This is hard

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, nightmare day for J... When I went to pick him up after school, from the "childminding service" they have (in the school but in a room with lots of toys, etc), the assistant asked to speak to me. She told me that at lunch J had strangled his "best friend" (the only other boy in his class, but they seem to have a very love-hate relationship) who had red marks on his neck... On questioning, it transpired that the other boy had asked him to get hold of his polo neck and pull - we don't know why - and J had taken it to an extreme. We also don't know why. We had quite a long conversation. She told me that he is often play fighting with other boys, but that most of the boys do it, that he has to be told three or four times before he will listen. She wasn't saying this critically but more with understanding for him. Apparently she spoke to the other mother about the incident... I did say to her that I think he has a problem with impulse control that he cannot help and that this thing called ADHD may apply to him even though the teacher did not want to know about it for the moment. She seemed open about it.
    When we got home, J was just terrible - rude, aggressive, insolent in a way he isn't usually after school. He had also "stolen" two red cars from the garderie - he knew it was wrong because he didn't want me to see and tried to hide them. I think he was feeling hurt and wounded after the incident and having been scolded for it, and as usual aggression is the way he deals with hurt feelings...
    I have a mix of feelings. Sinking heart of course, since it seems school is actually more problematic than I feared, concern about this conflictual relationship with the other little boy - should I ring his mother to talk about it?? Would seem natural thing to do but...
    Is it an illusion that I have been harbouring that J can carry on without particular interventions and medication in his school?? The assistant was at pains to point out that it is not just J but all the little boys who are aggressive in their play but... I think a lot of it is inspired by J, really. If his energy was different, the other boys would probably be different with him.
    This is hard. Seeing his physical aggression towards me tonight - trying to kick and hit me (I just removed myself) - I wonder what it would be like with a bigger violent child that I can't control... I do need to talk about this to the psychiatrist. I feel maybe I should ring him on Monday to make an appointment.
    Feel like sometimes I worry about meaningless stuff but this is really serious.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Fact of life, boys play rough, it's actually good for them. Rough and tumble play is perfectly normal. That it gets out of hand sometimes is also normal. That J has problems stopping once it's gotten out of hand may be a problem. It may or may not have a thing to do with ADHD either as it's always been an issue of Travis' and he doesn't have ADHD at all in the slightest. Play fighting with Travis had to be closely monitored because he couldn't read the social signals from the other kids that it had gone too far and to stop. (he still can't by the way) I had to actually stop that type of play for a year or two when he was too young to explain it to him. Then we resumed supervised play fighting ect again.

    I personally wouldn't ring the other mom. Doesn't sound like the teacher was too over worried, more bringing your attention to an issue which is good. I wouldn't over worry it. Maybe talk to the doctor and see about good ways to explain it to J when he goes over the top with play.

    When I first saw this behavior, it alarmed me. After talking with older moms of boys.......I settled down about it and relaxed. Just kept a close eye on him

  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I wouldn't talk to the other mom either. I continue to be amazed that your principal and teacher are so calm, positive, and supportive. For now, I would be thankful for that, and let them handle these things. I think a large part of Matt's behavior escalating was due to the people around him escalating. He was always a very tall kid, with a loud voice, and most of his schooling was in the middle of after the Columbine incident - so every single teacher had him on their radar screen. He couldn't even sneeze without all eyes on him. I *know* this made his behavior worse. So if your school's staff is still calm and understanding - than continue to accept that and don't stir the waters. It sounds like your boy and the other have a relationship where they trigger each other -- but who is say who instigates it. The boy did ask him to pull his shirt around his neck - J just didn't know when to stop.

    Remember your fear can actually cause the thing you fear the most happen --- try to believe that J will be OK. That he will not grow up big and hit you or things - but just for today - he was very, very troubled.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    OH sorry malika. I imagine part of the upset is that you are having some of your questions, worries, whatever...maybe confirmed.??? I wouldn't think that it is the most serious thing, kids do go too far and I had probably weekly examples of that when I did daycare. But it is he big picture here, your gut is worried something is off. I dont think you need to worry about a large violent child yet... just because there are so many other factors. Immaturity being one. As his morals develop, as he becomes less egocentric and more caring about others in his life.... things will change. Lets imagine he is fully diagnosed ADHD. That can look different in different kids I realize that, but usually these kids are not going to just go off and hurt their parents. Do they have temper issues and outbursts at times, yes, some do. But not typically seriously violent, trying to hurt others, kinds of people. (of course that is if there are not other issues going on).

