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Oh I could cry....please help me be strong!!

(49 Posts)
Mollythulu Thu 14-Jul-11 21:39:51

DS1 (8) has always had behavioural problems. Earlier on in the year it got so bad we though they might suspend him, which thankfully they didn't. DD(12)'s an angel, and so far, DS2(2.5)'s a typical toddler & DS3(0.7)'s an angel too. Tuesday - letter home to say he'd been in 'time out' 3 times this term, so could we discuss his behaviour. So we got the ex round and 'talked' to him - decided on some actions, one of which was saying that if he behaved for the rest of the week, he'd still be allowed to see HP7 at the weekend, for which we already have the tickets for.
So, today, 2 days after said rollicking, he threw a strop in the playground, because the other children wanted to stop playing the game. The ex wanted me to let him off because his report came back with all 'above expected levels', but DH and I think we need to stand our ground and not let him go. I'm so upset though, I was so looking forward to us going to see HP the four of us, especially as I have a scan next week which we're hoping is not going to show something serious. Are we really doing the right thing? Or are we being too harsh? School have already said they're putting him in the 'Haven' - basically a social supervised lunch club for 'billy no-mates', which I suggested on Weds, but they said it wasn't necessary.
Thing is, whenever DH and I punish him, DS doesn't react like he cares - ever. We once emptied his room of ALL toys, games, tv. etc. and said he had to earn them back. Didn't give a monkeys. Oooohhhh - what else can I do???? Are we doing the right thing? The only thing he seems to care about is seeing his dad and I can't take that away without the ex getting huffy!

frustratedfairy Thu 14-Jul-11 22:47:46

Oh goodness, I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions for you, I have similar problems here too! I've done the emptying the bedroom thing to with similar results. It's so hard deciding how to deal with bad behaviour without just making life just miserable for everyone, including yourself. I really wouldn't get caught up in threatening to not let him see his Dad or anything, I think that would only make things worse.
I really hope your scan goes ok and that you manage to sort things out xxx

thisisyesterday Thu 14-Jul-11 22:54:47

molly that sounds really difficult

is the strop over other people stopping a game normal? does he do anyhting else like that? odd things that set him off?
have school involved teh SENCO or anyone ever?

I only wonder because that's the kind of thing that starts DS1 off on a real temper tantrum, and he has asperger's. I'm normally the last one to jump in with an internet diagnosis based on one line... but it just kind of jumped out at me

I definitely find with him that threats and punishments simply do not work. He is not able to control himself enough yet (he is only 6) to be able to remmeber, in the heat of the moment, that there might be a treat if he doesn't do it. It's just too much for him

thisisyesterday Thu 14-Jul-11 22:56:23

p/s i would say that if he does ok tomorrow then i would still go to HP7, esp as you have the tickets.
you can say how impressed you are that he only lost his temper one time etc etc

Tryharder Thu 14-Jul-11 23:12:51

If the school are punishing him, I would let it go TBH.

Mollythulu Fri 15-Jul-11 05:26:34

Thanks ladies - will show this to DH later.

If he doesn't go to HP7, do you all miss out?

I don't know - if you've already told him that him messing up would mean no HP7 then in reality you need to follow through with it - but OTOH, was the playground strop really the sort of thing that you were expecting? Has he been ok in the classroom?

Argh, tricky. I would probably say if he can manage a good day today, no classroom issues, then he can still go - but maybe not let him have any other treats, like sweets or popcorn, because of his playground strop.

If he doesn't respond to "threats", does he respond to praise/treats for good behaviour? (Stick or carrot, in other words) Might be worth working out what his motivational triggers are (if you can, it might not be that easy!). Also consider what thisisyesterday has said as a possibility.

Mollythulu Fri 15-Jul-11 06:37:58

He's fine in the classroom - his report was academically brilliant, even though I could clearly tell that his teacher didn't like him (from knowing the report speech well from working there!)
We've said that we'll still be going - my mum's coming round to look after DS's 2 and 3, so she can always have him too. We've already bought the tickets last week before all this kicked off - we had no idea he'd been in Time Out 3 times, and then to kick off on Thursday after we'd ALL lectured him on Tuesday evening - it seemed almost deliberate, given that he was told that if he did kick off this week he wouldn't be going to Potter.
We've tried star charts for good behaviour, he's had a behaviour chart at school in the past as well. I'm just so disappointed because up until Monday I thought there'd been no problems all term. Granted this is still an improvement on the first term's behaviour, but it's still really frustrating that he just can't walk away from these situations or take a deep breath and calm down.
He doesn't seem to have any concept that it affects other people - we're all really upset that he's not coming with us now. sad

thisisyesterday Fri 15-Jul-11 10:24:48

but 3 times in a term isn't that bad! maybe he really can't help himself when he gets very frustrated over things? in which case promising a reward won't help becuase it will only make him feel worse because he can never achieve it.

ds1 is fine academically, and his behaviour has improved at school considerably, to the detriment of home life (he gets stressed behaving at school and explodes at home). But the improvement is totally down to his teacher being able to recognise the things that trigger his meltdowns and see when he is getting agitated and stopping it before it starts.

