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Eight year old pooping pants

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have a friend who is in a really hard situation. She has an 8 year old daughter, her boyfriend an 8 year old son and they have a 4 month old baby together.

Her 8 year old stepson poops his pants daily at home. He doesn't do it at school and only twice in a couple years at daycare. She is getting frustrated because you can ask him to go to the bathroom and try to poop but he says he doesn't have to. Then 5 minutes later he poops his pants but keeps doing whatever he's doing until someone smells it and sends him to change. He doesn't care. His dad tried a rewards system with him - no pooping in pants for one week and you get a treat.

I don't know the kid's mom except that she doesn't do alot with him the time she has him and is more concerned about partying with her friends and sleeping the day away. Apparently now she's pregnant again and is starting to be more motherly. My friend isnt' "allowed" by the boy's mom to take an active role in parenting him even though she's been dating the dad for 5 years and living with him for 4 (so since the boy was 3 she's been in his life). He completely flips out if you question him as to why he does it. (When I say flips out, I mean screaming, hitting, throwing stuff, hyperventilating.)

My friend has rules & consequences for her daughter - example, she is expected to talk to adults with respect, no swearing and if my friend tells her she will lose a priviledge for something, then she loses it. On the other hand the stepson has zero consequences for his actions. He can be misbehaving and the dad will say "i am asking you to stop hitting your sister. if you can't do that then you will get no computer time for 3 days". Then when they get home the kid is on the computer the next morning and the dad doesn't stop it.

The dad refuses to deal with the pooping problem. It's like he's hoping it will go away and it won't. My friend refuses to wash the poopy underwear and clothes anymore. There are about 6 pairs of poopy underwear in his laundry basket in his bedroom and they are just sitting there. My friend wants to take her stepson to the doctor and get a referral to a child psychologist but the dad is vetoing it.

THis is causing a huge rift in their relationship, on top of the fact that this 8 year old talks to his stepmom with MAJOR disrespect and treats her like crap. (I've seen it with my own eyes and was horrified.) My friend loves her stepson but she's at her wits end with this.

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 16
I am def. no expert but it seems that he really needs to be evaluated by a pyschologist. It seems way beyond a disciplinary issue. IDK, hope they get some kind of help but if the dad won't do anything it will probably just get worse.
post #3 of 16
Encopresis (the medical term for this) is a treatable condition. It can be caused by physiological, neurological, or psychological issues in the child.

If they can't agree on seeing a child psychologist (which is what I'd recommend) they should talk to the child's pediatrician about the situation as soon as possible.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Ok so I googled Encopresis to see what it was.
Wikipedia says that one of the criteria is - at least one such event a month for at least 3 months. This boy has been doing this for about a year & a half now and it went from 2-3 times a week to now 7 days a week.
Wouldn't this affect him at school & daycare too? He has never done this at school. Only at home.

The other thing it said was that it is commonely caused by constipation. That's the first thing I asked my friend. This kid is never constipated.

I hope she can convince her boyfriend to take him to a child psychologist. I don't think it's normal for a 8 year old to poop their pants everyday. Something else is going on.
post #5 of 16
The family history sounds really chaotic, and honestly, this might cause me to start wondering if there is an abuse history. Sometimes there is a medical issue like this, but especially the way you described it, it is reminding me a lot of some of my foster kids.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by prettymatty View Post
Ok so I googled Encopresis to see what it was.
Wikipedia says that one of the criteria is - at least one such event a month for at least 3 months. This boy has been doing this for about a year & a half now and it went from 2-3 times a week to now 7 days a week.
Wouldn't this affect him at school & daycare too? He has never done this at school. Only at home.

The other thing it said was that it is commonely caused by constipation. That's the first thing I asked my friend. This kid is never constipated.

I hope she can convince her boyfriend to take him to a child psychologist. I don't think it's normal for a 8 year old to poop their pants everyday. Something else is going on.
It is completely NOT normal.

And I'm not surprised that it's only happening at home. He probably has enough control to prevent it from happening in the *most* shameful of situations (and yes, this likely brings him shame), such as school. At home, for whatever reason he has to soil himself, it's the safest place to have it happen.

Poor kid, that's gotta be rough.
post #7 of 16
The problem with chronic constpation many people don't realize they are constipated in the first place.

