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My son was abused by his cousin.

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Our 7 year old son was subject to unwanted sexual touching by his 13 year old male cousin. Touching was first over the pants, then he was brought into his cousins room where his pants where pulled down and he was touched — we believe he screamed immediately (therefore, touching was brief — less than 2 minutes?) for his mother and he said that she was there very fast.

We are discussing this issue with him and he is comfortable in talking with us openly about it and we have assured him it was not his fault and telling us immediately was the right thing for him to do. We will be seeking councelling, although, please advise on the possible effects of this first time encounter. Thank you.

My son was abused by his cousin.

Answered by on -


What a sad and difficult situation. I can only begin to imagine the effect this is having on the whole family. Your first concern, of course, is to your son. From what what you wrote, it looks like he and you and your wife are doing everything right. He knew to scream for help. His mother came to the rescue. His parents believed him and protected him. He’s able to talk about it and you’ve been able to assure him that it’s not his fault. My guess is that the counselor is going to find that your son will be able to put this behind him. You certainly do need to acknowledge that something bad did happen and give him any comforting he needs. But you also need to take care that you are reading his needs, not your own. If you talk about it more than yuour son needs to, you could unwittingly make it more important to him than it needs to be. Work with the counselor (who has the advantage of being able to meet your son) to figure out how much talking is helpful at this point.

Meanwhile, there is a 13 year old who has problems too. Generally, kids don’t do this kind of thing unless something happened to them. There are exceptions, of course. Some kids who take advantage of younger, more vulnerable kids are dealing with mental illness. Some are impulsive and exercise really bad judgment. Blaming and punishing may be the first reaction of the adults around him but I hope his parents and the rest of the family have moved past that and are now talking about how to get him some help too.

Finally, I hope all the adults in the family can band together to solve this family problem. Events like this can tear a family apart. If you find that the family is isolating some people, blaming others, and dividing the world into victims and victimizers, please consider getting some counseling to help everyone heal. Working through a crisis like this can make a family stronger.

I wish you all well.
Dr. Marie

My son was abused by his cousin.

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). My son was abused by his cousin.. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.