Bullying?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MyHrt31, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    Hello again, I was wondering if anyone had tips on how to prevent a child from bullying others. My difficult child is aggressive and irritable so he tends to take it out on other children who he sees as "weak". I've tried explaining that its not nice and it hurts their feelings... how would you feel if they did it to you.. blah blah blah... but he just doesn't seem to get "it". I've taken away privileges, given consequences for his actions, and even tried role play with him but he's just so impulsive!

    I finally bought the book "The Explosive Child" and I'm reading it right now. I am only on page 67 but it sounds just like our situation. I'm hoping the tips in the book will be able to get me through to him. Why didn't they come owner's manuals when they were born, lol.
     
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    The book is good and might help you to help him- then I'd try to get the school on board and help somehow. They might have a mentor program and social skills class. One thing I've heard of working well is to get him involved in football, martial arts, or wrestling so he can learn that there are times it's ok to get rough, but other times it's not, and teach self-control. My son wasn't interested in that, but he has only gotten aggressive in recent times.

    Others will come along with good advice....
     
  3. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    Thanks! I did try him in karate but he got upset because he got "yelled at". I tried to explain to him that this is how they teach kids to be disciplined but he has a really hard time understanding social cues. I do have him enrolled in social group therapy but its only once a month. I kind of wish he had a father figure here to talk to about all of this, lol. Big Brothers Big Sisters told me they don't have the "training" to deal with his type of disorder so that's not an option. Oh well, such is life right? :redface:
     
  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Is your difficult child on medications?

    When my son was prescribed Clonazapem for anxiety, it became a disinhibitive. He became very mean. He lost all his friends and none of the kids liked him because they could not trust him. He did threaten revenge when he thought he was being slighted or just because he thought someone was breaking a rule. Once we took him off that medication, the meaness dissappeared. One student who didn't want to return to our small school because my difficult child would be there this year, stated that difficult child was back to what he was like in 4th grade. He has his friends back.

    Talk to your difficult child's doctor to see if medications he is on could do this. You can also google the medication for side effects.

    As for hands on ways to help diminish the bullying? I am not sure. With my difficult child I tried to stay patient while dealing with it. I think if you display too much anger, it will be seen by your difficult child that you are using your physical strength to control him so he thinks he can use his physical strength to control others. You need to figure out how to reach him without him thinking you are punishing him.

    Try coming at this from a little bit different tactic. Ask your difficult child - How did you feel before you did that action? Do you like that feeling? Can we find ways for you to react without being mean or rude? What can you do to avoid those feelings? Maybe walk away? This may take the focus off his results of bullying actions and back onto finding out what happened.

    I hope this makes sense, instead of,"Why did you........ Did you know you can hurt............" try "How did you feel just before you.........." Take it back a step from when you would normally start the conversation about the event.
     
  5. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    That makes sense :) Instead of asking why he made a certain choice, I could ask him about how he was feeling at that time and what we can do so he does not get to that point. That way, I am not pointing fingers or laying blame, just asking him for input about ways to change the outcome of the situation?

    I forgot to mention that he is on lithium/abilify that was recently started a few weeks ago. It does seem like since he's started these two drugs, his irritability has become worse (which probably doesn't help with aggression) He is also on Vyvanse so maybe the combination of these three drugs are just not right for him? His psychiatrist is away until next week so there is really nothing I can do until then except just wait.
     
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My son doesn't get into sports much either- he do do very well in cub scouts. Sometimes you can call around- local mental health,etc, and see if they have a mentor program. That part (absent father) has been a MAJOR issue with my son- it left him overly-sensitive in several areas. I still am looking for an answer-I can only suggest to keep looking to find something he's interested in - even if it isn't organized sports.
     
  7. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    Its been more confusing for my son than anything else (not having his dad). I really don't have much of a support system so this place is such a blessing. I am always wondering if I am making the right decisions regarding his behaviors/consequences/rewards/etc. I hate doubting myself but I keep feeling like everything I do or don't do affects him, ya know?

    P.S. He's been asking about musical instruments.... maybe I'll see about getting him lessons :)
     
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Music is good! There have been times- many- when I describe a situation to a therapist and get their opinion. Also, I've run stuff by psychiatrist too, just to make sure I'm teaching difficult child things that are emotionally healthy for a boy/young man who doesn't have a father around to give him the "male pointers". difficult child's therapist and psychiatrist are both male- intentionally. Do you have your son in counseling?
     
