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Advice on being rude and moany - how not to!

(30 Posts)
Italiangreyhound Tue 16-May-17 18:51:12

Our six year old son joined the family by adoption, three years ago, and he is doing OK.

Theraplay helped a lot. His temper 'tantrums' have halved in a year.

He is NT (as far as we know) but can be pretty rude and moany. He must know how not to be since he can lovely to his lovely teacher!

Generally, he lets people know when he is not happy. It's hard to know how to deal with his 'moods' at times.

I''ve done lots of parenting courses and training and unusually know what to do but it is hard being patient all the time while someone is dismissive and rude.

Please be kind, it's been a long day. I don't mind so much for myself but.... He kind of makes it harder for himself.

I love him to bits but he sometimes shoots himself in the foot! By that I mean he wants play dates and then acts so moany I fear he will not get invited back!

Italiangreyhound Tue 16-May-17 18:51:42

Ps please and flowers thank you.

crispandcheesesandwichplease Tue 16-May-17 20:45:09

Italian you could be me posting a few years back!

My theory (backed up by lots reading and 11 years experience) is that the rudeness is partly due to control issues. My AD would rather stick pins in her eyes in the past than simply co-operate. Especially with me. Everything was a battle of wits. Though no similar issues at school so yes it can be switched on and off to some extent. Also is the fact that my child was was more sure of my sticking around for them than teachers or other adults so crap behaviour to me, charming with other adults.

Add a dash of delay in emotional development so acting quite immature when asked to do the slightest thing whine whine "it's not fair ....blah blah"

Add a love of dramatics (attachment, attention needing) so lets make a big, big deal out of everything, and sometimes a little pitty party to see if she can dodge responsibility for some 'naughty' incident.

Finally a further dash of difficulty in emotional regulation (attachment again) and the tendency to swing rapidly from one mood to a different one.

It's very, very tiring and I completely get the fact that after a day of all the above no you don't fancy sitting in the park in the cold so thay can play, or get down on the floor and play a crappy board game. Sadly all the aftermath of the early trauma can make it harder to just enjoy and have fun with them.

Remenber, if you're getting the therapeutic parenting right for 15% of the time you're doing well according to MN!

Humpur aside though, I do get what you're saying and sometimes it feels soul destroying. Mine used to hit other kids too. The only way i found to manage that aspect was to never, ever let her go for playdates but to have other kids over to ours so I could ensure the high level of supervision to keep things running ok.

Keep up with the therapeutic input wherever you can get it from. It will help. He will get better, he will mature a bit and start to get better at recognising and managing self-regulation. They just don't get how their behaviour is off putting for other people and kids. But he will, in time. with your love and support.

Italiangreyhound Tue 16-May-17 20:57:09

crisp thank you, you have brought tears to my eyes.

He is so much better than he was.

In the past it would have been full blown tears. I just felt that maybe his little play mates will never really understand.

And I could tell the other mums he is adopted etc but I just want to be 'normal' for him!

We went to the shops and he was a bit cuddly at dinner so he seems to forgiven my angry outburst (once we were safely away from the house!)

I will try being move patient and try to explain why good manners help smooth social relations! Any age appropriate stories on this?

Thank you. smile flowers

crispandcheesesandwichplease Tue 16-May-17 22:12:56

Hi again. It's hugely taxing and complicated. I'm tired and busy at the moment so will post again tomorrow. You are not alone!

Italiangreyhound Tue 16-May-17 23:59:21

Thanks crisp I did ds's bath tonight, (usually dh does it) and his story. We do funny voices and tickling and he did his usual I want you to stay in the room. It was lovely. He is a lovely, amazing and special boy. I do so love him.

iamnotstinky Wed 17-May-17 08:54:28

I wasn't sure but are you asking for recommendations for books re keeping friends? For your ds this is a great book if you don't have it:

"How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them
by Laurie Krasny Brown, Marc Brown (Illustrator), Marc Tolon Brown"

Also he might like the videos by Wondergrove Kids on youtube- they are aimed at younger kids I think, but 6 year olds seem to still like them.

