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Community pool with a poorly behaved boy - Page 2

post #21 of 50

Yes, of course I would explain to your boys that he has autism. I don't really get your reasoning for not telling them. Hopefully your boys can learn some compassion. My son had a boy with autism in his class in first grade and second grade (different kids, different school districts) and I explained to my son about the boys, and even though maybe these kids had social issues, my son was always kind to them. I do believe he was more tolerant of any social awkwardness on these boys' parts then he would have been otherwise I hate reading the part of your first post where you had your kids tell the boy to go fly a kite, I cringe so much reading that. That seems so cruel to say things like that to a kid with special needs. One thing I've noticed, that you have never mentioned what leads to these situations with the little boy. You say that the boy calls your kids names, but what is happening to initiate these situations? Does he come up to them completely randomly and start calling them names, or is there some other interaction? Does he try to play, is rebuked, then calls names? There's never just one side to the story, so I'm curious as to how your children are interacting with him also, especially before the boy starts acting inappropriately. Maybe they are doing something that unknowingly instigates this little boy.

 

But definitely definitely I would tell your kids that this boy has special needs and explain what that means to them.

post #22 of 50

Depending on the severity of the epilepsy, that *can* cause brain damage and developmental effects.  That's not your run of the mill occasional seizure though.  But for people with uncontrolled epilespy or who have had periods of time with frequent seizures to the point of causing some damage, there can be behavioral effects.

 

That being said, if this boy had uncontrolled epilepsy, I would think that if mom was going to closely supervise anywhere it'd be at a pool or around a bunch of water.
 

post #23 of 50

I think it's important to recognize how hard the op is working and how difficult this situation is, and how much she is taking responsibility to make things work.  Maybe "go fly a kite" wasn't the best response, but it wasn't intended cruelly and she's learning. 

 

Frankly, as the mother of an Autism spectrum kiddo that I love dearly, he drives me nuts sometimes.  He has very irritating social behaviors that have their beginning in his own neural pathways, and are not directly triggered by the actions of others.  For instance, he switches into "silly" mode suddenly, where he makes weird noises, sticks out his tongue, and puts his face right in other people's faces and starts poking them and won't leave them alone.  This behavior is caused by general anxiety, too much sensory imput, OR social anxiety about the current situation.  Usually it's hard to tell _what_ triggers the behavior. 

 

I'm guessing that 15 minutes of "normal" social interaction is about all this kid can handle before he starts to become unglued.

 

Which leads me to think of an idea.  Maybe you can front-load interactions between this kid and your sons by saying, "hi __________!  It's good to see you!  We're playing ____________ and you can play too for 10 minutes.  I'm going to set my watch.  When 10 minutes is done, you can go ___(suggest somewhere else he can go)."  Don't know if that will work, it's just an idea.

post #24 of 50
Thread Starter 
My boys are in kindergarden and first grade and he is in third. I think the maturity level of a kindergartner and a third grader are ( or should be) quite different. And this boy tends to target my six year much of the time. One typical example of what happens is that my boys were outside playing with some other kids, and this boy rode his bike up to them, start circling around them, and started calling out so- and so is a dummy! I am always near- by, usually watching from the window, so when he did that, I told him that he should not call names and if he didn't stop he needed to go ride his bike somewhere else. He nodded his head and I shut my back door and I immediately heard him doing it again, so I opened the door and told him to go ride his bike elsewhere and he took off. I shut the door again and not more than two minutes later, he was back again, calling my six yr old a dummy, and by now the other kids are getting mad and starting to chase him, so I told the other kids to come inside my house and play. They came in and this boy rode around to the front door and started knocking on the door and running away. I got mad and I said if he did it one more time I was going to get his mom, so he rode off again, and the whole time this is going on I'm holding back the other kids because they want to go after him, and my one year old is screaming her head off because she keeps thinking we're going outside when I open the door. It seems like he is purposely instigating a negative interaction with the other children. What child (special needs or not) would think that calling another kid a name would be a good way to make a friend? It is pretty random- there's nothing the other kids are doing first to cause him to get angry at them- they do get frustrated with him and eventually lash out when he won't stop ( like my 7 yr old telling him he's going "to do karate on him" when the boy wouldn't stop interrupting my boys' tennis game). I certainly don't think it's right for my son to put his hands on the boy, and I told him to come get me next time, but the kids get fed up and it seems like the other boy is "asking for it." This is a townhouse development-all of the outside is not fenced in and community property so I don't have anywhere outside that my boys can play where this boy can't get to them. I had a lot of compassion for him two years ago when we first moved here, but it has slowly fizzled out as his behavior has gotten worse and his mother has given him more freedom and less supervision. I am at the point where I am angry and I want to tell my boys- no! You do not have to play with someone who is calling you names, chasing you around, and crossing physical boundaries. You have the right to be outside without having some kid call you names, interrupt your games, and slam your head with a buzzer!
post #25 of 50

