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Avatar universal

Playing with poop

My daughter is 8 years old. She's adopted, but I've had her since 2 years of age.  She has always had behaviour problems, and now takes medication for ADD.  She does strange things all of the time, and I'm at my witts end.  Her latest thing is she plays with her poop, or does something with it, and then wipes the excess on her bed.  Her biological mother is bi-polar, her biological father has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bi-polar, and manic depressive.  Are these things that she could inherit.  She also struggles in school, she has a hard time reading because she can't remember words.  She is very smart, but does very strange things. She's constantly going into the bathroom and staying, even at school.  She pours the soap out of the bottles and refills them with water. She hides candy and eats it in her bed, basically she puts anything in her mouth she can. Help me if you can, I'm going crazy. I have 5 other children, boys, 4 of whom are adopted, and none do these kinds of things.  Her behaviour is so off the wall, we can't leave her with anyone.
thanks.
94 Responses
Avatar universal
re: my daughter playing with poop

She takes Dexedrine, 10mg. once a day and has been on it for about 15 months.
I have another child who takes the same and it has definitely helped him.
I just don't know what to do.
Avatar universal
I read this passage and just cried. I am a mother of 4 boys,3 my own and 1 my step-son. My oldest,9, is going through the same thing right now. Pooping in the tub and gettin it out with his hands. He just pooped in his bed for the first time tonight and wiped it on the bed and walls. He has been stealing candy and eating and drinking in his room. I just was on edge tonight and have been so tired I started looking this up. He recently was kicked out of school for taking a boxcutter to school and threatened some kids that had been bothering him. He has been diagnosed with adhd and I had him on medicine 2 different kinds at different times and they didnt seem to work so he has been of of them for about 1 yr. but he didnt even act anything like this before. He is not one of these bad kids, I dont understand why all this is going on.We just started counseling but its just the begining. I feel like I amm going to lose it before we get anywhere.He is also the only one that does these things out of everyone and it has been mainly in the last 9 months or so.And the lying as been outragious, along with repetitive behavior.I am just wondering if you have had any luck since you posted this? Please let me know. Im desperate to find out what other options are out there.Finding this article is a blessing. Everything I have read tonight has been 2 yrs and under and I feel so relieve that I am not in this alone,though I hate you are feeling what I do.Please let me know anything.
Avatar universal
I have a 10year old boy.  I have just find out he is playing with his poop at school.  He is ADHD and on meds.  I adopted him.  I don't know much about his parents.  How do you deal with this.  With this and all of his different obsessions, they are always changing.  He has a one track mind and he has no friends.  I am at my wits end!!!
Can anyone give me any suggestions??
Avatar universal
Playing with poop is not typically something that results from ADHD.  It is often seen in Reactive Attachment Disorder with children.  RAD is often seen in adopted children, where the initial attachment with the biological mother has been disrupted, even if the child was very young or an infant when adopted.  It is something that can be easily addressed in therapy, but cannot be eliminated through meds, since it's a response to stressors not genetics.

kstuff, psychotherapist
Avatar universal
I cannot believe other parents are dealing with this odd behavior as well!  My son is 12 and has been playing with poop secretly for years, at least 8 now.  It used to involve diapers (or pull ups) and them being hidden where we would have to search to find the smell.  Now, we don't know what he's doing, but we found poop on towels, down the sink drain (which we found because the sink wouldn't drain after he'd been in the bathroom.)  He has been diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger's Syndrome and has been in therapy for roughly 9 months, but I'm not seeing a change in his "playing" behaviors.  To the above parent, my son also plays in soap, mixing up concoctions...  things disappear from the bathroom closet and either reappear in odd spots or empty bottles are found (like my bath salts.)  My son does have Sensory Integration Disorder also, and we've wondered if this stems from SID or if there is something else going on.  He is the oldest of 5 kids, none adopted, and nothing in his childhood to cause attachment issues.  If anyone has any advice, I'd love to receive it!
Avatar universal
I work with kids who have been diagnosed with ADD, autism and behavioral problems, so I am used to dealing with 3 year olds playing with their poop. My understanding is that it is a sensory thing, but now my daughter who is six just started doing the same. It all started when she got the stomach flu and she spends the whole day with the runs. Since then my husband and I have found poop smeared all around the toilet, next to the sink and even in her bedroom all. She kept saying that the poop just comes out, and I have been believing her since I have also found the poop in the shower after she has gotten out. Today, I went to put her in bed and the smell in her room was horrible. I found poop in her carpet and she smeared it with one of her toys. I now know that she has really been playing with it, and the thing is that she doesn’t seem to understand that one just don’t do that. In school she is very fidgety. The teachers says that she is very smart and she does get good grades, but that she cannot stay focus for long and that she cannot stay in her sit. She goes to counseling in school, and I have notice some improvement in her self esteem, but now this. Today she was also un-invited to a Christmas party in the boys and girls club because she refuses to listen to the teacher, and this is just started in the last two weeks. Like a lot of your kids, she does strange things, like emptying the shampoo bottles that were completely full, like taking things and hiding them, she gets obsessed with candy if it is around it. Sometimes she does things and when I ask her why she did it, she says that her brain is going crazy. The thing is that she has been saying this since the time she could talk. She does not sleep well at nigh, and she also has a lot of nightmares. I have taken her to her doctor and run all kinds of test, and it is not biological, but they have not diagnosed her with any cognitive or behavioral problems. I really don’t know what else to do. She is the middle child and I try my best to spend quality time with her, and talk to her, but she always ends up doing something that just upsets me. I really don’t know what else to do. I also think that she might be playing with her poop at school, but I have no way of proving her. I feel like I have no where to turn to, and my husband just says that she just different.
189897 tn?1441130118
COMMUNITY LEADER
   ADHD kids (at least while they are young) have not filters.  If something occurs to them, they act on it - before they have a chance to think about it.  Many times, since it happens so fast, they don't even realize they have done anything.  Of course, after years of being blamed for things they haven't realized they have done - defensive measures start kicking in.  
  You say you have taken her to her doctor.  What specialty is your doctor.  A MD may not be the best one to make those decisions.  If you are concerned I would find somebody who specializes in ADHD and see them.
  Just an idea on the poop.  It is possible that  she is not playing with it.  If it comes out because she has been too distracted to attend to pooping (or for any other reason) - well what do you do once it is there?  If you know it shouldn't be there you try and hide it.  Or maybe try to clean it up (but not very expertly).  6 year olds are not experts at this type of thing.  You might try asking her to tell you when it happens so you can help her clean it up.  Of course, maybe she is playing with it - but there are other possibilities.
Avatar universal
That is very good advice from Sandman.

