Posted by: Dawnie | 2008/02/04

How to I help a child(11 years)

How do I help a child(boy) that was taken away from his unmarried mother (my friend) at the age of 11 because of her drinking problem and home circumstances. He is a inteligent and shy little boy but was in need of urgent discipline and a stable family life. I volenteered to take him in and the court is still deciding.Been nearly a year and his mother is now in Australia on holiday but know one knows if she will be back. He has a problem that he dirties his underpants and then walks around as if nothing has happened. We spoke and took him to doctors who say that there is physically nothing wrong with his bowels. He said he can stop and he did. Now 6 months later with his moms departure I found out that he has started again- hiding soiled underpant with poo on under his matrass or throwing the others away. Does he need Phyciatric treatment because he does not want to talk about it at all and is ashamed and says he can stop.!!
Home doctor says he is doing it on purpurse for attention and that a stable family will help. But he got that and still not helping. Very disappointed that he could not trust me again to tell me about it starting again. But explained that he can just wash it out and leave in bathroom so that I can put it in washer. But still he hides it.. What can I do for him. Please help. He has been through so much must I force him to speak to somebody. When we spoke to family doctor he cried and promised he would stop and begged me not to take him to a doctor again. He then stopped for months.
But has started again for no apparent reason. HELP

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Our expert says:
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Sounds like what we call Encopresis, where a child soils himself, and there's no physical abnormality. It is NOT really conscious and deliberate, as the house doctor has said, but is usually involuntary and deeply embarrassing for the child. Anyhow, it generally indicates a child who is psychologically distressed, and who would benefit greatly from being seen, assessed and treated by a child psychologist or child psychiatrist ( which would possible be useful in the context of the court case, as well ). Don't let him feel ahsamed of this, but enphasis gently that you know all that has been happening must be distressing for him, and you want him to see someone who will help him to stop this and to feel happier in general. Its not a question of forcing him, but seeing someone more gentle and skillful than the family doctor.

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Our users say:
Posted by: aNNa | 2008/02/05

Perhaps the way to broach the subject with him is to say:

"I know that you can stop and that you want to - we're going to see someone who can help you to put those two things together - someone whose dealt with this before and it's dead ordinary."

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