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12 year old boy smearing poop
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12 year old boy smearing poop

My 12 year old son, has been (not very well) trying to hide smeared poop on our furniture...I guess wherever he is sitting at the time he is touching it.  I can 't get an answer from him, of whether it is just from not wiping well or not.  It seems to be more than just a bad wiping job.  My son definitely has some defiant issues with authority.  He tests every boundary that there is.  We had to throw away an entire set of furniture because of this.  HE said he would stop and after he was apologetic, I let it go.  Guess what my other children found on the new couch??  He is a social and functioning in every other realm, completely, "normal" ---I don't like using that phrase.  He does however feel self conscious right now about some tummy weight he has gained lately....He is definitely going through puberty.  I asked him some questions to understand if it was an arousal issue with the touching or not?  In my heart I feel like it may be a curiousness about his body changing.  We talk about it in our family though, so it isn't like he is figuring everything out for himself by any means.  He also has an older brother to talk to.  I don't want to make a bigger deal of it than it is, but I don't want to stick my head in the sand either....  Please guide me  in a direction?


This discussion is related to 13 year old's abnormal behavior.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
Did you ever get an answer to this?  I just got on this site tonight after finding smeared feces again.  My son just turned 13.  He is also defiant about authority. He was bullied last year and has some self esteem issues too.  We are a close and loving family and he has so much support.  We have been finding evidence of the smearing for a few weeks now.  After finding it on our basement couch this evening, my husband was ready to check him in somewhere.  I don't know what to make of it, but I feel like you...don't want to make a bigger deal of it than it is, but I don't want to put my head in the sand.

Has this phase with your son ended?  Did you ever get an idea of whether this is a huge mental illness issue or not?  I'll appreciate any thoughts.

Thank you,
Anne
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Avatar_f_tn
I can highly relate.  I am not sure of where to go with why it isn't bothersome to the child.  Mine has done it out of vengence.  It bothers me a lot.  I try to documant everything with photos when she is not looking and not make a big deal about it.  I also make her clean it up.  It can be done for a reaction.  Many of they counselors I have been to downplay it.  So I am trying to take it as either  a medical problem or a manipulation tool.
She also gets very constipated on a regular basis(refusing to drink).  When a child gets constipated, their stomach can protrude.  They can pass watery stools(thus the accidents on furniture and in clothes), but not pass the large compacted stool.  You might want to look into a pediatric GI spcialist.  

I hope this helps.
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Avatar_m_tn
My Foster son also smears and plays with his poop like play doh. I have been dealing with this for sometime now and what I have found is the issue keeps coming back to sexually and phyiscal abuse towards the child sometime in their life. Therapy hasn't helped and neither did medication. Everything I have read helps me understand it better, but doesn't help me deal with it any better.... I found consequence and reward system does make him smear less often.
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535822_tn?1413656274
Heres yet another old thread being dragged up ....
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1281315_tn?1271351471
My son is 4 years old and is also smearing poop on the furniture and was fully potty trained at one time. He also has regressional behavior. And is mainly Towards his dad but i have also seen it. Has went back to acting like a baby i was tod this is a sign of abuse so im taking him in to be tested hope this helps some of you.
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Avatar_m_tn
I see alot of similar stories here but no real answers on what to do about it.  Anyone found any help out there?
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Avatar_m_tn
i have just found poo all over my 10yr old sons room under the rugs behind wardrobes and book cases im beside myself ... hes a bright boy and very advanced with his computers and games my husband thinks it is down to him being lazy but the places he hides it would take longer to get to and more hastle than just going to bathroom and washing hes what you would have called a strange boffin when i was at school interested in weird stuff you would not expect from a 10yr old ive asked him why and he replys hes does not know ive made him clean it up and tried to stay calm and reassure him of our love for him im not sure what else to do please help
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Avatar_m_tn
I had a 16 year old female client with this issue. She is also very bright and has a loving family.  It is a complicated issue. It takes the right pediatrician working in conjunction with the right therapist. This behavior is often associated with a form of encopresis. Having them properly diagnosed is good. Even though there are medical aspects to encopresis, it is consideded a mental/emotional disorder. A lot of these kids have oppositional defiant disorder. But it can be specific to just this behavior, if you run a typical ODD test, it may come back inconclusive. It takes a good therapist/neuropsych to identify it. There may also be surrounding factors such as ADD, or anxiety disorders. Once all issues are identified, a plan can be worked up specific to your child. Most doctors will advise not to get angry. Stressors and triggers need to be identified and a behavior plan needs to be implemented sometimes in conjunction with medicaiton, but not neccessarily. Good luck and don't give up!
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Avatar_f_tn
My son is 15 yrs old and he poops on the floor in his room and on the floor in the bathroom. I don't know what to do? Her doesn't have a behavior problem. He is usually obedient. However lately when I tell him to clean up his poop, he is reluctant to do so. It is putting a strain on the entire family. The doctor told me to give him some stool softener.  I did and it is soft poop every where now! I was going to a therapist and she told me to put paper on the floor. I had medical test done on him, and everything was OK.  He has not had a psychiatric test, yet.  But everywhere I call in the Greensboro & Winston Salem area, no therapist or psychiatrist specialize in that area and can not help me.  What really screwed up about it no one has even mention to me about having him tested for ADD.  It has truly put a strain on the family. I have to restrict the movement of my 1yr daughter, my other daughter is ashamed to bring her friends over, my fiance can't keep his mouth shut about it in the neighborhood, his father blames me for not beating the **** out of him (over the toilet), and my house smells like a poop. As much as I don't want to but I am giving him up to his father. He doesn't want to go, but I know I can't help him here anymore. It has put so much stress on me, trying to referee the family, I even wanted to and seriously gave much thought about killing myself to get out of it.  Has anyone resolved this problem? If yes please tell me how you did it. Thank you
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Avatar_m_tn
  I noticed you mentioned ADD.  There is a link between wetting accidents and AD/HD.  "Children with ADHD also struggle to manage multiple activities, and might neglect to address the urge to urinate while they're occupied with other tasks."  I would think the same thing goes for pooping.  The article on that is here.  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/752076?src=nl_topic.
   If he does have AD/HD that would explain a lot.
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Avatar_m_tn
Why is this site even here if we don't get any real answers?

