(Closed) Ok for non-parent male to tickle female child?

posted 7 years ago in Family
Post # 3
11517 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

@Gabthebee:  I think that the best thing you can do is let her know that telling you was the right thing.  Don’t jump to conclusions about this man – it might be weird, might be a little uncomfortable for you, but chances are it was completley innocent.  Just make sure she knows to tell you if grown ups touch her in a way that makes her feel funny.

Post # 4
2063 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@Gabthebee:  I think you’re overreacting. However, I do think it is important to establish boundaries. So, I think you should talk to your daughter about the difference between a good and bad touches. I also think you should talk to your daughter about her preferences – does she like to be tickled? Is this funny?

You likely can not change the behavior of the other adults in question. However, you can use this as an opprotunity to teach the daughter.

Post # 5
4027 posts
Honey bee

@Gabthebee:  Hmm..it’s a tough situation. Without being there, it is hard to tell what is really going on. Is he really tickling her everytime she walks by? Or was it once or twice and she is generalizing? He may just be really good with kids or he may be a creeper. 

I am not sure how good/observant of a mother she is, but how she parents the child when it is her custody time is up to her…provided the child is not in immediate danger. 

It is probably worth discussing good and bad/inappropriate touching with the little girl though. 

Post # 6
604 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@Gabthebee:  The only non-relative male that ever tickled me was my step-dad.  He also sexually abused me for years.  I say go with your gut.  Sexual abuse is extremely common and is most often perpetrated by someone the child knows, such as a family friend. 

And I must also say thank you for caring enough about this child to do whatever it takes to protect her.  You’re an awesome step-momma (to be).

Post # 7
899 posts
Busy bee

I don’t have much advice except that tickling can be harmless to a certain age. I would find a way to talk to your step daughter about what is appropriate and what is not and tell her it’s okay to feel uncomfortable and say no.

And approach her mother again and let her know how seriously you are concerned.


Post # 9
8572 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

If the mother is around when this is happening, I’m sure it’s not as big deal as what you think it is.

You have to remember that 1. she’s 6, kids make up things and blow things out of proportion, ALOT! Maybe she doesn’t like being tickled, and a couple times could feel like all the time!

If you are extremely worried about it, I would just go ahead and ask the little girl to show you how she was tickled. Tummy? Knees? Armpits? If its one of those I don’t think it’s a huge deal.

That being said, my fiance has tickle wars with my niece all the time [she is currently 6]. It’s not weird or creepy, it’s just a tickle fight. And my niece ADORES him, [and me, sometimes I join in the tickle wars].

Here they are after they fell asleep 2 christmas’ ago, we were babysitting while her parents were visiting “santa”/toys r us.

Post # 10
7570 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Not every touch is a bad touch, and touching is a perfectly acceptable way to show affection. Tickling can be perfectly appropriate. I think you need to find out where on the body the tickles are happening, and how they make your daughter feel. If she is not uncomfortable, and the touching is not on an inappropriate body part, there’s nothing wrong. It’s probably also time to teach your child the difference between a good touch and a bad touch, and how to tell a grown up if someone touches her in a private part of the body. 

Post # 11
199 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Definitely not overreacting. Agree with 1st poster about encouraging girl to be open with you. Such a tough situation :/

Post # 12
662 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

Uh, what? My Fiance is known as “Uncle” by the kids of friends and playing with or tickling the kids is completely innocent and harmless. Sure, some dudes are creepy, but not any man that isn’t a family member is to be feared automatically. This person is a family friend, not just any strange man off the street. Certainly you have a better read on the situation than anyone can glean from an Internet forum, but honestly you may be overreacting.

Post # 13
1991 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I don’t think that an adult tickling a child is anything strange, unless its a complete stranger.  My SO tickles my 4 year old niece when she visits, he also tosses her up in the air, and plays really well with her. It doesn’t alarm anyone in my family.  I do think its very important that you keep having open discussions with your stepdaughter, about private areas and touching that is definitely inappropriate, so that if something ever happened she knows to tell you.  I would keep an eye on the situation, but I wouldn’t go so far as to keep confronting her mom about it at this point. 

ETA: Did she say the tickling made her uncomfortalble? If so, then more follow up is needed with her mother, to make sure that her personal boundaries are being respected. Even if the tickling was truly innocent, its not okay if makes her uncomfortable.  Some people just don’t like to be tickled at all (I’m one who hates it!).

Post # 14
4045 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

There are two men I can recall tickling me when I was young.

One was my teenage cousin, and he pretended to be the “tickle monster” when I was very little. I think when I got to be around school age, maybe age 6 or 7, he stopped because then it would have become something inappropriate.

The other man was my uncle (by marriage) who molested me repeatedly my entire childhood. He had a wife and two kids, but he was still very much capable of evil.

Now, I would not necessarily jump to the conclusion that your stepdaughter is being harmed. However, I’d ask her about it and see where he tickles her. Also tell her if she ever does not like it, she is to say “no” and be firm about it. Make sure she knows it’s okay to tell an adult no.

And if she seems like she wants to avoid being in the company of these friends, I’d let that be a huge red flag and put an end to things. Even now I would maybe approach the friend (or have your Fiance do it) and tell the guy it makes you all uncomfortable.

So keep your eyes and ears open, but don’t jump to conclusions. The most important thing you can do is begin empowering this girl to be in control of her body and say no if she is uncomfortable and stay open with you no matter what.

Post # 16
47430 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

View original reply
@Gabthebee:  I think tickling by anyone is torture for a child. It’s only funny for a second or two and after that, from my childhood perspective, it was a complete loss of control.

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