    I would be mortified and think about if I should call the parent too. I would just make it known to the child minder program that you are willing to meet or talk to the parents if they are concerned. Then just let it go.

    I too have had to just do all or none when it comes to rough play. I think the fact taht Q had such a great summer with kids was great. but one that he really loved did a lot of wrestling moves and now Q is doing that but too rough. Just doesn't have the judgement of when to call it quits. Had never in his life done any kind of choke hold before... totally learned from this kid. I am mad at myself that I missed that. You might have to come to a place, only IF it i a pattern... where you make a rule like that.

    I would talk to the psyciatrist and the other guy (I keep forgetting what you call him). These are exactly the kinds of things that it wont hurt to work on... judgement, impulse control, etc... in case your gut is right. But dont get overwhelmed, there are many more reasons than not to think that he will progress and do better in this area in the future.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with the other. Resist the urge to call the other Mom. Record the activity in your journal and keep looking for patterns of behavior. If after school care is making his day too long then seek out other options. I've had a difficult child who could not handle the school day and then the daycare. Some kids can and some can't. Hugs. DDD
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, thank you all for your reassuring words. I am not fully convinced yet but... :)
    Just to make it clear (because this is not a situation really comparable to the States, I think) - this is not a daycare programme or anything like that. It is simply the school. Every school in France offers a service for parents who work before and after school and an assistant or teacher looks after the kids in a setting of play rather than school. This is a tiny school with 35 children so of course I already know and have met the mother of the best friend. Not that we are friends in any way, just to say hello to... Curiously, she is herself a kindergarten teacher. I sense that they are wary about the relationship with J - she once said to me that her son is "very easily influenced" and I suspect that they see J as a negative influence... At the same time, the school always tell me that this boy is himself "no angel". The thing is, in a larger school, this boy and J may well not be natural friends (or they may be, who knows?) but as it is they are the only two boys in the class... and the relationship really does seem extraordinarily conflictual - a constant passionate love-hate relationship...
    Part of this worry is my own projection. Stuff to do with being outsiders already, stuff to do with some fear of being different, socially unacceptable, is being touched off. This is like one of the zones of my deepest fear so it is interesting that I should have a child like J who is constantly going to touch that off...
    The more worrying thing is not actually J's aggression with this kid but his aggression and total rudeness with me afterwards... kind of ugly in a four year old. It's really this side of him that has me concerned - and then the sweet little boy comes back.
    I feel I should ring the other mother, if only to go through the social motions, enquire about the child.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member


    Is the behavior getting worse?
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well... that's a good question, IC. I think the strange answer is that it is getting both better and worse, if that makes any sense. In his good moments, he is better than he was - in many ways. In his bad moments, he is more intense, ruder, more secretive and manipulative. Thus far, I haven't really had anyone professional expressing real concern about him or giving me the sense that I should "do" anything urgent about him. It is really on me to whom it is clear that all is not normal in the garden...
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    so, for the mother situation, I might just casually say something to her in person, just a check in...not making it a huge deal since it seems to the teacher it really is not. And be aware, most are not so forthcoming and open as you are... they may not be ready to see issues with their child so yours can take the fall for all of it. That is not fair to J, takes two.

    I do find it interesting that our kids teach us so much about ourselves and force us to confront old issues. I have really had to work on conflict resolution and being assertive. The biggest is having to "not care" what others think. I am no where near where I need to be with that.

    when Quin is afraid he is in trouble, he always acts his worse with me. Like since he is in deep doo doo anyway, oh well...go for the big one.

    Really though, I think it is just the anxiety over it and not knowing what to do (for him) to make it really better. I wonder if he "really knew it was not ok to have those" or if he just really didn't want you to take them away. Fine line I know, but for him, it is about what he wants. Not really I'm trying to get away with something I would suspect. But you can see him and I can't. so just offering another idea.... it would be more developmentally in line that he learned last time that when he had something he wanted, and you saw it, he got upset. Now he didn't want that to happen again.

    Check your fb.... I think I found you.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    What I was thinking was... maybe this isn't just developmental/behavioral? In which case, a psychiatrist isn't necessarily going to be looking for this stuff?

    Like - what if his adrenal gland is out of whack... and when he starts getting worked up, the amount of adrenalin flowing through him is so sky high that he's in full fight-or-fight mode, even though the situation is mild? Or it could be how something in his brain responds to the adrenalin?

