Actual sexual activity. She is unaware that months ago I unintentionally saw this. It keeps on going all the time, I hear. I’m not sure if I should bring it up with her or if it’s just a typical phase that many females experience. She’s 12. Online, I’ve read conflicting views. Your opinions?
I am assuming that this is a sincere and serious question, and will respond by taking your concerns seriously. This is not a joke : such things do happen, though not often. it is not “just a normal phase that many girls go through”, though and does need careful attention.
Some children, probably at a younger age, may explore out of curiosity, exploring a pet animal without hostility ; but it can also be a part of a broader pattern of animal cruelty, and can be associated with later violent behaviour, and children can even be arrested for such an offense.
There are two areas of focus of concern.
One is the animal itself, who is being exploited without being able to give true consent, and whose protection needs to be one of your priorities. Surely you can arrange to ensure that she no longer has private time alone with the dog ? Maybe you can even have some gentle discussions with her about how people often ignore the issues of animal rights, and that just because pets are usually friendly and gentle towards us, we have a duty to be especially careful not to exploit them in any way, because they cannot express themselves.
Just as a Big Sister in her teens has a responsibility towards younger sibs, to protect them against risks they are too young to understand, we have a duty to be respectful towards out pets.
And then of course your child needs to be your prime responsibility.
She may be fine, but I’d have concerns about why a child of 12, well able to have a range of human friendships in ordinary and appropriate ways, is so focused on repeated sexual behaviour with an animal, This is not wholesome.
When a young child shows repeated inappropriate interest in sexual matters, usually expressed in flirtatious or frankly sexual approaches to adults, or even just excessive curiosity, it is appropriate to be concerned. It may indicate various types of unhappiness and can be an indicator of prior physical or sexual abuse of the child himself/herself.
It would be a really good idea to arrange for your daughter to see a good child psychologist for a detailed assessment. This should be able to indicate if there are significant areas of concern needing to be dealt with, and the psychologist should be able to help.
Don’t you think you need to discuss his with your daughter ? You won’t be able to ignore it, and pretending it didn’t happen will not be healthy at all. You can be tactful, sympathetic and kind, but ask her to talk to you about what you witnessed and over-heard
And please remember, all readers, that the best way any of us can safeguard our children is not to wait until there’s a crisis, but to establish and maintain an ongoing and open friendly discussion with your children, within which each of you can raise any question or issue that troubles either of you, for discussion and resolution.
Do, please feel free to return to this forum with fresh messages, to let us know how things develop.