My son had encroprisis. At one point he would have small bm's ever day or two then once a week to 10 days (even longer) he would bm so large it could stop a toliet. The softer stuff would work around the harder stuff and come out.
post #8 of 16
I misunderstood. I thought your friend WAS the boy's mother.

Never mind.
post #9 of 16
oh my nephew did this same thing and still pees the bed to this day (11 yr old) My Sister even bought a bed alarm for him to wake up to pee. It worked for a little bit. THey did the reward system to but they did it for longer periods and bigger presents. Like for instance if you dont pee for 3 months then you will get a wii. Well he went the three months perfectly fine but after getting his present he starts doing it. Now he wont even wake up to the alarm and just goes back to sleep and pees!!!. He knows he will get what he wants eventually so he would rather pee his bed then just grow up.
post #10 of 16
I think your friend knew "the rules" (as in, she will have no say over how the boy is parented) for the last 4 years.

She's pretty much powerless in this situation. She can no more stop the boy from pooping than she can schedule an appointment for him without his parents' consent.

The only thing she has power over is whether or not she and her children stay in the situation, but 2 kids later that's a really tough one.

I have dealt with a school age child pooping their pants (my daughter had a stool impaction and NO she did not "seem constipated" to me. Unless the boy is allowing himself to be palpated abdominally or your friend has a u/s or xray at her disposal, she has no idea if he's constipated or not). It was gross and infuriating, but I could and did live with it until we got it resolved. I don't think I could live with a person who knew something like this was going on with their child and who *willfully* *consistantly* refused to do anything about it (I am speaking of a doctor's visit here, not attempting to treat it oneself).

I think your friend should stop blaming the boy's mother, when the father is absolutely refusing help as well. If I were her, I would sit the dad down and tell him that no matter what the cause, it's been getting worse, and if they don't take steps to investigate it may start happening at school. So if he's ashamed of his son's behavior, that's understandable (if misplaced) but right now the son is still protected and it may escalate to something he will never live down for the rest of elementary and perhaps beyond.

If at that point the dad STILL refused any kind of medical investigation? I really hate to say it, but I would suspect something else was going on, for the dad to be so resistant.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
I think your friend knew "the rules" (as in, she will have no say over how the boy is parented) for the last 4 years.

She's pretty much powerless in this situation. She can no more stop the boy from pooping than she can schedule an appointment for him without his parents' consent.

The only thing she has power over is whether or not she and her children stay in the situation, but 2 kids later that's a really tough one.

I have dealt with a school age child pooping their pants (my daughter had a stool impaction and NO she did not "seem constipated" to me. Unless the boy is allowing himself to be palpated abdominally or your friend has a u/s or xray at her disposal, she has no idea if he's constipated or not). It was gross and infuriating, but I could and did live with it until we got it resolved. I don't think I could live with a person who knew something like this was going on with their child and who *willfully* *consistantly* refused to do anything about it (I am speaking of a doctor's visit here, not attempting to treat it oneself).

I think your friend should stop blaming the boy's mother, when the father is absolutely refusing help as well. If I were her, I would sit the dad down and tell him that no matter what the cause, it's been getting worse, and if they don't take steps to investigate it may start happening at school. So if he's ashamed of his son's behavior, that's understandable (if misplaced) but right now the son is still protected and it may escalate to something he will never live down for the rest of elementary and perhaps beyond.

If at that point the dad STILL refused any kind of medical investigation? I really hate to say it, but I would suspect something else was going on, for the dad to be so resistant.
My friend did know from the start that she would be on the sidelines with parenting of her stepson. She's not expecting to be his' second mom at all. What she is expecting that she is treated with 100% respect & courtesy as she expects her daughter to do the same to the stepdad (and does with no issue). She is just really tired of nothing getting done to help her stepson. She is telling his mom & dad that something is wrong and neither of them are doing anything. She's not blaming the mom completely, she's blaming both parents.
As for the suspected abuse that was implied, I can say for 100% fact that this is not the case. I have heard how a little boy getting sexually abused can affect them in this area. I think in this dad's case he is just really ashamed not of his son but what is happening and thinks that he will be viewed as a "bad parent" if he goes to the doctor about this. This and the behavioural issues are the tip of the ice berg. He can be a very nice little boy but I have seen his other side and I'm sorry but no 8 year old should have that much "control" over his parent. He knows exactly what to do to make his dad jump and does it. He isn't allowed to speak like this to his grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc when at their homes. My friend's bf isn't a bad person or a bad dad, he's just being naive about what is happening (if I ignore it, it will stop).
My friend has tried for the last 2 years (that's when her stepson started being extremely rude to her) to build a relationship with him. She constantly asks him if he wants to go hang out with her doing something fun but he refuses.
post #12 of 16
There's more to abuse than just sexual abuse.

