another lost friendship

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by cutedimples, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. cutedimples

    cutedimples New Member

    I got a call today from the mother of my son's favorite friend asking me not to allow Jake to come over anymore. Their friendship is relatively new and started so promisingly, but as usual, Jake's anger and lack of social skills alienated him again. And afterwards, I was so upset but tried so hard not to make him feel bad about himself as I told him what Michael's mom had detailed, but at the same time I wanted him to feel bad cause shouldn't he have learned by now that he can't treat people this way? And as I lay in bed, awake and crying as quietly as possible, trying to find direction and answers from somewhere, suddenly I found myself on my computer and here I am. So thank you in advance, just for all the amazing words I have read in support of other people who know what the 3 of us are dealing with. If I never make it back here (not likely!) I'll still feel less alone.
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    And we are so glad you found your way here. Many, many of us have experienced our challenging children's social issues. It is very hard for us to watch.

    I saw your first post, didn't respond because I've no experience with that medication, and it's great to see you did a profile signature on your second post! However, I believe you may be using your son's name as your screenname. As a moderator on this forum, as well as a long time member, I would highly recommend that you change your screenname. This board is read all over the world and you really should not give identifying information, especially about your child.

    When you change your screenname, you can post letting us know you changed it and we'll remember who you are!! Glad you are here.

  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Hi Jake's Mum,

    I responded on your other post about Clonidine and asked a bunch of questions about Jake. I just want you to know that he may very well not be treating his friends poorly or losing friends on purpose. He may actually have social skills deficits that need to helped with training, either by a professional or by you.

    We also highly recommend reading The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It has helped many of us on this board parent our extra-challenging children.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Agree with smallmom that this may well NOT be bad behavior, but a social skill deficit. IF he has one, he won't learn by losing friends, he'll need interventions. My son is on the autism spectrum and needed social skills and life skills classes--his school peers LOVE him now. That is not an exaggeration. He actually has a small group of friends (he is almost 15--please see that there is hope).
    I recommend taking him to a neuropsychologist. There may be more going on than ADHD/ODD too. If so, his medications could be making him worse rather than better.
    It's so hard when they lose friends.
    (((Hugs))) Take care.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I was thinking autism spectrum, too. I don't know exactly what happened at the friend's house, but my guess is that your difficult child simply acted like he was the only one there and he barged his way through all their activities. Shared activity can be taught.
    So sorry ... but glad you came here.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm with MWM on this one - it sounds so familiar. And an autism label is not the appalling news it used to be - not only does it explain what's going on, it can give direction to strategies and support which can help a great deal. Both my boys are doing well, a lot of people say that they find it hard to believe that have autism. But this wasn't always the case - we were initially told that difficult child 3 would never be able to attend a 'normal' school, that he would always need a high level of support and supervision and that he was certainly never going to be academically inclined. Boy, were they wrong! Beneath the autism in both boys, is a very sharp intellect indeed which has helped them find ways to learn effectively and to grasp academic concepts at a high level.

    This is not unusual in high-functioning autism. But before they can get to this stage they need diagnosis, understanding, support and a good sense of themselves as worthwhile, capable individuals.

    People with autism have difficulties, but they also can have some wonderful qualities. They are loyal, loving, honest, law-abiding. However, this is by their own standards. They may try to lie (as all kids do) but are generally so bad at it that they always get caught and learn it's not worth the effort.

    Read "The Explosive Child" - there is a good discussion on this in Early Childhood. Also, to give yourself an advance glimpse of whether the autism label is a possibility (or at least Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), which is a blanket description covering a range of similar disorders) have a look at the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on It's not officially diagnostic, you have to have an expert do this (such as the neuropsychologist MWM suggested) but you can print the test results whatever they are, and take them to the doctor. It can at least give the doctor some idea of what things are concerning you.

  7. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member


    I too found this board late at night out of sheer desperation. The people here and their support and advice had helped me and difficult child tremendously.

