to keep the touching a secret feels like a betrayal, if that even makes sense.

I don’t know what to think and as a person who has experienced that as a child, everything in me is screaming that I need to protect my babies, even if it’s from Gavin.

I need to be very careful about how this is handled. Before I discuss anything with Elliott or even Gavin, I will wait until we see Dr. Pattie on Tuesday. Until then, Gavin is grounded and will have no contact with his brothers. Until I figure out what to do, I have also removed his TV privileges as well.

I’m so angry right now and I’m writing this post because I’m hoping this will allow me to decompress and calm down.

I just need to make it through tonight and tomorrow. I can do that. I have to do that. As much as I want to grill Gavin about what kind of touching he was doing, it’s best to leave that to a professional. The same thing applies to Elliott.

I need a goddamn happy place.

Update:

After having time to cool off and think more rationally about this, here’s what we have decided. Gavin is grounded, no question about that. Whether the touching was innocent or inappropriate it doesn’t matter. He knows that he’s not supposed to be touching anyone. What really upsets me, aside from the obvious, is the fact that he encouraged Elliott not to tell. That bothers me because it shows that he knows he did something wrong. 

I appreciate all the feedback and advice. My hope is that we can help Gavin through this and on the path of better choices. However, whether or not that ever happens, bot Lizze and myself will do whatever is needed to protect our boys, even if it has to be from their own brother. 

Gavin’s intentions are irrelevant because what he’s doing is wrong even if it’s simply him testing the limits by touching him brothers finger. Zero tolerance is zero tolerance.  


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MollyW

I won't even try to pretend that I have much valuable advice, but I thought I would share the terminology we've used with our girls in case it would be helpful for your younger guys. First, we've told them that they should never keep a secret from Mom and Dad – that as the parents it is our job to know everything (at least while they're young) and that if someone tells them to keep a secret from us it is even more important for them to tell. Also, we often use 2 different terms, the firs being "surprise". This way, a safe, appropriate secret has a different name, as in, "We're going to surprise Daddy with his favorite dinner, or I won't tell your sister you made her a birthday card so it can be a surprise." My hope is that the wording might help them understand good and bad secrets – surprises are ok, but secrets have a sort of sneakier connotation. I really hope everything turns around for you soon.

aimee

If for no other reason than he could get immediate medical attention when required, I advocate Residential Care Facility. You’ve said his tantrums rule the household and terrify his brothers (not to mention that you’ve said they’ve begun to emulate some of his behaviors ), so I thinks it’s worthy of consideration. I have 3 children that are my life, but if one was compromising the safe childhood of the other 2, there would definitely be some decisions to be made. Again, I am so sorry for your troubles.

Karrie

Hey Rob, are you afraid that someone might have been touching Gavin inappropriately and possibly told Gavin to keep it a secret? Because that is the first place my thoughts went. "Someone had to have touched him and told him to keep it a secret." He's obviously not getting those responses from you or Lizzie, so he had to have learned it somewhere, right? I keep you and Lizzie and your boys in my prayers always because I UNDERSTAND! When my son was having over 750 seizures a day every day, all day, day and night, etc. etc. That was when my entire life went to shit. We lost our house, we were homeless for 4 months, blew up 3 vehicles, flipped and totaled another. I was always wondering, WHAT NEXT?!!?!?!?! I was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off – 50+miles a day and back to Pittsburgh Children's Hospital, and then in the midst of it, we found out my husband had genetic emphysema and required surgery, so then I was back and forth between 2 hospitals! Needless to say, I get it. I am listening. I read and empathize with everyone of your blogs. At any rate, while you're calming down, listen to your gut. Is this normal behavior for your son? Or something someone else has "fed" him to learn or say? It may not be that Gavin is purposely keeping secrets, but that someone else has shown him that inappropriate touching is to be KEPT a secret. Good luck with this one. As always, in my prayers, Karrie.

Lost_and_Tired

Karrie,

Actually, no one is touching Gavin now, but he was abused by his biological father and paternal grandmother. Both terms I use loosely.

I talked it over with our doctors and I think Gavin has just hit puberty. That plus no impulse control is not a good combination. The problem is that Gavin knows its wrong and yet still does it.
The fact that he says not to tell shows me he doesn\’t want to get caught.

Thank you for your support.

