Putting two and two together

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    J finishes school at 4.30 and goes to the after-school play (at the school) until 6ish, when I come to pick him up. Today I went to visit a neighbour and got back about 4.45 to find... the assistant from the school outside my house with J, whose thumb is bleeding (and bandaged) and... a hole in one of the window panes of my front door. J greeted me immediately with "It wasn't me!".
    Apparently J left school by himself at 4.30 saying this had been arranged (not true) and then reappeared at school crying, saying he had cut himself on a piece of glass... I asked the assistant why they had allowed him to leave school by himself and was told that apparently in the "big school" (from your equivalent of first grade) they are allowed to go home alone... Surprising. Everyone seemed to think the glass had been broken by someone throwing a stone (that's what the break looked like). Anyway, after I had re-disinfected and re-bandaged the bleeding thumb, cleared up the broken glass, had a conversation with the neighbours about who might have thrown the stone into the house to break the pane, etc, etc, J went off to visit his friend in the village and I... suddenly realised the obvious truth. J hadn't cut himself on a piece of glass. He had come home by himself, found I wasn't there and the door locked, broken the glass, cut himself and gone back to school, then inventing a story to everyone...
    When he came back at 6 (as arranged beforehand), I took him on my lap and said very gently and conversationally that I thought he had come back and found me not here and then broken the glass to try and get in... he readily agreed, nodding his head and saying he had knocked on the glass too hard and it broke. When I asked him why he lied, he said he didn't me to be cross with him...
    This kind of thing just keeps happening and will keep on happening, I know it. Of course there should be some consequence and of course I did tell him very firmly all the things he should not have done but I can guarantee it will make absolutely no difference. I don't even know that he even really knows or understands he has done anything wrong... everything happens in the moment, sheer impulse, and then he just looks at you with his cute face and looks genuinely nonplussed and upset when you get cross...
    I don't know. I just don't know.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The school is missing one key part - and you need to remember it as well.
    These kinds of kids are immature for their age... by at least 2 years, often 4 years.
    So... some of his logic will be that of a 2 to 4 year old, not a 6 year old.
    They wouldn't let a 4 year old leave the school alone. They don't understand that J really isn't 6.
    He WILL catch up. Eventually. (unfortunately, it won't be next year... !)
  3. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Oh my, glad he's okay! And I totally understand that feeling of looking down the years ahead and thinking that this lovely child that you love so much may not "grow out of" issues, and that things may even get more complicated and scary. Yeah, executive functioning skills are an issue with so many of our kids.

    I did find a book that's kind of old now (1996), but I liked it: Raising a Thinking Child, and on the cover it says: Help your young child to resolve everyday conflicts and get along with others. It also (and this is what drew me in) comes with a workbook of pictures to color, scripts, guided discussions, dialogue ladders for different situations, how to help the child sequence events when they are under stress so that they can solve their own problems, etc. They call it the I Can Problem Solve Program. I think it's pretty valuable and both of my grandkids enjoy using it. I need a system with which to stay organized and refer back to, and this gives me that. It's by Myrna B. Shure, with Theresa Foy Digeronimo. I work with kids all along the autism spectrum, emotionally disturbed, cognitive impairment, and then with my grandson who has many ADHD features, and is an explosive child (and The Explosive Child book/theories/techniques have been of inestimable value to our whole family), plus a perfectly typical four year old granddaughter learning to navigate the complicated social world of pre-school, and this book is useful for all of these kids. Hug him tight for us and keep him talking. Hugs.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    J is a late 5 year old or early 6 at this point right? I cant remember his exact age anymore. To me, this seems pretty normal for his age. I doubt he clearly intended to break and enter your house and vandalize it. He just wanted inside his home and couldnt figure out how to get in. Pretty normal to me. At his age he doesnt have the capacity to think that far in the future. That is why they cant charge children legally for crimes before the age of 7. I think that is too young myself.

    Im not saying he shouldnt have consequences and discipline. He should. He should know he shouldnt leave school alone because it is dangerous. He needs to wait for mommy or whomever. He should not break a window because he might get hurt...evidenced by his cut. Now mommy has to replace the door glass so he needs to help do something for mom. Maybe take out the trash that the glass is in. Maybe he could draw you a picture saying he is sorry since he cant write well yet. Nothing extremely major.
  5. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    I am so sorry about this situation! I know that fear of will this behaviour get worse or is it just appropriate for his age....Some get better, other behaviours get worse....and then better again!
    What worked for me in the past and still do: When you have recovered of your own feelings....sit down and discuss ALTERNATIVE options for the future....Especially with our kids it doesnt help to just punish or get angry, because they dont always make the connection! We also need to FOLLOW UP with a learning opportunity....because they some times struggle with "feed forward"(what will happen next when I do X).....we need to go through different scenarios of " what will happen if we did X"....what do you think would have been a better plan? What would have been the outcome of the " better plan"... Exct. Also take a step back and try to find out WHY he spesificly didnt want to stay in after care this afternoon? Did he feel upset, was he tired, did some one make him angry, was he afraid....and then AGAIN....what can we do if we " feel sad/ angry/ upst" exct.
    Hope both of you are feeling better already!
  6. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I agree with Janet 100%. I don't believe J has the cognitive ability at this time to completely understand. ..

    Part 1: He knows he can only go home by himself if he has permission so he says he does. He doesn't have the ability to think ahead to what will happen if he goes home and mommy isn't there. The solution for that is to inform the school that UNLESS there is a written note from you (I am assuming he can't forge your writing, yet) he can not leave early, no matter what he says and no matter what the school policy is otherwise. They are now on notice that J will say what he needs to if he wants to leave early. The alternative is that if he wants to come home early, the school must call and inform you - in person and not by voice mail - that he wants to leave and you can say yes or no.

    Part 2: I think that the injury is probably a sufficient punishment at this point. I also don't believe that he intended to vandalize your home and I also think that if he had been alone with you, he'd have told you the truth from the outset. He has to process this lesson - if you do what you aren't allowed to, you can get hurt. This can be a good teaching moment. Grown-ups make and enforce rules not because we hate kids and want to punish them but because we love them and care about them and want to protect them from bad things they don't even know about yet.

    Maybe if you remind him every day (although you probably already do) that he can't just leave school. Tell him that you have errands to do and you may not be home and he could get hurt again. He probably needs to be reminded every day. However, in my opinion, the school should be on the watch to make sure this doesn't happen again. I also wouldn't let him come home every day early - there needs to be a good reason.