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I feel like I've failed my son...

(18 Posts)
TheEarlOfDoncaster1963 Fri 26-Aug-11 22:40:59

He's 6yrs 10m, and I feel like there are so many things he struggles with that his peers seem to do no problem.
- He can't ride a bike without stabilisers - we took his off as he seemed keen to try, but he fell off once and that was it, he refused to get back on, so now his bike is just sitting in the garage. He went to a cycling party with DH and had to go on a tagalong bike rather than riding his own as he was the only one who couldn't ride a bike.
- He hates getting his face wet so will cause a huge fuss in the bath if water goes on his face while we're washing his hair. This also means that he can't swim independently as of course he can't get in a decent position to swim if his chin has to be about three inches above the water. He's never jumped in or gone underwater. I took him to a pool party the other day and forgot his armbands, so he spent the whole time in the shallow end with me, wincing every time he got splashed even slightly, and wanting me to 'tow' him around by his arms... meanwhile most of his friends were swimming underwater, splashing each other, having a whale of a time sad
- He won't go into his bedroom alone if we are all downstairs. So in the mornings I ask him to go upstairs and get dressed, and he won't go unless someone goes with him. He usually gets one of his (younger) siblings to go with him, even the two year old!
- He's not dry at night yet... he can go four or five nights dry on the trot, but then we'll have two or three wet pull-ups in a row... I know they do this in their own time, but it feels like it's one more thing that he's doing later than everyone else.

He has no special needs as far as I know, he's very intelligent, reads well, has many friends, and does well at school (the only issue he's had is being a bit of a dreamer and having to have instructions repeated - he is like this at home too, but then so is my DH so it's probably inherited selective hearing!). I feel like we have failed him by not making sure he could do these things before now... my DH works long hours and hasn't taken him out on his bike as much as he could've. I don't drive and our nearest swimming pool is 7 miles away so I can't easily get him to lessons. OK, I could take him on the bus but I also have two younger children so that would be really difficult. I feel like he's the odd one out now, thanks to us, and don't really know where to start to rectify it.

Not really asking for advice as such, more having a whinge and a moan, and looking for mums with similar boys, who have turned out OK and not social misfits in later years! I can't really rectify many of these things easily either - with two other younger children it's hard to find time to go to the park and do intensive bike practice, and taking them all swimming is impossible as none of them are keen on water and all three would cling to us like limpets!

Sorry so long...

fruitshootsandheaves Fri 26-Aug-11 22:51:06

My DS2 is now 10 and he can't swim properly but that was due to his naughtiness and being sent out of the pool more than anything
With DS1 he was terrified of water and used to cry about having his hair washed. in the end I took him for a couple of terms of private swimming lessons and within 3 weeks the teacher had him gliding in the water face down!

I would leave the bike riding thing for a bit. Put the stabilisers back on and leave him to it. I'm sure in his own time he will ask for the stabilisers to be removed.

As for being dry at night. Cut down on drinks after his last meal, it will eventually happen. I lifted DS2 for several months at about half 10 every night until he wasn't doing anything much and was dry in the mornings.

you haven't failed him at all. They all learn to do things at different times maybe he is naturally better in academic things rather than in physical things like cycling, swimming.

TheEarlOfDoncaster1963 Fri 26-Aug-11 23:00:20

yes, I think intensive private swimming lessons would really help him - i think one-to-one with a really good teacher would work wonders. Could be pricey though, and I can't get him there sad sigh

MrsGravy Fri 26-Aug-11 23:04:13

Well I have a girl of the same age and often feel guilty of failing her - I think that's just a Mum thing really, especially with your first.

Whilst DD can swim a little and ride a bike, she isn't doing so well academically and I beat myself up over that. I reckon even if you were to 'rectify' the things you are worrying about something else would make you feel like you are failing. He really can't be the odd one out if he's got plenty of friends can he? I guess what I'm trying to say is, the problem is one of you feeling guilty rather than of him being terribly behind.

