Help me ffigure out a way to help difficult child see that teasing...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by pepperidge, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    is causing him to lose friends.

    difficult child 2 and friend were outside on our porch at night having fun. difficult child started to tell friend who he knows is scared of ghosts etc seriously from boy scout camping trips in past that he had seen a homeless mentally ill woman on our road (true) and that she was in the bushes (not true). Of course friend got scared and came in, it was time for him to go home so difficult child came with me to drive him home. For about the first five or ten minutes of the drive difficult child kept talking about the woman how she was going to come after them, seemingly enjoying friend's increasing discomfort. Friend told him to stop, I told him I didn't like it for a variety of reasons, but he wouldn't stop. Finally I managed to divert the conversation.

    later I asked difficult child did he like to have friends, pointed out that this was the only kid who would come to our house, and that he was seriously upsetting his friend. difficult child reacted with something like oh he wasn't scared. Maybe I got through, probably not. I want to discuss it with him again tomorrow but in a way that doesn't cause him to become immediately defensive.

    We have two competing hypotheses for this kind of behavior which we have seen ( a lot of annoying behavior that he won't stop when asked that alienates his friends). One is that he enjoys irritating/teasing his friends, school says only escalating punishment will stop it (no comment, lol). Another is that he gets so wrapped up in thinking its funny or in getting a reaction or in getting what he wants that he is simply isn't processing the social cues. He mostly gets wound up with other kids I think. I don't really see him as a mean kid but superficially the behavior sure looks like it.

    I'm trying to think of a way to get through the defensiveness and help him put himself in the other person's place, --he's not a great abstract thinker and I am not sure that he is very empathetic. He is very protective of his dogs though and sometimes of kids that other kids are trying to take advantage of.

    How would you have a conversation with him?

    Barring that other than redirection can you think of any way to stop the behavior when I see it? Problem is I'm not at school or around a lot of the time.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Maybe you can do something to help him see that if BOTH parties don't think it is amusing or funny then it just isn't. Explain that you AND other adults have seen him do this with teasing and with annoying noises, behaviors, etc..., and that you are not trying to pick on him, but you want to help him learn how to be a good friend. Ask him to list what makes someone a good friend TO HIM. Ask how he feels when a friend knows that he is upset by something and then brings it up and keeps talking about it after difficult child asks him to stop. See if he can connect how he feels then to how his friend felt last night.

    If nothing else, writing down a list of things that make you a good friend and ones that make you a bad friend can help him see these things. Ask him how his behavior on different occasions fits into this list, then if that is the message he wants to send. Let him know you are not angry, but you are trying to let him see how his actions are perceived by others. Maybe the 2 of you can set up a code word that you can use when you see him doing things on the "bad friend" list. This can be a code to stop what he is doing and do soemthing else. It won't work at all the first few times you do it, but with practice it will begin to work.

    Hopefully by learning how to do this out of school he can learn to do it in school.

    Has he ever been evaluated privately for sensory integration disorder? Lots of times it is sensory issues that get kids all wound up to the point they are not paying attention to social cues. A Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) diagnosis could lead to interventions and sensory breaks at school, which can make a HUGe difference in how a child behaves. Even if he is technically "too old" for brushing therapy (we had several Occupational Therapist (OT)'s tell us that after age 7 or so it didn't work, but I still did it on Jess and Wiz and it helped them a LOT), it can still help even if you only do it twice a day at home when you can. He can also learn to do some of the joint compressions to himself to see if that will help him when he gets overloaded. Wiz often would look like he was cracking his knuckles or stretching or whatever when he was doing compressions on some of his joints. he said it helped him not get overloaded.

