Social anixety amplified by son's behaviour at school gates/playdates(1 Post)
My first post on here. Please be gentle.
I have 2 children, a very easy compliant and happy younger daughter and a more challenging but equally lovely and happy (most of the time) older son of 8 years.
I have always found the behaviour of my son challenging. He has always been the loudest, most vocal and most active of children in a group. He literally does not stop moving. He can come across as being rude, interrupting adults and not always knowing how to share and can be a bad loser and struggles with empathy. But he is rarely violent or deliberately naughty. He is a lovely adorable little boy.
After much thought, we have recently moved areas and have changed schools for both children (and this had nothing to do with my son’s behaviour). In our previous town, my son did not do many play dates as it just did not seem to happen so much (most mums worked). There were birthday parties which were sometimes stressful due to my son’s hyperactive (but not usually naughty) behaviour, but as I knew the mums and they knew my son from a young age, he was not judged and neither was I.
The move has gone well, with both children seeming to make lots of friends. The mums were very welcoming, inviting for my son for play dates / parties etc...
I of course accepted the play date requests although I was very concerned as I knew that my son needed to be on his best behaviour. The first play date, my son went on his own. I spoke to him before hand about what was expected of him, that he needed to be polite, stay at the table until given permission to get down... etc, etc... On pick up I sensed the play date had not gone well and this was confirmed later when the mum confided that my son was very high energy and would not sit still. This mum now seems reluctant to repeat any play dates, and I am heartbroken for my son.
Other play dates have since happened (with me also being there), and they have all involved an element of disaster due to my son’s hyperactivity and impulsiveness. While all this is going on (and of course I try to keep a watchful eye), I am trying to make conversation with the mums, which I find nigh-impossible. I am very shy anyway, and am not a natural conversationalist, but I just find it so hard to keep my train of thought when I am distracted all the time by my son’s activities that I must come across as a nervous gibbering wreck.
My son is doing well academically at school, he is very bright, but his new teacher has noticed his inability to stay still and his difficulty in listening to instructions (the teacher says he refuses to look her in the eye). He sometimes has to sit on a separate table so that he does not distract others and also so that he can get on with his own work. From the age of 2 we have questioned whether he may have adhd / possible apsergers but as he is thriving academically and seems mostly happy, I have not pursued it.
A few months on... the kids love their new school and seem to have lots of friends. However, the mum’s seem less friendly now. Parties have happened that my son has not been invited to (I know this happens anyway to people so I could just be paranoid), and I just get a feeling of disapproval/ judgement and avoidance. And I just feel embarrassed and socially awkward and always imagine conversations about my son which may (or may not) be happening.
I have three main questions:
1)My anxiety / how to relax around mums – this has been building and building, mainly in social situations involving my son. I sometimes think my son reacts to my anxiety (he always seems to play up in the presence of mums, which is exactly when I feel my most anxious – not sure what is the chicken and what is the egg!)
-Has anyone had a positive experience of anxiety medication for similar situations? Any other suggestions as I am desperate now to get rid of this constant feeling of panic.
-How do I deal with the mums? When he plays up, I have tried saying that I am aware that my son is a ‘bit crazy’, ‘high energy’, but then I feel bad that I am labelling him. I sometime wish I had a diagnosis and I could explain that he was ADHD/aspergers, but I HATE myself for thinking this. How can I just relax?
2)Should I pursue a diagnosis for my son (and NOT for the reason above in my last sentence, I am just scared I am missing something that could help him)?
-I treat both children the same. One is an angel, the other... well, he is just so ‘different’
-I would say his main issue is lack of impulse control. I still sometimes have to hold his hands next to roads in case he runs out at seeing something interesting. He has no sense of danger (this massively contributes to my anxiety as I am constantly on edge)
-He just doesn’t seem to get social cues... he will grab his friends face to get their attention if they are not listening. He does not understand personal space
-He deliberately tries to interrupt play and wind other children up
-He moves constantly
-Also holds his breath, chews clothes occasionally.
-He has very liquidy stinky poos (wheras my daughters are neat non-smelly parcels!)
-Punishment for bad behaviour / consequences just does not seem to work for him (works for my daughter) as he gets so distraught. I don’t think he is a brat, I just think he genuinely doesn’t ‘get’ things. He is not a nasty boy. When I get angry with him he just looks so confused and lost
-I have tried so many books, different techniques, and only distraction and taking him away from situations seems to work.
-One of my friends is adamant there is something there (she has an aspie kid herself), and says that I should get him assessed. However family think he is just highly strung and that I am being silly.
-Is there any benefit of getting a diagnosis when he is doing well academically (although I do feel it is affecting him personally and socially)?
-Would the school tell me to get him assessed if they suspected something (i.e. should I leave it to the school?)
3)Should I should just ‘opt out’. Accept my son for who he is and accept that we are never going to have a relaxed interaction at the school gates, and just not pursue conversations/ play dates or social activities with mums at his school. This is seeming more and more attractive, but I feel like I am giving in and could be disadvantaging my children?
Thanks so much for reading and for any advice
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