In this counseling answer:
•Help them to both understand, yet at the same time, send them a clear message that such behavior is a very big NO, NO. The clarity of the message along with the understanding will, in sha ‘Allah, be sufficient in getting them to stop.
•As you have already done, do not allow them to be left alone in situations where such behaviors can easily take place. Make sure they are supervised and are not allowed to be left alone – at least for a while until you feel the threat of engaging in the behavior has passed.
As salamu `alaykum,
Dear sister, I understand your concern over this matter and applaud you for taking the steps you have so far. I think although there has clearly been some outside influence on your boy and his friend, possibly from the older boys, you are correct in taking the calm and patient approach.
We have to understand that young boys will have natural curiosity about their bodies and will do things even if they do not understand what they are doing. I think a combination of education and monitoring is a good approach, as you have already begun to do.
Often, situations like this will freak parents out, but we should try our best to stay calm and not get frantic. It is part of exploration and learning, in fact, and if we can see it that way then we can perhaps use the situation to teach our children about proper and improper behavior, by providing them an understanding as to what they are doing is not appropriate.
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It is always best to understand such situations as learning opportunities, rather than problems. I think it is also good that you plan to inform A’s mother before you leave your son with her, as it is always best to work together as a team to help protect and educate our children. Try to from a partnership with her and agree on a common approach to address this issue.
Maybe she has valuable information that you don’t and you can learn from her. Perhaps she is well aware of the influence of the older kids on the younger ones. Nevertheless, try to work together.
Education at a young age is a great preventive measure that can go a long way in building up kids’ immunity to problem behaviors later on. If we merely punish without providing any explanation or education, we risk merely peaking their curiosity to the point that eventually they will experiment on their own to find the answer to their questions. Of course, the whisperings of Shaytan as you mention play a big role in facilitating kids’ engagement in such activities, but it all starts with a natural curiosity to know and learn on their own.
Thus, help them to understand what they are doing and why it’s wrong now, so as to avoid major problems later on. Also, I suggest being direct about it with them. Do not take the subtle approach but make it crystal clear to them that what they are doing is wrong and why it is so.
Help them to both understand, yet at the same time, send them a clear message that such behavior is a very big NO, NO. The clarity of the message along with the understanding will, in sha ‘Allah, be sufficient in getting them to stop. Also, as you have already done, do not allow them to be left alone in situations where such behaviors can easily take place. Make sure they are supervised and are not allowed to be left alone – at least for a while until you feel the threat of engaging in the behavior has passed.
In sha ‘Allah with the parents’ help and support, the behavior will pass. Many of these things are merely phases that kids go through. At the same time, however, they cannot be taken lightly and parents must do what they can to both educate and discipline.
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