I agree with PPs - it does all sound quite creepy. My family is one where children...and adults come to think of it! - are expected to go and kiss each person when arriving at a gathering. I won't be forcing this on my kids as it was forced on me, and I don't think there is anything wrong with you saying what a PP said - "We don't do kisses on the lips" is a good one. I think it's weird and inappropriate to insist on such a thing from a child.
TBH if it is just affection, I think he needs to learn what appropriate boundaries are - even if there is nothing sinister behind it, him behaving like that and your children becoming desensitised to excessive & somewhat misplaced affection would concern me.
My DP is a really hands on uncle & really enjoys playing with his nieces & nephews.... BUT those things that you have posted are not normal even for a really affectionate relative.
Trust your instincts!
He might or might not be a pedophile but it's not something you want to take risk with your children. I'd talk about the concern seriously with DH, set boundaries as PP (we don't do kisses on lips etc...) and start teaching the children to say no when anyone other than their parents touch them.
I have been thinking about this thread overnight. I think empowering your kids and providing them with tools to protect themself is also a good idea.
Talk about the different ways you can say good-bye - you can wave good-bye, or do a high-five, or shake hands, or blow kisses, or kiss on the cheek, or cuddle. Always give them the option of how they wish to greet and say good-bye to people. Make it a game, and practise it with each other or toys.
I'm not sure how old they are, but talking about good touches and bad touches. And if someone does something you don't like say loudly "no, i don't like that".
It is also important (where practicable) to give them as much bodily autonomy at home, so they learn that they have rights and have control over their body.
How does your DH work? Would written information help him to understand what you are trying to do?
A tricky situation.
This is a blog from Pinky McKay
Have you ever considered the messages we give small children about their right to 'own' their bodies and to refuse unwanted touching? These messages start with tiny babies as we pass them from person to person;, how we do everyday tasks such as cleaning and wiping littlies, without so much as an explanation; and how we expect children to accept tickles and kisses from relatives -or even strangers who think they have a right to 'coochie coo' those chubby cheeks or to squeeze a juicy little knee.
Often we are more concerned with what others may think about US and how we have taught our littlies to 'be polite' (and not wipe off those yukky kisses or tell the kisser to 'go away!"), than our children's feelings.
As we unwittingly give children messages about compliance, we may also be setting them up for potentially abusive situations. Instead, we can treat babies and small children with respect and allow them to refuse any unwanted touching -from anyone, even grandma if they don't feel like hugs and kisses. Yes, I know babies and children are 'delicious' and grandma (and anyone else) may have their feelings hurt but perhaps instead of insisting kids 'kiss granny', we can ask, would you like a cuddle? Or, do you have a goodbye hug for Grandad? And we can respect their wishes. When they are treated with respect, children will learn that they do have rights, that their body is theirs and they can be in charge. Most importantly we give them a clear message that they are safe to come and tell us if they feel that their privacy has been breached in any way and they know we will listen, because we always have.
As well as respecting our children's bodies, we need to respect and love our own bodies, especially all the changes that happen when we do the amazing job of growing, nurturing and nourishing babies. And that's the focus of this newsletter - body image, our own and our child's. So read on and let us know your comments on my facebook fan page. Let's get discussion happening about gentle, respectful nurturing. If you have a topic you'd like to raise, please feel free to bring it up.
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Bubbles10 - Thanks so much for posting that blog. I found it very helpful.
Just a question to Karter - How do your children feel when your BIL does the kisses etc...? I have found that children are very good judges of character. And if they don't like someone they often tell you. And usually there is a very good reason why they don't like them. Have you asked them how they feel? It may help to sway your case to your DH. If the kids have said they don't like the "affection" then maybe your DH will listen to your concerns and he doesn't just dismiss them as your paranoia. Does that make sense?
Last edited by LillyPonds; 06-03-2012 at 09:37.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE REPLIES! I really do appreciate it and it reassured me that I have a right to be concerned and address this issue.
Our kids are 7 months and 26 months old (both girls). Our 26 month old DD actually really likes him... whenever she wants to play a game or go to the park he ALWAYS takes her. But I think both kids are too young & innocent to understand this kind of thing.
I had a BIG talk to DH last night. While he doesn't neccesarily agree that this person is a threat, he has respected my concern and agreed to take precautions. Seeing as there is no proof that his actions are questionable we will not limit the time he spends with our kids... but we WILL be setting new boundaries. We will ensure that either DH or myself is with the kids whenever he is around (or takes them to the park). From now on they will blow kisses to everyone when we leave. And we will make a point about respecting our kids' privacy... getting dressed/ nappy changes/ etc will all take place in a bedroom, never in front of the rellies.
I think we need to talk to our 2 year old about being allowed to say "no" when she's uncomfortable with something. DH thinks that will blow up in our faces (and he's probably right!) but I think it's neccesary.
Thanks again for all the WONDERFUL help (especially the Pinky MacKay extract)! Feel free to add any more advice but I'm feeling much better about this situation since reading your replies and talking to DH.
Hi kartar I would recommend reading the book 'everybody has a bottom' to your daughter regularly it is a great resource and helps children to learn about what is and is not ok!
Like all the other post, I too say go with your instinct, I know your husband is concerned as there is no proof but you don't want that 'proof' to be your children. My husband I have always said that we would prefer someone be offended by our boundaries then have none and something happen to our kids.
All the best!
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