Hurting other kids-- It Happened Again!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by EB67, Jun 30, 2007.

  1. EB67

    EB67 New Member

    Things have been horrific. I am feeling sad, worn down, in need of support. And direction! I have always prided myself on my cool, level headed approach where it concerns raising Seb. Now I feel lost and unsure how to parent him.

    You may recall that I decided to take Seb off medications for the summer. Since making that decision he has had several "accidents" that involved inujring other children. The day he went off Daytrana he "accidentally" kicked a boy in the balls. My mind is blurring the other incidents at the moment.

    As for the decision to take Seb off the Daytrana, well, he'll be getting that little patch affixed to his behind tomorrow morning first thing. But will it help?

    The first run in today happened at the playground at the pool club this morning. Seb was playing with an insect and watching it crawl on a twig when another kid came and killed the bug. Smashed it. And Seb? He punched the kid. Over and over again. I heard the boy crying. Screaming. I saw Seb hitting him in the distance,rushed over, apprehended him, did the requisite apology the the family and removed him from the pool.

    In the car Seb cried, said he had no self control, said he hated himself, said he was the worst person... I tried to remain collected though I was very upset. I told him that in the adult world what he keeps doing is called assault and it lands people in jail. He cried and said he desrved to go there.

    At home, my husband took a far less mild approach. He doesn't buy into the fact that Seb's impulsivity is beyond his control. He thinks punishment will make a difference, so he took away his Nintendo. No he didn't read The Book. He knows better, just ask him. Hasn't read a page but thinks it is mamby pamby BS.

    Later in the day we went to a friend's BBQ though I wanted to stay at home. I couldn't-- nthe hosts were counting on our being there. In the evening though, Seb "accidentally" pushed a kid to the ground and kneed him in the head while playing monkey in the middle. Once again, there was the other kid crying, Seb screaming: "I don't know what happened! I don't know what I did!"... then the apology to the parent and the humiliating exodus from the party.

    I can't take any more of this.

    Does this mean we can't go anywhere?

    He feels remorseful each time, but is there any way to stop these confrontations with other kids?

    How do I handle the constant hitting,fighting and arguing with other kids?

    How do I preserve his self esteem when he feels like a bad kid?

    At heart I know he is a good boy with a heart of gold but he has less than no self control. All I can do is cry now that he is asleep and the house is quiet.

    I am so sad for Seb. And I am sad for me. Seb is so much work and I can never relax.
  2. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    I am sorry for what you are going through. I have been there and I really understanding how emotionally draining and frustrating this can be :crying:....Sending hugs... :angel:

    I felt the need to constantly watch everything my difficult child was doing. For example at the pool, the other moms were able to sit back on the low chairs a few feet pushed back from the edge...or others could even sit in the shade and watch there child a 10 feel away !!! :grrr: not me....on occasion I could sit on the edge of the pool with my feet hanging, but most of the times I was in the water with him helping him to "facilitate" the play or just keep him away from others.

    Unfortunately I think you do need to monitor him more closely. I did avoid crowded places...I did not go to the local pool...I took him to the less crowded pool a few towns over so that in case he had a meltdown it wasn't always in front of the same people...

    At times I spoke with some of the neighborhood kids explaining that my difficult child gets frustrated easily and Please Please help us out by now doing things that they know will anger him...I asked them to avoid very competitive games...

    Seb is not intentionally getting angry at the kids, but he is hitting them in anger when he is not having self-control. I'm constantly telling by kids it's not an accident when you hurt someone when you were hurt them because something made you angry and you took your anger out on this child.

    Have you worked with him on anger management strategies? We practiced breathing exercises...we used stress balls...

    We also explored with medication. Medication has really helped and since he started medication 2 1/2 years ago we have never skipped or forgotten one dosage (except one time). We've never even talked about stopping them....

    Sending hugs
  3. Alisonlg

    Alisonlg New Member

    Oh Ella. I'm so very sorry. I don't even know what to say. What does Seb's psychiatrist have to say about this behavior?

    I mean, this goes beyond the scope of what I have experience with, but it seems to go beyond basic ADHD, which Seb is being medicated for. And the fact that it is seriously interfering with his life, I think this really takes center stage here...the whole "danger to self or OTHERS" thing. I would definitely give the psychiatrist a call and if you don't have an appointment soon, I'd probably make one. I don't think this is something you can sit have the rest of the summer and you shouldn't feel inprisoned in your home becuase you don't feel it's safe to take him out and around other kids!