You certainly have a right and responsibility to protect your kids, and for them to be able to play without being harassed.  It is too bad that keeping your kids from this boy means keeping them inside.  That just doesn't seem fair to you or your kids.

 

Even with LOTS of coaching, kids with Autism often struggle to take others' perspective.  I've read tons of books, we practice all the time, but my kid still picks on others at school in the manner I described in my previous post and has to be sent to the special ed room for a break and some sensory help to get back on track.  He also has this behavior at home with his younger brother and requires frequent intervention. (Like, would you like to jump on the trampoline?  Would you like to go in your room and play with Legos? and then finally Go to your room and stay there until you can use your regular voice!)  I am taking a guess here, but it sounds like maybe this kid's family consists only of him and his mom.  Is she a single working mom?  Are her only family interactions those with her son?  Maybe she is just worn to the bone, and doesn't feel up to coaching him.  So maybe he's not getting any coaching at all, or not much.  Maybe she just sends him outside so she can have a break from him.  Not saying that is right or wrong (I try my best not to blame parents, especially parents I don't know), but taking her perspective doesn't solve your problem anyway.

 

What do other parents in the neighborhood say?  What are their strategies?  Since your living area is essentially a village, it seems like the village is going to have to solve this together.  I know you've tried MANY times to talk to the mom, and it seems like one-on-one is not working.  What kind of support does she need?  What kind of accountability can the "village" create for her son?

 

With summer coming this is only going to get harder, and I can totally understand your frustration.

post #26 of 50

My son had some developmental delays and sensory issues. When he was younger, he had some typically autistic-like behaviors. As he got older, he developed some Aspergers-like behaviors. Social situations have never been easy. 

 

My son is 9 now, and he sometimes still gets pretty nasty when things aren't going his way with his friends. If they start to criticize him or don't include him in a game, or play a game that he can't figure out, or tease him, etc. he won't leave or tell them to stop, he won't say "let's play something else". He will just get grumpy, withdraw and sometimes even purposely hide a piece of the game they are playing or steal their shoes and hide them....talk loudly on purpose when they are trying to listen to something, and plain old annoy them. It can come across as very bratty or mean behavior. I have been coaching him a bit on what to do in a situation where he is unhappy with a friend or actually getting hurt physically by one. I want him to "use his words" and stand up for himself instead of acting out.

 

This child you speak of is completely lacking in social skills and he needs help. Perhaps he doesn't really get physically aggressive to hurt people...it's more of an impulse control thing...invasion of space or wanting to scare them, to see their reaction. Thank goodness my son outgrew that type of behavior by the time he was in kindergarten! Perhaps he didn't get enough therapy as a child, or it just didn't help him when he did. He needs to explore some of the therapies out there for kids who lack social skills. I wonder if he could at least get into a social skills group for kids with disabilities or a summer camp or something. I have never been pro medication for my own son, for various reasons, but perhaps some ADD meds that can control impulses might even help this kid...or other meds. He needs help for sure. Sounds like the mom needs to get more involved in his care here, instead of letting him wander around the neighborhood knowing how poorly he interacts with others...expecting the other parents to play referee. 

post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonMom View Post

Yes, of course I would explain to your boys that he has autism. I don't really get your reasoning for not telling them. Hopefully your boys can learn some compassion. My son had a boy with autism in his class in first grade and second grade (different kids, different school districts) and I explained to my son about the boys, and even though maybe these kids had social issues, my son was always kind to them. I do believe he was more tolerant of any social awkwardness on these boys' parts then he would have been otherwise I hate reading the part of your first post where you had your kids tell the boy to go fly a kite, I cringe so much reading that. That seems so cruel to say things like that to a kid with special needs. One thing I've noticed, that you have never mentioned what leads to these situations with the little boy. You say that the boy calls your kids names, but what is happening to initiate these situations? Does he come up to them completely randomly and start calling them names, or is there some other interaction? Does he try to play, is rebuked, then calls names? There's never just one side to the story, so I'm curious as to how your children are interacting with him also, especially before the boy starts acting inappropriately. Maybe they are doing something that unknowingly instigates this little boy.

