Guilty mum: My almost 6 year old son has had... - ERIC

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Guilty mum


My almost 6 year old son has had constipation issues since he was 3. In the beginning we didn’t know that’s what it was and became really frustrated when he stated soiling himself daily. Then we found out what it was and I felt awful for getting angry at him but now 2.5 years later and I still find myself getting mad. Some days i just handle it but other days I just lose it. I think it’s his attitude towards it. He just doesn’t seemed fazed by it at all and doesn’t want to do anything to help himself.

I just feel so so horrible for getting angry and hate myself for it but I just can’t help it. I don’t how I can fix any of this.

15 Replies

I'm so sorry to hear that, though try not to blame yourself as it's such a tough thing to manage as a parent. I'm sure we all show our anger and frustration sometimes and then feel bad about it. It can be quite isolating too sometimes, as it's not something other people can easily understand without experiencing it themselves.

Do you think your son really isn't fazed or do you think he's given up hope and that's his coping mechanism? My son is four but his attitude was exactly the same and he had no interest in doing anything to help himself, even when I tried to explain why it was important. However last month we went to see a consultant at the hospital, who x-rayed him, and he confirmed that (at last) my son was clear and no longer impacted. It's still a long road of course as we have to keep it that way, but something about overhearing that really resonated with my son. I told him how wonderful it was and how well he'd done with all the Movicol and he suddenly went from seeming not to care to being really excited about the prospect of pooing on the potty. At pre-school the next day he told all the staff that his tummy was empty now. Success hasn't come overnight and he still hasn't managed to poo on the potty so his previous "don't care" attitude has returned to some extent. It can be frustrating, but I now realise that it's just because he's feeling a bit defeated about it all and that really he does care. Positive reinforcement seems to be the key for him, even though it can feel like there isn't much to be positive about sometimes.

I don't know whether that helps but I saw your post and wanted to share as it sounds so similar to my son's attitude and experience.

in reply to Jellylorum

I really don’t know. It’s been going on for so long and I wonder if he’s just over it all! But trying to talk to him is just not working at all. His answer to everything is I don’t know. I don’t know if he can feel it or not as I know he couldn’t in the past but I have a feeling he can now. I ask what might make him enjoy going to the toilet and he just says I don’t know. I just feel I’m the only one who is trying. He never seems to get upset by it or ask me why. He fights every time I tell him to go to the toilet and when he does go he just sits there swinging the door daydreaming and isn’t bothered about trying to poo then he gets off and 10-15 mins later pops in his jocks. He doesn’t want to wipe his bum. He doesn’t try and then tells me it’s dry so he has to use wipes. He doesn’t tell me when he’s had an accident I say the other kids will smell and see it and pick on if you don’t get it cleaned up. And he just doesn’t say anything. I just don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m the only one who’s trying.

in reply to Mandy7

My honest response is it may be worth trying to back off for a while and find some fun stuff to do together. He’s only 5, my son is almost 10 and still struggles with talking about soiling and the pain etc. Maybe having a break from any poo talk for a while might help him. Then you can try to tackle it again gently in a few weeks. I bribed my son to get him sitting on the loo and then gave him my phone to play on to keep him there, feet on a footstool and eventually it became a habit. Nearly 6 is so young. My own experience is that they can’t help it and it’s extraordinarily frustrating as a parent when they keep soiling/pooing in their pants. So pls know I understand how difficult it is from personal experience. My own son was constipated at that age and that affected his sensation. Is he on any meds? Is he constipated?

in reply to Robinia

Yes he’s on Osmolax and Dulcolax occasionally. I have tried in the past to have breaks from it but I found we were still having the fights about going to the toilet which can go on for 30 mins. I was giving him the phone for a while too but found he wasn’t relaxing enough to poo as his mind was just on the phone and our continence specialist said giving him the phone wasn’t a good idea.

He’s got 3 more days of kinder for the year and then I thought I’d try a disimpaction dose for a week and start again. I thought it’s best to wait until Kinder’s finished so he is less likely to have accidents there.

in reply to Mandy7

I feel the same 100% I feel like I’m the only one trying and constantly asking do you need to use the bathroom? Do you feel it coming? Is the poo sneaking out?

I have no idea what’s going on And I’m beyond frustrated. I was wondering how it was going with your son? Have you had any successes? I’m desperate for any new ideas

Hi Mandy, when I was 5 I also often soiled myself. I didn't like talking about it, couldn't explain why I sometimes avoided using the toilet, and didn't tell anyone when I'd had an accident in my pants. I explain why I did this in this blog post which you may find interesting:


Thank you for sharing your story...