    That probably isn't the only possibility - and I have no idea how or where to even begin to look into that kind of stuff - but that journal might come in handy.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  11. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I would not make a big fuss about it (at least in public), but I would suggest talking to the mother about the incident. You don't need to justify or explain anything about J (ADHD, impulse...), but simply inquire about the little boy's neck: "how is his neck? I'm sorry about what happened. J and I talked about being gentle even while playing". Mental health is not some one talks about in France. And if one talks about it, it is usually related to trauma or bad parenting... so I advise not to go there too much. It will protect your social life.
    Behing closed doors, use all the strategies that you judge usefull.
    Just to ease your worry (if possible): my brother and his best friend used to have a really weird game when they were kids (7?). They would take turn and drag the other on the ground by the hair! They were BOTH very rambuctious. My mother had to put a stop to it but I'm pretty sure they invented something else behind her back.
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I appreciate your input, Kttlc because you know the set-up here. Don't know what part of France you are from but this is very traditional, rural France so that much more conservative and uninformed about such things, really. I just do feel I should check things out with the little boy, how is he (I should be genuinely concerned, after all :)) I did ring the mother's mobile phone earlier but no response.
    Insane, just no way of knowing, is there? To be honest, and as I've said here and elsewhere, I am surprised there have been as few problems at school as there have been. My fear is that all that is going to start changing...
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That's why the journal is so important. It will enable you to look back and see trends and such, that are not so obvious when seen from the "ground level" of day-to-day life.
  14. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    And I will say it again --- :) ----- In addition to journaling the more you project your fears onto this situation, the more J will pick up on them, and feed on them - bringing your secret fears to fruition.

    It is interesting to know the set up in France, and that does shed light on your post. It could be helpful to all of us in order to help you more, (although annoying to you) to set up your posts with a disclaimer like *In france.......and then post your post. Kind of like me talking about the Columbine incident - I really have no idea if you know about it - I should have probably expanded a bit as to why that would have a ramification in Matt's life.

    To only have 2 boys on the class? Wow, well they are going to be buddies no matter what. That is just a guy thing. "They gotta stick together". That makes it really difficult.

    So, if I understand correctly - you are also in a town where you feel a minority, or different somehow? Does J feel that way too?

    Also know that if he is having any sort of sensory integration issue - he is going to internalize abnormally high levels of stress - and then tend to release it when he feels safe, as in your home. I think you were going to get him some Occupational Therapist (OT) for that? You might be surprised how much that helps this situation.

  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, I know about Columbine, Steely :) It kind of made world news... But, yes, the cultural set-up here is obviously somewhat different to the States. A tiny village in rural France where everyone else is local, mostly having been from the village for generations back. I am English (my mother is French and I have French nationality but no-one knows about that) and J is visibly Moroccan. So we are different. J knows he is not from here and would identify himself as Moroccan, at the same time as French has become his first language and he is obviously very impregnated with the culture here.
    I think it is an interesting and valid point about fears being realised... I do wonder how healthy this relationship with the boy is. They are constantly together, seemingly inseperable, but frequently arguing and conflictual I gather... I do suspect this is being created and generated by J, without blaming him. They wind each other is what I am told at school. I think it would be better for J to be in a different school in the longer term and this is the first time I have thought this.
  16. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Sorry Malika - I truly have no concept of how US news penetrates other parts of the world. I very often feel as if the US lives in its own superficial fish bowls, and it angers me.

    I agree I would wonder about the possibility of him being in a different school with other boys he can chose from as friends. Is that a possibility?