I have a soon to be 13 year old that keeps pooping in our shower.  He is smart, out going and has many friends.  He is also well behaved and a good student.  He started pooping in the shower over a year ago.  He denies he is the one doing it and has gone as far to blame his siblings, my husband and myself.  We all know its him.  He is only allowed to shower in our basement bathroom.  We make him clean up his own mess-he throws a fit and gets upset trying to convince us it is not him.  It is absolutely him-I started checking the shower before he bathes.  This past month I have noticed several times that he smells terrible.  His siblings have become so disgusted with him that they say mean things and hurt his feelings.  I don't know what to do.  I took him to a therapist for about 6 months.  He does not have ADD, ADHD or any diagnosed mental health or behavior disorder.  The therapist had no answer for us.   I am just sick of this and want it to stop-I feel terrible for our son and just do not understand why he is doing this.  He gets a lot of attention in more positive ways that he shouldn't have to do this.  ?????  
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1578576_tn?1297137037
I used to fecal smear.  Probably until 9 our 10 years old.  I remember my mother asking me about it and telling me it was weird and to stop.  Honestly, I wouldn't even think about it in the moment.  It was simple.  I knew I had to poop, but it want coming out.  I would dig it out (which seemed totally reasonable to me...how else was I supposed to get it out?).  Then I had pop on my fingers so I would wipe it on the wall.  In the moment, I didn't think about anyone else seeing it, even though my mom would ask me about it later.  I didn't understand what the big deal was.  My mom talking about it felt like she was embarrassing me for no reason.  I wanted to pretend it was nothing and no one noticed.

     Luckily, she wouldn't push it too much.  In really benefited from her taking a relaxed approach and letting it take its course.  It passed, I grew up, graduated with a double major and with honors, now I work as a behavior analyst with children who have autism if you can believe it!   The fecal smearing didn't hinder me one bit.  I know it may be difficult, but please recognize that at most it is a symptom of something bigger.  That something bigger is not your child's fault.  Please do not shame them or speak as if it is as simple as choosing not to engage in the behavior.  It is not that simple.  Seek out possible reasons for this behavior and addresses that rather than the fecal smearing.  

Yes, there are ways to reduce or extinguish this behavior (speaking now as a behavior analyst).  Most parents do not have access to a board certified behavior analyst.  Now speaking as a child who engaged in fecal smearing, I am very happy that no one addressed this with me.  I do, however, feel let down that no one helped me.  My mother treated me as if something was wrong with me when I would display symptoms that concerned her.  There is nothing wrong with your child.  S/he is in need of compassion and possibly help from the right professional.

With all if that said, I WAS severely physically and emotionally abused (mostly by my mother).  If you asked her, she would say that I was a difficult child (as if anything justifies beating your child).  It is entirely possible that the smearing was a symptom of abuse.  Who knows.  There is always a reason.

I hope that my perspective may have given you some insight.  

Please disregard this if your child had developmental delays.  I hope that you have access to behavior services to address this behavior and improve your family's quality of life.
    
