Running off

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    After lunch today (my son comes home for one and a half hours at lunchtime), we went together to the large area near us in the village where J can ride his bike. When it was time to go back, he wanted to ride the long way home. Fine - I walked on behind and he disappeared from view. I naturally presumed he had gone home (a minute's walk) - not there. So then I thought... he's gone back to school by himself. Went to school but he wasn't there. Back home - still not there. So I took the car and drove around the village to look for him. He was with a family we know (the mother was outside feeding a baby lamb she is looking after). I scolded him but I can see that he just doesn't understand, just doesn't "get it", firstly that he cannot just disappear like that and secondly that it was time for school. I took him to school and heard the teacher really talking to him in a hard voice, saying "You can do that sort of thing with Mummy, but not with me! Where do you think you are?" etc, etc. Made my heart sink even though I have my own moments of talking to him horribly... And of course it's all further confirmation for the teacher that J is like he is because I am not authorative enough.
    It's not the first time he has done it. He has several times disappeared off into the village without telling me and then turns up, again with no sense that he has done anything wrong.
    I am taking this as an impulse control problem. Being five doesn't help but I honestly think very few other five year olds would not understand that they cannot go off by themselves... What is your take on it?
  2. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    I thought I had read that J goes off to play with neighborhood friends and that they are not always within sight of you? If that is true, maybe he doesn't see why different rules apply at different times.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, he does sometimes go off to play in the village and I can't see him. But surely he would understand that that is when he does not have school???
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    This one's normal... At age 5, kids don't "get" why they should stay with their parents, and they don't necessarily WANT to. Jett got in trouble a few times for this, and we didn't even let him go to the bathroom alone in public for a long time after... And... I did it. I actually ran away at age 5 because I thought my parents were being mean. OK, I only made it next door, but... Honestly, this is something a lot of kids do.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    That was the number one problem I had raising GFGmom. She just "poof" disappeared. It began when she was very small as she rarely slept more than two hours in a row and continued on until her teens (when she would disappear in the car and then come in late hand over the keys and say "sorry, I know I'm grounded"). The amazing part was that she would go visit neighbors AFTER dark and they would invite her in (or let her in) to watch television. Meanwhile my other two children are on bikes and I'm in the car praying she hasn't been abducted.

    In your case it sounds like he paid natural consequences facing the teacher. I know you try to provide opportunities for him to burn off energy. My only suggestion would be using a cheap watch with timer set or something similar that he could have on his person to indicate "come home now". In the 70's I used a beeper for GFGmom and it worked well. Like your son she was not seeking to be "naughty" she was seeking fun. Sigh. DDD
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Oh dear, it's just, then... they don't do it in France!!

    DDD - Can I ask what GFGMom's "diagnosis" was?
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, I can't say if it's normal or not normal in his case, but wow the French are incredibly rigid with children's behavior and the teacher that talked to J. that way would probably get into trouble from the parent if she did it here. At least, I would never put up with a teacher yelling at my kid that way. It didn't happen on her watch anyway. I I think the culture you live in makes everything worse. Seriously, do they expect little boys of five to behave ALL THE TIME?

    They should see my four year old daycare kids...haha. The boys are so rowdy. Their idea of fun play is to wrestle and slide down the slide before the other is off the slide (sometimes girls too). When I ride the bus with them, they are noisy and mischievous. They do not always listen and do not behave like little robots. I think it is asking a lot of little boys to be perfect gentlemen and always listen, even when something catches their attention (like the lamb). And, no, it's not your fault.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I'd have a huge problem with his disappearing like that but in the sense of worry and trying to figure out how to teach him differently. I know you feel safe with him being out of sight, and you are not worried about bad people...would he impulsively go into water or anything? Is it that there are no bad people there or is it like we used to be long ago where it is just not talked about. Abuse of children has happened forever it was just handled differently in past generations. But I come from the city and have always been nervous about kids being alone. Grade K kids can be out with bigger sibs if they stick together but not alone. I am sure if I lived in a smaller town or country I would probably feel very differently. The idea of a digital watch with an alarm that you set would be great. If he doesn't come back and check in then he has to stay in for X amount of time.