  9. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    When my son was on clonazepam, I tried to take him off it last December (2 months after it was started) but his anxiety immediately rose so I had to make a decision - do I take him off it because it was only suppose to be short term and his behavior was already starting a turn for the worse,or do I keep him on it giving him a better chance of getting through the academics of school. I chose his education and kept him on it.

    So, if it is the medications (and there are others here that know more about those medications than I do) you may face that decision. Do the pros outweigh the cons? Sometimes side effects are short lived, so if the irritability is from the medications, the doctor may say that within a month or so that may disappear? But then again, I have no knowledge on the medications your son has.

    Do some documentation from now until you can contact psychiatrist. Have you noticed anything else? Sleep patterns or eating habits changing? Let the psychiatrist know everything - we don't always know what is and is not important - better to give more info than not enough.
     
  10. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    Yes, he sees a psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, and social worker. All of them are women, lol.
     
  11. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    He's been on the medications for about two or three months now and it seems to be getting worse. His social worker is helping me to document his behaviors because most of them occur at school. He makes homicidal threats at school so of course, they have to call me to bring him to the health unit so they can determine if the threat is real or not (they never are, he just blurts things out when he's mad) She's even tried contacting his psychiatrist for me so that she could give some input on what she's noticed since he's been on the medication. She works for the school but she's terrific! I am glad I am not the only person noticing these behaviors in him. Thanks for the advice though, I will definitely start noticing his eating/sleeping patterns. He never sleeps good, that's for sure but the doctors always blow it off like its no big deal :anxious:
     
  12. Janna

    Janna New Member

    Hey My,

    Do you know that Lithium can induce hypothyroidism? This can cause erratic mood swings. D was on it for about 16 months, with some good result, but it did trigger his thyroid. Have you had bloodwork done on him to make sure his level is good and his thyroid is normal? Something you may want to think about. We were torn because, initially, it was awesome at cutting down his rages, but with the added medication for thyroid (Synthroid), *that* made things worse, LOL! Ahh, it's just a vicious cycle.

    There is a program at J's school called "Peer Mediators". Although J, himself, isn't a bully, he has a friend or two that is. Anyway - the Peer Mediators are the ones that, after training from the school can go and help another child cool down and whine or gripe or whatever about a situation INSTEAD of bullying, hurting someone, etc. He volunteered for this (I was super surprised) and it has really helped him to be more caring. Maybe you can see if there's something, anything, like that in your school? Or, see if your son can help a teacher, the principal, something. I'll tell ya, both my younger boys - they were both bullies at one time. But, putting them into a situation where they can help (last year, D was helping the kids 2 grades lower to read) seems to make them a little more empathetic, and neither one is a bully anymore (making them sit in their room and taking all their privelages away probably didn't hurt either LOL).
     
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.
    Of course it could be the medications. I have bipolar and I've been on a lot of different medications and they don't always do what they're supposed to do. Actually, my doctor doesn't like too many medications and only changes one at a time. Since your son had Lithium and Abilify added at the same time, you don't know which one might be causing the problem. However, it does take Lithium eight weeks to get to it's maximum effect...my layman's guess would be that, if medications are doing it, it's the ADHD medication combined with Abilify. Abilify can be very good...or it can be very bad and cause hypernness (actually most medications can be very good or very bad depending on the person).
    Has your little boy gotten much help for the Aspergers? Medication won't really help autistic spectrum disorder. That part of your son needs a different sort of approach than just medication. My son is on the spectrum and what helped him was the school interventions--social skills classes (this was WONDERFUL), a smaller class with an aide to teach him things like how to see the big picture and take notes in class, life skills etc. He would then be mainstreamed for half the day and he always did really well--now he is completely mainstreamed. The "start out slow" plan at school really worked. He is now always on the honor roll and he hasn't had a meltdown since he's been maybe eight years old (and he's medication free, however he doesn't have bipolar.) Aspies can become very frustrated and get aggressive if the Aspergers isn't addressed as much as the bipolar. In my son's case, he was wrongly diagnosed with bipolar. Many k ids with Aspergers get a wrong bipolar diagnosis and the concentration becomes on medication rather than intervention. If he has both, then there has to be a balance. in my opinion only I wouldn't put a child who hits or could "lose it" into martial arts. If he forgets his discipline even one time and uses it on somebody...not good. I'm not convinced that our kids can learn to always use these things the right way. They don't have the same impulse control as most other kids. Swimming was very good for my son. He was even on the swim team for a while. He also plays soccer.
    in my opinion only (I'm just a mom) since your son has Aspergers appealing to his feelings is not as effective as appealing to his Aspie "logic." They love black and white and are concrete thinkers. When he bullies somebody, take away something he loves to do. in my opinion again that will drive the point home a lot better than a talk, although you can talk to him too. My son is a very caring young man, but he doesn't always understand "feelings." Therapy never worked that well with him because until you go to somebody who understands spectrum kids, sometimes they just don't connect with each other, which is important in therapy. I speak as one who has had about twenty therapists in my life--if there's no connection, it doesn't really work. Spectrum kids have trouble understanding other people--that's part of the disorder.
    Ok, so I rambled on and on...lol. Hey, I'm just a mom so all this is JMO. I hope you find a solution that works for you. There's were my thoughts and a dash of my experiences. Take care!
     