This one is for you, as guidance about how to teach social skills and about how some kids need more teaching than others, and has been recommended on many mumsnet threads: "The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends" by Natalie Elman.

As you probably know though, if children are moany then there is probably an underlying reason for it, and so lots of special care and talking about feelings will probably help too. And to some extent I think it is fine to let them make their own mistakes and try not to worry too much (though you will know best how much to worry).

B1rdonawire Wed 17-May-17 11:05:02

I agree with PP, I wouldn't do playdates at other people's houses - I know he wants to, but they will be stressful for him, and under stress our kids often regress. The extremely annoying whining is, IMO, a bit like a baby grizzling to sort of let you know they're still there and they need something from you. It's very effective, in that it does get your attention because you can't ignore the sound, albeit not in a very happy way. I'd do low-key "friends round to play at home for half an hour" and stick like glue for reassurance. When you can in our case after the event try to see the attention-seeking behaviour as in fact attachment-seeking behaviour? I find it takes the irritation out of it for me.

I find just placing a hand on LO's shoulder, and calmly saying "I see you, I hear you" can cool things down a notch. Kids' books that will also help to read together are the ones by Margot Sunderland, and the ones by Sarah Naish. (We like "Willy and the Wobbly House" and "Teenie Weenie in a too big world" for opening up chats about worries lurking underneath other behaviour.)

It can be too hard to use empathy and consider other people's needs/feelings when children are overwhelmed with their own, so I don't know how much your DS would be able to process whether or not his friends' families are put off by "moaning", and I'd be very wary of triggering feelings of shame in him, so I wouldn't mention it. You could look at using social stories, to positively explore what it means to be a friend?

crispandcheesesandwichplease Wed 17-May-17 14:25:07

Hi again. We used quite a lot of books with my DD about feelings. Margot Sunderland has a few, they are very simple in terms of language with lovely illustrations. They were very useful for naming emotions and then exploring our DD's feelings.

When my DD was 6/7 she suddenly started to process her history, her feelings of abandonment/rage/blame and guilt started flooding out. She seemed to be feeling grief at her past and spent a good long time needing to talk her history over, repeatedly. The biggest question being "Why did my birth parents do X...". Of course the why can't be answered as it's rarely cut and dried. Damaged adults who had terrible childhoods themselves. This is what I would say to her.

I think this processing of her past did lead her to a pattern of negative thinking and wanting to hold pitty parties. This was hard to manage but completely understandable.

At this point we also started a habit of her getting into bed with me one morning every weekend. This time for just for being together on our own, talking or not. We did however do a lot of talking about her history during this time. Me and her, close proximity, no time pressures. I also started allocating one evening each week when we see no other people, it's just us from end of school to bedtime. This time is sacred. she knows she will always have this regular slot and we do stuff like cuddle up on the couch and watch a kids' film together. She says this is the time each week she gets to fill up with 'calm' and she misses it if external events interfere with it.

The whining though, can't bear it in any child. It goes through my head like a drill. I explained that I can't respond to that tone of voice. I also made a joke by asking her if her knickers were too tight as her voice sounded funny when she spoke like that. It seemed to draw her attention to the voice and help her regulate. After a while I'd just say "tight knickers?" when she was whining and we'd make a joke of it.

Don't know if any of that helps.

crispandcheesesandwichplease Wed 17-May-17 14:35:16

We also talked a lot about social behaviour. helping her to recognise that whilst she loves and craves being in the midst of noise and people, she also finds it overwhelming. Her behaviour could seriously deteriorate and regress during a party or exciting event which would leave us both feeling pretty crap.

We started talking through situations afterwards when we'd both calmed down. I got her to recognise how she might be feeling in her tummy and brain when over-stimulated by going through past situations blow by blow. Then we would work out how either of us could have prevented the blow out from happening and we agreed simple code words she could whisper to me if she felt she was losing it. If she whispered me the code word I'd discretely take her outside or into the loos, whether at home or out and just allow her a bit of cooling off time.