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Avatar_m_tn
   So he has been doing this for over 6 months?  You took him to a therapist and the therapist said he did not have ADD, etc?  How did the therapist determine this?  I guess my main questions are two.  What kind of a therapist did you see?  Have you sought out a medical opinion?
   At his age, it would be very unusual to be doing this for attention.  I agree with you completely that he should not have to be doing this.  Thus, there is something going on.  He could have a medical problem which needs to be checked out by a doctor, not a therapist.  The post just above this is good and the one by Barbara1012 is also worth reading.
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Avatar_m_tn
A great comment, but I don't think it is wise to disregard it because of developmental delays; in some cases smearing is the result of traumas rather than the delays even in kids with PDDs.
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535822_tn?1413656274
I agree this child sounds upset by something its so easy to place every behavior a child has on a disorder .Is he being bullied at home or at school ?
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263988_tn?1281957896
My step-son used to smear feces until we got him professional help.

His problem turned out to be sexual and physical abuse by his step-father. He started his problem soon after visiting his mother. I had no idea the abuse was going on until my step-son started to confide in me about what happened to him.

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1578576_tn?1297137037
Ooh goodness.  I hope it didn't come across that I was saying to disregard fecal smearing if you're child has developmental delays.  Absolutely not!   I meant disregard MY post as it is not relevant in the case of children with developmental delays.  Sorry for the confusion!  
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1578576_tn?1297137037
Yes.  Abuse can definitely be a factor.  It is important not to rule this it as a  possibility.  I am so sorry to hear about your step-son.  He is lucky to have you!
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1578576_tn?1297137037
On second look at your post, I think I have more understanding of what you were saying.  You are correct.  Fecal smearing can be a symptom of abuse even in children with developmental delays.  I meant to disregard my perspective about being glad no one addressed the fecal smearing.  Thank you for bringing up this point.  
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1578576_tn?1297137037
You are dealing with a lot.  Deep breath.  It is difficult to give advice.  I don't know you, your son, or your family.  But at 15, fecal smearing is an alarming symptom.  Please get him psychological testing.  Fecal smearing is just a symptom.  You may not need a specialist.  It's the underlying potential psychological factors that would need to be addressed.  I hear how overwhelmed you are.  Is there anyone else who could help?   I have huge concerns about turning him over to his father because you said he was upset you didn't beat the"daylights" out if him. (! )  Your son needs help, not punishment.  Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.  
    
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Avatar_f_tn
hey i just read what u said about your problem
i have the same thing with my step son he is 14 and doing the same thing keep sh**** all over the place in his room...the bathroom...then he hides it in his room under the bed...in his pillow case....and even if places u wouldnt think of....its really bad...i cant stand it....its driving me nuts...no matter what u do...what u say they will keep doing it....they want u to go mad at them....just so they get one to one with you...we have even said if he stops it....we will treat him to something he wants....or if he wanted to go out for dinner.....go bolwing and still does it.....the house stinks of poo...cant have anyone round....i cant even let me 2 year old nephew in his room.....its that bad he plays with it...and makes things out of his own poo.....so beating the sh** out of him wont do nothing to him...we have done that...made him clean it up...and he doesnt even care...he will just say ok....he goes to the bathroom,....has a wee or a poo...and dont wash his hands we have even gone in the bathroom with him to make sure he does it...and still he dont care....so killing yourself wont help.......just take one day at a time....dont make so a big deal when he does it....cus thats what they wont...to see u pi**** off
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Avatar_f_tn
My 10 year old step son is pooping in his clothes or towels and hiding them around the house. He also urinates in empty water bottles and puts them behind his bed so we can't see them. I know he was sexually abused since his mom lived in a prostitution/drug house. We have had complete custody of him for the last 2 1/2 years. It's really gotten bad now that his mother doesn't want visitation with him at all since it disrupts her partying. I have given him a wonderful home and since I couldn't have children, he is my baby. I've spoiled him rotten (which I have been told I don't give him consequences for this behavior) but he is such a good boy "normally". I have taken him for therapy and the hospital for evaluation. They just say that he has separation disorder from his mom. That doesn't help me. Looking for new therapist all the time. Really frustrating, but usually I just clean up and don't same anything. Now I've taken his allowance away so he can start saving it to buy his own clothes. Tired of spending money of shirts to be used as toilet paper. Not just whipping but doing all his business in tee shirts and wrapping them up. Such a nice surprise to find my presents around the house. Guess I should be aware that smearing could be next. Sad step mom.
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Avatar_f_tn
My 9yr old startes doing this a month ago. He has been on meds for 2 1/2 years for ADHD. but this is new. He is a smart kid thats get bullies but its summer break. I dont know what to.
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Avatar_m_tn
Sweetheart, I am so sorry. My heart goes out to you. I am a student of psychology. I don't know a whole lot, BUT. . . I did this same thing when I was 13 years old. My mother was in tears. She didn't know what to do. Now this is what happened to me. ABUSE. Bullying at school, adults didn't have time for me and I wasn't in their world, I had severe emotional scaring. Then there were adults who I'd been around who were emotionally disturbed as well. They were physically and verbally abusive as well. I wasn't that strong. I had to learn how to be strong did not have one single friend for a period of time and I became seriously defiant. I was so DEPRESSED. I attempted suicide maybe three times. Do listen to anyone who is not educated. Go straight to a doctor immediately. However, love conquers all. Be very strong about loving and forgiveness. Communication. Please DONT try not to continually lock him away. But at the same time you do not want to sit on that. It could be a left field severe warning sign about something else.
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Avatar_m_tn
My son was potty trained at three for about three months and then he started holding and smearing.  He is now 12.