  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Sounds like Seb and my difficult child 2 are cut from the same cloth! :wink:

    We are dealing with the same issues right now. I have to hover over him any time we leave our house and go out in public, especially where there are other children. It sucks. Plain and simple.

    I'm hoping that as we titrate his medications and get this sorted out this summer he will stabilize and I won't have to be on guard for his next crisis!
  5. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    Unfortunately, I have to do the same thing Jannie does..supervise constantly. All 3 of my difficult child's have to be within whisper ear shot in all public places. It makes outtings almost impossible and life extremely stressful.

    I'm so sorry its been so difficult. I hope putting him back on the patch helps.
  6. TexasTornado

    TexasTornado New Member

    I to am right there with Jannie and Stressed.
    And try and explain this to people-just doesnt work-they look at you like your crazy-that you are an overprotective mom-when in actuality we are protecting THEIR kids by keeping track of ours-Know what I mean??
    I hope the patch gets things better for you and Seb-just wanted you to know we are going through this also-constantly-and yes-its a 24/7 thing ard here as well....
  7. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I've found with my difficult child that's it's important to acknowledge his anger, especially if it was well founded. Sometimes they have very legitimate reasons for their anger but they so often take it too far. Had my kids come in and reported that difficult child had punched them because they'd killed the insect he was observing I wouldn't have had a whole lot of sympathy althought I might have commented on their methodology. (This is normal kid stuff: I distinctly remember whacking my best friend in the head with a roller skate for needlessly killing ants in the ant colony we were watching.) The difference with the difficult child's is that they don't know when to quit!

    I agree with the others on constant supervision, and if that can't be done opting to keep him away from other children until he's steadied out again.

    Others may disagree, but when it comes to safety related issues such as this I'm still in favor of maintaining some level of responsibility with the child. There are times when taking away Nintendo is a very reasonable consequence for a difficult child.

    With my difficult child I have found the need to tie aggressive behavior to something he can understand in his world. He doesn't often catch the cause/effect/reasoning of mom is going to dole out a consequence because I've hurt someone because he rarely feels remorseful--he feels justified. He grasps it much better when he can see a relationship: mom takes away the Nintendo because the majority of the games are fighting games and if I can't handle my anger/aggression in real life than I'm not going to get to have this stuff on the screen. Again, he usually doesn't feel remorseful for his actions, but it's far more tangible in the reasoning department. Taking away his favorite toy as a consequence is one thing, taking it away or limiting what he plays because he's not controlling his own aggression so he's not going to be getting a steady diet of it on screen is another. Ditto with postponing viewing movies with violence. As you know, parents of easy child boys are pretty much ignoring most PG-13 ratings on movies the boys really want to see (every 6 year old boy in my daughter's 1st grade class saw Revenge of the Sith) so this didn't make me the most popular mother in the world but in my son's case it seemed to be a helpful incentive.

    Given the affinity that Seb has for printed material, I think I would be looking into anger management books for kids.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm actually with SRL. Whether or not he has ADHD or more, imagine how it will be if he's older and is still hurting kids. I do think that he could use a re-evaluation. Second and third opinions were needed for us to get my son's diagnosis and treatment right. Under the wrong circumstances, stims can make certain kids worse (my son was one who got aggressive on stims when he wasn't aggressive before). When kids are hurting other kids, I think it's best to get proactive about getting other opinions on what could be wrong with the child. Other kids aren't going to tiptoe around your son. They're kids, and if he hurts them, they're going to avoid him. Hugs and I hope you get your answers soon.
  9. kris

    kris New Member

    by THE BOOK are you referring to dr. greene' THE EXPLOSIVE CHILD? where in that book does it say it's okay to excuse/not consequence violence? he places safety at the top of the list of things to be consequenced.

    i agree with-SRL. where is his responsibility in all this? where are his consequences? it's all well & good to say he has no impulse control, but how are you teaching him to gain control?

    first thing i would do is give up the medication~free summer because it seems to be causing more harm than good. second i would find a physical consequence for him ~~~~ & no, i don't mean spankings or such. do you live in a home? even if you don't have a fireplace get some firewood & have him move it from one spot to another.....he'll be, hopefully, too tired to be quite so impulsive. if you don't have a yard....take him to a park & have him run, & run, & run. don't think of things he'll's really kind of important that he NOT enjoy it.

    i see in your profile that there are mood stabilization issues for difficult child. have you & psychiatrist ever discussed the use of an antipsychotic to try & curb this tendency toward violence? maybe it's time to trial a mood stabilizer?

