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to be angry with DP for letting DD hoard rubbish?

(25 Posts)
Harrietta911 Sat 11-Feb-17 00:19:07

DD is 5 and we are pretty sure she is on the autism spectrum; this is being investigated by a paediatrician. She loves to collect things and carry them around with her in a bag, take them out and order them and count them. At Christmas she began collecting the foils from chocolate coins and I didn't see the harm as I could understand the appeal as they are shiny and have attractive designs on. She likes art so I thought she might eventually use them for a collage.

However, since Christmas this habit has escalated to the point where she wants to save plastic tags and labels, crisp packets, sweet wrappers, leaflets and so on. I have said we can't keep rubbish or we won't have room for toys and things we can actually use. DD did mainly accept this. Now DP has been on annual leave for ten days and has been letting her keep anything she wants. He says he doesn't see the problem if it keeps her happy as we can just reduce the amount she has later and she won't notice. She WILL notice, though and IMO needs to learn it is an inappropriate and unhealthy habit.

It has gotten to the point that she had a meltdown today because she wanted to pick up and take home a soggy receipt she found and I said no. She found a label in the bin and had another meltdown so DP took it out and cleaned it for her hmm Tonight in the bath she caught a piece of fluff from between her sisters toes (from socks) and wanted to keep it and DP agreed. At bedtime I saw her putting her fingernail clippings into her bag instead of the bin like I had asked. DP laughed when I told him, and doesn't see the issue.

AIBU to think this behaviour needs to stop? She is becoming upset whenever she is near a bin at the potential 'treasures' being wasted within. I know this all sounds ridiculous but it is making her miserable and I'm sick of DP telling me to let her continue.

BastardBloodAndSand Sat 11-Feb-17 00:26:39

If she has a special to keep it in could the ruse be that her treasure can only be kept in the bag ?? That means it has to be emptied when she wants to add more. Stops the issue escalating whilst still giving her the control

Codename82 Sat 11-Feb-17 00:39:08

You pretty much described my son there. He is 12 and has autism. The hoarding rubbish is horrendous to be honest. It's so bad now he walks around with his eyes closed so he doesn't see things to pick up. It's a lot harder to control a 12 year old in a meltdown in public too. It started off with just leaves and gradually got worse from there and now it's anything.

I don't really have much advice on how to stop it as we're still going through it. What I do is tell him to put it in a bag. He mostly always forgets about the stuff and I get rid of everything later on. My son is the same with nail clippings, hair cuts etc.

It is very hard to deal with so can totally sympathise.

NeedsAsockamnesty Sat 11-Feb-17 01:49:52

I have a 17yo who does this with bastard ring pulls

Trifleorbust Sat 11-Feb-17 02:27:45

I would pick my battles. No to dirty or dangerous, what the hell to everything else.

ElderDruid Sat 11-Feb-17 02:33:51

Everything else I can see why annoying, but your DP advocating it's ok to collect toe fluff. Sorry but he needs his head checking. I'm a bit of a hoarder, but not to that level, although I find artistic value in random things.

I don't know what to suggest. I think a stern word with DP telling him not to encourage this, as worst case scenario if she can't differentiate between dirty and clean, I don't even want to go there, but where does DP draw the line?

willstarttomorrow Sat 11-Feb-17 02:42:46

My dc does not have autism but her dad used to encourage her collecting which drove me mad as I was always the one to tidy her room! I think the biggest issue here is that DH is not supporting you and the differing parenting approaches will be very confusing for your DD. Most parents are guilty of this at some point but you both need to agree what you do moving forward and stick to it.

Italiangreyhound Sat 11-Feb-17 03:15:28

I had OCD as a teen, it was never diagnosed. I do believe it morphed into an eating disorder. So I am a strong believer in getting help for this kind of issue. So well done for recognizing the importance of this.

I do feel encouraging any of these habits is a bad idea. But I would get help to work out how best to manage it. And please do get your dp on board, he really does need to see this as important.

I like BastardBloodAndSand's idea of limiting it. I also agree definitely nothing dirty or off the street etc. There was a used condom on our school run and the thought of a child picking that up fills me with horror! (I eventually took some disposable gloves and disposed of it!)

This article may be interesting

www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/08/14/my-child-is-a-hoarder-help_n_7328238.html

Italiangreyhound Sat 11-Feb-17 03:21:13

Trifle I don't think this is a trivial matter.