    The biggest issue I have with the story is the teacher. I actually don't mind that she would talk to J. But it sounds like her tone was not great, and to bring you into it that way and make it seem like a mom versus teacher (putting you in a bad light for J)--and that is not ok. She should have talked with you. The therapists at Q's Occupational Therapist (OT), sl etc... have said from the beginning, how do you want us to talk to him if he ..... It is collaborative. May not be what she is used to but after all, many of us have to teach our teachers every single year what our kid's disabilities are all about. They just don't get it. You have the extra hard job that the school probably does not even acknowledge any differences and I can't imagine how you will deal with that. I hope J got the message, I guess time will tell. But I sure dont like that she made it seem like it is ok to be naughty with mom but not at school.
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your insights/views. MWM - that bus ride and that kind of play in a playground just would not happen here!! From the earliest ages, any sort of "misbehaviour" in public is quite ferociously reprimanded. I do find the French too rigid and controlling of children, but that is also because I am British - we are traditionally more relaxed and informal with children and the French therefore think we are hopelessly permissive and uncaring about social mores... Who is "right"??
    Buddy, I do share your worries about the teacher. She has the reputation of being particularly severe, though there are times when I have thought she also seems genuinely fond of J. No, not on about criticising me in front of him - but it doesn't surprise me, I'm afraid. Actually my instant thought was "I'm taking him out of this school at the end of the year!" Which is my ongoing debate... and part of me is tempted but perhaps the bigger part feels that this is now where J feels stable and secure and it has become very difficult to take him out of it because of that.
    It is very hard to compare this tiny village in the countryside to a big metropolis in the States. How can I explain? There are about three hundred people who live here and outside, in the little windy streets, you see the same characters all the time - the old man who always seems to be out walking his dog, the old ladies who bustle about in the sunshine, talking to each other and going about their housework, the lady who sits outside her house watching the world go by; everyone knows each other, everyone has all the time in the world, if someone who doesn't live here comes here, they are instantly noticed (and we are not on the way to anywhere!). So, yes, I do feel basically okay about J going off on his own for a while - only thing that worries me is the road that goes round the village. J seems basically fairly aware of traffic but of course this cannot be relied on.
    And actually... when I was a kid this was completely "normal". From a really young age, children would go off by themselves for hours at a stretch, playing in the woods, making dens, getting up to various adventures. No-one worried. I think it is sad kids don't have that any more, in the western world.
  10. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Aww, that J, gotta love that guy! He probably had no thought of school whatsoever and watching the woman feed the lamb was definitely a moment to be a part of regardless of anything else going on around him.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    GFGmom was diagnosis's as ADHD when she was five. She was the first patient in Miami to receive Ritalin, in fact. Unfortunately because the drug was new they did not have the refinement on dosage that was necessary so it was not too helpful. In time we found an acceptable usage plan. DDD
  12. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Always makes me smile when the topic shifts to a cultural issue. I am French and can't deny I'm a lot stricter than the typical American parent. And look at my family: 2 PCs and 1 difficult child!
    Just because I have different expectation for my chidren, does not mean my way is right or wrong. What the teacher told J is something I would tell my kids and I would not get offended if a teacher was to scold my child for wrong doing.
    Do I expect my children to be perfect? No. But when they do something wrong, even if it is age appropriate, I do scold them.
    Malika, I think what J did was age appropriate, but not acceptabe. You might need to choose a quiet time and explain very clearly what the rule is about wandering alone. In your case, maybe he needs to ask permission EVERY SINGLE time. This way you can give it a ok or a no (ok, go but don't stop until you're at the house. or sorry J but you have to ride to school).
  13. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It's easy with kids like ours to try and make everything part of their disabilities. But this sounds like pretty normal 5 year old behavior. So a pretty normal 5-year punishment should help -- ground him from his bike.
  14. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We did this, but it was our yards till about age 8 (or next door or the kid down the street - when they said dinner time, we went home. Period.), then within the neighborhood till about 12, then beyond.

    Now... I was in day care until age 13 (thru 8th grade). This was pretty unusual, actually. However I was socially inept and a little too trusting, so it was probably best - for me. Still, even then I would go for long walks in the desert - I just had to be back before Mom came to get me, and it was pretty warm so that was easy enough.
  15. keista

    keista New Member

    I'd go one step further and institute a rule that J must tell you where he's going and/or check in with you periodically. What happens if something comes up and you and he need to go somewhere at the spur of the moment? You need to know where to find him or know when he'll be checking back again. With freedom comes responsibility.
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    We did this when the kids got to be 8 or 9... they were allowed to go on their own. BUT... on top of an expected return time, they had to file a "flight plan"... what route they were taking. And they had to stick to it. If we needed to get them earlier, we ran the route in reverse and caught up to them.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Malika...the kids I am describing to you are not considered misbehaving. We expect boys to roughouse. Unless they out and out fight, it's ok. I personally wonder if this strictness early on in French cultures stops the k ids from, when they are older, drinking, doing drugs, having wreckless sex etc. Betting it doesn't make any difference, except for the outer shell of maybe more politeness. I don't know.

    In my world, hub and I raise our kids. Teachers can give wise or kind counsel, but they had better not yell at our kids...we are capable of talking to them. As for kids going off on their own, I have never allowed this, especially not at J's age. Even now, I will not allow my fifteen year old to walk around alone unless she tells me exactly where she is going to be. I do worry a lot. Even my grown kids know that, if they are staying with me, they have to call in if they are going to be out all night. I get very frightened very easily.
  18. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    No, MWM, I get that they are not perceived as misbehaving in the States. That's what it all seems to come down to - perception of what is okay and what is not. As for whether there are less social problems here - I think in some ways, yes. Certainly there are fewer of the kind of problems there are in Britain where so many youngsters are involved in drink, drugs and kind of out of social connection. You would see that in some of the big cities here, but in areas like the one I live in, no.
    I should have pointed out, because I did not make it clear, that the teacher shouted at J because he was 15 minutes late for school... I don't suppose she would have felt entitled to say anything otherwise and I certainly would not have expected it of her.
    I have talked to J and made it clear, again, that he has to ask before going anywhere. It's not the first time we've had the conversation. And that is the problem as I perceive it - he just does not remember, in the moment... Even if I enforced some kind of consequence, I don't think it would enable him to remember and override the impulse.
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hmmm.... there was a thread around here somewhere about a dog-collar that allowed the person to talk to the dog, even when the dog was out of sight by quite some distance....

    NOT that he would wear a dog-collar, but rather, that you could at least "reach" him? Or some other creative way to do this?
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Get walkie talkies. They come iwth about a 2 mile range. If he is out, he has to have it with him (they are not as big and clunky and heavy as they used to be). The dog collar was a 2 way walkie talky that allowed you to talk to your dog and hear what was going on around your dog so that you could more easily train him (It had a walky talky for you to use as well as the collar). That should be enough to let you get a hold of J and tell him to come home now or anything else you need, plus for him to call you if he is hurt or something happens.

    in my opinion the wandering is pretty common for a 5yo but it isn't acceptable and there should be a pretty stiff consequence, like having to stay with you and not go out of sight for a week or two until he EARNS the trust to go out of your sight. This means no going out to play with other kids where you can't see him during this time. That is a freedom that is unsafe if he is not going to be responsible, and this is a way to let him see that he has to EARN trust if he breaks it by wandering off.