  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I should clarify that I'm not extreme into severe consequences just because the issue is aggression but most of the time I think like Kris a balanced approach is needed. Preventative steps such as supervision or limits for kids who aren't where they need to be yet, modeling of good anger control methods by adults and peers in their life, training, appropriate consequences in doses they can handle, and looking for alternatives (such as other methods or involving other people) when the above isn't working.

    This would be a good time to mention a great program that the school social worker suggested we write into difficult child's IEP. It's a violence prevention program called Second Step, which has turned out to be very effective in teaching problem solving and social skills that the schools are using it for wider applications. Once a week during 1st and 2nd grade the social worker came into the classroom and taught a short lesson including role playing to the entire class. The teachers like this arrangement because the whole class benefits even though it was written in for one student.

    Also very helpful for my difficult child was speech therapy--LOTS of social language skills including problem solving from K-4th grade.
  11. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I gotta tell ya. My Tink, who is 6, used to always get in trouble for hurting the neighborhood kids. And she lays it on thick: "I'm just bad. Nobody likes me. I'll NEVER have any friends." Well, I realized that my facial expressions were feeding into that. I was feeling bad for her and coddling her. When I changed my reaction, and made her take responsibility by first apologizing and then giving her an appropriate consequence, the hurting lessened. And when it happens now, she stops herself and apologizes right away instead of continuing to hurt the other child. Her consequences are less now.

    In short, I realized that Tink knew what she was doing, and was playing the sympathy card with me. A little manipulation going on there on top of a little bullying. Once I made her responsible, both stopped (or at least lessened). Yeah, there is an impulse control problem, but now she has something to think about, and can stop herself before it gets out of hand.
  12. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I'm sorry you are going through this. Meanness toward other children by our kids brings a special sort of humiliation that most parents will never fully understand. It's coupled with the desperation of wanted to fix the situation, fear that our children will continue down this destructive path and often blame from others that we're not doing enough.
    There's been some discussion in this thread about a possible misdiagnosis of your difficult child. It's important to remember that we are parents, just like you, but some have been there done that already. It's prudent to push for re-evaluation if the treatment plan seems off the mark or ineffective. Either way, open a dialog with your difficult child's doctor about these recent episodes as they should be noted in his history. Also, I'm posting the following link about adhd vs bipolar because it may be useful to you and other readers:
    Remember we are here for you.
  13. kris

    kris New Member

    i understand your sympathies for your son, however, it does seem that he's taking advantage of this. he knows the "i'm a bad boy" routine tugs & your heart & then your off & running on the sympathy train.

    you need to find consequences that hold him & only him responsible for his behavior. doesn't matter what the provocation violence is never, ever the & answer & there is no excuse for it.

    in the not too distant future....sooner than you might think....people will stop making allowances for him....and you.

  14. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    You've been given many things to consider. The only thing I'd offer is that safe behaviors are my Basket A. My wm has huge impulse control & boundary issues; combined with a hair trigger temper it makes for a very ugly kid.

    wm is never left alone with other kids - ever. He is however, out in the community with Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) worker, learning skills. And he has immediate consequences for any over the top behaviors - generally the outing ends immediately & a stop, relax & think time out.

    Generally he has to write out an apology as "I'm sorry" slips to easily off his tongue.

    Here's hoping for a better day for you & your difficult child.
  15. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I can hear your pain and frustration through your words. Like jannie and stressed out, supervision was the key for my difficult child. Jannie described it well in regards to sitting on the edge of the pool or being right there in the water.

    For me, when difficult child was younger, I always sat on the edge of my seat. Other moms would sit back and talk, but I had my hawk eyes on difficult child and could "move in" within a second's notice! It's not fun, it's not relaxing, and sometimes you feel it's just plain not fair, but it is necessary to avoid situations as you described.

    Additionally, it enables you to really see how difficult child is reacting. And I truly feel that is the key - reacting not acting. He is reacting to stimuli that a "typical" could would brush off. Exactly as my difficult child would do.

