View Full Version : Need advice on worrying behaviour

10-11-2011, 09:02 PM
I said I'd consult this forum on behalf of a new minded mum of mine. Her 4 y o has just started stuffing clothes down his front and up his jumper in a slightly obsessive manner as if he can't stop. I was over for our intro visit and watched him 3 times being told to not do it, pulling the clothes out and then peeking round to see if we were watching and doing it again. It didn't seem to be done for attention. He behaved really embarrassed when 'caught' doing it, went very red and didn't seem able to talk till he pulled them out then immediate returned to normal. 3 circumstantial details:
He is the 2 nd youngest of 5 young children all really close in age.
His baby brother was born 18 months ago
His father died in the past year sometime
The family moved to a different part of country for a new start 4 months ago.
Mum seems balanced and coping well with the needs of the children who range from 10 to 18 months.
He starts with me and his baby brother next week for 2.5 hours a week .

Any ideas or advice for mum about why it could be? I told her this forum is a fount of information and sometimes prof advice.


10-11-2011, 09:33 PM
My first thought is "it's a phase"...
It sounds like they've gone through a lot but I think because of this you could maybe read too much into behaviours that are just normal phases...?
I'm sure therell be other views though!
Hope he settles well with you

10-11-2011, 09:45 PM
Is it his own clothes, does he share them with another sibling, then it could be that he feels left out or confused and just wants something of his own, has he his own special place for them, if they are his acknowledge they are his and suggest putting them away, leave one or two things that he can cling on to if he feels the need. Has dads clothes been removed from the house, what does he understand of dads death, he may feel that if he doesn't hide his clothes or someone elses if it is not his clothes that they may disappear as well like dad. Has mum spoken to HV he may need a bit of counselling to help him understand what has gone on.

10-11-2011, 09:58 PM
THanks good point. No think it's only today that mum has realised it's a problem. . yes I said it could be just a phase too . However there was a real obsessive feel to it when he was doing it secretly despite having been told not to and despite feeling really ashamed about it with me there.

10-11-2011, 09:59 PM
The clothes are dressing up costumes that belong to all of them. The mum is hardly unpacked so I'd doubt if the dads clothes are around.

10-11-2011, 10:22 PM
The clothes are dressing up costumes that belong to all of them. The mum is hardly unpacked so I'd doubt if the dads clothes are around.

11-11-2011, 08:23 AM
I wouldn't be telling the child off... I would just sit with him and remind him very gently how to use the clothes appropriately... shall we put that over your head instead of up your jumper? It must be hot up there with all those clothes, can you help me fold them please? etc.

whatever is going through his head, it's normally a mistake to draw attention to the actions as this will usually make the child embarrassed, secretive and even more confused.

I wonder if he has seen someone pregnant and wonders what it feels like?

Or he could be trying to steal them (badly) because he hardly has any other things to play with at home - are little toys disappearing in pockets as well do you think?

I think he needs lots of support and love after so many things have happened in his little life. I am sure he is in the right place to receive it :D

11-11-2011, 08:31 AM
Thanks yes totally agree and wondered too if there's a link to pregnancy. his mum will have been really large and round and maybe he's creating the memory of that for comfort cos when she was like that his dad was there things were happy and he was in his old house. Makes sense to me. No mum doesn't exactly tell him off just asks him to stop. He only does this at home not at nursery and she doesn't think he'll do it at mine.
Do you think consulting a health visitor is a good idea? She'd value people's thoughts on this.