Does this boy need psychiatric help?
Q: I want to get advice on a problem of my friend's cousin who is 13 years old. The boy doesn't speak very much to his family members also. He is in a joint family. He is not good at studies but very good at drawing. His parents and younger sister are all very talkative and enjoy the company of others while he remains isolated from the crowd. For some two years he has got the habit of getting near to his elder sisters (cousins) when they sleep and he touches their legs and massages and when they wake up and ask he says that he killed mosquitoes. The girls and the boy don't share the same room but he comes to their room in the night. The girls are very frightened about what and all he might have done when they were asleep. The girls are aged 22. The family doesn't know this except the girls and my friend. They don't want to inform this to the family but want some remedy in this case. The girls and boys future lies in the problem. Should they tell this to the family? They are very frightened as he used to sleep with his younger sisters who is of age 9. Please suggest some solution for the problem. Will he need any psychiatric help or can he be handled by other means?
A:I think that a 13 year old boy who is not very good at studies and does not talk with other people already needs help. Since he is good at drawing, everything should be done to encourage his talent. Getting some special art advice from an artist may be a good idea. Putting up one or two of his good pictures may also help his self esteem. Close attention should be given to the sleeping arrangements in the house. The boy should certainly be prevented from entering the girls bedroom. It would be best to inform his parents and get their help in handling his growing problems. From what I hear about cases of sexual violence, it often starts in the home. The family is often worried about embarrassing a nephew or son and does not talk about it. The silence on this issue is supposed to protect family honour, no one mentions it. The victims of such a procedure are often the girls of the family, who despite being victims of sexual assault are made to feel that something is wrong with them. The boy goes scot free and continues his habits. I would suggest that the 9 year old girl shares a bedroom with her older sisters (cousins) and NOT with her 13 year old brother. The 13 year old boy should have a room to himself and you must make sure that he cannot enter the other bedrooms. At this point, it is probably only his sexual curiosity and no harm would have been done. However, the parents should talk gently to their son and explain how he will become a social problem if he does not control himself. They should also explain sexual maturation and wet dreams or spontaneous ejaculation, which will occur as the boy is attaining sexual maturity. There is a possibility that the mother will fly into a temper and say that her "baby" is innocent and it is the girl cousins who are trying to tempt him. One has to be strong and be prepared to take the immediate unpleasant consequences, rather than be silent and close ones eyes to what could be a VERY serious matter. It is not a psychiatric problem. But it does need the attention of the parents and of the boy himself. He could be also encouraged to take up some vigorous sports activity. If the school he attends has a Counselor or if there is a wise friend of the family who can give some advice, it should be sought. Screaming at the boy or punishing him without a proper explanation will have negative results. That should be avoided. Patience and affection from the concerned relations is the best treatment. But the situation should also be managed in such a way that the boy cannot enter the bedroom of his sisters.