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To wonder if this hurdle with my son and his dad not switching on are a symptom of the same thing?

(90 Posts)
TwinkleTits Wed 08-May-13 09:34:45

This is an example of a conversation I had with my 6.4 year old son last night.
Me-"DS, your bath is ready. go up stairs, get undressed. Pants and socks in the wash. Uniform over the stair gate. Ok, I will go through it again. Uniform off, pants and socks in the wash, uniform on stair gate. Now, what is it I need you to do?
DS- "erm, take my uniform off.. Erm... Errr
Me - Ok, uniform off. Pants, socks in wash. Uniform on stair gate.
DS - repeats it back and goes upstairs.

I leave it 5-6 mins, and shout up are you in the bath? He says no. I go up and hes sat on his bed, fully clothed playing. I asked why he wasnt undressed. He said he didnt know what I meant. I asked what he didnt understand about taking his uniform off and putting his pants and socks im the wash? He said he thought I meant tomorrow.

He was looking at me worried, (I think he was worried I was going to get cross) wide- eyed and genuinely confused.

We have these conversations day in day out.

Even simple 3 word tasks get the same results. I switch off the tv, make sure I speak slowly and clearly, and he is looking at me and repeats it back.

This is a child that gets on well at school, has absolutely no SN, and no sing of them. I know for a fact this is not the cause.

Now his dad hmm. I will hear my youngest son ask him a question up to 10 times in a row and his dad simply doesnt switch on and hear it. He locks onto something, the TV, a book or his phone he literally cannot unswitch and hear his son. Ive had to tell DS1 to stand in front of the tv to get his attention. His dad is not hard of hearing and he appologises to him for not noticing. He can be a pillock but hes not ignorant and would never deliberately ignore his son.

Its causing arguments now though because I will be upstairs getting showered and dressed and I can hear 2yo ds2 saying mummy over and over again, but his dad not answering him. No one answering him. When I confront his dad about it, he says he only just started asking for me 1 second ago. Except I was stood at the top of the stairs listening for ages waiting for him to be answered, his dad just thinks Im using it as an excuse to nag him and genuinely believes he 'only just started asking for you.' Asking for mummy 12 times in a row is not just a second.

He literally cannot switch on his brain to register his son talking. He'll be sat on his lap and say "Daddy look." Over and over again and he doesnt notice,

It drives me nuts.

Wise worse, PLEASE.

PlasticLentilWeaver Wed 08-May-13 09:37:05

No idea, but will watch with interest as I have the same problem with my DS1 and DH!

TwinkleTits Wed 08-May-13 09:37:42

Really!! Thats a relief to hear!!

aldiwhore Wed 08-May-13 09:42:40

This sounds like an extreme problem of a fairly common issue!!

I have had to learn to block out everything as I find it hard to concentrate and am easily distracted, so often, if I'm working on the kap top it takes my DH to actually TAP me before I even realise that one of my children has been standing in front of me saying MumMUmMUMUMUM for 5 minutes.

I'm also prone to day dream, my mum used to say she'd often look at me and know I was 'elsewhere'.

For me, the skills I learned to cope with life in general can sometimes become a problem themselves!

Perhaps been spoken at is not how your men listen? Maybe walk through the afterschool routine with your son? I did this for a week with my boys, everyday the same 10 minute routine (shoes on the shoe shelf, uniform over the chair, change clothes, drink, relax) a REALLY simple one. They now do it. This is after a lot of frustration from trying to TELL them.

As far as your DH goes you really need him to be more aware, in his defense, perhaps the children need to know when to wait so they don't become 'white noise'?

Exhaustipated Wed 08-May-13 09:46:00

I do know what you mean... it is a problem with listening in both cases, and multitasking in your DH's case. I really don't want to get into gender stereotyping but let's just say that some men/boys (as well as some women/girls) have a problem with these two skills!

Um, what a vague and unhelpful response blush

Have you properly discussed with DH the ignoring thing? I think that sounds a bit worse than average tbh and should be addressed.