These days it still happens though far less frequently. Now I just have to point out that she's talking fast and loud, or otherwise acting hyper and she can calm herself down. I can signal this so no-one else notices so no enbarrassment for her.

PoppyStellar Wed 17-May-17 21:02:52

Just to echo what crisp says about 6/7 being the age where they suddenly start wanting to process their history. Am going through exactly this with DD at the moment and can also totally recognise the whining and moaning.

There's been loads of great advice (which I'm going to nick and try and remember during the tough times) but just wanted to echo you are not alone!

Oh, and I also totally empathise with the 'lovely at school/nightmare at home' scenario. I try to think of it as she is comfortable to let off steam at home in a way she can't at home but boy is it draining sometimes!

Italiangreyhound Wed 17-May-17 21:22:12

Thanks, I am reading through your comments.

Just to clarify though he hardly ever does play dates at other's houses in the last year we have been to about 3 genuine play dates.

We do see a bit of a family friend who has slightly older kids and his behaviour is usually reasonably good there.

Italiangreyhound Wed 17-May-17 21:23:04

Thanks notstinky

will look into...

"How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them
by Laurie Krasny Brown, Marc Brown (Illustrator), Marc Tolon Brown"

Wondergrove Kids on youtube

Italiangreyhound Wed 17-May-17 21:28:05

Will also look out for, "The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends" by Natalie Elman.

This is an excellent point, "As you probably know though, if children are moany then there is probably an underlying reason for it, and so lots of special care and talking about feelings will probably help too."

I know I need to dig deep and find out what is going on but to my shame he is so nasty towards me at times, in a real old moany way I simply forget to dig deeper and take him at his word!

Yes I agree "I think it is fine to let them make their own mistakes and try not to worry too much..." But I also just don't to see him doing stupid things that will scupper his chances with friends. I guess he really has two very good friends and behaves very differently with them. I think he will be a man of few but good friends (unless it all changes), he is just quite critical of others and I know that that does kind of get people's backs up.

Ketzele Wed 17-May-17 21:37:22

Gosh yes, the control thing. For us it is a constant, constant battle. dd (7) absolutely and explicitly rejects my authority at all times: "You don't get to be the boss of me!", "It's my life and I'll decide!", "You're not even my real mum!". It's hugely wearing, but worse - I know it's because, at some level, she doesn't trust me enough to let me parent her.

She does behave very well at school and playdates, but comes straight home and obsessively plays her favourite game - which is Teachers, with herself as the teacher (and a very bossy one at that).

So huge sympathy from me, Italian. Remember that it's at about six years old that many adopted children who were doing swimmingly before start showing issues. It doesn't mean they're regressing (necessarily); and all that good work, that therapeutic parenting, that you have put in over the last three years will help him get through the rocky patches. xx

Italiangreyhound Wed 17-May-17 21:52:49

B1rdonawire "...whining is, IMO, a bit like a baby grizzling to sort of let you know they're still there and they need something from you. It's very effective, in that it does get your attention..."

I had not through of it like that. I will try and think of it in that way.

Sadly, IMHO it is not really effective. It just ends up inflaming family situations and causing more stress. I've tried to work out how to help him. We had a year of Theraplay and this has really cut the 'temper tantrums' (for want of a better word) by about a half, it has been really good and has really helped him.

Sadly, the moaning continues. Even after a really nice day when we have done whatever he wanted to do he still finds something to complain about!

"When you can in our case after the event try to see the attention-seeking behaviour as in fact attachment-seeking behaviour? I find it takes the irritation out of it for me" Can you tell me more about this, please? How you do it? thanks

OK, will look for books by Margot Sunderland, and Sarah Naish. ("Willy and the Wobbly House" and "Teenie Weenie in a too big world" - I like the idea of opening up chats about worries lurking underneath other behaviour.

"I don't know how much your DS would be able to process whether or not his friends' families are put off by "moaning", and I'd be very wary of triggering feelings of shame in him, so I wouldn't mention it."