    My difficult child had some social problems when he was younger. Each year it has gotten better because we have used each incident as a teaching moment. We talk about how he could have handled things differently if he had to do it over, how the other person has seemed to help.

    The others gave great advice too...

    My thoughts are with you and difficult child...
  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! I have had many nights of tears over the lost friendships due to my difficult children lack of social skills. It is so hard to see them hurt so much.

    To this day my difficult child starts the school year with some new names popping up, but by the end of the first half they are no longer mentioned. Most times there are new names, but by the end of the year - they are gone, too.
  9. cutedimples

    cutedimples New Member

    Thank you all! Autism is definitely something I have never ever considered. difficult child was diagnosed over a year ago by a child psychiatrist specializing in this area. After the initial tests she ruled out bi polar but autism was never mentioned. I'll go to that website for sure. We went to her because on the very first day of kindergarten his teacher asked us "if there's ever been a diagnosis in his history?" He goes to a private school which is great and the structure is perfect for him but there is no IEP, no counselor available to him. He's top in his class in everything except handwriting and social skills... Oh, and I probably gave off the wrong impression - I know that he's not treating people poorly on purpose. I just have to remember that when I see him acting like a (insert word here).
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry. That's so hard on everyone. I agree that talking with a therapist about some training that would help him to deal with frustrating situations. The medications can help things be better, but if he doesn't have a clear idea of where he gets into trouble with friends, and how to stop and turn it around, medication isn't doing all it could for him.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Welcome -

    I used to lay in bed at night and cry about all the friends my son never got to have and all the friends and acquaintences I lost because of lack of understanding of my son and his behavior.

    Now I thank GOD that difficult child cut the bad ones from the herd - and now I know who the real friends I have are. I can't imagine continuing a life with "friends" who wouldn't stand by me no matter what. So when this happens get an attitude that you're lucky - you're real friends would stand by you and support you the others you're lucky to be rid of sooner than later.

    And as far as him making friends? It will happen. He may not be the neighborhoods most popular kid, but he'll have freinds and when he does have them - they'll be the kind he can depend on.

  12. I am so glad you found us! Everyone here is awesome! You have been given a lot of great advice. I know how hard it is to watch your difficult child struggle with friends. My difficult child does too. We just recently moved and he had made a friend and now it looks like this is a lost friend now too. The boy is avoiding difficult child and now difficult child says he has no friends. This is why I am putting him into Boys and Girls Club for the summer. His psychiatrist said he needs to work on his social skills. I figured it is worth a try.

    Good luck to you.

  13. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Welcome..........Boy you sound like me when my difficult child was your difficult children age. I had SO many tears over the continued cycle of failure his life seemed to encompass.

    It does get better.....but slowly. My son tested with a NonVerbal Learning Disorder - which is very close to Aspergers, which is very close to Autism.....but all quite different. There are so many complexities to the brain. Has your son had a neuropsychologist evaluate him? Truthfully bipolar cannot be "tested". It is more a pattern throughout the person's life. My son was not officially diagnosis with bipolar until he was 12 - but I knew it since he was, oh, about 2?

    Docs put difficult child on Clonidine after he was stable on Lithium, and the 2 medications together have been amazing. We trialed Clonidie without the Lithium, and he became manic. In my experience, Lithium has been the foundation for difficult children progress - but not a cure - as all are medications that work well. The kiddos still have to work through therapy or hard knocks how to live successful lives.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    On the handwriting issue - from my observations and increasing exposure to other high-functioning autistics/Aspies, there seems to be a subset of individuals who have high-functioning autism or Asperger's AND also have hypermobile joints, often poor coordination (dyspraxia) and the follow-on is poor handwriting and pain when handwriting. Even easy child 2/difficult child 2 has this even though she doesn't quite qualify for a diagnosis of Asperger's.

    The hypermobile joints - it used to be called 'double-jointed' - is due to loose ligaments. The rheumatologist described it as like a truck whose load is not tied down tightly, and the load shifts every time the truck goes round a corner. Over time the load and/or the truck gets damaged.