OnTheNingNangNong Wed 08-May-13 09:46:42

I know that my eldest (6, no learning difficulties) finds it difficult to follow long sets of instructions, I have to break it down into smaller, manageable chunks, so for bedtime. 'DS1, please take your uniform off now and hang it on your chair' when that's done. 'DS1, please put your underwear in the laundry basket'.

I know in my eldests case, his mind is whizzing away on whatever latest thing takes his fancy and what I'm saying gets confused in his head and gets mixed up.

FruOla Wed 08-May-13 09:52:33

No particularly wise words - nor experience. But do you think that your DH ignoring what's going on around him is sending signals to your DS that it's OK to do this?

You say DS is doing well at school; presumably he's concentrating there because he knows his teachers are concentrating on him?

What Exhaustipated said, it looks as though you're going to have to address this with DH before you can make progress with DS.

wonderingagain Wed 08-May-13 09:57:43

I have this too but I don't think there's an excuse for it really. I think it is disrespectful to ignore other people even if you can't help it. It means you are putting yourself first at all times and not considering that other people are important.

Men do it more than women, men have bigger egos. I don't think it's a built-in genuine disability, it's that they don't need to, they get more out of life when they focus on their own needs. It's selfish. I do think there are times when DCs should learn to wait and not interrupt adults but when they are little their needs should come first.

This is very interesting though, as there is an argument that aspergers is a valid excuse to be given by women about neglectful men. But is that a good enough excuse? Isn't that just the same as saying 'they never learned to cook so shouldn't need to learn now'?

TwinkleTits Wed 08-May-13 09:59:10

The kids Dad definitely isnt ignoring the children, he genuinely doesnt hear them.

I dont think its sending out signals, no. Because ds1 always answers when asked/called, and you can see him wide eyed trying to take in the information, and I can also see it flying out the other ear, its not for want of trying.

Walking DS through the instructions is a good idea.

But Aldi Im not really sure what you mean by the children waiting? Do you mean, wait for him to stop watching the TV?

TBh they would be forever waiting. Their dad can be making a cup of tea or staring outside, if he isnt engaged he isnt engaged, they would forever be waiting. Plus when the toddler is on his lap saying "Daddy look!" im not sure exactly what it is he would be waiting for. Im not sure if I explained that very clearly, I hope you understand my ramblings! smile

WilsonFrickett Wed 08-May-13 10:05:38

Erm, no wondering asperger's is not 'a valid excuse' it is a defined condition which affects how some people interact with the world.

OP I know you say your son has no SNs so don't freak out when I say this but: the techniques used to manage SNs like autism will be very helpful to you here. If you have a search around the SN boards you'll find out more, but it sounds to me like you're being too verbal with your DS (some people are not good verbal learners) and over complicating things (some people have problems in planning).

So for the situation you describe here are some ideas
a) only issue one instruction at a time
b) make a check list - a visual timetable - for DS to follow, this can be pics or words
c) label - the cupboard with the washing, the spot where you want the uniform to go

You may not have to do all of these of course! Just some suggestions. HTH.

TwinkleTits Wed 08-May-13 10:08:10

I think you hit the nail on the head Wilson, and I really like your suggestions. As soon as I read them I thought yes, DS could do it that way.

Thank you.

wonderingagain Wed 08-May-13 10:14:42

AFASIC also have some good resource for good communication which could work for anyone.

I know Aspergers is a defined syndrome, with a fairly wide spectrum of symptoms, but many have it and are not diagnosed for years. It does often become an excuse for poor behaviour but there is no way of knowing without a diagnosis.

Maybe you could get him to do an online test - this would make him more aware of the behaviour itself and possibly help him to change it.

wonderingagain Wed 08-May-13 10:16:24

I'm talking about the DH there, not DS. He's still little and could do with ideas such as Wilson suggests. I do think it's likely that Dad models the behaviour and he copies. It's what children do. It must be quite confusing for him.