OP another article which may be of use....

www.anxiety.org/is-your-child-a-hoarder

Please get her dad to read articles, especially to note...

"As hoarding behavior is considered a chronic disorder that is associated with significant impairment in adulthood, it is important to understand the nature of hoarding behavior in childhood. Better understanding of the disorder will facilitate early identification and treatment, thereby possibly curbing the trajectory of the disorder."

Your DP needs to get skilled up and get on board with helping your dd. He can't just have an attitude that it is OK.

Of course it is distressing when children are distressed. My son fell off his scooter today and I wanted to put some cream on his hands. He didn't want me to because it would sting (but I knew it would help).

I rubbed the cream in despite his tears and protests (not easy to do), I did it as quickly as I could. I talked to him about how it would help. I held his hand as we walked along (I always carry Germaline with me!) and we talked about how my warm hand was helping his hand to feel better.

So we swapped hands and I again talked up my healing abilities, even using the phrase HHW (human healing warmth). This all seemed to help him feel better about what was happening so by the time we got to the play date he was all better.

I know mental health issues are different to physical difficulties but I do feel sometimes we can learn from different things that work. My son does respond to positive talking about why things are good/things work well etc. So if some approaches work better with your dd in other areas, maybe try them in this.

I am also a great fan of distraction, which seems to work well with a lot of kids.

I do know with some mental health issues there are specific things to be aware of, which is why specialist help is needed, e.g. sometimes talking about things helps but for other issues not talking about them is better.

So please do ignore me if anything I say sounds unhelpful.

MoggieMaeEverso Sat 11-Feb-17 04:52:36

My son does not do the collecting thing, but sometimes will form a strong attachment to a particular object. If it's dirty, dangerous or otherwise unsuitable, we allow him to take a photo of the item. We save his photos in a special folder.

I wonder if taking photos would allow your daughter to get the release/satisfaction that collecting gives her. You could even make a social story with labels: "ok to collect" and "take a photo" with examples of different items.

But ultimately your partner needs to get on the same page, as pp have said.

Trifleorbust Sat 11-Feb-17 05:13:27

Italiangreyhound: I didn't say this was trivial. My DSis has autism and behaved very similarly. There was little to be gained from having daily battles about something she wouldn't stop wanting to do other than of her own accord, and which didn't harm anything other than the carer's notions of what was 'normal', so we let her collect the rubbish (in her case it was a collection of junk, various items she couldn't bear to be parted from).

Trifleorbust Sat 11-Feb-17 05:16:09

Italiangreyhound: Perhaps try to be less assumptive in future.

Harrietta911 Sat 11-Feb-17 10:04:41

Thanks Italian, I'll show him that link. I've already tried giving her a space that needs to be swapped around when full and limited what can be kept - sweet foils yes, yoghurt tubes no but she can't deal with ever parting with things to swap them around and will be inconsolable if she can't pick up rubbish in the street.

DoItTooJulia Sat 11-Feb-17 10:33:18

Could she take photos of it instead?

Katy07 Sat 11-Feb-17 10:58:18

Autistic hoarding isn't the same as OCD hoarding -it's collecting, but collecting things that sometimes / often aren't what people usually collect, hence sweet wrappers. I'd say no to dirty or unhygienic but otherwise I don't see the problem. What's the difference between collecting (clean) sweet wrappers or Lego or those hideous polly pocket bits that go everywhere?

LatinForTelly Sat 11-Feb-17 11:14:03

That's interesting Katy, about the different types of hoarding. Can you tell me anything more about the differences?

OP, I know almost nothing about autism but to me it sounds like something that at least needs to be kept in check (how easily said!) and your DP should be supporting you. As I say though, I don't know the difference between the type of hoarding someone with autism might do and the type connected to OCD.

Off to read the links upthread now.

GeorgeTheHamster Sat 11-Feb-17 11:18:01

He's let it escalate massively hasn't he. Much better to keep it within bounds and much easier than trying to reduce it afterwards. He's just gone for the easy life, not what's best in the long run.

Thefishtankneedswater Sat 11-Feb-17 11:20:54

DS17 saves cigarette packets, he had a melt down when I suggested throwing them away.

Managed to persuade him to count them and them chuck them away and keep the count going with any new ones he finds.

He had 180 packets stashed all over his bedroom.

He has started keeping them all again so will have to give him a gentle nudge to chuck the next lot and add them to his total so far.

