Tue | Nov 21, 2017

My 14-y-o won't leave the diapers

Published:Monday | May 10, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Q I have a 14-year-old son and I really need help with him. He is fascinated with diapers. From time to time he would wear them. My daughter is three and is almost out of pull-ups, but he wears them. This has been happening since he was in grade three. I have taken him to the psychiatrist, the psychologist and the counsellor but they haven't found anything wrong with him. He also does little or no work in school but he plays basketball and cricket very well. His teachers always write on his report that he has the potential but he is just not settling down. Sometimes I feel that I have reached my limit because I don't know what else to do. Is there someone you can recommend that he can see?

It would be interesting to know what strategies the mental-health professionals recommended that did not work. I recommend that you call the Bustamante Hospital for Children and ask for the contact number of a child psychiatrist whom I am sure will be able to help you. I also recommend that you work with the psychiatrist as best as you can. It is never easy to be consistently firm with your child, especially with unique cases such as you have shared. Expect that therapy will be long term and that you will have to be very patient.

Q My pastor, a counselling psychologist, is doing my pre-marital counselling and has required that my soon-to-be husband and I complete medical check-ups and complete a psychological profile. Now he wants my 10-year-son to be in some of the sessions too, seeing that he has some behavioural problems. Is that appropriate?

It is quite appropriate to ensure you start a family unit with as much unity as possible. You will want to ensure that your son and his potential stepfather are willing to work together to ensure that your family life is a great one. Have a talk with your son before he goes into the counselling session and let him understand that the counselling session(s) is to help all members of the family to have a loving, caring home.

Q I have a son who blames everyone for everything. At 17 years old, I had hoped that by now he would be more mature and take responsibility for his actions. How can I get him to understand that he must take responsibility?

You need to share with your son the simple fact that blaming others does not ensure that right things happen. What he needs to do is to focus on that which can be better and that will give him a sense of personal power that allows him to progress emotionally and spiritually. Encourage him to plan how to make things better. You can guide him to a psychologist who can teach him techniques on how to be responsible for his actions. Family Life Ministries will be able to help you with a psychologist.

Orlean Brown Earle, PhD, is a child psychologist and family therapist. Dr Brown Earle works with children with learning and behaviour problems throughout the island and in the Caribbean. Email questions to helpline@gleanerjm.com or send to Ask the Doc, c/o The Gleaner Company, 7 North Street, Kingston.