Frequent Soiling: Causes and Treatment
Frequent soiling, fecal incontinence, or encopresis is a condition when a child, typically between 5 and 9 years of age, who has been toilet trained, passes stool in his/her underpants. At this age children know how to control their bowel movements and they are capable of staying clean. However, they do leak feces into their underwear. Also, they show no signs of willingness to clean up, change their clothes. They remain soiled and smelly for hours.
Your 6-year-old is toilet trained. He stopped wetting the bed long ago and does a great job controlling her bladder during the day. Also poops in the toilet by herself. Yet, she tends to pass stool, in small or large quantities, in her clothes, almost anytime and anywhere. Also she chooses to remain in the soiled clothes for a long duration. When you suggest that she cleans herself up and change her clothes, she refuses to do so, argues, denies. She does everything she possibly can to avoid doing it. This is a most definite sign of encopresis.
Understanding the Problem
Dr. Kushnir, analyzed the many cases he had met. So he concludes that the key factor contributing to the frequent soiling issue is a highly powerful psychological habit or force. Which has control over the child and rules their behavior.
Regardless of what triggered the habit in the first place, the problem builds up over time and loses any connection with the initial cause. For example, think about yourself trying to quit your favorite junk food. You know it is not good for your health and you know which foods are healthier and will keep you in good shape. Yet, you still give in to the temptation of tasting your favorite food every single time, without much control on your eating habit. Now, try and relate this concept to your child’s frequent soiling habit. The issue is exactly the same. Your child is not doing it intentionally but cannot help what she is doing.
But, do not forget that your kid is well aware of how she should behave. No matter how many times, you repeat them the same lectures or ask the same questions, remind them even offer rewards, threaten with punishments or use angry words in frustration. All these are not going to make any difference to her behavior. The fact is your child wants to change her habit, though you may not believe it to be the case, judging form her behavior.
The many cases he handled and the information he got to gather helped Dr. Kushnir. A a result, he assumes that the cause of frequent soiling in children is by a powerful mental force that they have no control on. He then came up with an effective treatment plan. It aimed at eliminating that force and replacing it with the right habits and behavior.
The Treatment Approach
The treatment approach recommended by Dr. Kushnir is as simple as creating and following a new house law, but one that has brought in success in several households, helping children practice good hygiene habits, and parents to help and support them develop and practice those habits.
Most importantly for this treatment approach to succeed is both. The parents’ acceptance and dedication to carry out also implement the principles of the treatment program. In fact, Dr. Kushnir goes to the extent of indicating that if a parent does not believe that they can do their part to the program, they better not start the program at all.
Factors that Prevent Parents from Adopting the Treatment Approach
As with any therapeutic program, parents of young children do tend to have mixed reactions when they are first explained the treatment approach. In this case, the two most common concerns among parents are:
- They expect their child to fight or resist the practice/approach strongly.
- They tend to be uncertain about how they could participate, and feel the program is inflexible.
But, when parents actually understand that the therapeutic program can indeed transform their child’s life, they get convinced and get on board.
Dr. Kushnir believes that the child’s resistance is in fact, a positive sign. It means that the child cannot tolerate such restrictions. Which means there is a high chance that she will change her frequent soiling behavior or habit to avoid it.
Also, there are parents who think that the treatment approach is inflexible, or rather too heavy, and there are also those who express their reservations. However, for the method to work, it is vital that both parents are on board and completely dedicated to implementing the program. As discussed earlier, the psychological force that is causing the child to frequently soil is very powerful, which means it needs an equally powerful or stronger force to counteract it. Not to forget, parents seek help only when all of the methods that they have tried so far have failed, and they now need a totally new, powerful, and efficient method.
In conclusion, once the kid starts to experience the goodness of being clean, without soiling, withholding poo, and feeling constipated, she/he will work towards making it a permanent habit, for her own good.
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