  14. Janna

    Janna New Member

    Oh, I didn't even realize he was an Aspie! LOL! How come sometimes I can't see signatures? I've noticed that, alot of times I don't see them (like right now). Hmm..

    I will tell ya, just to kind of repeat MWM's stuff, my son is Autistic - and she's really right. The more interventions we put into place, the easier we make things for Dylan, especially in school, the better things are. He's not in a regular school right now, he's in a partial program, and there's a teacher an aide and only 3 kids in the room. He gets alot of one on one, there's alot of pictures, charts, things written down (structure) for what he has to do, when, what time, etc. Everything is visual. He is doing much better in this type of environment. So much so, we have a meeting in February to try to get him back to regular education. We had to go all the way back with him, though, to get him to where he is. And, like MWM said, it's been very small baby steps.

    I kinda treat Dylan like he's 6. Yeah, he's 12 years old physically, but honestly, his understanding, how he sees things (he's a very black/white thinker), how he expresses himself - it's very delayed. He also has that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) type thinking that Aspies do, and, because of this, it's very hard for him to move along. He needs alot of help - and all these things are things no drug can really combat. It's interventions - and lots of them. Teaching coping skills, anger management, loads of therapies.

    He is on medications, too - but, it's always a struggle. And yes, not too bright to implement two drugs at once. I'd still question the thyroid - but, how do you know which one it is?

    What kind of bullying is he doing? I ask because, Dylan can seem very, very bossy and try to be the authority figure over the child. He doesn't *want* to be a kid. He wants to rule everyone LOL! On his van, he thinks he really *has* to be there to monitor the other kids - because they tantrum, kick, rage, etc, whatever. It's not his place to tell them what to do, but he has a million excuses as to why he has to (our van driver is old and not very consistent with rules - that's another story). In his mind, though, he's not being bossy. He's trying to work to get the other children to act right LOL, and they don't, so he tries then, to...yeah, boss. We try to talk it through with him, ask him questions like "what ELSE could you have done (aside from telling everyone what to do LOL) in that situation?". Sometimes he has answers, and other times he looks at me like I'm from Mars.

    Alot of it is anxiety, too. He's worried that the van driver is going to crash because another child is not doing what he's supposed to. He's worried the van driver (68 year old man) may have a heart attack or stroke from stressing over the other kids. He's worried that he won't pay attention to the road - and a deer might run out and they'll hit it. He's worried, worried, worried. There are days I wonder how he makes it through without worrying himself to death.

    So, to me, there is a difference between this type of thinking and bullying, i.e. going to school and just punching someone or teasing, tripping, making fun of kids - threats, etc. But, that's just my .02.
     
  15. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Janna--

    What you are describing sounds very familiar--my daughter is also a bully, but she sees it more as enforcing rules. Unfortunately they are the rules of behavior that she has determined should apply. And she will hit, pinch, call names because that is what she does when others do not comply.

    Early on, everyone advised us that the best thing to do would be to get her into Martial Arts as an outlet for her aggression--but boy did that backfire! She just ended up with more "moves" to use on the other kids.

    The best thing for difficult child has been having school counselors help her work through the social issues with other kids. Whenever difficult child has a conflict with another student, the counselors sit down with her and the other student and they try to help difficult child work out a solution to the problem without bullying. If it works, great! And if not, the school has actually reassigned kids to different classes, seats, whatever it takes to separate them and end the problem before it escalates.

    MyHrt--The most important thing would be to determine whether your child is bullying to be mean--or because he's trying to discipline other kids. If he is trying to be a disciplinarian, then social skills training is probably the way to go.

    --DaisyF
     
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    MyHrt, You certainly are wise to see the problem. If I had a dime for every parent who told me that "MY child would NEVER....." I would be able to buy Bill Gates! And I am not a teacher oor employed by a school in ANY capacity. But I am up at school frequently and I speak with a lot of parents.