Too late, I am afraid I did mention it, but I won't next time. He is quite a confident little boy usually, and generally acts like he is very sure of himself but I will try and see the moaning in relation to this and see it as lack of assurance in him.

Crisp well done on coping so well when your dd started talking about her past.

We have tried with ds to talk about his birth family, well I have, but he is very reluctant to do so. And even being reminded it was the anniversary of the time he came to live with us seemed a bit distressing to him so we dropped it. I think I will just need to wait until he starts talking about it. Maybe these books will help him find the words or the thoughts to think about it.

I feel so shit now for not realising all this. We've done loads of theraputic parenting things over the years but this moanyness is so like 'regular moaning' which we get from our other child, and after a while it is incredibly draining. sad

I love the idea of your bedtime chats and sofa chats, we have done this and still do but not enough. DS is quite reluctant to do any kind of serious talking, it is always 'funny voices' (me) and tickles (me) and that kind of stuff. But I will make more effort to be in the right place and hope it will be at the right time.

Ironically, as he has got more confident and self assured he has got less affectionate and seems to need me less! It can feel like a mine field.

Crisp "After a while I'd just say "tight knickers?" when she was whining and we'd make a joke of it." I am going to copy this, except it will be tight pants.

"Don't know if any of that helps." It does, it is immensly helpful, thank you all.

Crisp love the idea of "whispered ... code word" Will use that too.

PoppyStellar thank you I was feeling quite a shit mum and I read "you are not alone", thank you.

Italiangreyhound Wed 17-May-17 22:00:40

Ketzele thank you, I feel I do not deserve all this sympathy, I am such a bloody grumpy mummy!

He had his friend to ours today. His best bud. They always play nice and no problems. Always at our house. Went to shops, they chose their tea, and dessert and also a snack. Came home, had total fun, friend said "Can I come back next week!" I said we will see.

Friend left and a short whole later ds grumbled at me "You never do anything for me." I must learn to be more patient and realise that actually it is not really about me at all!

Feel like crying, thanks for being so kind. I am an old bitch and do not deserve it!

B1rdonawire Wed 17-May-17 22:19:26

You are investing all this time, thought and emotional energy into exploring even more ways to support your DS - you are not a shit mum!

So, re-framing as attachment-seeking - I try and picture the much younger version of my child, to remind me I am dealing with the emotional age of a toddler. Sometimes I take a moment to go and look at a young photo of them. I use "naming the need" where you try and say what you think their unmet need is under the behaviour, as this helps give them the words for the feelings. In our case it's often "I can hear that you really need me to stop what I'm doing and listen to you right now. I wonder if you're feeling worried and need some help?" If I can, I stop what I'm doing and we sit down together - sometimes we chat, sometimes we're silly, sometimes we're quiet. However, 9 times out of 10 this happens at precisely the time I can't immediately drop everything - when I'm getting a roast out of the oven/up a ladder or something. We've had real dramas from that but are gradually working on DD's waiting skills using a bubble-drop timer thingy - she goes to fetch it and turns it over and watches the bubbles drop to the bottom and usually by then I've got my hands free and can safely focus on her.

Just reading your latest post about moaning "even after a really good day", wondering whether he feels he doesn't deserve these good things so they make him a bit uncomfortable? It's common for adopted children to have low self-belief... Would it be worth modelling some positive comments for him? So when you get the complaint after the good day, don't give an emotional reaction just "OK thanks for telling me that. What I enjoyed most about today was..." I noticed DD now asks me at supper what was my best bit of the day - clearly I have done this to her so often she now thinks it's what we talk about when we're eating grin

Sorry this is an epic post but one more bit- life story work for the reluctant: it doesn't have to be a big formal deal, you can drip-feed in little bits here and there. I find even if DD doesn't want to look at her book, she laps up stories about when she was a baby. In practice this means I tell her about things she liked or did when she first came here, but I also go back and talk about her actual babyhood (very carefully). The fascination comes and goes - total disinterest until last autumn, then obsessed for about three months, and now not so bothered again.

crispandcheesesandwichplease Wed 17-May-17 22:26:24

Italian stop that self-criticism right now! It's bloody, bloody tough and constant negativity from them is immensely wearing. However that stage does end. I honestly believe it's part of processing the very difficult historical facts. It did send mine on a journey of negativity, and I totally get why the pitty parties were required. However I have often been heard saying to her "well every silver lining has a cloud darling"!

