DEAR ABBY: My daughter "Anissa" is 3 and has an older cousin, "Billy," on my fiance's side who is 5. Billy has been caught on several occasions showing his "manhood" to little girls, and we recently found out he took Anissa into a pop-up tent and showed her as well. This was not on my watch, because I don't feel comfortable leaving them alone together.
After I learned about the incident, I was told that Billy had done this with another cousin and told her it was a "secret" and not to tell.
Abby, as far as I know, Billy was spoken to at great length and reprimanded after the first few occurrences, but he continues to do this, it seems, at every opportunity he gets.
Is this normal behavior for boys? I think the parents are burying their heads in the sand. They get defensive when the subject is brought up. Personally, all I can do is keep Anissa within arm's reach when Billy is around. What do you think? -- NOT ON MY WATCH
DEAR NOT: I think that's intelligent. Although children are naturally curious when they learn there's a difference between boys and girls (hence the genesis of playing "doctor"), Billy appears to be overly preoccupied. Because he is telling the girls to keep what he's doing a secret, he knows he is doing something wrong. Repeated naughty actions can be corrected only if there are consequences for them, and it appears a lengthy talking-to and a reprimand haven't gotten through to the child.