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Old 08-26-2006, 12:00 PM   #1
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Help! 5 Year old boy putting fingers in his bottom

Today I caught my 5 year old son sitting on the toilet with his fingers around his bottom whilst he was having a poo. I questioned his behaviour and he admitted inserting his fingers into his bottom whilst on the toilet.

My wife and I are both sickened by this behaviour. We have both caught him with poo all over his fingers a few times in the last few months and each time he has been told how dangerous it is for his and our health to have excreta on his hands and then touching toilet handle, taps etc. We have explanined that this behaviour is completely unacceptable. We have conviscated a favourite toy each time but this has obviously not worked.

We suspect he has been doing this quite a lot in the last few months. What on earth do we do to stop this behaviour? He is a really intelligent boy and we just can't understand why he would want to do this sort of thing.

 
Old 08-27-2006, 05:41 AM   #2
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Re: Help! 5 Year old boy putting fingers in his bottom

These are just my thoughts and those of my mum's who is a leading playleader in Gloucestershire. Children at your son's age are facinated with things such as pooh, wee and even sex. Once they start school many conversations with other children will be around those type of subjects. This is all completely normal. My step son will be 5 on Oct 1st this year and when he goes to wee, he sometimes holds his hands under his urine, I caught him sniffing it and he told me it was "warm but smelly". I have also caught him after having a pooh, with his head down the toilet talking to and discussing his pooh.
Of course it is not hygenic and not particually pleasant but it is potentially just a phase he may be going through. One other possibility you might like to consider is that he may have been constipated once or had a particually hard or painful pooh and he may be worried about it hurting when he goes to pooh so he used his hands to 'help it out'.
He could have worms and his bottom may be itchy and he may have scratched it and perhapes cuased little cuts to occure which may sting when he goes to pooh. These are all normal things that can and will happen. My mum has seen it all, don't make a big deal about it with him, he may be getting embarrassed by it. If you are really worried pop him to your doctors and get him checked out, but I am pretty sure he will stop.

 
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Old 08-27-2006, 09:13 AM   #3
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Re: Help! 5 Year old boy putting fingers in his bottom

Bonnie,

Many thanks for your prompt advice.

Since he was caught yesterday he has done it a further three times today, even though he knew his mum was just outside the open bathroom door, and once when he was just going for a wee. This makes us wonder if he's now doing it for attention also. However, the attention reason doesn't make sense to us as the original reason for doing this for so long - we have had a lot of family time together in the last two months and we have all just returned from a very nice family holiday where he received plenty of quality time.

A few months ago, we caught him a few times with pooh on his fingers (even on the backs) and he said the reason was that his finger had gone through the toilet paper which we were suspicious of at the time because it didn't seem to make sense for the amount of pooh on his fingers. Since then he has been scrubbing his fingers to hide any trace of this activity ie. he has been doing this in secret.

His stools have always been on the loose side ever since he was a baby and he has never been constipated. We did wonder if he had had an itchy bottom as a cause but we have never seen him scratching it and he has never complained of it being either sore or itchy. There is no evidence of worms. This behaviour seems to have arisen since he started wiping his own bottom after a pooh.

The fascination reasoning may have some merit; he has just discovered in the last few days that he has a foreskin that he can retract and was most impressed to discover this was a sign of growing up into a bigger boy.

He is quite mature for his age, often being mistaken for a 7 or even 8 year old (he is not babyish and does not have any learning difficulties in fact quite the opposite he is very bright and learns very quickly). We have explained the hygeine issue.

Since he started the school hols he has been particularly cheeky and disrespectful when being told off. Prior to this he was pretty conformant when warned. This seems to have added to our difficulty when we've disciplined him over this particular behaviour - he says sorry then just does it again and again.

He goes back to school again in a week (although this is not at the forefront of his mind right now). We would hate for him to get a reputation at school for being smelly etc. If any of his classmates got wind of any of this he would never live it down, as we live in a tight knit rural community and from our own childhood experiences kids just don't forget this sort of thing ever.