I know you didn't want any advise but also just wanted to add that swimming wise, it might be worth looking into private lessons as the poster above says, they're often more flexible so you could get them booked for the days that your DH is around to save traipsing on the bus. I just did a couple of weeks crash course this holidays with my 6 year old and she came on in leaps and bounds.

As for being dry at night, my DD has just come out of nappies too. We were waiting for dry nappies and she never got any so I decided to give it a go anyway, we lifted her for a week or so then cautiously stopped and she was fine. Bizarre really, I guess she must have been ready but subconsciously aware the nappy was on.

TheEarlOfDoncaster1963 Sat 27-Aug-11 08:58:30

I'm happy to get advice!

Lotsofchooks Sat 27-Aug-11 09:04:27

A good way for a child to learn the same balancing skill for riding a bike is a scooter; could you perhaps get one for him to help and its fun! :-)

BlueArmyGirl Sat 27-Aug-11 16:10:37

As far as the bike goes my DS was maybe 7 before he mastered it, our fault really he had quite a heavy bike that he struggled with.

Dn has recently done a 'learning to ride your bike' course. When she arrived they took pedals off, the idea being that scooting along on the bike actually trains them better to manage the balance aspect of riding a bike than pedalling with stablisiers does. Think it was a three/four day council thing and by the end of it was cycling independently.

Other thing to try is to make the stabilisers uneven so that there is a bit of wobble/movement when riding rather than having them solid and giving the stablility that you get in a trike.

TheEarlOfDoncaster1963 Sat 27-Aug-11 23:24:12

He does have a Micro mini scooter and loves it - he's nearly grown out of it though and we've got him a 2-wheel one for birthday or Christmas. i'm presuming a 2-wheeler will help his balance more. Am seriously considering taking the pedals off his bike!

2kidsintow Mon 29-Aug-11 17:28:14

Taking the pedals off my DDs bike worked like a charm for us. She mastered balancing in a day.

bejeezus Mon 29-Aug-11 19:33:59

i dont think you need to worry about ANY of this- you havent failed. They just do stuff at their own and different paces...

BUT, if it helps, my 2-pennies worth;

I second the uneven stabiliser suggestion. I inadvertently used this method by having them bent up at such an angle they werent being useful!! maybe you could bend them up just a little to start with and then as he gains confidence increase the angle?

Ummm to swimming lessons...Im pretty sure, none of our generation had swimming lessons? this is a relatively recent 'thing' I think. Didnt we all pretty much learn in the sea on holiday? I dont think intensive lessons are going to be worth the money if you then dont ever go swimming/ go once in a blue moon? Will he eventually get weekly lessons through the school?

My 6 year old DD is only recently consistently dry through the night. A friend did suggest I take her to the doctors as some kids (cant remember % but more than you think) have 'weak bladders' (cant remember details, must have got distracted from conversation). Have you spoken to a HV? I wouldnt be so sure he is miles behind everyone else in this respect.

There will be stuff he is really good at- try focusing on that a bit more I think smile

Carrotsandcelery Mon 29-Aug-11 19:53:12

I think he sounds perfectly normal really.

Some of my ds (6) friends can ride their bikes and some can't (ds can't). My dd didn't learn until nearer 8 and she is great on it now.

Some of ds's friends can swim, some freak out at the edge of the pool each week. I am sure it upsets their mothers but they are not alone - there are several children doing it. Ds is in the middle -can sort of swim but not reliably and not very far at all.

Some kids rejoice in their own company - some hate being alone.

Some can read well at that age (like your ds) and some are still struggling with jolly phonics or whatever.

They will ALL learn to ride their bikes, swim, spend time alone, read etc eventually, but they all follow their own internal programmes.

Just enjoy him and the way your live your lives.

Yes some dcs learn to ride their bikes at 3 because that is what that family does to spend time together, but they won't be doing something else that your ds is doing eg snuggling up with you and his siblings. You can't be everywhere and do everything and you have to allow for dcs and families all being different.

addressbook Mon 29-Aug-11 20:58:05

great post carrotsandcelery.