I would push for a meeting with the SENCO or ed psych to see if they think there could be an underlying problem because if there is you may need to tackle this in a completely different way

Mollythulu Fri 15-Jul-11 12:04:03

Following what you guys have said, we're letting him see Potter (although he doesn't know it yet) but he's not seeing his cousins last thursday - initially he said it was a fair punishment, but didn't seem really to care - he said 'well I can see it later on or when it comes out on dvd, so no, I don't really care', but when questioned, didn't want to miss his weekly play with his cousins, so I asked DH, and the ex agreed, to change it. Don't know if this is harsh enough, or not, really, but he's definitely going back into the Haven next term, so I'll speak to the SENCO then. Thing is, he's fine at home with his brothers, and with his cousins. Occasionally, he'll lash back when DS2 (2) stomps on his head or something, but then DS2 is 2, and he's 8, so we're perpetually reminding him of this! I'm sure we'll get it cracked eventually, but it's bloody hard this discipline thing, especially with the trickier ones! grin

Dorisnextdoor Fri 15-Jul-11 18:02:45

Message withdrawn

grumpypants Fri 15-Jul-11 18:08:06

Maybe it would be a good idea to think of The Haven as something other than a place for billy no mates? That's really off for a start.

Plus you say he really likes seeing his dad but you can't take that away without the ex getting huffy - bit shocked that otherwise you'd consider it?

I think you need to try to work with the school and to be consistent. Have you looked at parenting courses - loads of people do them, and they can be very useful for tips on how to react?

MugglesandLuna Fri 15-Jul-11 18:17:44

'Billy no mates club' hmm

My DS1 also has Aspergers traits and we have been in the same position you are, the tantrum your DS had is very familiar to us as DS doesnt move along with an evolving social game, he cant keep up and it makes him frustrated. I would also be trying for a meeting with an Ed Psych or the school Senco. If your school are not onboard then go through your GP to a Paed.

Have you tried talking to him and asking him why he gets so upset?

HHLimbo Fri 15-Jul-11 18:23:46

Sounds a bit mean that you are trying to take away the only things he enjoys. Are you trying to make him feel frustrated/angry?

Dorisnextdoor Fri 15-Jul-11 18:23:53

Message withdrawn

HHLimbo Fri 15-Jul-11 18:41:47

Doris puts it very well.

You say his report was "academically brilliant", and that his behaviour is much improved. This is great, have you praised and rewarded him for this?

I think he should be congratulated and encouraged for doing so well at school. Are you happy to have a talented child?

Perhaps he has given up caring about punishments because the only thing you are looking to do is punish him, no matter what he achieves.

Mollythulu Fri 15-Jul-11 22:10:25

Doris - luvvy, thank you, but we've been through this with the head already, and although I asked for the Haven, CAMHS, the ed psych etc, it was the head (my friend and ex-colleague) who said to hold off, but sent him to the Haven, which was brilliant while he was there. I've requested for him to go back next term, so hopefully that'll help.
grumpypants - I probably expressed myself rather poorly there. I don't think of the Haven as a place for 'billy no mates' it's an invaluable resource which really helped Elf last term - but it IS essentially a service for kids who're having social problems, i.e. problems with friends & therefore I rather crassly described them as 'billy no mates'. After having 4 DC's, who people constantly congratulate me on their manners and behaviour, I don't really feel the need to go to a parenting course. Elf only has this problem in the playground - hence it seems to us to be a control problem or an attention seeking one. As he gets quite a lot of attention (piano lesson every other day with me, either me or DH helps him with homework, his Dad fawns over him), we don't really think that's a factor, more that he's probably just emotionally immature and resents not being one of the football players in the playground.
I'm not a pro-punishment person, but all the rewards in the world don't seem to mean anything to Elf, and the problem lies in that when you have more than one DC, what do you do for the one who's good all the time, if the one who's naughty ends up demanding all your attention. We're trying to teach them the ramifications of their behaviour, and all the ex will do is brush everything off - I'm sorry, but violence in the playground is not acceptable, and I refuse to just say 'there, there, don't worry if you hit another boy for no reason, have an ice cream', which is what the ex does. He sees his cousins every week, so missing an evening of play seemed - to the three of us, like an acceptable compromise to missing HP.
Do please suggest how you would deal with your own children hurting others or throwing tantrums, not joining lines at the end of break etc for no apparent reason.

