I had a disturbing little incident happen with my highly sensitive, highly anxious almost 6 year old daughter K who struggles with selective mutism.
Earlier in the day, she and her sisters were playing at my 7.5 year old daughter’s friend’s house. This doesn’t happen often, as I like them all over by my house so I can keep an eye on things. About an hour later, I get a phone call from the boy’s mom, saying “nothing happened, but K said she wanted to go home”. This was really unusual, since K always wants to be where her older sister is. But I didn’t pay it much mind and just popped in Jumanji for her and made her a snack.
But much later in the evening, K had a strange question. She asked me if hypnotism was real. I wasn’t entirely certain where she had heard that, but I said I didn’t believe it was real. She seemed to be satisfied with my answer, but about an hour later, asked my husband the same thing.
He said “Yes” and my daughter got really upset and started crying. I thought that was peculiar, but I thought it was because maybe she wasn’t happy with the different responses.
Once my husband explained how hypnotism was supposed to work, she seemed a little better, but soon got upset again. She said that their friend M (who’s 7) hypnotized her older sister. My husband explained M would have better luck at flying an airplane than hypnotizing anyone. While she got better for a while, she began getting upset again. I re-iterated to her that I didn’t believe that anyone could be hypnotized, while dad said that well, there was a possibility that someone could be hypnotized, but only if they believed in it and if the person doing the hypnotizing really knew what they were doing. [note: He actually believes in it and feels the person doesn’t really have to believe in it, but I told him to modify it, knowing how upset K was getting about it].
As I was laying down with her before she fell asleep, she told me this disturbing bit of information: She was crying and told me “ M said he was going to hypnotize [my oldest daughter] to kill me and E. . . He said it would happen at midnight.” I was shocked and LIVID. K asked me through her tears that if her sister came in to hurt her and E, if I would protect her. I said yes, of course I would, but that nothing was going to happen because M did not hypnotize her. At all.
I did ask her if this was the reason she came home early today, and she said yes. I asked her why she didn’t tell me about it before, and she cried harder and said she was afraid. This is the thing I worry about the most with her SM…that something bad will happen, but she will be too afraid to talk about it. This is also the reason I’m glad I work hard to keep her firmly secure with me, because she finds her strength in me. I’m going to have a conversation with the boy’s mother and figure out what to do.
This boy has been my oldest daughter’s friend for two years, and this has not been the first time he’s done something to hurt my kids. He poked my oldest daughter in the face “just to see what she would do”, about a year ago. And he sometimes is aggressive towards them, and sometimes does take something and “pretends” to hit them with it, only it sometimes actually does connect, though usually not that hard. He’s very possessive about my oldest daughter – he gets a little miffed when he has to share her with other friends or her sisters. And he’s one of those kids that always calls or rings the door, and also one of those kids that most other kids pick on. Then he’ll turn around and pick on my girls. It’s so frustrating and I stop it as soon as I see it. But he never seems to get the point.
I know I can’t shelter my girls, but we need some time away from him (the girls see him daily), I think, so that he knows he will not be allowed to continue to do stuff like that to them.
Sigh. I know this is going to bother my oldest daughter. But this is something we (meaning my husband and I) are getting more than a little concerned about. It needs to stop, now, even though it might mean I put a strain on the relationship I do have with his mother. She probably will understand, but I’m not sure. I keep giving the boy chances to behave and he keeps “forgetting himself”.
Argh. Wish me luck that I’ll come up with the right way to say to her that we won’t put up with this anymore.