 

But definitely definitely I would tell your kids that this boy has special needs and explain what that means to them.

Go fly a kite? I didn't catch that. Yeah, not just kids with special needs would be hurt by this...most kids would. Being straight up is a better approach.."I don't like it when you hurt me. I don't want to play with you because you hurt me, etc."

post #28 of 50

My son had some developmental delays and sensory issues. When he was younger, he had some typically autistic-like behaviors. As he got older, he developed some Aspergers-like behaviors. Social situations have never been easy. 

 

My son is 9 now, and he sometimes still gets pretty nasty when things aren't going his way with his friends. If they start to criticize him or don't include him in a game, or play a game that he can't figure out, or tease him, etc. he won't leave or tell them to stop, he won't say "let's play something else". He will just get grumpy, withdraw and sometimes even purposely hide a piece of the game they are playing or steal their shoes and hide them....talk loudly on purpose when they are trying to listen to something, and plain old annoy them. It can come across as very bratty or mean behavior. I have been coaching him a bit on what to do in a situation where he is unhappy with a friend or actually getting hurt physically by one. I want him to "use his words" and stand up for himself instead of acting out.

 

This child you speak of is completely lacking in social skills and he needs help. Perhaps he doesn't really get physically aggressive to hurt people...it's more of an impulse control thing...invasion of space or wanting to scare them, to see their reaction. Thank goodness my son outgrew that type of behavior by the time he was in kindergarten! Perhaps he didn't get enough therapy as a child, or it just didn't help him when he did. He needs to explore some of the therapies out there for kids who lack social skills. I wonder if he could at least get into a social skills group for kids with disabilities or a summer camp or something. I have never been pro medication for my own son, for various reasons, but perhaps some ADD meds that can control impulses might even help this kid...or other meds. He needs help for sure. Sounds like the mom needs to get more involved in his care here, instead of letting him wander around the neighborhood knowing how poorly he interacts with others...expecting the other parents to play referee. 

post #29 of 50
Thread Starter 
I came up with that response ( go fly a kite) because I thought maybe he was acting out to get attention, so instead of the kids yelling at him and giving him more attention, I thought if they could act nonchalant and passive, he would see that he wasn't getting a rise out of them and stop. Bad idea- I know- but I was trying out strategies because nothing was working.
We were at the pool today and he kept getting close to my six year old and kicking off to swim- kicking my boy in the process. My son would tell him to stop and he would say "what? I'm just trying to swim". After this happened twice, because the first time could have been an accident, I said to them I needed them to back away from eachother. My son swam away and the boy followed him and then did it again. My son got angry and started yelling at him so I walked over there ( his mom was sitting right there and said nothing) and said "you boys are not getting along so I need you (my son) to find something else to do and I need you ( the other boy) to stay away from him. I'm not messing around- you listen to what I'm saying." I was pretty stern but my son understood that this wasn't directed at him. This boy's mom gets so defensive if anyone tries to tell her anything about her son so I was trying to be diplomatic. The boy did listen but he and his mom left shortly after that so I don't know how long that would have lasted. I asked my six yr old later if he was ok with the rule I set up for them and he said yes. The other parents in the neighborhood are fed up too, but they won't do anything- they just vent about it behind the mom's back- which I do, too, I have to admit, but we are just a bunch of moms trying to let our kids have fun- we're no experts here. She is a single mom but her parents are over a lot and she is friends with her ex. I do think she is a bit overwhelmed which is why I try to handle situations first before I go over to her right away. I've seen her at times- when he is being really bad- just shut down and walk away.
post #30 of 50

It's a rough situation for sure. I think I would do a lot of the things that you're already doing (getting away from the situation primarily, refereeing, etc). I would also start coaching him. It may seem obvious to you that other kids don't want to play with someone who calls them names, but for a kid with autism it's just not that obvious, so I'd try to step in where his mom is not.