The most important thing is to remain 'neutral' ie, matter of fact in  your reaction.  Just give a small natural consequence.  Like get them to help you clean it up.

Often the behaviour that gets the big reaction is the one they will pursue.

I know it is outrageous and would drive you completely nuts.  But try to hold in that reaction.

Do not talk to other adults about it if there is any possibility they could hear.

At a nice time when you are sitting down together just explain to them carefully about the germs and possibility of illness.

It is a phase and if handled carefully they will grow out of it.  But it is very easy to reinforce negative behaviour by reacting to it.  If you pay a lot of attention to it, it will get worse.

Give lots of praise and attention (I know you do anyway) at good times.

Another point:
My father has Chronic schizophrenia, none of his four children have it, none of his 10 grandchildren have it.  We are doing fine.  Anyway it comes up every few generations in all families.  It is not a 'diagnonses'  if your parents have it.  Take it one day at a time.
Avatar universal
Developmental disorders are odd things. They are very difficult to be diagnosed. especially things like ADHD and ADD. A lot of emotional issues abandament issues manifests the behaviour problems in Children. Unsound family environment is an unhealthy environment. Just because parents are unsound of mind does not necessarily mean that the child is prone to mental illness. therefore, behaviour patterns and issues may just result from experiences children have had. I may not mean that they actually have and development disorder. It might be difficult for an inexperience experts to differntial between the two.
You might want to check where the behaviour pattern of the child is coming from before drawing conclussion and act on them.

Aashwasan
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for the advice. I have taken the attitude of taking deep breaths when I find that my daughter has smeared her poop some where in her room. Last time I found that she smeared it all over her chair in her room and I lost it. I saw how afraid she got and I just told her that I was sorry for yelling but that what she was doing was really upsetting, especially when I cannot figure out why she is doing it. She had this look that she just does not understand why she, herself was doing it. I just gave her paper towels and disinfectant and made her clean it up. The next time she did it, she was not even aware when she did it and that she still has poop in her underwear. She kept asking me what smelled, and I could not figure out what she was talking about. When she finally went to the bathroom I noticed that she took very long, so I went to check up on her. She had poop in her underwear and she was trying to clean herself up. Since I was very sure that she must have done something with it in her room, I went to check. I found dried poop in the closet wall. When I asked her when she had done that, she did not have an answer, she could not remember. I’m starting to really think that she has ADHD or some kind of sleeping problem, since she does not sleep well at night and when she looks at me I can tell that her thoughts are just way ahead of what I am telling her. She is a very smart child, which is the reason why it bothers me so much that this is taking place. I really want to help her, but I don’t know where to find the help any longer. All I do is research. I am going to talk to her school counselor and see if she has any referrals for me.
Avatar universal
There is hope.

My son is 14. He stopped playing with/smearing feces a couple of years back, and inappropriate urination seems to have stopped in the past few months as well.

He still steals, though not as often. He often often often lies (though sometimes what appears as a lie to others is actually his inability to remember or his misperception of events). He no longer hoards food.

His many-times-a-day passive-aggressive coping mechanisms have mostly been replaced by intense tantrums which are presently happening only every few months.

It's interesting and pleasurable to watch my son growing in actual happiness and developing an understanding of responsibility and desire to behave appropriately. It sure has been, and continues to be, a long and labour-intensive journey.

My son's diagnoses include attachment disorder, adhd, pdd-nos (autism specturm), developmental coordination disorder, etc., etc., etc.

Christine
Avatar universal
Thank you sooo much for sharing your experiance, and to everyone else as well. My oldest son, who is 17 now, used to smear poo when he was still in diapers but grew out of it when he stopped using them. By junior high he had been diagnosed with ADHD and behaviourial problems stemming from his relationship with his father. I was warned then that one or more of our other children may have some behaviourial prblem or mental illness as it runs strong on their father's side. My daughter has had issues over the past years but a lot of them stemmed from environment(relationship with her father and his wife). Her behaviour over the past few months indicates that she may also have ADHD. Today I found that she had taken a piece of toilet paper, pooped on it and smeared it on the underside of the toilet seat. Needless to say I could have cried! I did a search and came up with this post thread, and the tears have started flowing. The lying, the stealing...has all been a part of my life with her. Sadly her father's wife phones me up and attacks me for her outbursts which needless to say does not make the situation any easier. Much *** it hurts to see other families going through this it feels good to know that I am not alone.
WinnipegConcertina I would appreciate hearing more of your experiences and where you got help(I'm in Winnipeg as well).

Thank you all. I always find it's much easier to deal with a situation when I know what it is I'm dealing with.
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