    I also agree with SRL in regards to consequences. Our rule, when difficult child is at school and does something wrong and gets punished, great, school handled it and we don't repunish at home - though we will discuss it. If he crosses that magic line - which for our home is invading another's personal space with your body or using any part of your body to touch them in anger or frustration - it's bye-bye favorites. Anything that has an on switch (gameboy, tv, computer) is out. The length of time depends on the severity of the crime. Just as in real life.

    I will tell you that I had a very frustrated little boy in third grade with numerous loss of privilages. But with intervention, consequences, talk therapy (which helped him recognize when his frustration was building and what he could do about it), the right medications, and lots and lots of hard work on his part (especially as he was getting older and being "in" socially was starting to mean something) we saw drastic improvement.

    I thing maturing brought some control as well.

    I don't think you should "fear" that there is something else terribly wrong with difficult child (although there could be comorbid diagnosis). This type of acting out/anger towards others, can go hand in hand with a highly impulsive kid (my difficult child's diagnosis was adhd-highly impulisive type). They react before they think it through. Afterwards, they know they were wrong, they know they acted inappropriately and they show remorse. That's a good thing. Kids that don't show remorse are another thing altogether.

    Speak to the doctor about what has been going on and see what he/she suggests. Constantly, in a loving way, talk to your son about the appropriateness/inappropriateness of his actions. Role model frustrating situations so he has some options other than physical. Set forward clear expectations and even clearer consequences for the violent actions. Make sure he knows ahead of time what his punishment is going to be.

    And most importantly, make sure he knows how much you love him. It's really tough for these little boys who are always hearing "no", who are always getting in trouble for their impulsivity, who are always hearing "stop it", "cut it out", "bad". Make sure, not matter how tough the day or how wrong his behavior, that he knows before he closes his eyes that mom loves him and is glad that he is her son. It goes a really, really, really long way. I speak from personal experience.

  16. ROE

    ROE New Member

    I agree with what the others are saying. First off, I would discuss this behavior with the a.s.a.p.

    I agree with Kris, violent behavior, provoked or unprovoked, has got to be addressed. Safety is always a priority. Kris is right that in the near future people will stop making allowances for your difficult child. I've BT.

    My difficult child was very aggressive at 10-11, usually in the home towards family members. But I always feared that he would lose it and act out on another child. As a young child, this never happened.

    The and the All told me that there should be a consequence for his behavior. My difficult child did participate in some intensive therapy for anger management. also added a medication that difficult child took for several years.

    Although my difficult child's aggressive behavior greatly improved, his impulsiveness got him into trouble in middle school. One time a kid hit him with a piece of candy on the bus, difficult child punched him in the face. difficult child was remorseful afterward, but it didn't stop the parents from going to the police to file a complaint (nothing came of it)and to the school to raise hell. This is just one example of many.

    My difficult child is in high school now. He has made great strides in overcoming his aggressive tendencies and rarely has an incident. However, this past school year he was provoked into a fight during school. They almost cuffed him and arrested him. Again difficult child was remorseful, but he still got suspended and he got a fine for disorderly conduct (same as the instigator). There is zero tolerance for aggressive behavior and that is the way it should be.

    Your difficult child has expressed his inability to control himself. I understand this, having dealt with my own difficult child's struggles. You need to help him find that control, whether it's through medication or therapy or both. Good luck. I hope things get better for you soon.
  17. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    Sharon had it right when she said.....

    "I will tell you that I had a very frustrated little boy in third grade with numerous loss of privilages. But with intervention, consequences, talk therapy (which helped him recognize when his frustration was building and what he could do about it), the right medications, and lots and lots of hard work on his part (especially as he was getting older and being "in" socially was starting to mean something) we saw drastic improvement.
    I thing maturing brought some control as well."

    There is no quick fix...your concerns are the exact concerns so many of us came here. My earlier post was written in past tense...don't kids yourself for a moment that I'm not with him all the time...maybe now I'm with him 85% of the time as opposed to 100%...and I mean 85% of the time total in your face close supervision...

    As far as safety and hurting others this can't happen. Now that he's a bit older he better handles his consequences, but he does have them. I know the purpose of consequences is to prevent behaviors from occuring again, and I know that the consequences don't work, but eventually they will. I can't let my child hurt someone and not give him a consequence. I'm careful about the consequences I choose because I know unfortunately the behavior will occur and again...and before I know it my children would be in there rooms and grounded forever.