Mollythulu Fri 15-Jul-11 22:17:21

Oh, and of course we praised him for a wonderful report!! He's a lovely boy and very bright, but he seems to have no concept of other people's feelings, or just not care.
E.g. no concept that we're all upset because he wasn't going to come with us to the cinema. No concept that the others just wanted to stop playing the game, even though it was his turn to be 'Manhunter'.
No concept that after we expressly talked to him about his behaviour, and said that if he managed to be good for the rest of the week that he could go to the cinema, and I think in all likelihood didn't expect us to say he couldn't, because he gets mixed messages from the two houses. We're just trying to be consistent and teach him that bad deeds will result in him missing out on treats, and that special occasions, like the cinema and playing with his cousins every week, are a treat and a reward in themselves, and are not to be expected.

MugglesandLuna Fri 15-Jul-11 22:20:25

Do you want a shovel for the hole you are digging? Its insulting for those of us who have children with social problems that you refer to a service like that. You children may have beautiful manners but it appears you do not.

MugglesandLuna Fri 15-Jul-11 22:45:06

Also, you describe your oldest and youngest child as 'angels'. Could it possibly be that he feels this?

For some children with social difficulties play time can be very difficult - you lose the structure and routine of the classroom and it turns into a free for all. This fear and frustration maybe why he is lashing out. You asked for a referal to CAHMS so you must think there is a problem, so why are you punishing him if he cant control it?

HHLimbo Fri 15-Jul-11 23:26:58

So you wanted to ban him from the cinema as a punishment for his difficulties, but you also want to blame him for spoiling the family outing for you?

All the other DCs can go to the cinema, but he 'must not expect rewards or treats' (only punishments?).

Sounds a bit mean, really.

Mollythulu Sat 16-Jul-11 00:51:30

So would you like to suggest something helpful or are you just here to get your judgy pants out? I posted originally to ask whether I was doing the right thing - you claim we're not (because this is not just me, this is in concurrence with my DH and ex as well,) but none of you have suggested how we could approach the problem? No, I don't compare him with the other children, but when I get hauled into the head's office because he's lashed out at other children, or at times, the teacher who was dealing with the issue or even kicked the head, then it seems that he is indeed struggling with his playground behaviour and friendships. As this has gone on since he was at nursery, I have considered in the past that he might have a SN, but not being an expert, I didn't want to self-diagnose. I asked the head if he thought we should, he said no, so I trusted his expertise and knowledge in the matter and left it. Seriously, this isn't AIBU - Muggles, how on earth was I derogatory towards children with social problems by describing the Haven as 'an invaluable resource for children with social problems'? I worked one-to-one for two years with a girl with SN and part of that was teaching her how to socialise well with others, so please don't think I'm a PFB kind of parent. I don't call 3 of my kids angels and one a devil, ffs. Or did you not actually read my post where I said he's a lovely, warm, bright kid who gets on with all his family. If he had problems relating to everybody I'd say he has socialisation problems, but he doesn't - he just reacts very badly to rejection.
Am I supposed to just say it's ok to hit other children then? That it's perfectly fine to swear at teacher's because his friends wanted to stop playing 'it'? That it really doesn't matter if he does these things because there won't be any effect on anyone, be it teacher, friends, or family? Do, oh wise and bountiful ones, pray, tell me how SHOULD I deal with this?

Mollythulu Sat 16-Jul-11 00:55:40

oh and he gets plenty of rewards or treats - we don't go out much, but his dad takes him to the cinema/buys him stuff all the time. WE were upset that WE felt he couldn't go because it's one of the few nice things we have planned as a family this summer. I was also particularly upset because I have a liver scan on Weds, which I'm hoping will only show gallstones, but am actually worried it might be something more serious. Thank you so much for your support - I feel so much better knowing that I have other mums who understand. Now fuck off to AIBU and judge someone else, there's a duck.

fortyplus Sat 16-Jul-11 01:16:04

I'm mum to two bpys aged 16 and 17 and from my distant perspective I can tell you that your punishments are excessive for an 8 year old.

Mollythulu Sat 16-Jul-11 01:29:47

ok, fair enough, they're excessive, but that's why I posted. So, just to check we're all up to speed, for 4 misdemeanours (2 for violence towards other children, 2 for anger towards children and teachers) in the playground in 6 weeks, we're being unfair to stop him from seeing his cousins from 4-7 on one Thursday but allowing him to see HP. The school have now got him going to the Oasis for the rest of term & he's signed up for sessions in the Haven for next year. And we're still being harsh? Really?

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