    I hope some of this helps.
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Has he tried putting himself in his friend's shoes? What is his greatest fear, then ask how he would feel if his friend started scaring him with that and wouldn't drop the conversation. Would he still want to be around that friend if he constantly was teased like that? If he doesn't get it, try getting his friend to do it to him (with you supervising) as a lesson.
  4. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    wm is very much this way. wm's thinking is extremely distorted; it's okay for him to tease & taunt but if the tease & taunt is toward him he blows. wm's capacity to see outside of his world is limited. It's taken years to teach wm that it's not okay to buy friends or taunt them. It's taken years for wm to learn that if he treats friends that way he won't keep friends.

    My response to wm each & every time is "give to get". I then have him explain back to me what exactly that phrase means & how it applies to the latest blow up with friend or foster brother. His treatment team has to cue wm when he's going over the top with a friend or family member. There's a great deal of role playing with wm being the teased & the teaser.

    Saying the above wm's coping, emotional capacity is that of a 7 year old. A very goofy clueless stage for boys.

    Is your difficult child clear on the consequences of taunting & teasing? Is his emotional age less than his physical age? Does he understand cause & effect? If he understands, does it stay with him? Is this a coping strategy for him?

    Eventually difficult child 2 will have to navigate the world around him ~ childhood & school is time to practice those life skills needed. It's also very difficult at the age of 12 to know where you fit in ~ especially if you have "issues". I wonder if this isn't a defense - hurt before I get hurt kind of thing. Either way he will need to learn new skills to keep friends.

    Just a few things to consider.
  5. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Interesting responses, thank you, ladies.

    I think at some level that difficult child understands that teasing kids will ultimately cause him to lose their friendship. Though I am not entirely sure. So i need to work on that. When I have tried to get him to put himself in the other kid's place he just says, well it wouldn't bother me. Don't know if it is defensiveness or some cognitive inability of some sort.

    But teasing can be a pretty subtle concept in the sense that there are various levels of intensity to it. 13 year old boys constantly seem to be putting each down through good natured teasing. As a mother you listen to it and think that its got to hurt and maybe it does but they all seem to do it. It is like there is a real barnyard pecking order being established.

    But he just doesn't seem to get the connection that when he is doing some annoying and is asked to stop (like little games in the car that are fun at first but then get annoying) he should stop. Maybe all he can see is the fun part or it is still fun to him--others have moved on. I think you are right Linda that the emotional age is far less. So maybe for a younger kid the game would be fun for longer.

    But it is also a "fun for me is more important that friendship for us" way of thinking too. Maybe again that is emotional immaturity.

    And then there is also the 'I have trouble ramping down" part. Problem is, when difficult child is in that state, he doesn't want to be told to ramp down. Imposing consequences, threatening etc, when children are in that state as many of us know is a direct invitation to a big emotional blowout of some sort. I am not sure he really sees it as a problem, so code words or whatever wouldn't be important to him.

    Susie, I think in the 19 thousand evaluations we have had done on this kid we have never had sensory one done. He is now 13 and can when he chooses find things to do in his room to calm him down. He never had tactile or smell or other kind of sensory issues. Maybe more of just needing an outlet for his physical energy. He was always the kid in K who wanted to throw the ball the hardest (never mind if his partner could catch) etc. As he gets older I am seeing a real need I think for him to physcially challenge himself in some genuine way (not sports wise) but maybe in things like rockclimbing or similar where there is an element of risk. I dunno.

    Thanks for your responses. it has made me try to untangle some of the issues in all this behavior.
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    When he's feeling reasonable, talk to him about a code word or stop word. Doesn't have to be anything specific, just a word you can say to him that lets him know it's time to back off or find something else before trouble starts. Back when we first got our fish tank and liked to laugh about Finding Nemo, kiddo's cue word was "Bubbles". Means nothing to anyone else that hears us say it, but it was her cue word.
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I see this a lot when I'm substituting, and because I'm not aware of what's been going on previously, I will ask the one most recently accused of doing the teasing/name calling/whatever if THEY like it when someone teases them or calls them names, and of course, they say, NO!"

    OK, then if you don't like it, don't do it to someone else. Don't dish it out if you can't take it.