    The good friend I mentioned in another post, Dana, lives in France and is a counselor. PM me if you have any interest in contacting her for resources. I am sure she would be glad to share.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think J. needs a total evaluation and may (or may not) have more than ADHD and, yes, I think that he needs interventions or that his behaviors will only get worse. I feel bad about it...I know it is not what you want to hear, but, as the cliche goes, better safe than sorry. I think actually putting red marks on the other boys neck is more than rough play. None of my boys ever did that...I think you need to take it seriously. in my opinion it is going to happen again (the anger and violence against another child). I don't think it was a one time thing. I wish I could be as optimistic as the others, but I guess maybe I've seen too much myself... JMO anyways. Feel free to disregard :) But when you have to start thinking about changing the environment to fit the child, in my opinion you are looking at something more than "typical boy" going on. And in my opinion I'm not convinced he has ADHD...but then in the US we have many diagnosis. that may count as ADHD in certain countries.
  18. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, I am doing a Buddy :))) and cannot sleep - it's 6 am here, I am awake and not even sure of whether I got any sleep last night (which means I probably did).
    I understand your concern, MWM. I think I would be really, really worried about the incident (as opposed to just really worried :)) if it had been J actually putting his hands around the other boy's neck, unprovoked, and squeezing. But what actually happened was that the other boy asked him to get hold of the back of his shirt "to play at being trains" and J did so - and then pulled too hard. It's a little different. Still concerning but not quite what you are imagining. At the same time, J does hit other kids and is too physical - confusing thing is they all do it, even the girls occasionally. It's kind of like how boys used to be (in my memory) but this kind of thing is not tolerated in the States at all now so maybe it seems more pathological than it is?
    That is at school. At home, J definitely has a problem with violence - physical and verbal. He would never do that to his teacher. Why?
    There is no complete evaluation to be had here. I have done everything I can, I feel, in terms of getting him evaluated - and am basically getting the message that there is nothing that much to be concerned about or done at this point. The teacher things I am a worry-guts and imagining problems that are not there...
    I don't know if J's behaviour will get worse. It could also get better as he matures. But I cannot put my head in the sand and just count on that happening.
    I am also worried about his birthday - it's his birthday today week and I've organised one of those soulless hamburger restaurant parties (kids like it, I guess). People were supposed to ring me by the 1st to confirm - several of them haven't done so to say yes or no, including the best friend's mother. J will be SO disappointed if he doesn't come, and it would be kind of strange. So I do need to ring the mother about that anyway. Birthday parties are not such a big deal here - a friend of mine who's been here some time told me that children very often don't turn up to parties, particularly at the weekend and she always feels bad for the child... But of course the paranoid side of me is thinking it is to do with J.
  19. buddy

    buddy New Member

    OH good, I am up with you, it is only 11:30 here though, smile. Watching Jim Carey in how the grinch stole christmas, so cute.

    I have been ruminating on our doctor visit and the shock that in one week (not even) he is up 2 more pounds. Just doesn't seem healthy even if he is "growing".

    I am not worried at this moment that he is too big, he is not. But what happens if it continues....

    anyway.... Sorry you can't sleep.... You have a lot going through your mind. I think the situation seems much like Q too when he gets carried away with play... a little bit knowing he is being rough but not fully knowing the impact. They just get so into it and dont get the full force of what they are doing. If he had just out of the blue or in anger gone after and pulled his shirt to "get him" that would be very different in my mind. But it does speak to having the Occupational Therapist (OT) or that other therapist keep working with you. IF he will that is......

    Your baby is gonna be 5! I surely hope his friend comes. Kids get over this stuff really quickly. My neices and nephews have grown up together. I mean even go to school together every day... really more like bro and sis. but they fight like arrrgggg... sometimes makes you wanna put them out in the snow and leave them there. The boys are getting out of it now that they are in middle school, but the girls fight and cry and tell, then are besties for a while.... and the fights are intense at times. mostly they are good together.

    It is crazy how best friends love eachother one minute then dont the next,. my sister used to try to help, now realizes it is just what it is...they learn to negotiate and handle conflict so she stays out of it.

    I know I already said this, but yes, this can be just typical behavior (I have lived it with many many kids who have no diagnosis and are doing fine in life) but I think the whole message on this board is to trust the mommy (parent) gut and putting this together with your other concerns, there may be something going on. I would not think he is going to end up a threat to society. Too many positive signs out of But certainly some kind of neurological differences. I think the fact that it is kind of elusive, makes you the perfect mom for him. You will, if anyone can, get to the bottom of it. But you need to balance that with overall enjoyment in life. You do describe lots of fun things he and you do so I am not saying you seem miserable or anything, lol. Just saying take time to enjoy, love, laugh. As much as you can since you have said you feel there are some milder attachment things not only on his part but yours.

    So, after reading this, did it make you wanna sleep....was going for the boring post
  20. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks Buddy. I don't want to hide away from this... I think there is definitely something going on with J, no question about it. My concern isn't even, if I think about it, that I now fear a label for him - which in all likelihood is going to be ADHD (oh dear MWM, I do fear the impression I might have created here; France, Europe, the US, they all use the same DSM diagnostic criteria - it honestly isn't some other planet :)) simply because that's what he resembles and there isn't the set-up here to go into the subtleties. Maybe if I were in one of the big cities but I think not round here. No, what I fear is that he is not going to integrate socially and will have problems in his life because of the anti-social tendencies. That is what we all fear, right? And there's definitely a risk of that. All I can do is ask to see the psychiatrist, alone, and reiterate my concerns I guess.
    I realise I have been kind of resting in, and liking, the fact that J seemed fine at the school. That reality now seems a bit more complex and, yes, it opens up a crack that I fear.