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how to get a reticent child to talk? worried about ds's behaviour

(13 Posts)
thisisyesterday Thu 22-Oct-09 13:15:17

so got hauled into the classroom when i picked ds1 up at lunchtime today to tell me that there are some issues with his behaviour at school. i nearly cried.

yesterday he was apparently very rude and aggressive to the dinner lady and the secretary.
Now, I realise that this is unacceptable, but in his defence his father had forgotten to pick him up and he was scared and frightened and he got angry with them.

but apparently they have also had a complaint from another parent that ds1 is picking on her child and watching him this morning apparently confirmed this. they spoke to him about it but will not tell me who the other child is. I asked because I wondered if it was anyone ds1 had mentioned at home (he talks a lot about a particular boy following/chasing him around)

i have no idea what to do :-( i feel really awkward now around all the other mums because i know that one of them has an issue with my son, but I have no idea who. so whoever it is is still being all nicey-nice to me while complaining about ds1 to the school.
i just wish i knew who it was so that i could talk to ds1 about it. we've chatted in a general way but he claims to not have done anything to anyone

the problem is that he just does not talk to me about anything. he can be intensely upset about things but i just never get to the bottom of them because he refuses to talk about it, it's like getting blood from a stone

he does get aggressive, i will openly admit this. it normally manifests in growling at people, pulling angry faces, or, if people get too close he will push them
he rarely does this unprovoked though, it's just so unlike him.
as I say, he tends to bottle things up inside, and any feelings of upset or sadness come out as bursts of anger.
we do try and deal with this at home as his little brother often bears the brunt of it here

how can i encourage him to talk to me though?? i told him today thatif anything was bothering him at school then he can tell me and i will do my best to fix it, but i feel so helpless,and also sad that he is clearly having problems at school and i don't know anything about it and can'th elp him

smee Thu 22-Oct-09 13:28:15

What's his teacher like? Is it worth asking for a meeting when he's not about, so you can sit and talk it through? It would probably put your mind at rest, as maybe yesterday was just a bad day - you said yourself he was upset about not being picked up. Also don't be paranoid about the other mother as she may have already brushed it aside. I know I worried about my son and one of his mates, but I never thought the other boy was anything other than a bit boisterous and certainly wasn't gossiping behind his mother's back. In that case, I had one quick word with the teacher to ask if she could keep an eye on them at playtime as my son was getting a bit upset about what sounded like play fighting, but it really wasn't a big deal. I didn't mention it to the mother because it wasn't a big deal and it was a teacher's matter. Might be this thing with your son is the same.

cherryblossoms Thu 22-Oct-09 13:31:54

Firstly - the other mother hasn't said anything to you because she probably likes you, may even like your ds and just wants the school to keep an eye on a school situation and put measures in place to stop things happening.

Seriously, that's a good thing. And it sounds as though the school is dealing with it well, too. That's another good thing.

Re. talking. It's tricky. Is there a time when he talks? My ds used to talk at bed time, he'd open up just as he was drifting off to sleep - which was kind of exhausting. But, actually he isn't much of a talker. I used to rely on a network of informants. I discovered something really shocking by way of the network and was really upset by the realisation of what he kept back.

That doesn't help you much, since it seems as though you don't have a network that will tell you things and also, what you want to find out is difficult to tell another person.

Another thing to do is to try to set up some time, regularly, where he has 1 to 1 attention with a parent, so somehow getting you on your own without his db on a regular basis. Tricky, again but that helps too.

OK, I may be well off the mark, here, but anger issues, communication issues, possible difficulty with interpreting emotions and social situations -- all of that is really very normal in a child BUT it can be an indicator of aspergers.

I, quite clearly, have no idea if that is your ds. I only mention it as something you might not have thought about. It's not something people think about and so miss it for a long time. So it might be worth thinking about it, if only to dismiss it.

smee Thu 22-Oct-09 13:32:13

Just thought, but do they have that traffic light discipline system at your son's school? Seems to be happening at a lot of primaries. I've found it's a good way of getting DS to talk about his day - was anyone on red today?, etc as kids love to gossip. It nearly always kick starts a conversation about who did what/ if DS was involved, etc, etc and in general how the day went.

hanaflower Thu 22-Oct-09 13:33:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cherryblossoms Thu 22-Oct-09 13:37:24

That's a point, hanaflower.

When ds was younger, i used to tell a story at bed-time about his day. Obviously, for the story to work, he had to add bits in. It didn't work when he got older and wised up to me!

"Drawing the day together" sounds lovely. I'd like to hear more about that ... (if that's OK, OP).

thisisyesterday Thu 22-Oct-09 13:41:53

thanks for replies

his teacher seems very nice (supply teacher atm as his proper teacher is off with a knee prob)
he seems to have taken the change in teachers very well, although he often seems to take things well, but it's all going on under the surface
I guess I'll see how he goes for a few days, I think we have parents evening comin up shortly anyway, andthe teacher said she'll let me know if anything else happens

there really isn't any time when he talks. or if he does he'll start and then clam up and start going on about rubbish and not actually telling me anything.

we tried playing things out with a toy farm (pretending it was a school, with all the animals being the children). but it all comes across as totally normal! he was being the cow, and playing with his 2 friends and nothing unusual came up!

we try and have some one-to-one time in the afternoons, i can quite often get the 2 younger siblings to nap at the same time and i make sure to do something with ds1, but maybe we need a bit more

aspergers- well, it has cropped up in conversations between myself and dp. he, at the very least has a lot of asperger-type traits.
what should i do if we think that this could be the case? talk to the teacher? see a gp? how do i know if it's just normal 4.5yr old behaviour or something more?

hanaflower Thu 22-Oct-09 13:47:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cherryblossoms Thu 22-Oct-09 13:49:46

Re aspergers - I don't know, sorry. Probably a good place to start is with one of the independent support groups.

In my, very limited, experience, children I've met have had fairly late diagnoses unless they were on the fairly pronounced end of the autistic spectrum. I think it is a hard thing to spot.

thisisyesterday Thu 22-Oct-09 13:49:56

also, one other odd, thing.
one of his friends at scohol.. i have an odd suspicion may be imaginary. but i need to confirm this with school.

he has an imaginary friend already, alan, who lives in iceland.
but he talks about this schoolfriend in a very similar way to how he speaks about alan.

the friend is apparently called Johnny, or little john
he falls over if you smile at him, and various other odd things.

is that weird??

cherryblossoms Thu 22-Oct-09 13:50:31

[sneaks in - thanks Hana]

thisisyesterday Thu 22-Oct-09 13:52:07

yes, i have a copy of how to talk, so maybe time to re-read!
i just remembered actually someone i know on anther forum workswith autistic children, so i guess she would be a good place to start, she lives near me too so i think i might have a chat with her

i might give the drawing a go, although he doesn';t really like drawing much but we'll see!!! he might tell me and let me draw it or something, and will def try and story-telling as i think he could respond quite well to that

thisisyesterday Thu 22-Oct-09 16:30:22

well, drawing didn't go too well lol
but we had a lovely afternoon playing lego and i am feeling a bit better about it all now!

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