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10-Year-Old Son Hoarding and Stealing

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We have had issues for a long time now with our now 10-year-old son hoarding food, garbage, etc. in his room. Also this is the second time he was caught stealing something. First time was from a friend, this time school. Another issue we have noticed that just started is him having bowel problems in his underwear and then hiding it. For each thing that is going on he is naturally lying about it “not knowing where it came from or I don’t know is the answer we get.” Is this a normal childhood issue or is this something more? The only answer I am able to get is — something in my head tells me to do and not to do it…please help

10-Year-Old Son Hoarding and Stealing

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A: Thanks for writing in with your question. If it were any one of the issues you mentioned I would not be quite as concerned and might suggest that you just give it some time and work with him on your own. However, taking them all into consideration, I am going to suggest that it is time to get him some professional help.

I would first start by making an appointment with your pediatrician, especially concerning the bowel issues. However, I wouldn’t stop there. Ask for a referral to a child therapist, but be careful not to embarrass your son in the process. It may be best to speak with the doctor and the therapist first to explain your concerns without your son present. He most likely has some shame surrounding the issues you mentioned and it may take some time before he trusts anyone enough to open up to them. Be patient but persistent in getting him some help now before the issues get any worse.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts

10-Year-Old Son Hoarding and Stealing

Holly Counts, Psy.D.

Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.

APA Reference
Counts, H. (2018). 10-Year-Old Son Hoarding and Stealing. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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