Discipline Over Toiletting Accident

Jenn - posted on 05/06/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I am having a disagreement with my husband concerning how to handle a situation with our 12-year old daughter. Yesterday, our daughter had an accident soiling in her pants at her softball game – or more accurately, on the bus ride coming home from the game. Her explanation was that she didn’t want to use the girls’ room at the game because there were no doors on the individual toilet stalls. Consequently, she just tried to hold it in and disaster struck on the bus ride home. My husband, who picked her up at school afterwards, was absolutely livid when he found out what she had done. He not only yelled at her pretty harshly and made her scrub out her messy panties when they got home, but he made her sit on the toilet to “think about what she’d done.” I got home to find our daughter crying her eyes out sitting on the toilet where she had apparently been for over half an hour. He also grounded her for 2 weeks.

In discussing the situation with my husband, he says that he doesn’t care what the girls’ room at the game was like. He says she still should have used it if she needed to. He says that a lack of stall doors in the bathroom is no excuse for a 12 year old to be messing in her panties. I don’t necessarily disagree with that – obviously, she really should have used the girls’ room at the game – but I don’t think he fully comprehends what it’s like to be an adolescent girl. Maybe boys’ bathrooms are like that sometimes, and to boys it isn’t a big deal, (he says he used bathrooms like that all through school) but it’s pretty rare to find a girls’ room without doors on the stalls. His point that everyone needs to use the toilet and it shouldn’t be that big a big deal if the stalls don’t have doors may be fine for an adult, but a 12 year old girl in a desperate situation just doesn’t think quite that logically. He’s obviously never been an adolescent girl and he has no clue how self-conscious they can be. I’m certainly not saying that our daughter did the right thing – obviously she should have gone in the toilet and not in her pants. But I’m just saying that I can certainly appreciate the situation she was in at the time and I can understand why she didn’t want to use the toilet – especially for #2 – when there wasn’t much privacy. Quite frankly, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have done the same thing if I was facing that same dilemma at her age. I wouldn’t even be entirely comfortable with it now at my age. I can certainly say that it would have indeed been a big deal for me at her age to be having a bowel movement in open stall.

I guess the big issue now is the 2 weeks grounding that my husband imposed on her. He says that she needs to be taught a lesson that just because she doesn’t like a particular bathroom, it’s no excuse to go in her panties instead. But once again, I don’t think he comprehends the situation. It’s not like our daughter just decided to go in her pants. She no doubt tried to hold it in as best she could, but unfortunately on the bus ride home it was just too long to wait. And if you could have seen the look of humiliation on my poor daughter’s face as she sat there crying on the toilet, you’d understand that she’s already learned a very humiliating lesson and she’s never going to risk this happening again. Suffice to say, I have no doubt she’ll use whatever toilet is available next time rather than risk having another accident.

How do I convince my husband that grounding her on top of all this is just completely unnecessary and it actually borders on being cruel? He really is a wonderful father, but again, I just don’t think he understands what it’s like to be a 12 year girl and face the prospect of going to the bathroom – especially #2 – without much privacy.

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Denikka - posted on 05/06/2013

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Honestly, in that situation, I wouldn't have punished her at all. My daughter would have had to clean out her own pants and underwear and there would have been a talk, but I wouldn't have grounded her or added to her humiliation.

I'm really not sure how you should talk to your husband about this. I think he's being entirely unreasonable and she doesn't need to be punished at all. But that's only my opinion and your husband seems to have made up his mind.
Just want to wish you the best of luck.

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Sally - posted on 05/10/2013

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Having a toilet accident at that age (even if it wasn't in front of her peers) is enough punishment for a child that age of any gender. I have to agree that it sounds more like he's having a tantrum about his embarrassment than considering how his child feels. Would he punish her for throwing up or for getting hurt on the playground? If no, he shouldn't be punishing her for this either.
I'm sorry I can't tell you how to talk to him because my husband would never pull anything like that. In fact, my husband is pretty appalled at this.

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Hi there! We have all at one time or another felt the need or even rather required to be in the privacy of our own homes to deal with a washroom need. It is my opinion that your husband may have been more embarressed for himself, rather than angered by your daughter. I hope he has considered how difficult it will be for her to face all of her peers after this incident day after day and the length of persecution and humilation she is likely going to have to face due to this unfortunate accident. Imagine how she will be feeling for likely a long time to come. That alone is more punishment than any child should have to bear. She is still a child. Sometimes compassion is a better remedy to a negative situation. I surely do not believe that this was something that she intended nor ever planned to do. I think the one who needs to do some apologizing at this point is dad.

Enna - posted on 05/07/2013

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I agree, your daughter learned her lesson well enough just by having the accident on the bus. Cleaning up after herself is a given. It's not like she was being disobedient, she just made a bad choice.

If it was my husband I would throw a complete fit and tell him he was completely wrong. He obviously doesn't understand being a young girl at all.

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