Looking for ideas

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by aeroeng, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    I originally came to this site because of son #2, who had a couple of very rough years as a difficult child. He is doing better, has only exploded about three times this summer. The explosions are shorter in duration and he will apologize afterwards. So doing better and trying hard.

    Now my problems are with son #3, who Just turned 12, and is completely different then son #1 (although he has learned a lot from him). Son #3 is struggling with frustrations and social skills. He has high intelligence, but seems to act less mature then his age. He seems more like a third or fourth grader then a 7th grader. He actually plays better with third graders, clings to me like a small kid and just acts younger.

    Last year he had one very good friend, who he spent most of his free time with. The other kids tended to pick on him, and spread rumors that he and his friend were both gay and were kissing. I would have no problems with a gay child, but this is just not the case. It was that the kids found an effective button. His friend was highly upset about the rumors and in response to them did and said some terrible things to son #3. His teacher helped smooth things out some, but in the end he lost his best friend, just before school got out for the summer.

    Now he spends way too much time playing games on the computer in his room. When we do take him places it often ends badly. Last weekend at a group picnic he got frustrated when he fell off of a tube (being pulled at high speed by a boat), it scared and frustrated him. He took the frustration out by physically picking on the other kids and refusing to stop when instructed by the adults. One adult had to go into the water and physically pull him away.

    This week he is at sailing camp. Some kids teased him, he got mad dumped all their stuff out all over the room, and lied about it. Once something triggers him he gets in a tuff and won't let go for weeks. Which only continues to damage his relationships with potential friends. He refused to do what the camp counselors instructed him to do. This ended up with a midnight conference call between him, the counselors, husband and me. We finally got him to agree to try to lessen to the counselors (when he agrees to try he usually does), and the counselors agreed to help him with the teasing issues. The counselors are willing to work with him, but they were hired for their sailing skills, and are not mental health experts.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to teach him stronger social skills? Any good books?

  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I am so sorry your son is going through this. 7th and 8th graders can get so icky! I am appalled by what they start saying and doing at this age. I really think that these are the two grades that MUST have less kids per classroom and any LARGE group activities should be outlawed. The more 7th/8th graders you have in a group, the more trouble there is with atleast one person ended up hurt.

    I overheard my 7th grader and a friend's conversation yesterday. It was the normal 13 year old boys talk about girls and all I can do is scream in my head "DON'T GROW UP!!!" They are starting to think about girls as girls and not just a person as they did growing up. I am not looking forward to these next few years especially since I think my difficult child will be the target of many girls wanting to date him. Ugh! I just want my difficult child to stay the way he is right now! Can't we just skip to age 18?

    When my difficult child was 1st diagnosed with deep anxiety, he was rejected by his classmates who did display more patience with him than most kids would because they knew him before the anxiety was displayed. At first they were very concerned, what is wrong with difficult child? And then with struggles to just survive everyday and actually not getting to school until 2nd quarter, he missed out on the 1st quarter of class "rebonding". He felt rejected and started acting out. His anger was so deep and he really believed it was up to him to teach people lessons. His feelings got hurt easily and he wanted to revenge it. You can easily see where he lost all his friends and at a small public school you run out of friend options quickly. By the end of that year, one boy did not want to return to school the next year because of difficult child's behavior. Being a very small private school, his behavior had a huge impact on ALL the kids. He worked very hard that summer to change his ways and the next fall when school started, the boy who did not want to go was so relieved and told his mom, "difficult child is back to being a good kid like he was before last year."

    I don't have any answers as to how to handle the teasing. difficult child has only said occasionally that kids are mean or rude and the subjects of this is so icky. Kids teasing about kissing rather boy/boy, girl/girl, or boy/girl at this age is unacceptable. They are too young to be even thinking about this subject let alone using it to tease. The thought of 7th/8th graders "making out" is so repulsive. The dressing room crud that goes on just leads my belief that kids in this age group should never be allowed to be alone as a group.

    I was the target of this junk growing up but decided as a very young kid that everyone has their own opinion and I can't help it if theirs was very very wrong. I was able to turn a deaf ear to it because I knew I was just as important as they were and their words didn't make them more powerful. I don't know where that came from and I don't know how to instill it in kids. How to stand up to the "bullies" without joining on their level? I was able to send the message loud and strong, "You may not like me but you don't have a right to be mean to me. I will not put up with that!" And I didn't! Somehow I was able to send the message without revenging any actions.

    Your son is most likely repulsed by the behavior of his fellow middle schoolers. He wants to stay with younger kids who know how to have fun without the "insights" of a 7th/8th grader. He is feeling left behind because he doesn't want to join in this behavior and at this age, you are expected by your peers to join in.

    I would encourage him to get involved in small group activities at school. Maybe he can find a friend at the smaller setting. Is there any activities nearby this Summer he can get involved with? A reading club at the library? A chess club? Bowling league? Golf lessons? Look for the lesser popular activities that are not too team inspired and don't draw a large crowd of kids. Things he can be low key at but don't feel too frustrated if he isn't part of the team. These things will give him a chance to make friends.

    Is there an older boy you trust who can spend time with him? When my difficult child was 11 years old, we had a very mature 15 year old babysitter who took him on bike rides, went bowling with him, just spent time keeping him active all summer. I wish there were more 15 year olds like this kid.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    That was the summer we sent Wiz to teen camp at the Y. The leader of the group was a college kid who had a real gift for working with teens. Wiz learned a LOT about how to behave like a regular teen. Is there a university near where you live? Maybe you could approach the head of the school of education about hiring a college kid to do things with difficult child so that difficult child gets an idea of how to act like a teen instead of like a little kid. If you call or visit the Dean or Department Head's office the secretary should be able to either help you or put you in touch with someone who can help you.

    Remember that our difficult children tend to be roughly 30% behind their same age peers in maturity. Your 13yo difficult child is more comfortable with 9yo kids because that is where he is in maturity (other than physical and maybe academic). That is why having someone "cool" like a college age guy can be so helpful.
  4. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Thanks for the ideas it help to have someplace to go to. Yes we do have a major University just down the street. I will look into it. Thanks,