    Anyway, one way to help stop the bullying is to NEVER spank your children. What a normal kids learns from spanking is that they should not DARE to do that thing. What a difficult child learns from any kind of corporal punishment is that if they are bigger or have authority over someone then they can hit them if the person does not behave.

    Daisy, you are NOT alone in having problems with your difficult child in martial arts. Wiz used to BEG for lessons. I kept saying no, even though EVERY psychiatrist, therapist, teacher, etc... SWORE to me that martial arts would teach him discipline and self control.

    We enrolled Jessie in martial arts because Wiz was very violent with her and much bigger than she was. We wanted her to have the tools to fight back and stop him (we were at our wit's end with how to fix this!). Jessie LOVED martial arts. After 2 months we finally enrolled difficult child, mostly because my parents were very insistent.

    What did we learn from martial arts? That no matter how many tools Jessie had, she was NOT going to hit her brother because she loved him and she believed (at 5) that "you don't hurt someone you love so you don't hit them. Even if they hit you." This is a direct quote from her - it has stuck in my mind for years.

    Having Wiz in martial arts (same dojo, excellent instructors, some were in the Olympics tryouts) was a total and complete DISASTER. He learned better way to hurt someone. Even when he would use those ways on Jessie she would not fight back. Wiz tried to do one of the kicks on ME and I grabbed that leg and dropped him on the floor. (It was well padded because he had JUST dumped 2 loads of clean laundry on the - floor looking for something and kicked me for telling him to clean it up!) He had martial arts the next day and I made him tell Sensei what he had done. Sensei said that using martial arts on anyone outside the dojo is extremely dangerous and Wiz clearly could not handle what he was learning. I had already decided to pull Wiz out of the classes, but Sensei told Wiz that because he tried to kick his mother he lost the privilege of taking ANY classes at his dojo for at least a year. In a year, if he had NEVER hurt someone, then he could try classes again. Sensei even called monthly to ask Wiz how he was at home and school and then ask ME how he was at home and school.

    Wiz never took another class. He is scared now that if he learned martial arts he might get angry and use it on someone, and he is 17 and a very very strong person. I am proud he could come to that conclusion and make a good choice.

    Sorry to thread jack there, back to bullying. To help stop the bullying, check the info on his medications and have his thyroid checked. Docs often do not read the prescribing info that is in the packages. Doctors also decline to acknowledge problems that they cannot see for themselves. A camcorder, or even the recorder on your cell phone? That will rule out or in some causes for bullying. It will also help the doctor see that the behaviors you describe are real. Then do role playing where he is the bullied one and you are the bully. Talk about it afterwords, ask him how he felt a certain problem (name calling, being forced to give something to someone else, etc.. causes.

    Then ask him if this is how he wants others to feel and if he wants them to think and feel about HIM.

    I would also seek out sensory things that calm him. Many docs don't know much about sensory problems, especially sensory integration disorder. If a child is having sensory problems they may be likely to do whatever they think they need to in order to make the issue ASAP.

    Many of our kids have sensory integration problems, or what I call sensory "quirks". Making sure they have appropriate sensory diets can really help with a LOT of problems. You may want to skim "the out of sync child" - it is excellent, but is very technical in some parts. I would get it from the library to see if it is something you want to buy or not. The author is Carol Kranowitz. She also has a book called "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun". This is a good investment, in my opinion. It has a LOT of activities and tells you what sensory things it helps. It also is packed with ways to do these activities with very little $$. As you read the Has Fun book, look at the activities and see which ones your difficult child already does or would have fun doing. Then look at what needs they fill. This will give you some ideas as to where his sensory problems are.

    I found when we had the private Occupational Therapist (OT) session that the things she recommended as activities were often things that I already knew he liked. With that, and the Occupational Therapist (OT) report, we were able to create a Sensory Diet that helped my son quite a lot.

    It is just an idea, but it might help. I hope I haven't given you too much info at once.
     
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    MyHrt, You certainly are wise to see the problem. If I had a dime for every parent who told me that "MY child would NEVER....." I would be able to buy Bill Gates! And I am not a teacher oor employed by a school in ANY capacity. But I am up at school frequently and I speak with a lot of parents.

    Anyway, one way to help stop the bullying is to NEVER spank your children. What a normal kids learns from spanking is that they should not DARE to do that thing. What a difficult child learns from any kind of corporal punishment is that if they are bigger or have authority over someone then they can hit them if the person does not behave.

    Daisy, you are NOT alone in having problems with your difficult child in martial arts. Wiz used to BEG for lessons. I kept saying no, even though EVERY psychiatrist, therapist, teacher, etc... SWORE to me that martial arts would teach him discipline and self control.

