Embarrassment leading to defiance

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Castle Queen, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. Castle Queen

    Castle Queen Guest

    Knight is balking at going to his social skills class. I’m wondering if any of you have encountered anything similar when your difficult child’s have become aware that they are “different” and receiving accommodations- have they ever refused the accommodation/intervention due to embarrassment? How have you handled this?

    The social skills group meets once a week and supposedly teaches friendship skills. It’s currently the only social intervention the school will provide (and I had to wrangle to get this because the grant for the program somehow was not renewed for the year he started first grade- it was the year before, and the year after, but not for his year. I got him in because Sprite participates.) Each week, the participants are able to invite a friend and they go have lunch with the group and meet for a short time to discuss whatever the topic of the week is. Yesterday, I got a call from the leader that Knight refused to go. She had to come get him (not the first time), he had no friend with him, and he stood outside the classroom and refused to go in. He opted for a stay with the principal instead.

    Discussing it later with Knight, his friend that he always invites had declined to go this week. He wouldn’t ask anyone else because “I’m embarrassed, they will make fun of me, and why do I need to go anyway?” I replied as gently as possible that the group would help him learn to make and keep friends, and wouldn’t it be fun to have someone to do things with outside of school.

    I don’t know if the school should “make” him go or how to ease his concerns or what to advise the teachers involved. He doesn’t want to go to the group alone. I have just recently gotten him to reveal that 2 boys in his class are teasing him, one keeps flipping the hood on his sweatshirt down, and the other teases him about his compulsive hair-smoothing ritual he seems to be developing as a way to cope with stress. I’m afraid this is just going to get worse. Help!
  2. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    Oh Gosh Castle Queen difficult child and I have been down this road before.

    difficult child does not want to be "different" or "stupid" ( his words) and used to freak out when he attended an afterschool reading program for kids who struggle.

    It was a nightmare but with time and patience and a little reward or two he managed to just accept it.

    I would maybe contact the teacher and principal and try and come up with a plan of action.

    difficult child's Principal gave him professional basketball tix for completing the program and believe me he was thrilled !

    I wish you well, I know it is so hard.
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Eeyore refused to go to speech anymore in about 4th or 5th grade. Since he only had one speech goal left, we were able to push the services into his language arts Special Education class. Recently, the team decided that he no longer needed the lunch social group and he was very relieved.

    I am surprised that the boys are expected to bring a guest. In our district, it is usually just the sped kids and the social worker. How many kids are in this lunch bunch?
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Forcing participation is risking setting him up for failure. If he is stressed or anxious, he is going to be less likely to participate. The bullying in class has to stop - it's wrong anyhow, doubly wrong when it targets those least equipped to cope. This is a multifactorial problem and needs to be attacked on multiple levels. Having to invite a friend should not be compulsory - if he can't get his friend to go this week, he needs to feel OK about turning up on his own.

    Another approach to take with him - the two boys who are teasing him are already hassling him. How much worse could it get? If he invited them, it could turn this around and teach them that he needs to be given a break. Frankly, if I were the principal I would be sending those two boys to the social skills group, in the absence of difficult child.

    We had a few times when our kids refused to participate in something we had set up specially for them. Often when we went back to investigate further, thee were problems with the program in some way. For example, difficult child 1's karate class - we were told it would be good for him, help build self-edteem. But soon after he started he became reluctant to go, but would not explain why. It turned out that the teacher was bullying him but also using the "ethos" of the class to keep it secret. "We don't disclose karate secrets to anyone not in the class". "We don't whine to our mothers if we want to become skilled and strong."

  5. Castle Queen

    Castle Queen Guest

    It's optional to invite a friend. But difficult child feels he HAS to bring a PARTICULAR friend, or he won't go. (not sure if anyone else attends solo- I'll have to ask). But if he gets turned down, he won't ask anyone else. The group is small- 12-15 I'd say- some kids come after school but mine can't because I work and they have to go to daycare. difficult child is the only one exactly his age, since he has special permission to be in the program which wasn't extended to his year in school.

    Seems to me the "bring a friend" concept causes more problems than it solves.
    I don't know about reporting the teasing-difficult child's confidences are hard won and I sense more is going on than he admits to. I don't want to stop that particular communication flow...
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Can you suggest to him that he ask one of the bullies? After all, they're already teasing him so how ca it make them worse? And it could give them insight.

    My oldest friend used to tease me every time we met - my mother insisted I wear a ridiculous pillbox hat to church when no other kids wore hats to church at all by then. This girl would flip my hat over my eyes (it was held on with elastic - adding to my shame). I finally made friends with her when I was able to stop wearing the hat. We are still good friends, all these years later. But it took me making an effort, plus her realising how much it upset me for her to do the hat flipping thing.

    He could ask the kid, and get a knock-back. But if he asks in the spirit of trying to build bridges, it could even shame the kid into leaving him alone. Talk him through it, point out that among other things, the social skills class is designed to help him learn how to manage bullying situations. And it doesn't sound like serious bullying, more like the push-pull of playground give and take. It's a test, to see how he will react - in fun, or in annoyance? Sometimes the kid doing things like this is lacking certain social graces himself and is trying, in a hamfisted way, to make a friendly approach. So difficult child slicks his hair back obsessively? Teach him to make light of it. "Yeah, so? At least I make sure my hair isn't sticking out at all angles. Not like SOME people..." then smile and walk away.

