Today I took Elli and one of her female friends swimming at the local pool. Generally things went great, with the notable exception of the two girls taking forever to change so I ended up standing on the pool deck shivering for an extended period while they goofed off in the changeroom. Two kids is definitely easier to deal with than one because they play and make up stories and such together and don't rely on me as the sole source of entertainment.
There was one really weird thing that happened while we were in the pool though. The friend gave me a nine year old impression of a sultry look, said "Ooooh, naked man" and tried to tweak my nipple. I just backed up, ignored it, and moved on, and nothing of the sort happened again. It left me quite uncertain of how I should have proceeded though. Clearly ignoring it isn't a *wrong* thing, but was it the best thing?
I felt like maybe I should have used that opportunity to tell her about touching without asking. I couldn't come up with any way to start that conversation though without having to define why exactly it was fine for us to wrestle but not to tweak nipples. I didn't look forward to standing in the pool attempting to define what makes sexual advances different from other physical touching, especially for a kid not my own! For one, her parents might really object to me delivering such a lecture, understandably so, and for two I don't really know her and I wouldn't have a sense of where to start. Knowing what your kid knows and how to best get across challenging concepts is important.
There is a more general problem of how you discipline kids who aren't yours that is tricky but which other parents have always been supportive in. Generally the vibe I have experienced and seen is that parents accept whatever discipline other parents hand out as long as they normally trust that parent to act reasonably. "When you are at their house you play by their rules" is pretty much the norm in my life. Incidents that involve sexual overtones are lot more powerful though and can be complicated by lots of feelings and clashing visions of how sex is portrayed. I see this event as just an indication that the kid in question knows that such things get a reaction and is looking for attention. She doesn't need punishment, just guidance, and definitely doesn't need a 'sex is bad!' lecture but just an understanding that this isn't something that she can do right now.
However, her parents might have information that totally changes this equation. I think that this means that I need to let them know, but it is an awkward conversation to have. "Yo, your kid totally hit on me, eww" isn't the kind of email you want to write, yanno? I don't want to appear to be blowing it out of proportion because no harm was done but it seems like a thing I should mention. Its all very complicated, basically. Parenting tends to run that way.