I requested meeting with school. difficult child "fine" at school, but terror at home?? Advice?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by PlainJane, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. PlainJane

    PlainJane Every dog has his day....

    My son is in the public preschool program, which is only for children that have been "classified". After months of testing and red tape he started in Dec. I requested a meeting in March. In a nut shell difficult child has many behavoiral issues at home. diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) was given at 2, then again at 3, but the doctor felt that this wasnt the real issue. She thinks it may be more of a Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), ODD or anxiety, but she just wanted to give some diagnosis to cover services and she said as he get older we'll have a better idea of what's going on.

    difficult child very often seems to be angry and defiant. most of his conversational skills are rooted in opposition. (He does recieve weekly social skills groups to help with conversational skills) Like today I tried talking to him about soccer. I told him it starts in 3 weeks. and without missing beat, he stated "so soccer starts in 2 days?". If the TV says something like "all new episode of Dora" he'll say to the TV "an all OLD episode" This happens maybe 50 -100 times a day. Its a regular part of his way of talking.

    But also he seems so angry. Even on "play dates" which get fewer and fewer, he's pointing out all the negetive things, and yelling at the other child. He's very controlling and sadly, manipulative. Even a simple walk to the park leaves him complaining and shouting about how he hate this and that. I would say he is not happy very often. Even if we are somewhere "fun" he's yelling at and getting angry at other kids or inanimate objects. In a group setting his miserable attitude is quite the attention drawer, as he is also loud. (He's always loud, even when he's happy.) Soccer we are going to try again this season, and he is actually really good at it. Honestly (and oddly since husband and I are not athletic) he was one of the best players, BUT his attitude took away from his playing. He would run up the field verbally assulting the person with the ball. Shaking his fists and screaming if he didn't get the ball. husband and I spent more time trying to handle his behavoir that watchin the game. ANd the funny thing is he loves it! He wants to do it again! He doesn't seem to get how his attitude repells everyone.

    I talk to his teach very briefly on the phone a few weeks ago about an upcoming event, and I took the few minutes (she was obvious about being rushed) to ask about how he is in class....and she says he's pleasant anda happy...huh?!?! Is this my child you are talking about?!

    I asked to set up a meeting with her and his case manager and all the other people that sit in with these meetings, because now I'm wondering why my son is just so wonderful at school. I mean, even in his social skills class they see he's the way I described him.

    I am not looking to point out his flaws to them. I feel like if he's so wonderful at school, maybe I can find to reason he's so not nice everywhere else and I can help him.

    Any advice??

    (please excuse typos, I'm not proof reading today. lol
  2. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    My son is the same way and when I have questioned why, the therapist and the psychiatrist have both told me that they hear this ALOT. My friend calls them school agels, home devils. I hope that's not offensive. I was at a meeting with one of his teachers one time and she told me that difficult child was such a wondeful little boy and she wishes that she could have a whole classroom full of him. I looked at her and said, "difficult child? Are you talking about my difficult child?" She asked what was wrong with difficult child and replied, "Where do I start?" As he's gotten older I have found this to be one of the most frustrating parts of his issues. The teachers love him! Then he comes home to me and he's a totally different person.

    What I have been told, and in some ways I agree with this, is that he spends so much energy during the school day keeping himself together. He's pleasant to the teachers and other kids. If something bothers him he has to hold it all in because he does not want the teachers or other kids to see him throwing a tantrum. Then, when he comes home, he knows that home is "safe". Home is where everyone will love him no matter what. Have you ever told your son that you will always love him, no matter what he does? He knows that, so he knows he can unload on you because he can't unload on the teachers or they may not like him. Does that make any sense?

    My son is alot older than yours, so I get really frustrated with it. At this point, in alot of way, I think that he's making a choice to behave this way. I'm not sure if you son is really doing that because he is so young.

    And when you talk about your son being so oppositional when you talk to him? Yeah, mine does that, too, but I think that mine does it to push my buttons. He'll ask me a questions, like when are we going out for dinner, and I'll tell him in two hours. And he will reply, "So, we're going now? Why aren't we going now?" And if you call him on it he'll tell me that he's only joking and that I have to learn how to take a joke. It would be a joke if he was being funny.

    What does he do whenhe gets home from school? Does he have time to unwind and have some down time? If you can, try to build that into his day. I have found that helps difficult child alot because then he doesn't feel like he always has to be "on", if you know what I mean.
  3. keista

    keista New Member

    No advice, really, but I can commiserate.

    DD1 was an ANGEL in school. Well, at least up until the second grade. Yeah, then things flipped. She was an angel at home (mostly) and the little devil at school.

    She only got her Asperger's diagnosis this past December, but looking back it makes perfect sense.

    Is he getting services in school based on his diagnosis? If not, I'd start requesting them in writing NOW. Just because things are going smoothly in school now, does not mean they will continue to do so. You may get 'lucky' like Bunny (yes, I'm only referring to school), or not so much like me.
  4. Buglover

    Buglover Member

    When my daughter was 3 I started her in a 2 day a week, 3 hour classes program. Mostly because I needed a break. I cringed every time I dropped her off, and every time I picked her up I expected them to tell me she needed to find another preschool. They never said a word, so after about 5 months I said "Does she have tantrums here?" And I swear the Director looked at me like I was a complete jerk and said "No! She is a MODEL CITIZEN in OUR classroom!" Oh my god, after 3 years of the stress of dealing with the queen of tantrums, this lady treating me like I am a horrible person for suggesting she might tantrum at school. Then her Kindergarten teacher did the same thing to me, looked down her nose, said daughter behaved perfectly but was "immature". Then 1st grade, and suddenly the immaturity has blown up into a complete refusal to do work in school, and her teacher is completely freaking out, sending notes home every single day. "X wouldn't pay attention" "X wouldn't complete her work" "This seems to be way over X's head" blah blah blah.