    My kids tease me too - I tend to teach at every opportunity, and on every drive anywhere I would point out various views of interest. I've even stopped the car and made them get out on the side of the road, to look at the rock formations. I knew I was doing it too much the day there was a friend on board in the car and the kids all chorused, "And there is the chocolate shale..." as we passed the formation. "Note the faulting. Beneath the chocolate shale is the Hawksbury sandstone..."
    It's good-natured joshing, and I am sure I was never that bad. But I have to take it with a grin as a joke against myself. I know one day they will be parents and the cycle will continue. They'll get theirs!

    If he asks one of the bullies, the kid is most likely to say no. But he might say yes, if only out of curiosity. And it could help the kid get a more compassionate perspective on difficult child. It also gives difficult child practice at doing something socially challenging, but very grown-up and mature. It also gives difficult child some control back. ONE bully will be isolated form his support base if he goes. Underneath it all, bullies are just normal kids, often ones who have themselves been bullied and are just paying it on.

    An alternative - you could ask one of these bullies home for an afternoon's play. Supervise closely, make sure you have some structured activities for them to do, or maybe join in yourself so you can monitor and control interactions. But sometimes it takes a brave deed to break the cycle.

    When I was a kid at school, a group of girls used to beat me up every day. I talked it through with my mother and she gave me some extra money (which we could not afford) and I bought some sweets and then offered the sweets to these girls. I saw their reactions - some took the sweets clearly thinking, "What a crawler, what an idiot."
    Others took a sweet and said, "This is very nice of you, considering we've been mean to you."
    I replied, "I prefer to be friends. I figure it's always possible. No hard feelings."
    They never beat me up again. They had seen me in a different light, and they still were not totally lost to humanity if they had consciences.

    Mind you, there were others who took over attacking me (different group, unrelated) and them, I could not tame. But by then I realised that it was possible to give people a chance. If they threw back that chance, they deserved everything they got, from my making formal complaints.

    If you can't find a way through, I would let him off the class if he can't bring his friend. He already feels like a fish out of water. the class should have been more formally available to his age group, the poor kid won't learn much while he feels so uncomfortable anyway.

  7. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Just wanted to chime in and say YES, YES, YES. Still to do this day Matt does not want anything to do with groups or classes that would help him make his life better because he would feel "inferior". It is a hard, bitter conundrum - because how else do they get the help they need????
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a son on the autism spectrum (you sure your kiddo doesn't have Aspergers?) Anyway, he was more stressed out than embarassed to go to this sort of group. It was more for me than him anyway. He doesn't seem to mind being alone (seems to prefer it after school hours) and he actually learned social skills on his own...he does have a few friends. I didn't force him to go figuring he wouldn't get much out of it if he didn't like it. All kids are different though :)

    Does your school district have any bullying rules? They are strict about not allowing that here (although I'm sure they can't 100% prevent it).
  9. Castle Queen

    Castle Queen Guest

    MWM, our school district does have an anti-bullying/intimidation policy. However, I can't be sure Knight isn't doing the same.

    I would love to know if my difficult child has Asperger's, but I can't seem to get anybody to test him. I have looked at the criteria online and he meets most of it but doesn't seem to obsessively talk about anything special. He is, shall we say, overly interested in his Legos and will play with them for hours. Can I ask, if we knew he DID have Asperger's, would that make it easier to get services for him?

    I am leaning towards taking him out of the group. Last night I had a "casual" discussion with the kids about the group and was shocked to find out there are only 6 included in the group. "Oh," I replied. "Six, plus friends?" I was told no, six if everyone there brought a friend. The only kids in this particular group are Sprite, Knight, and a third girl! If Knight doesn't bring a friend, he's the only boy! No wonder he doesn't want to go!

    Getting info from either him or the school is like pulling teeth, I'm telling you.
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Castle -

    I went to the source on this one and asked my son - he's 20 what he thought about this. At first he chuckled and he said "Well depending on how old he is - does he even have friends? I mean Mom the entire time I was in school who did I ever have as a friend? Everyone hated me. Then if you had asked the neighbors which one of THEIR Moms would have ever allowed their kid to go anywhere with us?" True enough. Then we jokingly said "Rent a friend?" I mean when you go down the road at age 5 with a scythe screaming you're going to kill someone - kinda weeds out the playmates. We did have the kids across the street, but mostly because their Mom was Schizophrenic and their Dad was an alcoholic.

    The other thing I think this is counter-productive in is stigma. Dude said it's enough that the kids know you are in special education and peek through the window of that class and they are taught NOT to say anything in school about it - but he said he got into more fights going to the bus about "Special Education' and it caused HIM to get into trouble because he was always the first one to strike and the other kids would always say no one said anything the nutty kid just flipped. Having to bring someone TO school afterwards to find out more about how it is for them sounds great but I think we're a long way from those social barriers coming down, and parents arent going to jump at that opportunity. Someone needs a better approach. We had a huge pizza night with other like-minded parents at the alternative school and that was cool - we had parenting classes and the kids had fun in the gym. That we all liked. No stigma -and everyone had something in common.

    Do you have an IEP for your son? If you don't now would be the time to demand that. As far as Aspergers testing - make a separate post and I'm sure you will get tons of info on how to - Maybe even under the Special Education forum.