Italiangreyhound Sat 11-Feb-17 11:43:45

Trifle "Italiangreyhound: Perhaps try to be less assumptive in future."

I am sorry, I thought you were trivializing the issue. You hadn't mentioned having experience of this and so I assumed you meant it wan't harmful but I can see if you have experienced it you know how difficult this can be

I hope all will be well with your son and , yes, I try to be less assumptive in future

cansu Sat 11-Feb-17 11:52:11

Yes be careful. You will need to allow some of this. I would try and encourage the more socially acceptable stuff and discourage the dirty stuff. It is hard as the obsessions help with the anxiety but can become problems in themselves as they get quickly out of control.

Trifleorbust Sat 11-Feb-17 11:52:30

Italiangreyhound: Quite alright grin

SalmonFajitas Sat 11-Feb-17 12:03:26

I can imagine that saying an absolute no to any collecting might cause a lot of anxiety and be counter productive (i.e. she'll still have the compulsion to do it but just not be allowed to so will do it in secret or let it spill out in some other way) but learning to keep her compulsions in check is also important. I also like BastardBloodAndSand idea, of having a place for keeping things so when it's full she has to either throw stuff away or stop adding more. Also there obviously have to be limits in terms of dirty and unhygienic things and she should be helped to understand what items are or aren't allowed.

Italiangreyhound Sat 11-Feb-17 12:04:24

OP, Trifle, and all, I must just say my comments are on relation to OCD because I've not really experienced the type of autistic hoarding (actually not experienced OCD hoarding but have had undiagnosed OCD and so find it hard to part with things - had not realized a link).

Dd (12) has autistic tendencies and has always collected stones and sticks and things (pockets full of stones in coat) but seems happy to let them go.

The links I gave may be nothing to do with autism, which is why I say please do ignore me. I may be wrong!

Last night as I read the post I was thinking of a documentary about a woman who would not throw anything away (rubbish) until her and her husband had checked it. Husband kind of colluded with her by looking at each item from the black sack, turning each item over, so she could see it really was rubbish and not something she had thrown away by accident.

When I met dh I had anxiety and was always worried about doors being locked etc. It brought back some of the OCD from the past and I would ask several times if we'd locked the door. Dh was very good and only replied the first time. I felt by not colluding with me and not allowing me to keep on asking (by not supplying the same answer again) he helped me to get over it.

But I realise this may be very different from autism, which is why I am questioning whether what I wrote and linked to last night would be helpful.

Just wishing you and your st luck to help your child work through this.

Xxxx flowers

Katy07 Sat 11-Feb-17 13:13:09

OCD hoarding seems to be (I only have autistic collecting habits) keeping something because if you throw it away something bad will happen. Autistic collecting is more of a fixation on collecting something - like stamp collecting, only can often be the weird and (not so) wonderful. I'll go through phases of wanting to collect something and then go off it again - for example I went through a sticker-collecting phase fairly recently and had to get the whole set (World Cup / Euros (can't remember which) footballers with the sticker album). Even though it gets expensive getting every last one I feel a compulsion to do it just for completeness sake. But once I've done that's it, move on to the next thing. I don't feel the need to keep the album (partly because I always get a couple of stickers stuck on wonky and that ruins it!) - it's like I've completed the cycle and got my fix. Similarly I might go through a phase of wanting to learn about feeding dogs raw diets and so I'll buy loads of books on it. But I'll not get as far as reading them all because I'll have lost interest again and be onto something different. But I get a real kick from each collecting spree so for me it's like a hobby or a fun activity. I can imagine that having a child collecting sweet wrappers etc. it could get a bit tedious but I'd take the view that if it's not doing them any harm then where's the problem.
(Italian - I also have OCD around security & have to keep checking the doors are locked etc. at night. Very irritating, but I only really do it at night and not at other times confused

Babyblues14 Mon 13-Feb-17 16:32:05

my dhs son collects plastic bottles. he is 13. he wants to see how many bottles of water he drinks in a whole school year currently has about 70. the deal is as long as he keeps them tidy we will allow it to continue. currently all lined up under his desk but they are a nightmare to move when hoovering. cant wait for the end of the school year.
can you try to talk to dh and explain more about not wanting your daughter touching dirty items but you will settle for the more normal items as long as she keeps them together and tidy??
Or maybe try to encourage her to change her hobby or collection: find something she enjoys e.g coloring, lego, barbies and start a new collection and maybe store them on their own shelf or cupboard so she can see and use them often

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