Our 7 yr old girl started pooping in her pants about a month ago. We have tried all forms of discipline with no success. This seems to be timed with a project at school discussing their family tree!! We were forced to discuss with her that she was adopted before we felt she was ready!!! It may be a coincidence but we're not sure. At any rate we don't know what to do. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
Instead of disciplining, I would wait it out and just support her. If you've ruled out a medical reason or a deliberate action on her part causing this issue, then it's likely stress or anxiety.
When it happens, I would have her clean herself up, and not make a big deal out of it. If it's related to stress or anxiety, then giving her a consequence or making a big deal of it will not help matters at all. Just a "Oh, I'm sorry you had an accident honey, why don't you go get cleaned up and get a new pair of panties and pants?"
If it is stress and anxiety, then address that aspect of it so that she can express her feelings verbally. Either by discussing whatever is causing the stress, remove the stress, or even counselling if you feel she needs that.
Maybe she has misunderstood something in the discussion you had with her about her adoption. I don't know much about the problem except that some books indicate that it can happen if a child is being sexually abused. Maybe it is stress about the adoption but maybe something else has happened that just coincidentally happened around the same time.
Any change in her diet? Could she be sneak-eating chocolate bars; or, heaven forbid, taking laxatives because she's heard that girls do it to stay thin?
Thanks for all the replys...where do I start.....Yes we have talked about adoption before. We have childrens adoption books, and I bring it up when i can but try not to mention it alot...., I think it just finally clicked ,..what it really means and the social implications????I dont know?? .. The 2nd grade classroom project was family tree and where did you come from , what country did you originate and about grandparents and what country they came from. To be honest I thought it was too much for an adopted 7 yr old plus being the only adopted one in class. We did ask to not perticipate. The teacher didnt understand where we were coming from .....and we did the assignment and talked.She did say she doesnt want to be adopted and wishes I birthed her. I told her I loved her and wish I did too.
Now a little History...We adopted her at 1 1/2 yrs old. In Russia at the orphanage, they told us she was potty trained....advice from our agency we brought diapers and put them on her. I think she was potty train around three..or three in ahalf, it was hard but I dont remember it being any harder then my bio-son who is now 16.
The last year she has had accidents and we dont make a big deal of it Its just been the last 30 days..she as had some constipation through out the years and has had some very painful poo's...I think she associates a bowl movement with pain. I think she trys real hard not to go to the bathroom and the body kicks in and she poops in her pants. I dont think shes doing it to get attention like other misbehavior that she does ...I think shes trying to hide it. She will hide the underware and has smeard alot of poop on the back of a towl in the bathroom. On the back of it like to hide it ????? I tryed not to make a big deal of it....but she know now we are angry,she has to clean up and wash out the undies.....I thought after a week of that she would go in the toilet but she is still not making it.
Anyways I'm at my wits end and feel like a terrible parent to her and think about disruption and feel like a bad parent and doing everything wrong.
We are drinking lots of water and gonna call the doctor tomm morning and mental health advice. I dont know who I would call???
Please only kind responses please .
Although my Adopted Daughter ( Poland ) is 4 years old,,just recently she was pottying in her pants also,,so and since she was at home with me,,every time this would happen I would remover her underware and have her walk around the house until she would have to go to the potty on her own you can also try this,,being 7 years old may make her feel a bit embarassed and she might get the picture,
Good luck!
While I don't have the answer to this problem or even a suggestion, I don't think embarrassing her by having her walk around without underwear is a good idea. This little girl is 7 yrs. old! And while you potty many times during the day, (therefore you're without underwear for not very long) you don't poop very often. I think Crick's suggestion of not making a huge issue out of it is a better one.
A lot of kids who were neglected/abused in their first years can regress later when under stress or anxious. They can also take longer to really regulate their bodies. My dd is 9 and I still have to remind her to go to the bathroom at times because she doesn't really feel her bladder when it's full. This is from 3 years of being forced to hold it.
Your last post made me think too, that she very well might have a medical concern to get looked at. If she had been constipated before and was used to not going regularly, it's possible that she isn't recognizing the urge to go until it's too late. So yes, I would definitely make an appt. with her pediatrician and rule this out.
You might try having her sit on the toliet more often just to try and help her get on a regular bowel movement schedule. Is there a certain time of the day that you have noticed she does this? Try to track those times so you can have her sit on the toliet.
If she responds to rewards or sticker charts, sit her down and tell her for every poop in the toliet, she'll get a sticker. After 5 stickers, she gets a reward and let her choose the reward from a list you come up with. (a new stuffed animal, trip to DQ etc.)
You might tell her "if you have an accident, please don't wipe it on the towel in the bathroom." And tell her exactly what she needs to do. Put out some baby wipes for her to clean herself up with, show her exactly where she should rinse out her underwear/pants, and tell her too that it's okay to tell you when she has an accident.
You are not a bad parent, and I know it's frustrating. Maybe try to look at it from the perspective though that she really can't control it or isn't doing it on purpose. Something is causing this to happen, whether it's stress, regression or medical.
I notice you stated you don't think she is doing it deliberately. If there's any chance she might be doing it for attention or control issues though, do talk to a therapist experienced in attachment or international adoption.
As for the school....shame on them for forcing her to participate. I'd be having another discussion with the teacher and principal too. Use this opportunity to educate them on adoption and how the family trees can really upset kids who do not have the same information or history.
Thank you so much for the kind words and advice.
I dont know for sure ...but someone told me at orphanage, because of lack of funds for diapers they potty train early....the children eat then sit on the toilet till they have a movement??? I do notice that she has a movement after a if I can...I try to get her to go after she eats. She has a posture that I recognize as having to go to the bathroom and I will ask her " Do you have to go? " and she always says " No" now I just say " Come on...lets go" But I'm not always with her and I do worry the kids at school will find out and tease her... I know I cant protect her all the the school assignment. Our teacher just adopted here in calif......sometimes new parents can be your worst critic cuz they think this will never happen to them!!!!! So the only response I recieved from her was, " wait till next year, they really go into it"
We are thinking of changing schools cuz of budget cuts our principle is also superintent to two schools and doesnt have time for much.
Anyways thank you so much to the list.
A list like this..helped me while waiting for my child and the first year of adoption and Once again I get great advice from people who have actually understand or experienced it.
Sincerly Cindy Eggen and family
Hello again, I hope it is o.k. to ask this question but does anyone have a therapist that has worked with familys of adopted children from Russia that they could recommend!!!!!
We live in northern California near San Francisco.
Thanks again to everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No prob...:)
For your therapist referral question...I would suggest creating a new thread on the Russian board or you might post on the Special Needs board if open to a therapist experienced in post institutionalized kids, but not necessarily from Russia.
You might also PM Angelkisses0102 as I know she has a lot of information on therapists and after the adoption information in general. She has adopted 2 kids from Russia.
When you mentioned past constipation and painful poos, I thought of something I had read. There is a serious medical condition called Encopresis, that starts when children begin to hold their poop because of the fear of it hurting. Their colons actually become enlarged, from all of it backing up. I don't know all the details, but I do know, that if she does have this, or is at the beginnings of it, if it's not treated right away, it can go on for years.