    We're already seeing early osteoarthritis in difficult child 3. The older kids (except easy child) have clear signs of it.

    As far as school goes - we organised for the kids to be permitted to use a computer in class. The school district likes "Alphasmart Neo", which is little more than a keyboard with a calculator-style screen incorporated. Very sturdy, saves files as text only, so you upload them to a easy child or Mac and then do any formatting. difficult child 3 has his with him at home (correspondence student) so we have something to use for exams in the school.

    I'm still investigating this further, I found the constellation of symptoms interesting. I think it may overlap with more than autism, but as I said, I'm still digging up info. But in difficult child 3's drama class, of the other high-functioning autistics & Aspies, at least half would have the same problem with hands & handwriting. difficult child 3's handwriting is getting worse with each passing year. And I mentioned before - the pain in their hands when they write is an increasing problem - the pain is due to them having to hold their fingers more rigidly, to stop the joints bending back.

    Check his pencil grip - look at his fingertips. Do they tend to bend backwards? if they do, this makes it harder to control the pencil.

    Example: I have a pair of kitchen tongs designed for my non-stick frypan. But the ends of the tongs are plastic and bend. When I try to pick up a steak, the weight of the steak bends the ends of the tongs and the steak falls out and back into the pan. It's like how I imagine ru bber chopsticks would be.

    For these kids - their fingertips are as useful as if they are made of similar bendy material, and they have to exert much more force than usual, to maintain a controlling pencil grip. Hence - pain.

    What can help - soft pencil grips, to make it easier to hold them. Piano lessons - it encourages the finger joints to bend in, not out. Use of computer for writing tasks in school and at home. Exercises to work on balance (we're discovering the joys and therapy capability of Wii Fit - much cheaper than anything equivalent such as Dore, which is now in receivership in Australia anyway).

    You may need to have him assessed by a rheumatologist or at least an Occupational Therapist, in order to get the considerations necessary written into an IEP for him at school.

    There is help. School isn't always the best when it comes to support, although they do generally try. High school tends to be the worst. Tertiary generally provides the best support.

    For more information on what special provisions can be applied in your case, check the Special Education forum.

  15. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Wow Marg - another new insight. difficult child is "double jointed", and has dyspraxia, yet I never inserted the high functioning AS as a component. Thanks for the revelation.
  16. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I was reading an article yesterday about ring splints for the fingers of people with hypermobility.

    Here is the link:

    Note that the writer is part of the autism advocacy movement, and she has very strong views about a lot of subjects. I'm not trying to promote (or denigrate) her views, I just thought that her information about the splints was very interesting.

  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Thanks for the link Trinity. I just showed those finger splints to easy child 2/difficult child 2, I think she liked them. I'll try and send the link to easy child, as an Occupational Therapist (OT) with hypermobility in the family, she probably will be interested.

  18. cutedimples

    cutedimples New Member

    Has anyone ever had their children make some sort of amends, when a friend's mother calls to ask that their difficult child not come over anymore? I'm considering having J write a little note to M and his mother to apologize. I guess I'm not ready to let this one get away, but I've never been on the other end so I don't know if that's kosher or not.
  19. So Tired

    So Tired Member

    No advice to offer, but just wanted to say welcome and hope you find encouragement and comfort here...
  20. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Welcome! That is a tough situation- I am surprised that the Mom sounded so "permanent" about her request. Did she go in to the specifics of what led to this?

    I wonder if just getting to know her yourself a little then lettting her know that her child is welcome in your home and you could supervise yourself would make her open up to the idea of them remaining friends. Or, have a cookout and invite her and the child- letting her know that you'd like to help your son act in more appropriate ways. If she isn't open to anything, then I guess all you can do is let it go. difficult child has lost his best friend this year- I think in part because his parents are the type that right things off instead of trying to talk about a way to improve the situation.

    Good luck! Oh- you might want to remove the complete name of your son since this board is open for public viewing.