    We enrolled Jessie in martial arts because Wiz was very violent with her and much bigger than she was. We wanted her to have the tools to fight back and stop him (we were at our wit's end with how to fix this!). Jessie LOVED martial arts. After 2 months we finally enrolled difficult child, mostly because my parents were very insistent.

    What did we learn from martial arts? That no matter how many tools Jessie had, she was NOT going to hit her brother because she loved him and she believed (at 5) that "you don't hurt someone you love so you don't hit them. Even if they hit you." This is a direct quote from her - it has stuck in my mind for years.

    Having Wiz in martial arts (same dojo, excellent instructors, some were in the Olympics tryouts) was a total and complete DISASTER. He learned better way to hurt someone. Even when he would use those ways on Jessie she would not fight back. Wiz tried to do one of the kicks on ME and I grabbed that leg and dropped him on the floor. (It was well padded because he had JUST dumped 2 loads of clean laundry on the - floor looking for something and kicked me for telling him to clean it up!) He had martial arts the next day and I made him tell Sensei what he had done. Sensei said that using martial arts on anyone outside the dojo is extremely dangerous and Wiz clearly could not handle what he was learning. I had already decided to pull Wiz out of the classes, but Sensei told Wiz that because he tried to kick his mother he lost the privilege of taking ANY classes at his dojo for at least a year. In a year, if he had NEVER hurt someone, then he could try classes again. Sensei even called monthly to ask Wiz how he was at home and school and then ask ME how he was at home and school.

    Wiz never took another class. He is scared now that if he learned martial arts he might get angry and use it on someone, and he is 17 and a very very strong person. I am proud he could come to that conclusion and make a good choice.

    Sorry to thread jack there, back to bullying. To help stop the bullying, check the info on his medications and have his thyroid checked. Docs often do not read the prescribing info that is in the packages. Doctors also decline to acknowledge problems that they cannot see for themselves. A camcorder, or even the recorder on your cell phone? That will rule out or in some causes for bullying. It will also help the doctor see that the behaviors you describe are real.

    Then do role playing where he is the bullied one and you are the bully. Talk about it afterwords, ask him how he felt a certain problem (name calling, being forced to give something to someone else, etc..) causes others to feel.

    I would also seek out sensory things that calm him. Many docs don't know much about sensory problems, especially sensory integration disorder. If a child is having sensory problems they may be likely to do whatever they think they need to in order to make the sensory input stop ASAP. These are best diagnosed by a PRIVATE Occupational Therapist. Schools do have Occupational Therapist (OT)'s, but they are mostly just looking at ways sensory problems will impact academics, not just other problems caused by sensory integration. Private Occupational Therapist (OT)'s work for YOU and will give you a more complete picture of the ways sensory problems are hurting your child.

    Many of our kids have sensory integration problems, or what I call sensory "quirks". Making sure they have appropriate sensory diets can really help with a LOT of problems. You may want to skim "the out of sync child" - it is excellent, but is very technical in some parts. I would get it from the library to see if it is something you want to buy or not. The author is Carol Kranowitz. She also has a book called "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun". This is a good investment, in my opinion. It has a LOT of activities and tells you what sensory things it helps. It also is packed with ways to do these activities with very little $$. As you read the Has Fun book, look at the activities and see which ones your difficult child already does or would have fun doing. Then look at what needs they fill. This will give you some ideas as to where his sensory problems are.

    I found when we had the private Occupational Therapist (OT) session that the things she recommended as activities were often things that I already knew he liked. With that, and the Occupational Therapist (OT) report, we were able to create a Sensory Diet that helped my son quite a lot.


    I hope you can help your son learn not to bully anyone.
     
  18. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    Thanks! There's no such thing as too much information when it comes to trying to help my son. I have read more books and been to more doctors than anyone I know (besides the lovely parents here, lol) I do acknowledge that my son is a bully. I've seen him in action! He used to be bullied when he was little. He was on Ritalin for a long time and it made him really tiny. When they took him off of it, he gained a lot of weight. He's not the "little" kid anymore. I agree about the spanking thing (although many of my relatives would beg to differ) I have tried spanking and it just makes him more aggressive. I have tried role play too but he just doesn't see to get it. I will keep trying though. Eventually he'll have to understand right? He's got Aspergers so I know that they often have trouble understanding others feelings but I have never heard of them being bullies? He does have Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) (its gotten much better as he's grown up). He still holds his ears when he flushes the toilet and he's afraid of the swingset but he's doing a little better now that he's older. Is there a special diet that he should be on? Its all so much to remember but I've got my notepad, lol
     
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