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Is my stepson urinating in inappropriate places to seek attention?

Monday, 22 August 2005
Answered by: Dr. S. Anandalakshmy
Consultant in Child Development & Education,

Chennai
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Q. My six years old stepson is urinating on purpose in inappropriate places. Originally he urinated in the bath tub or next to the toilet which was unusual since he is fully potty trained. Then he started urinating on his sister while they were watching a movie. She was lying on her mattress on the floor and he was on the couch next to her. Then one day he urinated in the middle of the living room floor. He denies and refuses to even talk about this when you bring up the topic. He plugs his ears and turns away. I have caught him doing this - peeing in the bath tub and my husband found him peeing in the living room. Why is he doing this and what should we do to stop this?

A.  Your 6 year old child seems clearly disturbed. What you have told me is what is happening now. However, the causes for the child being upset would have risen from events in the past. The separation from his biological mother is most likely a critical experience for him. He probably feels that his baby sister gets all the maternal attention for which he is longing. Since you have not given me any details of the past, I am just guessing. The only thing I can say is that he is behaving in this way, specifically to draw attention to himself and to express his anger. He knows that he is doing something very wrong. I would suggest that you meet a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist and discuss the issues with him/her. On your part, both firmness in dealing with his unacceptable behaviour and affection and acceptance expressed to him would help in the process of remediation. Parenting is time-consuming and patience-consuming. Get the child's father also to help in the process of getting him well and happy. All the best.

A.  Your 6 year old child seems clearly disturbed. What you have told me is what is happening now. However, the causes for the child being upset would have risen from events in the past. The separation from his biological mother is most likely a critical experience for him. He probably feels that his baby sister gets all the maternal attention for which he is longing. Since you have not given me any details of the past, I am just guessing. The only thing I can say is that he is behaving in this way, specifically to draw attention to himself and to express his anger. He knows that he is doing something very wrong. I would suggest that you meet a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist and discuss the issues with him/her. On your part, both firmness in dealing with his unacceptable behaviour and affection and acceptance expressed to him would help in the process of remediation. Parenting is time-consuming and patience-consuming. Get the child's father also to help in the process of getting him well and happy. All the best.

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