What we have done is taken him to a great child therapist that works with kids who have encopresis.  We also worked with his pediatrician.  We started out with medication (Miralax) which did help with his stools.  He did, however, revolt against the Miralax and we have tried several different medicines and have now landed on using Mineral Oil.

What we had to do to begin with is "clean him out".  We gave him large doses of the medication (over a weekend) so that he would poop a whole lot.  We then started him on the regular dose as prescribed by his doctor.  We did not do any of this on our own.

As far as the wiping, I would clean up the marks.  I did not try to embarrass him.  I would ask him suggestions on how to keep the poop off the walls, closet walls, bed frames, etc.  He stopped the wiping on his own.  I also really look at his fingers.  If there is poop around the nail, I make him wash his hands.  I don't really discuss the poop, I simply tell him to wash his hands.

The therapist was quite a help with our son, as well.  I highly recommend finding a therapist that works with encopresis.  The problem is, there is a divide in psychological field about encopresis.  Some therapists don't believe in it.  Some do.  That is why you need to ask.  Also, if you don't like a therapist (or your child doesn't like them), you do not need to return.  

With the medication, it really has helped.  Our laundry is back to no special handwashing or poopy loads (followed by an empty bleach load).  Since he is 12, we were giving him a little freedom with his medication, however, the laundry situation started to change and then we had to start over from the beginning (lots of meds, then regular dosage).

I have been dealing with this a long time.  I know how frustrating it can be.  My son is not ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), he deals with encopresis.  

When we do smell it on him, we immediately ask him if he has had an accident.  If he says no, we ask him to check himself and explain we can smell him.  If he has had an accident, we ask him to take a shower.  We have "accident" specific washcloths that are stained but clean.  

I am not a physician, I am not a therapist, I am a parent.  I am frustrated some days, angry some days, but loving everyday.  Please consult your child's physician and see what they can do to help.  They may be able to suggest a therapist too.   Good luck and you aren't alone.
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Avatar_m_tn
What about if your child is smearing boogies on the wall and denying it?  Is it also a symptom of something more serious happening.  My son is 14 and denies that it is him, but we all know it is him.  He stops when we confront him but always starts again.  Sometimes in obvious places others hidden.

He does have a problem with nasal congestion, sinuses and was a born with cleft palate which was repaired and he had 2 revisions for.

He does have other behaviors that we think are odd for his age such as spinning things in front of his face and making a strange noise when he gets "bored"  according to him but he otherwise is intelligent and witty and a great obedient kid.

I have a brother with autism and my son was tested for all possible behavior disorders when he was young and nothing was found.  We thought possibly that it was something sensory neural that was overlooked but are not sure what to do if anything at all at this point.  

Smearing the boogies is something we are hoping he will just grow out of...
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Avatar_n_tn
I have custody of my 9 year old grand son that has behavioral issues mostly at school. he is very sweet, helpful and kind, and very smart (reading at a 9th grade level and math at a 7th grade level) until you put him in a social situation. when stress gets too much for him he smears his poop. he has been seeing a therapist for 2.5 years (ever since he was taken from his mother by children services). we make sure that he know that we love him and we walk that fine line with his feeling with him mother that has chosen drugs over her children. I wonder if there is something else we should be doing to help him grow up to be a happy and healthy person with a bright future.
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Avatar_m_tn
    I would make sure that the school is aware of his anxieties.  They need to protect him too.  Very often, the bright kids get overlooked because they are not much trouble.  He may be bullied at school.  I do know from my own experience at the elementary level that many kids do not like to use the bathrooms and will hold it until they can't can't.   His teacher needs to let him use the bathroom during class time and not just at recess when there are a million other kids in there.
   Also, at this age, a friend in school is really a big deal (if possible).  Do try and have play dates where he can invite a child over.  Hopefully, he knows of someone with the same interests.  But, sometimes,  the intelligence can get in the way.  Don't be afraid to ask his teacher if she has any ideas of kids that might have the same interests as him.
   Hope this helps.
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