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Preschooler caught playing "You show me yours" with other preschoolers in father's home; will it hurt father in the custody battle?

Your Question:
Right now i have every other weekend Wednesday late and child care. I am 29 and on SSI for mental issues but can take very good care of my daughter. I drive 100 a day picking her up and taking her back. The other day 2 of the neighbor boys were over. They are 5 and my daughter is 4 1/2 years old. They were showing there penis and kept asking her to pull down her pants she finally did and they touched her in her private parts. I caught them doing so kicked them out of the house and called the police. They took a report and turned into CPFS. The boys were here all the time in the summer and on and off during the win- ter. I am getting to go into a custody battle. Is this going to make where i will lose custody. My soon to be ex-wife is going to use it. I was in the bathroom when it happened and did every thing i could as fast as i could. I am so afraid of losing time with her any insight would be helpful.

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My Answer:

Okay, you're definitely going to have to answer to what happened to a judge or custody evaluator. However, it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to hurt you.

First, you'll have to explain why three preschoolers were unsupervised long enough for this to happen. Since you're on disability for mental health issues, you can assume that your ex's attorney will use this situation as evidence that you simply aren't responsible or able enough to keep your daughter out of harm's way. So, you need to be able to explain yourself. If these kids are well-acquainted, usually play well, it's easy enough to say, "They have played together without incident for a year. I had to poop, and it apparently happened during those 10 minutes." Or something like that. But if they were alone for hours on end, it may hurt you.

Second, the incident itself isn't as much a crisis as some people would expect. This is natural exploration with the differences of preschoolers' bodies. It's nothing sexual at that age, but it doesn't mean you should let it continue. I think that because you're in a custody battle, you can't risk your daughter ever spending time with the boys again. That's unfortunate, obviously, if they were all friends.

Third, I think your response was very responsible, if not overkill. No one is going to accuse you of not taking this extremely seriously. Your attorney (or you) will say, "Even though I knew it may hurt me in the custody case, I had to do the right thing."

Finally, handle it with your daughter. You need to be able to say, "I wanted to make sure my daughter understood about appropriate behavior with friends. We talked about it. Because she's obviously curious, I also got some books about girls vs boys, and we've read them together. I want her to know she can come to me with any questions. It's just disappointing that my ex has turned this into such a crisis in the middle of a custody battle, rather than working with me on how to help our daughter, when our daughter already has some guilt and shame about what happened.""

Bottom line-- if you screwed up in not supervising the kids for long periods of time, it may hurt you. Otherwise, I actually think you handled it better than most parents probably would have in the middle of a custody battle. Congrats on that.


This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.

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