TwinkleTits Wed 08-May-13 10:21:26

I was just wondering if ds could manage an online test and I saw your next post. grin

I dont think ds has aspergers, I just read the symptoms of them and honestly he just doesnt fit the bill at all.

I have noticed that he doesnt seem to notice when another child is not liking him leaping all over them, cuddling them, getting giggly right in their face and generally not respecting personal space, but Ive put this down to over excitement.

But apart from the apparent difficulty reading friends body language, that really is the only box he ticks.

wonderingagain Wed 08-May-13 10:23:35

It is a wide spectrum. I would say as long as it doesn't get him into trouble you could ignore it. If he's not able to modify his behaviour as he gets older you may want to get an assessment.

TwinkleTits Wed 08-May-13 10:29:34

Oh right. What age would you think?

BeaWheesht Wed 08-May-13 10:29:57

I don't know but my 6 year old son is the same As is my Dh and it causes massive issues! Dd (2) will ask 'what's this?' 10 times nd Dh ignores her it pisses me off massively.

PeneloPeePitstop Wed 08-May-13 10:33:49

Would it be worth investigating whether or not he has some kind of auditory processing disorder?

Visual timetables may help...

wonderingagain Wed 08-May-13 10:35:35

Not sure what age, a professional could do an assessment now, perhaps that would help? They should be able to tell you whether it is a learned behaviour or a genuine disability. AS kids do exactly the things you describe, but even with a diagnosis it's about managing the symptoms and finding strategies which work and not about finding a 'cure'.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 08-May-13 10:38:55

I don't think this is unusual. Both my DDs are this way...they tend to be worse when it's things they'e not particularly interested in doing...such as laundry type things and washing!

If however I say "Go upstairs, go into the cupboard and get my face painting bag and glitter...then fill up a pot of water and bring it all down so we can paint faces." they'll manage that just fine!

wonderingagain Wed 08-May-13 10:41:44

Good point Neo. OP is it selective hearing? You can test them by saying quietly 'there's a bar of chocolate for you at the top of the stairs' and see his response. Or to DP 'I'm going to cancel the broadband tomorrow' and see what happens grin

CheesyPoofs Wed 08-May-13 10:42:08

DH is like this. He 'switches off'.

When I'm telling him something important I have to ask him to turn the TV or music off, make sure he's looking at me and get him to repeat back to me what I've just said.

He absolutely can't multi-task, even if it's just watching TV and talking to someone at the same time.

He's also prone to daydreaming, standing there with glazed eyes, obviously not 'there'.

He says it's actually a really nice place in his head cos he doesn't notice all the minor irritations that I so, and never gets stressed about anything.

LadyBigtoes Wed 08-May-13 10:44:08

Exactly the same thing here. We usually make a joke about it - DS (aged 7) knows he is "dreamy" and I will say things like DS, time to get dressed.. ... ...Earth calling space cadet DS, GETTING DRESSED TIME" etc etc then I will have to frequently remind him to get on with it all the way through. DS, why have you put on two pairs of pants one on top of the other (this morning)!? DS your top is on backwards, twizzle that top!! DS are you dressed, or are you boinging about on the sofa wearing nothing but one sock with 5 mins to go until school time?

And yes his dad is the same - sometimes have to say things multiple times to both of them before they wake up. Ipads and iphones do not help either. DP cannot focus on more than one thing at a time so if he's looking at his phone, he doesn't hear anything. I sometimes shout VERY loud at home - not in anger, just to wake people up and get them to hear me.

I generally just get on with it but sometimes (e.g. when I have PMT) I get really irate at never, ever being listened to by them.

DS is dyslexic, but DP isn't and they are the same in this way.

LadyBigtoes Wed 08-May-13 10:45:40

I do the selective hearing test as well.

DS get dressed.
DS get dressed.
DS get dressed.
DS get dressed.
DS time to get dressed.
DS shall I get mint choc chip ice cream at the supermarket today?

DS: Eh, wha'...?

wonderingagain Wed 08-May-13 10:46:46

I've given up with mine. I'm on a no-nag strike. They are teens now and I'm exhausted.

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