My 6 yr old "opens up" - false abuse allegations

by ambrielle
(toronto)

I will try to sum this up in a short form for you.... I have a 6 yr. old son that is very sociable, happy & well rounded child. He recently went to visit his dad's mom for a couple of hours. While he was there his grandmother says he told her that my son was molested by my older brother & she knew this because my son told her. When I got there my son was sleeping, his grandmother woke him up & told him to tell me what happened... but my son didn't - she was "feeding" what to say to him ; "tell mommy what your uncle did, didn't he touch you between your legs?" My son said yes & started crying, and so was she the whole time.


There are many more problems with this story: first his grandmother has a bad history of getting her grandkids to say awful things against people & recording them on tape, she has a lot of negative problems that affect the way she lives because of her very abusive life that she experienced all her life, we have spoken on & off throughout the years because of her negative behavior & how she treats people. The next problem is that now she says my son described what happened & when she says it happened isn't possible to be true... I went out that night but my son was with my 3 daughters who clearly remember the events of the night in question & were aware of my sons activities around my brother who was babysitting for me. My brother has offered to take 10 lie detector tests & is very disturbed by her accusations but also knows the type of person she has been throughout the years & thinks she's being vindictive towards him because they had an argument the day before.

My son has been his normal happy self around me & my brother, my instincts tell me that she made it up & I wont let my son who's innocent be around her to emotionally traumatize him anymore... he is not her first & he wont be her last. Should I take him to talk to a therapist because of this unfortunate incident?

Ben's Answer:

This is disturbing to here, because your reasons to suspect that your mother-in-law is fabricating this story are so compelling. Her behavior is potentially very damaging to your son and you were right to remove him from contact with her. Even if any of this were true - the way she coerced the story from him was absolutely wrong of her to do.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to take him to a therapist. However, I would suggest that you begin with a call to your local Child Protective Services agency (you can call anonymously if you prefer), and tell them the whole story. See what they would advise. This is simply for your own protection. Where I live, therapists are legally obligated to report "suspected" child abuse. While that's a bit of a vague term, some therapists would feel the necessity to report this just in case. Not a bad thing in any case, but better that the story come directly from you than from some therapist that you just met. (On the other hand, some therapists may see it exactly as you do, and not have any reason to suspect that this is a legitimate abuse situation).

From what you say, your son appears to show no signs of trauma. So if you see a therapist just to be safe, it would be important that nobody is making a "big deal" about what grandma said happened. It may only further reinforce the idea that something might have happened to him. A good child therapist should take a gentle, indirect approach, do play therapy, and make an assessment as to his emotional well-being.


Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz

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