    It was after my child over reacted and threw a rock at a car in anger and scared the heck out of the neighbors with his anger that we stepped up the therapy. We enrolled him in an intenstive outpatient/(partial hospitalization)therapy 2 1/2 hours a day after school three days a week for eight weeks. During this time they discussed anger management in detail--they talked about what anger looks like, how it feels what happens, etc. They talked about the fact they he was in this therapy because he wasn't showing enough self-control when he was faced with frustrating situations. We changed medications...

    Even though our kids don't have the control we do need to try and stop this behavior...These kids need to learn to manage better...

    Now I'm on a rant...and Ella it's not about's about the frustration of raising a difficult child. Just this past two weeks we had two "accidents" with other kids....everyone one having waterfights...everyone was having fun...we were on our last refill of the game...difficult child got nailed...he got pissed he threw his heavy water gun "up in the air" towards our neighbor because he was angry "not meaning to hit the neighbor" but DID...she was crying and screaming (ANOTHER NIGHTMATRE ISSUE WITH OUR NEIGHBORS) difficult child handled it pretty well--he came right in--he apologized--he stayed in his room for one hour--he wasn't allowed to play outside for two days--it was an impulsive decision--he was frustrated that he was losing--but he lost self-control. He could have seriously hurt this girl.....I'm glad he took his consequences well--I'm glad he realized he messed up--but still a bad choice...and a few days later he was upset again and threw a stick at someone..again in the house this time for a few hours...even though the kids have problems...they will lose all of their friends or never get any if they can self-regulate...this is awful as a parent and person..I want a life and I want my kids to have lives.... but as Sharon said...

    But with intervention, consequences, talk therapy (which helped him recognize when his frustration was building and what he could do about it), the right medications, and lots and lots of hard work on his part (especially as he was getting older and being "in" socially was starting to mean something) we saw drastic improvement. I thing maturing brought some control as well."

    We're all trying to do what is best for our kids. Ella-it sounds like you are doing all you can--don't give with your doctor..keep using your strategies....hang in there..we're all here to support you and each other
  18. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    I agree that this is a basket A issue. One thing that worked with our difficult child 1 was to encourage him to come to an adult the second they felt that someone was "wronging" him. Although to most kids, this seems like tattling, with our dude, it allowed him to:

    a. take responsibility for any issues upsetting him
    b. take a few seconds to process the problem
    c. have assistance in rectifying the problem
    d. allow us to explain that his perception of the "personal affront" may be skewed (they didn't do it to annoy you, it was an accident, that child is younger and doesn't understand what they did was wrong)
    e. allow us to work through a way for him to work it out himself (what would be a good way to handle this?)

    Make sure that you keep a careful, close eye on him, watch for times when he makes a good decision and make a HUGE fuss when he does the right thing. Positive reinforment is essential in building his self-esteem. You have to punish for Basket A's though or he'll never take responsibility for his impulses.

  19. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I have not carefully read this whole thread due to time but I have scan read the responses. After forty plus years of dealing
    with ADHD, I don't think your son is displaying ADHD symptoms alone. Who has evaluated him? It really is important that he
    be identified as early as possible so he does not have too many
    years of poor choices to cope with in the future. Even little
    kids "get a reputation" that can carry over for decades. Until
    he is fully diagnosed you really have no choice but to curtail
    your exposure to crowds with him...and although I know the stress
    from personal really have to be next to him at
    all times when there could be any temptation. It's a bummer, I
    know. Sending supportive hugs. DDD
  20. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    So sorry Ella you are going through this! As you know - I understand. I will not ramble on, because others have made excellent points, but I will just repeat the couple of things that stick out in my mind as truly important.

    One - I do not believe the symptoms he is exhibiting are solely ADHD - just my opinion - but I would definitely talk to the psychiatrist asap. Family history can be a big clue - do you have any depression or bi-polar that has been diagnosed in your extended family?

    Two - I believe he needs to know that you believe he has self control in these situations. I would not ever let him ever feel the fact that you think he may be "helpless" to his impulses. He has to believe he is not a victim, but empowered. My son constantly blamed "accidents" for his behavior - but doing that was his way of not taking responsibility for himself.

    Three - For now, I would not let him go to crowded, overpopulated, parks, parties, etc. Maybe arrange maybe some one on one playdates? For my son, anything that involved a lot of people instantly fueled his anxiety, which caused him to become overstimulated, which in turn caused him to become highly impulsive, aggressive, and volatile.

    Hang in there - it WILL get better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Really!