    So anyway, your son is so young. He will hold it together while he can, hopefully he will maintain that ability as it will help him with his schoolwork. It is definitely not unusual for him to behave at school and not at home. They do tend to save up all their angst and frustrations for Mommy. I hope that his doctor is able to pinpoint what she thinks the problem might be so he can get the right therapy for it.
  5. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    difficult child here is the same way. An "angel" at school. Teachers love him. I was completely shocked to find out that he could control himself away from home so well. I was also a little offended, haha. *If he can control it there, WHY not here???*. I agree with one of the others who said home is a *safe* place, and we are his punching bags, basically.

    This year I told the teacher about problems with doing homework at home. I told her about him eating the homework. I think now she finally is beginning to see that things are much different at home. She told me that if the power struggles with homework get too bad at home, to let her know. (Which was very nice.)

    I can only hope that your child, as well as mine, can keep up this control at school!!! I am grateful everyday for the good behavior in school.
  6. llamafarm

    llamafarm Member

    I can completely relate. My difficult child is sooo difficult at home. He went through a time around 2nd grade that he was learning how to behave at school. Can't say teachers "love" him because is not a simple student to teach, but he does not show any of the aggressive behavior at school. I know my difficult child saves it all for me. It took quite some time this year to convince the teachers that our biggest issue is behavior at home. I have had to tell them that homework will not get done at home because it is not worth the outbursts, tantrums and physical attacks on me that he goes through when I even mention homework. I think they now realize that I am much more interested in working on his behavior at home than being sure he gets good grades.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, just adding to the list of children who are definitely "worse" at home. My son is not an angel at school but they see none of the temper tantrums or outbreaks of aggression towards teachers. I saw a good example of this the other day; I had said I was taking J to see a show of live snakes that was in the area - and then completely forgot! By the time I picked him up, it was too late. He of course had not forgotten, but when I spoke about it to him in front of the school assistant, he just gave a very "normal" groan "Oh, mummy," that kind of thing. And then, as soon as we were out of the door (and the door closed, of course), he began a mini-tantrum about it.
    To a degree, I think this shows a certain social sense. They realise it is not socially acceptable to act out in these ways at school. With parents, they know the rules are different...
  8. PlainJane

    PlainJane Every dog has his day....

    To give an update. The meeting went well (and fast). husband and I got the impression that the teacher and other social work lady filling in for our son's case manager (who called out sick) didn't see much reason for the meeting. The teacher was nice. She denied seeing pretty much all the unusual behavoirs we are dealing with at home. She did say that he needs to be reminded about not annoying others. Like he will be poking another child and the other child will be uspet and telling him to stop and he doesn't, but she said it is easy to redirect him.
    I'm glad he's doing well in school, but I feel like its something I'm doing at home. ugh!
  9. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    If you have a diagnosis for him you at least will get some help from the school. When I went to the school for help with him I was basically told that he was not their problem and to figure it out myself. This was after I was told that the problem must be me since he can do so well in school. I know how you feel. They know that they can't behave poorly and throw a tantrum in certain settings, which is really a good thing, but at the same time then people don't see the behavioral issues that you are seeing on a daily basis.

    I hope that they are able to work with him.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Stop. Now. Trying to blame yourself is the worst thing you can do. Trust me, the school and medical systems will do enough of that for the rest of your life. (been there done that)

    You are doing everything you can, including seeking out resources that can help you find alternatives. YOU are being the best kind of parent a difficult child can have.

    We found that the behaviors were related to fatigue and anxiety. Which meant we didn't get very many good days even in the summer holidays, because we spent the first month getting over the extreme fatigue, and the last month battling his growing anxiety about going back to school! But we did get a few days in the middle. Days that gave us hints as to what he really was, and fueled our resolve to find answers.

    No, you can't have him.
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I agree, this will do nothing to help....(though hard not to question, I get that but wipe it out of your brain, ok???).

    I just re-read parts of The Explosive Child and really parents often can't win. Called bad parents if they are worse at school because they must be exposing them to things, not providing enough consequences and letting them get away with murder at home and that is why limits at school dont work. If they are better at home well then it is because parents dont know how to handle them like a school does. They are not attentive enough or whatever.

    The bottom line is that the two settings are very different. There are many reasons and issues that make kids react differently in each setting. It is unproductive to blame or feel guilt. Just need to find out what the needs are, and to see if there are things about school that make maintaining easier for him (like schedules, routines, visual cues, etc....) or if he is struggling there but works extra hard to hold it together so falls apart at home, or medications wear off or dozens of other issues.....

    Also, at his age...many high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids can do well in these structured settings.... and social demands are not as great because the range of play abilities really varies naturally, adults are used to helping etc. Enjoy for now that there are not many issues at school. It often does not stay that way as the years go on (sorry to say that, not always true but just be aware).

    Hang in there... keep plugging away
  12. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Buddy, I could not have said that any better myself! And you're exactly right. A school setting has much more structure than there is at home. Alot of times these kids find that structure very comforting. For my difficult child, it's because he knows exactly what to expect. The bell rings, he sits in class for 43 minutes, the bell rings again and he has 4 minutes to get to his next class, and then the routine starts all over again. He does really well with the "strict" teachers because he knows what they expect of the kids in their class. There is no gray area. It's all very black and white. I know that your son is younger than mine, but this could be what he's going through. He knows what to expect when he's in the classroom setting.

    And please DO NOT blame yourself. You will find too many people along the way who will have no problems laying the blame squarely at your feet. Please don't do it to yourself.