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danny541, Parenting Answer Team
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Have 5 children !
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My five year old daughter is the baby in a family of all boys.

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My five year old daughter is the baby in a family of all boys. She lived with her grandmother from age 1 to 5 now she lives with me, her brother and my boyfriend. About six months ago she started defecating in the bathroom trashcan, we removed the trashcan, then she started to use the tub and corner. She attempts to clean it up and hide what she has done. I have worked to earn her trust for sharing secrets and have asked her in terms she can understand if anyone has every touched her in a way that made her feel funny or hurt her or threatened her if she told. She keeps saying no, she is a perfect child at school. The closest answer I have gotten from her about why she does this and can't stop is that she thinks pets have it so easy and don't have to always be good and that she wishes she didn't have to be good all the time. I'm at my wits end with this, she is a wonderful child otherwise with a sweet, almost too kind hearted nature--almost subservient even.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer!

Could you tell me why she was living with grandma all that time? How long has she been home? Was she happy about moving away from grandma and home with you? Any other problems?

How does she get along with step dad and brother? Did grandma have pets?

If so , how did grandma deal with the animals, compared to her?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I went through a divorce and after the court fight and me resettling in another state I reclaimed her and her brother and I misspoke it was 1 to 4 she's been with me for 1 year. She was so young when her dad took her she doesn't remember leaving me. She was very happy about moving with me and is very adoring of me. She and I have a great relationship othewise and she loves my boyfriend Sam. She and her brother are also very close. Yes her grandmother had numerous outdoor cats and about 5 dogs, all outside except occassionaly coming inside. Her family situation there was bad, verbal domestic altercations but she was very close to her uncle and grandmother- her father left her there and she saw him rarely. I suspected sexual abuse because she is the only female in a family of all males and is so very loving but she insists not and I have asked her multiple times and tried secret telling back and forth with her but she never says anyone has hurt her. Also the grandmother didnt really interact with the animals. The doctor says she is fine physically so I am lost as to how to stop this behavior and still worried that she might have been abused but dont want to plant seeds in her mind that aren't already there.
Let me say first of all,you are quite correct not to push the questioning on sexual abuse. She may not see it as being hurt, it could have been introduced to her as a game. And because of that, would not view it as being abused at her age.

The fact that the grandmother had as many pets as she did does raise some flags, maybe when she made a mistake she was punished or had a talking too, about it, as in the pets were never punished when they did things as such as going in places that they shouldn't. The fact that she just started doing this six months ago, tells me that is probably the case, but here's what I would do to be sure.

She sounds like she is trying to work things out in her mind, and is waiting for a reaction from you. I would take her to a counselor if it continues, but first I would talk to her, let her know that animals don't have the ability that people do to realize that what they are doing is a unclean thing!

As people or humans, whatever way you think she will understand we have the mind to know that going in the toilet and keeping ourselves clean is very important so we will not get sick or do something that other people would consider a bad behavior. Emphasize that you all love her very much and she is such a smart child compared to animals that don't know better.

And that if you would speak to an animal and say, you know you shouldn't do that they won't understand, but she does, so she should only use the toilet to have her bowel movements.

If it still continues, then I would take her to see a counselor and see if they think she may have been abused in some way!

Please if you have other concerns about this question or need more clarification, please let me know! I'm here for you!

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I am very impressed with Danny541. S/He was very compassionate, obviously concerned and tactful given the subject matter. Danny gave me very good terms and explanations to use with my daughter and also a plan of action if the behavior continues. This was the best money I have spent this week! I feel so much better about dealing with this difficult issue. Thanks so much!
Thank you for the kind words,I care about children!