As this must have been going on for some months, we're worried that he won't just stop doing it ie. it has become a habit. Basically, if he is enjoying the sensation of inserting his finger into his rectum, how on earth do we get him to stop doing it?

 
Old 08-27-2006, 10:38 AM   #4
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Re: Help! 5 Year old boy putting fingers in his bottom

Hmmmm....this is a difficult one. Has he spent alot of time with his froends from school whilst on holidays? It could be that perhapes he is bored (bare with me I know this sounds a little farfetched) and has found an activity which is smelly, funny (anything to do with poo is funny) and probably feels nice, it very well could be attention seeking. I know that you guys have spent alot of time with him but it could be that he may want his school friends.

I can understand your worry and you are right kids do label others and I can fully get why you wouldn;t want him to carry this on at school. I am going to speak to my mum again to see what she suggests in light of what you have put and I will get back to you. I son't know if we can help but we will try!

Will get back to you soon.

 
Old 08-27-2006, 11:02 AM   #5
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Re: Help! 5 Year old boy putting fingers in his bottom

Ok I am back. I am just going to put what my mum said.

If he is doing it when he has a poo it could be that he likes the feeling of it on his hands and also it could be a type of self stimulation. If he also does it when he doesn't have a pooh then it is more than likely it is a type of masturbation. Not unheard of in kids but quite rare. However this is where you will have a problem, if he is doing it to self stimulate you shouldn't really stop him, but you should sit down with him and explain that he shouldn't do it anywhere but home as it is a very private thing to do, plus it will make him smell and he doesn't want his friends at school thinking he is smelly.

I know that this is probably not what you want to hear, but he is experimenting with his body and more than likely he has found something that to him feels good and stopping him would be wrong, but he does need to understand that he shouldn't be doing it outside the home and that he should always make sure he is clean and scrubbed afterwards.

He could as well have just realised where his poo comes from, hence the enjoyment of feeling it.

My mum did also mention one other possibility but I don't want to put it down as it could be distressing. Maybe for your peice of mind it would be best to get his doctor to check him out and make sure that everything is ok with that area. I am not suggesting anything at all here, but this type of behaviour can also be a sign of something else.

The other thing is that you said that he doesn't have worms but have you thoroughly checked? Worms can only been seen when they come out at night and you would need to look closely at his poo to make sure that there is nothing in it. It might be best to get you all wormed just in case. Just becuase he hasn;t been itching it doesn't mean that he might not have them.

Personally I reckon he is just enjoying the feeling and is self stimulating which my mum has know a very small amount of kids do, but I still advise you to get him checked out.

Don't know if this helps at all, and I hope I haven't offended you at all. Maybe someone else has more of an idea than me.

 
Old 08-27-2006, 12:40 PM   #6
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Re: Help! 5 Year old boy putting fingers in his bottom

Bonnie,

If the other 'distressing possibility' you do not mention is the involvement of a third party, we are very confident that this is not the case as we have talked to him about this and there has also been no opportunity for anything like that to happen in any case.

From what you say masturbation in boys aged 5 is fairly rare, and if he was just doing that, we would have posted on this forum as we consider that normal. Considering his age, allowing this form of self stimulation to continue is not a viable option for us. He is risking his and the family's health (He has a thumb sucking younger brother, age 3).

We're reluctant to go to the doc's, partly because we are sure he has not been abused and because it's not the sort of thing we would want him to have on his records for all eternity. Although I think your idea of us all being wormed is worth a shot.

Many thanks again for your and your mother's help and we are certainly not offended, but if anyone else has further comments we would be very glad to read them.

 
Old 08-28-2006, 10:39 PM   #7
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Re: Help! 5 Year old boy putting fingers in his bottom

Not sure how to get it to stop, it may on it's own. I would, however, make sure he is well versed on cleaning his hands after he goes. I would have him use an anti-bacterial soap rinse and then use a leave on gel. This way he will not be spreading anything to the rest of the family. Put a thing of Clorox wipes next to the toilet and wipe the seat area down daily also. Hope you find something that works for your family.

