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5 year old is hoarding!!!!

5 answers
I noticed some signs of hoarding in my son yesterday. We decided to clean out his room at get rid of all the old toys and junk. As we started going through all his stuff we found all his secret hidding places. He had went under his bed and pulled the netting from under his box spring and hid stuff down there inside of it. I mean it was not like toys or anything, it was broken shoe laces, peices of chain from old hanging lights in the house, old used batteries, candy wrappers, pages from magazines, I mean just weird stuff and we also noticed alot of stacking in his room. He had stacked books and papers and toys probably 2 feet high on top of his dresser and stuff was pilled in every corner and he wanted to get rid of nothing. Everything even the batteries had a story and were sentimental to him. This is really worrying me. My boyfriend and I are very neat people and hate clutter, him and I go by the if you haven't used it in six months get rid of it rule. I don't know where my son would have picked up on this. We are very tidy and orderly people who hate messiness anywhere. I don't know how to address this issue with my son. It breaks my heart to hear his stories about these things and then throw them away and see him upset. WHAT DO I DO!!!!????

answers (5)

I think that it is fairly typical of kids that age to want to hold on to toys,etc.  Has he been worried about anything lately that would make him want to hold on to things for comfort?  I would calmly explain to him that he can't keep all his things- that your house is too small.  I would buy a toy chest or basket for his room and ask him to put any of his "special" things into it to keep things tidy.  I'm sure that this is just a phase and he will grow out of it.  Best wishes:) 
I agree with luckyrobin, as I have a 7 yr old that has 4 small gift bags in her room right now filled with important stuff. I can see she is starting to let go of some of it, as she's becoming more comfy with and focused on school and friends and a bigger world. I've always let her have specific places she can keep things I won't toss, but I drew the line at what I considered "trash" - price tags off clothing, dead batteries (they were "cute"), an old broken shoelace. It was persistance and hard work on my part to help her focus on what was really important. Good luck :)
That makes sense about something happening to make him hold onto things. On February 12th we lost our baby when I was almost 24 weeks pregnant due to an incompitent cervix. Cayden (my son) was thrilled about becoming a big brother and having his little brother to show how to do boy things. Maybe he looks at it as if he could loose his brother who was a living thing then he toys and other "treasurers" can go away too. This started a couple weeks after that happened. Thank you guys for your advise. I should try to take to him about it today. Thank you again.
yah, i'm sure the miscarriage proabably set this off. f.y.o's are at a percarious time anyway, on the cusp of boy hood, but not yet. they are seeing this that they can sorta understand, but not quite put together. I'd not encourage it, but definetly talk about it tohim open and honestly. ask him if he is scared, nervous, worried about anything. watch his hands, or his posture, is he clenching his hands together, thumbs in, or is his posture odd, like tense, does he look like a turtle?  kids are excellent at picking up our stress, and if it goes on for long enough, they will pick it up and carry it around with them too. talk to him about the baby. be honest and as clear as he can understand. children get a lot more than many grown ups give them credit for. good luck to you. 
i meant...they are seeing things* 

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