All my best to you and yours.

gill

All my best wishes that this gets sorted soon. Be strong. At the end of the day, your little ones are being touched inappropriately, they are naive and innocent and need YOU to protect them, and unfortunately, as you say, that goes for whoever is doing the touching. It is unacceptable – and Gavin needs to stop for his own sake too. x x x

Kathy Kohl Buehler

Oh, and we tried the "scared straight" talk with a policeman kind enough to drop by at my request to tell him the worst possible consequences. And counseling, private and group, and school, and a mentor, who was a retired policeman…

Kathy

Oh, I am sorry. As i said before, supervision and separation is the only way I have found to get thru this. It means that one of you is with Gavin 100% of the time, which, believe me, know that is hard. At least there are 2 of you…that is about it, or bring in some extra supervision for him. My son became incredibaly quick and sneaky…accidentally "falling" on someone, hugging etc. The need far exceeds the good sense and self-control they possess, especially if there is some hypersexuality involved. I developed eyes everywhere and always had him within my site. Just about lost my mind, so I can understand totally your frustration. Don't let him share a bedroom, and, yes, I know that is difficult. Ended up moving his bed to my room. OF COURSE this was not how I thought it would be. One night in the local juvenile shelter and a tour of the boys' school for troubled boys did help quite a bit. I know how you feel tho. I loved the kid, but really had a time raising him (childhood bi-polar, some cognitive deficits, adopted, NO common sense!)Maybe instead of revoking priveleges, try giving him all the stuff to keep him occupied you can think of…legos, tv, game.boy (our particulas saving-grace) and put all your energy into keeping him busy away from the brothers. Adopt a divide and conquer strategy. Again, please know you are not the only one trying to get thru this. Sending prayers for peace your way.

Lost_and_Tired

Kathy,

Thank you once again for sharing. Our paths are very similar I think.

Gavin is a really good kid but damn if he isn\’t a handful. We have been dealing with the hypersexual behavior for many years now. It seems like it cycles away and than back again.

Thank you for sharing this. I really do appreciate it. It\’s not an easy subject.

Sila

Make sure Elliot and Emmett understand, as best as possible, that when someone does something wrong to them and tells them it's a secret and not to tell, they aren't to listen to that! I was fooled young because no one ever told me to not listen that. My own dad did "inappropriate" things and made me promise not to tell, and that it was a /secret/. I ended up cryin to a teacher that I hurt in certain areas, and everyone found out. But if I hadn't told them, no one would've known because I had been told it was a secret, and you can't break secrets.

*hugs*

Cheryl

I understand your anger and disappointment as well as frustration. I think its important when the time is right to find out first why Gavin feels that he needs to touch and then want to keep it a secret. Is it because he wants to be rebellious against your rules. some other reason perhaps. If you go in on him too hard, the other kids might feel sorry for him and then not tell you anything in the future. So after taking multiple deep breaths, you guys need to find out what kind of touching was it. It could have been something similar to the finger touching, then gently explain to the boys again, that telling you Gavin has touched them is for Gavin's benefit as well as theirs. Let them know, Gavin will appreciate their help, despite his pleas to them for secrecy. I think letting them know they are also protecting Gavin and themselves by telling, will help them to understand that going to you is not only the right thing, but best thing for their brother. I do suggest you talk to a doctor about it as well for better insight into how to handle this. Good Luck and God Bless you and your family.

anonymous

I hope this doesn't come off the wrong way, but as someone who was sexually abused by their step brother (he became my step brother when I was 2- I don't remember them not being part of my family so the "step" part doesn't mean much), don't underestimate the impact this could have on the little boys. While my brother wasn't/isn't as special needs as gavin, he was diagnosed with adhd and was in special ed in school. This was the excuse used to explain away his behavior and honestly the impact of them using that "excuse" to act like it wasn't that big of a deal, has hurt me almost as much as the act itself. He was 15 and I was 7 yet they iew him as a child because of his special need. I admit that he was maybe more like 12-13 mentally at the time but that doesn't make it less painful for me.

sireeta

Dude my heart hurts so much for you guys right now. It majorly sucks and I am asking God where are you right now? You guys have been through enough s!$@% I am always saying a prayer for y'all!

Lynn

ooooo such a tricky situation 🙁 Hope you get some answers as to how to proceed and hope writing it all down has helped you let off steam x

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