Amandasolecism - posted on 08/25/2011 ( 50 moms have responded )
My fiance and I have been together for 3.5 years. When we started dating his son, John, was 11 years old. He has primary custody of his son, and the child's bio mother has weekends.
John has had a few hygiene problems. He would wear the same dirty clothes (including underwear and socks) over and over. He only showered or brushed his teeth when told to. He has always been sort of messy when it comes to eating as well - food on clothes, face, hands, etc. The messiness never seemed to bother him, and he would go days without cleaning himself up if he were allowed to.
The serious problem though is that he has some issues with poop. Often he would have heavy skid marks in his underwear. He would hide his soiled underwear in his room and we wouldn't find them until the room started to smell. I'd find pieces of poop, sometimes as big as a marble, on the bathroom floor and in the bathtub.
His father has assured me that John is "just a messy kid", that he "will grow out of it", and that "John has had a difficult childhood, and it will get better."
Its now 3.5 years later, and its only slightly improved. John has certainly taken to showering on his own. He still needs to be told to brush his teeth, but he does it when told (most of the time). He has gotten better when eating, and has almost become friends with napkins.
However the poop problem still remains.
John's bio mother has taken him to the doctor on 2 separate occasions. Both times the doctor has suggested that John:
- greatly reduce sugar intake
- remove caffeine consumption from his diet
- take miralax once a day for 2 weeks
- have "scheduled" bathroom time (aka he HAS to sit on the toilette at the same time every day, even if he feels like he doesn't have to go)
- keep a food diary of his daily meals
Both times his father has only partially followed through with the plans. He has made small changes to John's diet, but continues to buy caffeinated soda. We both work full time - his father during the day and me in the evening, so preparing meals is a task. John's meals consist of frozen dinners, fast food, and ham & cheese sandwiches. Any other foods are things like frozen french fries, frozen pizza squares, frozen breakfast toaster strudel, etc. He eats almost NO vegetables, save for the occasional instant mashed potato and/or frozen peas and carrots. John has not maintained his food diary, and his father does not enforce it. His father also has not made sure that John takes the miralax when he is supposed to.
John's paternal grandmother mother and I have both strongly urged my fiance to take John to a therapist. I feel that if the kid is now 14 years old and a freshman in high school that HE should be more concerned about the problem himself. I feel like his lack of concern over his own hygiene is an indicator that there are some deeper issues that need to be resolved. His father seems to feel that seeing a therapist is unnecessary somehow, and refuses to seek outside treatment. I also feel that the child would benefit from having someone to talk to that is NOT one of his parents. John has some other social issues that could possibly be addressed as well.
I am out of ideas at this point. Every time I suggest that his father follow through with what the medical doctor says he becomes defensive and says things like "...yeah, and doctors are always right." We always end up getting into a fight.
At this point I am just sick and tired of coming home to find poop on the bathroom floor or in the shower. The kid is 14 years old, and he has NOT grown out of it. To me it seems like this is more than "just a messy kid".
I would like some advice from parents, child care workers, care givers, etc.
What would you do if this were your child?
Am I wrong to be so angry about this? I feel like I've been pretty patient to this point. :(