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DS1 is too generous and considerate

(9 Posts)
letmehelp Mon 12-Sep-11 20:23:43

It is a recurring theme in all DS1's school reports, he is kind, generous and considerate towards other children. For example, if he's given sweets for someone's birthday at school, the first thing he'll do is work out how they can be shared wit DS2. He got a certificate at the end of last term for being particularly kind in the playground at school!

However, he expects these high standards to be kept by others and sadly is often let down. Other children don't always play fair, they don't always share, sometimes they will borrow his things without asking, sometimes the den he and his friends have built will be destroyed etc...... All fairly normal traumas in childhood I would have thought, but DS1 feels all of them as an intensely personal slight and is distraught. Recently this has meant red faced temper, followed by tears and I don't know how to help him.

I have a horrible feeling it's all my fault. After all it was me who went with the do unto others policy, but unfortunately it doesn't always mean they'll be the same back.

I've explained to him that people who are unkind are usually not very happy themselves and he should feel sorry for them, but I don't know how to help him deal with the these incidents. He's 10yo

AsYouWish Mon 12-Sep-11 20:47:36

When asked, I always say that the best advice my mum ever gave me was 'to not expect others to act in the way you do as you will probably end up feeling let down, but not to let that stop you behaving nicely because it makes you a happier person inside'. Or words to that effect.

My ds is the same, a kind and sensitive soul, and my (younger, very strongwilled) dd tramples all over him sad

letmehelp Mon 12-Sep-11 21:00:52

Yes, I think that's what I'm trying to say with the "unkind people are unhappy" bit. But I don't think he really gets it, or believes me, as they seem to be enjoying themselves when they're being mean to him.

I'm worried that if he keeps getting so upset, he'll be seen as an easy/fun target and that will make it worse.

lingle Mon 12-Sep-11 21:29:31

"But I don't think he really gets it, or believes me"

Well that's no bad thing. Can you imagine if he said to the other child "you are being unkind, you must be unhappy, I feel sorry for you".

So I think you are right to be wanting to change tack.

How old are these kids?

letmehelp Mon 12-Sep-11 21:31:38

Thay're 10 lingle. What would you suggest then?

lingle Mon 12-Sep-11 22:12:58

could you describe in a bit more detail the kinds of things he may say/do when he reacts to the unkind actions? I'll check in tomorrow.

The "Unwritten Rules of Friendship" book is good on this sort of stuff, by the way. I read it and wished so much I'd had it at 10.

letmehelp Mon 12-Sep-11 22:22:35

Lingle, he'll get very angry and if they don't give it back/say sorry/let him play etc will quickly dissolve into tears (although actually I think that happens more when I'm nearby than when I'm not, AFAIK he doesn't' cry at school)

I shall have a look for that book,thank you.

He does have a lovely group of 6-7 friends who are all very kind - he doesn't have fallings out with them. It's when random children at the park won't take turns on the zip wire, or when another " gang group" break up the den that he and his friends have built that the trouble starts. Yesterday it was that X ( a classmate, but not particular friend) had "found" the 35p DS1 had had in his pocket. DS1 is sure it was his money, but X won't give it back etc etc. I expect the friend knows finder keepers, but I know Ds1 would have handed it over if there was a chance it belonged to X.

DeWe Tue 13-Sep-11 09:26:44

If the money thing happened at school you should be talking to the school. I doubt they have a finders keepers policy.

lingle Tue 13-Sep-11 09:59:35

good morning.

poor DS - I can remember my brother reacting in a similar way. Grr.

I think you need to veer away from abstract/absolute descriptions ("he is unkind, he is unhappy, you are kind, you will be happy because you are kind"). Steer clear of absolute morality and instead focus on .......

.......ground rules that reflect the reality of his playground life. Obviously I don't know him but I suspect you'd move towards a combination of
1. more relative descriptions or even neutral descriptions that match his specific emotional experiences: "huh, that sounds annoying"/"sounds like he has a lot to learn about good behaviour still" "he could see how much it upset you"

2. considering the consequences - (i) den broken (ii)took ages to build (iii) it was really fun building it (iv) build another one soon. (i) DS yelled and cried (ii) they laughed (iii) would be better not to let them see the tears.

3. exploration about motives. The boys are breaking the den - why? If you just say "because they are unkind" that doesn't lead to any strategy except to preach at them to be kinder (won't work and may lead to bullying). It's almost certainly to get attention and approval from each other and rise in the pecking order of their group. In a few years it will be to impress a girl. He'll know - let him talk it through.

4. thinking about alternative strategies. having his money stolen is surely a teacher issue. Having the den broken - I think it would be perfectly appropriate to shout at them "Don't come here because you broke our den" as angrily as he wanted next time he's building one and they approach. Anger when there's still a chance of it working has to be better than impotent frustrated anger after the event I'd reckon. But an angry "You've broken our den, that was stupid" is better than crying perhaps? (happy to be corrected if these boys are dangerous...). It's not the moment for him to have to be "kind" and deplore the lower standards of others, it's a moment to be specific.

To get him to lead it, have a read through "How to Listen so your kids will talk....". There is a brilliant section about never giving advice but leading thim to the brink of the advice so that they then comes up with the new strategy themself. It's almost impossible at first - you are aching to suggest the solution - but it's like magic once you get going.

If any of that works, can you please come on to my threads and advise me about DS2 because strangely my advice only seems to work for other people [sigh] smile
good luck.

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