When she was going through the thick of "why did my birth parents do X?" I would do a regular checking in, maybe once a week to ask if she wanted to talk about it. If she did that was fine, if she didn't that was also fine. but I felt it was important to take responsibility for bringing it up so she didn't have to.

It is a constant battle of dealing with them with huge empathy whilst still trying to encourage them to behave in ways that make them more socially acceptable. Not because I give a fuck what other people think but because I love her and I want her to have friends and be included socially.

Maybe some people would disagree with me but whilst acknowledging her difficult past I also point out how much she was wanted by, and is loved by us. I do sometimes say "well yes that was tough and it's not fair that you had to go through that", but I'll point out other kids around us who for instance get no one to one attention and little parental interest whilst she gets loads from me and DP. She does get this and I think it helps her to balance her thinking.

crispandcheesesandwichplease Wed 17-May-17 22:39:28

ketzele she DOES trust you to parent her otherwise you wouldn't be getting the crappy behaviour, she knows you won't walk out on her. She saves her charm for people she's not secure with.

Italiangreyhound Wed 17-May-17 23:05:04

B1rdonawire fabulous advice, thank you.

I think one thing is my ds blind-sides me, he is actually quite good at appearing confident etc. Quite assertive, even bossy. So I do not see his vulnerable side.

crisp thank you. I am usually very positive. But I feel such a fool to have missed so much! It's so helpful to be reminded.

I want to try and make him happy and cheerful, because I want him to be happy. But I need to develop more empathy. I know what you mean about silver linings, I want to do that too but sometimes we have to accept those raw emotions!

Italiangreyhound Wed 17-May-17 23:13:42

I know you said silver lining in the opposite way, a cloud for every silver lining, ha, that is EXACTLY my ds!

ketzele I agree with Crisp it is because she trusts you that she saves her worst behaviour for you.

My birth dd (12) is not NT, she has autistic tendencies and is quite hard work! She gives everyone else her best behaviour, I know I get the crap that is left because she trusts me not to fall to pieces. Even her dad gets to see a slightly nicer said to her than I do. But when she wants to, she can be my angel and I love her soooooo much.

Kids are so hard. But I know it is worth it. XXX Thanks all. thanks

Italiangreyhound Wed 17-May-17 23:15:29

I love my little man soooooo much too.

crispandcheesesandwichplease Wed 17-May-17 23:36:24

Italian you are still being harsh on yourself regarding empathy. As another PP said, You're on here asking for help and advice because you feel you need help in doing it right for your boy. If you weren't being empathetic you'd be elsewhere distracting yourself from your parenting responsibilities.

I've seen that video before , it's good. However I do feel that empathy can help feed negativity sometimes and a bit of a comparison with other people's hardships can provide some balance. It's a time and place thing and getting the timing right is crucial.

That's why we're all on here, being honest about what we feel are our failings and trying to do it better. And supporting oneanother.

Get in line people for the Pride of Britain nominations! We deserve it!

Italiangreyhound Wed 17-May-17 23:49:50

crisp thank you, OK will stop beating myself up.

I think sometimes we think things are a certain way and then when we see them differently we can't quite believer we saw them the original way.

For an adopted child DS is hugely capable, confident etc, and my birth dd is very brigh tbut very challenged at times and we are currently managing issues with her so I sometimes see ds's behaviour and maybe judge him too harshly because he seems so together for his age. So I think, in a totally non-self-judgmental way, I do just need to remind myself he has all these experiences etc. He clearly has them in his memory somewhere and they do pop out yet he functions so well, and seems to strong, that I forget his reality.

That is me just saying it how it is, no judgment, he is a strong boy and I forget what may be going on inside. I have found this so very helpful and humbling. Thank you all.

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