Family Repercussions from Son Molesting Child

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My 15-year-old son molested our 5-year-old friend. After 5 months he has finally come clean with the truth to me. The next step is addmiting in court. His step father, who I also just married 6 months ago, has left the house because he can not handle the situation.

His lack of involvment with the whole case effects his lack of understanding. He believes he has truly tried. He sees my son as a horrible child, “the devil,” and finds it hard to see any good in him right now.

Prior to this we had a happy family home and only a few normal teenage issues to deal with. I love my husband and want him to come home. He is extremly stubborn and is a “man’s man.” I feel hurt that he has turned his back on his family when then I, we, need him the most. I’m grasping at threads to keep any part of our marriage together. How do I help him realize our son is not a sexual monster and that we can still move foward to have a happy family again? Are there websites or groups to help with this matter? I’m at such a loss.

A: I’m terribly sorry you are dealing with such difficult issues. I hope you are getting your son and your family some therapy as well as legal help. This is a situation that has many, many layers to it. Your son needs treatment. You need support and help understanding how to be helpful. You and your husband need to find a way to work as a team through this crisis or you won’t have a marriage left.

It sounds to me like your husband hasn’t fully embraced your son as his own. From his point of view, he signed on to be a dad in a “normal” family. He didn’t understand that letting kids into our hearts means sometimes having our hearts broken. It may be that he can’t stand it so he’s distancing himself by making your son into an “other,” something that isn’t related to him. That’s at least one possible explanation. There are others, of course. It may be that your son’s behavior has triggered other painful memories, feelings, or thoughts in him that your husband can’t understand or grapple with.

All you can do is share with him that you need him and ask him to go to therapy with you in an attempt to salvage the marriage while you help your son. My heart goes out to all of you, as well as to victim and his family. This is incredibly painful for everyone.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 May 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Family Repercussions from Son Molesting Child. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/05/16/family-repercussions-from-son-molesting-child/