A parent who's not willing to investigate a physical or emotional root of a problem like soiling in a school age child is frankly being neglectful.

I don't see how any of you (especially since you're an outsider, are you not?) could *possibly* know "100 percent" that there is no bullying or abuse going on in either household or at school.

Letting it go on for a few months? That is being naive and in denial. Letting it get to the point where it happens *every* day for a year?

Sorry, that is not "just naive."
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
There's more to abuse than just sexual abuse.

A parent who's not willing to investigate a physical or emotional root of a problem like soiling in a school age child is frankly being neglectful.

I don't see how any of you (especially since you're an outsider, are you not?) could *possibly* know "100 percent" that there is no bullying or abuse going on in either household or at school.

Letting it go on for a few months? That is being naive and in denial. Letting it get to the point where it happens *every* day for a year?

Sorry, that is not "just naive."
Agreed.

My mom's a social worker and I've heard more stories than I've cared to. A child who is feeling out of control of his life (from stress, bullying, abuse, neglect, etc) will often soil themselves in an effort to control something in their lives. Eating and eliminating are really the only things a child truly has control over, which is why emotional trouble often rears it's head in these areas.

Sure, it can also be a physical problem like encopresis. But without a visit to the doctor, a detailed history, and a thorough examination, we're all just speculating. The lack of either parent's willingness to seek treatment, the behavioral issues with the boy, and the mom's on and off-again involvement with the boy are red flags that this may be more than a physical problem. But either way, a physician really needs to investigate.
post #14 of 16
I'm in the same situation here. I have a 8 year old stepson. And when he goes to the bathroom. Either he don't wipe good. Or at all. When I start smelling something. And I ask him sometimes he's gets angry n cries. I love him with all my heart. He goes to see his mom on weekends. And his mom yells at him all the time. And has had a past in drugs. But says she is clean now. I am just trying to find out what I can do to get him to stop. I bought baby wipes. And keep them in the bathroom. So he can use them to clean himself better. But he gets so caught up n doing whatever he's doing. That he won't use the restroom. Or if he does he won't wipe. I have grounded him. N told him if I found anymore poopy underwear he would get the things he likes taken away. But he still does it. I seen on a few websites that they say you should make the child clean the mess, but I don't know if that's the right thing to do. I don't want to be mean to him, I just want him to stop. But I'm. Still battling it
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by prettymatty View Post

My friend's bf isn't a bad person or a bad dad, he's just being naive about what is happening (if I ignore it, it will stop).

 

I'm sorry, but no. If,after a year plus, he refuses to do anything? He is not naive. He is a bad parent. His son has a problem, and he refuses to address it. That is bad parenting. Period.

 

And Robbie - where is Dad in your situation?

post #16 of 16
My son struggles with encoproses. He has phases where he poops just fine and then other times when he gets stressed and withholds. I really feel that making a big deal about soiling just makes the problem worse. They feel ashamed and then hold it in even more in hopes of avoiding the problem. Kids who withhold often have stretched out colons that cant sense the need to poop as well. We have had some success with diet changes, a sitting routine (we do it every night after bath so the hot water can relax all his muscles) and about once every six weeks it gets to the point he needs a laxative. Some kids do well on Miralax. Probiotics, aloe vera juice, avoiding dairy, and ripe pears are great. Water water water. Blowing bubbles while sitting on the toilet is supposed to allow the holding muscles to relax. Last of all, Clouds Not Clocks is supposed to be a great book for children who struggle with this issue.

This child sounds very troubled and the whole situation is extremely concerning. The poop and the defiant behavior are red flags. This kid really needs help! To me this is emotional and medical neglect.
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