I have experienced this with my son (also 6).

He doesn’t seem bothered when he has an accident. We finally saw a Paediatrician last week after asking to see one for nearly 2 years. Towards the end of the appointment, the Paediatrician apologised that no one took me seriously simply saying “he will grow out of it”. We have medication to try and a review appointment in next 3 months. He also apologised that I’ve had to battle to get this far.

I’ve been extremely frustrated, angry etc and I’ve written it all down which helped.

It’s an extremely difficult issue for any parent to deal with so be kind to yourself. Do you have any family support at all? Or close friends you could talk to? Try the GP route again and keep pushing them.

Take care of yourself.

I think trying another disimpaction week when he’s at home is a really good idea. I agree re having supportive health professional, it definitely helps. Also sometimes Senna helps alongside the movicol. Finding the right dose is really important and can be very tricky. There is loads of helpful useful advice on this site which has helped me. Another thing to consider is trying a chiropractor if that is something that interests you. Good luck x

in reply to Robinia

What’s the idea behind the chiropractor?

They can help with it, in my case our chiropractor puts the issues down to the difficult birth he had. If you search on here for the word chiropractor you can read the posts x

Hi ya. Try not to feel guilty. Harder said than done.

One of the hardest things I had to come to terms with, is that they don't realise they are doing it. My son used to sit in it. I couldn't understand how he couldn't smell it. But they get used to the smell so quickly. The other thing was my son didn't get the sensation. So you could take him of the toilet and he would have an accident within 5-10 mins. It got to the point it was wearing me down I was getting mad because I didn't understand and I found it frustrating. You try praising for going. I even tried some form of punishment when he was messing because nothing seemed to work and I thought he was being lazy. We got to the stage my son wouldn't go near the toilet and I was carrying him taking alot of abuse. So hear a few of my tips.

Take a step back and give him a reward for just sitting on the toilet. Smarties is what worked in my house and build it up slowly.

When things are getting heated because they pick up on your tension get them to count to 10 out loud. Its distracts both of you and it resorted us in us laughing which helped.

The other thing I did which I found difficult was when you had to wrestle him to the toilet. I forced a smile onto my face. As he felt I was angry and annoyed at him for not going

The only way we could get him to sit was allow him to have the tablet. It was the only real time he could have it.

I found some days just sitting on the bathroom floor whilst he was on the toilet helped.

My son doesn't talk about it because he says he doesn't want to and the pain just doesn't go away.

The other thing that helped us but it was horrendous to think about it at that time was going out. We put our son back in pull ups and it allowed us to get out and do things they enjoyed. I saw a difference in him. My son is also 6.

I'm so sorry about the long message. But you reminded me of myself back in January this year. I wish you all the best.

Oh I really feel for you, I have definitely felt this way and still feel really guilty for things going on for so long and wonder if they were my fault.

We saw a reiki healer for a little while. It didn’t help with the constipation but it did really help with our feelings and stress levels and made our house a nicer place to be.

My son has also always seemed unbothered but I think it is his way of coping

I 100% feel the same - I left the house in tears this morning after another struggle with my 6 year old. I could tell he needed to go - he denied it and then pooed in his pants. I have also been dealing with this since he was 3 and no one can understand how it gets to you - I just want to run away some days. I impacts everything and dominates our whole family dynamic (we also have a 3 year old with no toilet issues thank god!). Most days out are ruined with soiling and his refusal to go to the toilet when he clearly needs it. I am sat here at work DESPERATE to find a solution to this... we are under a consultant and doing enemas for disimpaction, moviol and senokot.

in reply to Willsmummy

Please know your not alone! I’m reading what you’ve written like I’m reading my own thoughts! I have been in tears so many times thinking how are we ever going to get through this. What have I done wrong. It shouldn’t be so hard. Everyday is a fight and argument to get him to go to the toilet, nothing comes out and within 10 mins it’s in his pants. I also have a 3 year old with no problems which I’m so incredibly grateful for. Nobody understands that’s it’s like a disorder. He’s not naughty or lazy it’s just something he has to deal with. And I admit until joining this group a week ago I felt the same. I thought he was lazy and didn’t care. Now I feel even worse for doubting him and not trying harder to understand. My poor boy is so worried about wearing nappies to school next year and it breaks my heart.

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