 
Old 08-31-2006, 05:58 AM   #8
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Re: Help! 5 Year old boy putting fingers in his bottom

My son yanks on his penis from sun up to sun down it's just a phase aand the more you focus on it the more they'll do it. He's yanked and rubbed on it so much he has a sore inside the tip and we went to the Dr even the Dr telling him to give it a rest hasn't helped so I guess he'll just have a sore pecker until he figures out it's time to stop. He use to stick his fingers up his bum and when he saw my reaction it became his favorite thing to do after a while I just didn't say a word but I'd drag him to the bathroom to scrub his hands with a nail brush and antibacterial soap after a while it wasn't so much fun anymore and he stopped. Yours will too

Last edited by Liamsmom; 08-31-2006 at 06:00 AM.

 
Old 09-01-2006, 06:27 AM   #9
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Re: Help! 5 Year old boy putting fingers in his bottom

Hello there. I am not a parent but I would like to offer my suggestions for you & your son.

I can see your worry in having your child attend school when his classmates might make fun of him and give him trouble for the rest of his school years. I'm sure your son will eventually grow out of this problem, but if you are worried it may impact his social life even when he is a teenager, you may want to be extra careful about how he does his business at school.

My first suggestion is that you talk with his teacher. You do not necessarily have to tell the teacher the exact problem, just let her know that your son has bathroom troubles. I think the best idea is try to avoid him using the restroom while he is at school. There is really nothing you can do to STOP him from going (if he gotta go, he gotta go). But just let the teacher know there is a problem. That way she will not be taken off guard if something happens and will be able to spare your child some embarrasment if there is an incident. If your child is only 5, the teacher will have probably dealt with children who have bathroom issues before. It shouldn't be anything new to her.

Some suggestions that you might want to put on the table for her is to make sure she asks your son "is it an emergency?" before he goes to the bathroom every time. I am not sure this will work because he may just say "yes" anyways, but it might do a little to discourage him from going to the restroom just so he can stimulate himself. Also, see if she has any concrete plan on when the children can go to the bathroom. If you are lucky, she may have certain mapped out times during the day when she lets all the children go to the bathroom at once (some of my elementary teachers did this). The good thing about this is that if your son sees there are other people waiting to use the toilet, he might just hurry himself up and not stimulate himself at all.

Make sure your son uses the bathroom before he goes to school and a lot when he is at home, so maybe he will not have to go during school at all. The urination cycle is a little harder to regulate because it will be difficult to only allow your son to drink at certain times, but it may be a good step to try to get him on a disbowelment cycle. This way you can get him on a schedule to where he will not have to excrete during school. You may need help from a doctor or dietician for more information on this, but I think it is a good idea once your son starts school. It will involve something like only allowing him to eat at certain times (breakfast, lunch, dinner, occasional snacks at certain times every day). It is not a hard process and as long as you are sure your son is getting full, balanced meals, it will not have an effect on his health. This way you can plan on feeding him at times that will not require him to use the restroom while he is at school. If your child uses the bathroom less/not at all during school, he will have less of a chance of embarrasing himself in front of classmates.

One last suggestion is that you may want to get your child involved in some other activites that can get him the attention he might be craving. If you think he is doing this just for attention, it might be a cry that he wants more attention from you and your wife. It would probably help to encourage him more and make sure you praise him for the good things he does more than you scold him for the bad things. Try not to scold him for this problem too much. Simply clean up his hands and let him be. If you have told him that what he is doing is wrong and he still does it anyways, there is not much more you can do to stop him.

My best advice is to get him involved in a sport or after-school activities. Spend a lot of time with him outside of the house. Not only will these things give him attention in other areas, but they may take his mind off of the other thing he is doing. Giving him a lot of fun things to do with you and his mother will hopefully make him forget about stimulating himself.

I hope this advice works and best wishes for you and your family!

 
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