EyeoftheStorm Mon 29-Aug-11 21:12:29

You're beating yourself up because you're feeling stretched. I have three and sometimes feel not everyone gets what they need when they need, but I am - and you are - doing our best.

DS1 is 7 and has just started riding his bike. Extra practice during DH's holidays. I couldn't do it, so it was a job I handed over to him.

Neither of my older two like going upstairs by themselves and will bribe/cajole the other to go with them. I thought this was normal because I used to do this to my sister!

DS isn't a very good swimmer - mainly because his lessons are in a pool where he can touch the floor so he does.

I know other children are much further on than him, but like your DS, he is happy and fine at school. I just think these things will come.

TheEarlOfDoncaster1963 Wed 31-Aug-11 10:38:17

Eyeofthestorm thanks - i'm sure it is normal to ask your sibling to go up with you - maybe because i was an only child i just had to suck it up and go up on my own! I enjoyed my own company, but that's probably because i didn't have much choice smile

Yes, three kids is hard - i feel like somebody is always missing out.

BoisJacques Wed 31-Aug-11 10:46:42

get him out practising and practising with stabilisers. If he is happy to keep them - let him. Don't over think it. One day he will decide to lose them on his own - there is no way he will want to keep them at 8/9/10!

Swimming - private lessons aren't actually too expensive. My 5 1/2 year old can't swim, but am looking now for lessons.

I'd lose the pull ups. My 5 yo wets nearly every night, I just wash his duvet and sheet daily. Getting him up when I go to bed around 11/12 helps alot too. Pull ups can beecome habit IME and DS will know he is weeing but can't be bothered to go to the loo if he can just wee his pull up. DS2 is potty trained this summer and he asked one night to go to the loo, so I stopped putting him in pull ups too despite being just 3. Bunging a sheet on with a load of washing is cheaper than keep buying pull ups anyway.

WHy is he scared of his bedroom/upstairs? My 5 yo is abit....sensitive at times - the 3 yr old will launch into a swimming pool (not good) but my 5yo is abit more... cautious of things. All I can suggest, if he is abit like that, is get him into scouts/football/rugby... ?

NeverendingStoryteller Thu 01-Sep-11 22:38:15

You're not failing him! It sounds like you're doing everything you can to help him through some wobbly growing-up challenges! He'll get around to all of these things in his own time, with the kind of support you seem to be offering in abundance. Some kids are never good in the water, some kids are never good on a bike - some kids get really good at all of this stuff when something clicks in their brains and they suddenly 'get it'.

As for the bedwetting, it sounds totally normal to have an almost 7 year old who wets. The professionals won't usually get involved until he's at least 7 - apparently kids need to start producing some kind of body chemical that stops them from weeing in their sleep and they don't start producing it until between 4 and 8 (or later) depending on the kid. Mind you, I got fed up of dealing with constant wetting in my 5 year old once his older brother was dry, so I used a bedwetting alarm for 3 weeks (sleeping in his room, so I could get him up) and that sorted it out and he's been dry now since Easter. Your GP can help you get a referral to a clinic if you're worried, but in the meantime, check out the eric.org website for some sensible advice.

Don't beat yourself up - you're not failing your boy...

anniebee Fri 02-Sep-11 03:06:12

You do not have to worry about anything. I would say your son is a very intelligent, strong willed person and he has mastered the skill of acting to a tee. Our son fell off his bike and he has mastered the depressed, sad, hurt look to a tee even though he had a tiny little graze, he doesn't yet understand people laughing at how cute he is opposed to laughing at him. My son does exactly the same and is extremely sporty so if you nurture his strengths you will all be absolutely fine x

whizzyrocket Fri 02-Sep-11 16:49:41

I wouldn't worry about any of these things either. If it worries you that he doesn't have the confidence to do things that scare him a little (e.g. getting his face wet) I would really encourage him when he does take a risk. Does he have a male role-model that could lark around with him and show him that being brave and perhaps a bit silly is fun?

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