 

I wouldn't be mean, but if he was riding his bike around calling my kids dummies, not only would I ask him to stop, and bring my kids inside if he didn't stop, I would also explain to him why his behavior isn't okay. "John, when you call people names like 'dummy' it makes them feel mad and they don't want to play with you. John, when you kick someone it hurts them and makes them mad and they don't want to play with you." Also even more helpful would be telling him what specific behavior (not "being nice") would be okay. "John, it's fine to ride your bike around here and say 'hi' to everyone, but please don't call anyone 'dummy'." And maybe something like, "John, you're a good swimmer. Be sure to leave at least two arms length of distance between you and DS so no one gets bumped."

 

I think a kid with autism like you describe is going to need very specific, concrete and brief direction on what is okay behavior. A lengthy explanation won't do and generalisms won't do either. He also needs direction on what he can do and not just what he can't. It sounds fairly daunting, but I don't think it has to take any more of your time than it does already. I would also coach your boys on this kind of interaction. "John I don't like it when you call me dummy. You can call me Mike."

 

It's tough, but I think you have the opportunity to teach your kids to be compassionate towards folks with differences. Throughout their lives they'll run into folks with autism, or Alzheimers, or Down's Syndrome, or people from other cultures, or just geeky kids who don't quite fit in. Having an attitude of compassion toward those folks will help all involved. 

 

If you think the mom is open to it you might recommend the book, "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It's not my favorite title, but it gives some good specific tools for dealing with kids with behavior issues and a lack of flexibility. It's really a great approach for any kid. Check out http://www.ccps.info/cpssentials/index.html .

 

Best of luck!


Edited by beanma - 6/4/12 at 5:00am
post #31 of 50

I just _can't_ imagine letting my kid (who has Aspergers) intentionally kick a smaller kid in the pool without intervening.  I'm trying to have compassion on this mother, because it's really easy to blame the parents of kids with disabilities, but COME ON, she really needed to step up in that situation.  I really feel for the OP and I would have a hard time wanting to help the kid when he is just being so darn mean and the mom is being so darn passive.  _But_ I do agree that he needs tons of coaching and someone has to do it, and simple concrete explanations of how his behavior leads to his social isolation is important.  What about a group of parents confronting the mom about her need to help out when her son is hurting and teasing others?
 

post #32 of 50

I think it can also be helpful to empathize (or restate the boy's position) as in, "John, it looks like you want to join in and play." Then explain the problem,  "When you call people names like 'dummy' they get mad at you and don't want  to play with you," and offer a solution,  "Try saying 'hi' instead."

 

Check out that Collaborative Problem Solving approach from the Explosive Child link I posted up thread. It couldn't hurt.

post #33 of 50

As soon as I read the post about the boy being fine and then suddenly doing something inappropriate, it hit me.  That is my son.  He is 6.  He has high functioning aspergers.  Not diagnosed but he fits it to a T.  He doesn't do things intentionally to hurt other kids but socially...oy.  He is like a happy little puppy who disregards other kids cues.  He would listen to an adult but a minute later he would be doing the exact same thing.  He wouldn't be being defiant at all though.  In his mind he would be thinking..well this is fun.  I am going to do it without even thinking about what the adult said.  My happy little puppy.  The difference here is I STAY WITH HIM.  We have 6 young children.  9, 8, 6, 4, 3 and 1.  He is the one that I watch the most.  I don't worry about my 4 and 3 yo but my 6yo I watch closely.  I say more clearly what other kids are showing and saying.  You can't say things like You might not want to do that.  That's not a good idea.  You need to be listening better.  You need to actually say clearly, don't do that please.  Stop.  I would not leave my son to navigate the waters on his own.  I feel bad for that 9yo boy. :(  Hopefully you guys can figure something out so you can enjoy the pool area this summer.

post #34 of 50

It was mentioned that the mother said other kids don't play with her son because they sense he is different but these kids aren't excluding him for being a little different .. they are excluding him for being mean, acting like a bully and physically and emotionally bothering them. 

It's really dangerous in my opinion to teach children that they should have to tolerate someone kicking them and calling them hurtful things. I never ever ever want to even imply to my dd that she has to allow someone to treat her badly over and over again because it's the nice thing to do. Quite frankly, I don't care what the reason is. If this child is ill, his parent should be dealing with his illness. It may be hard for her but you know what ... it's hard for all of the rest of us too. You never know what is going on in life for anyone. I'm sure the OP has her hands full trying to take care of her own three children plus whatever else may or may not be going on in her life. It's not fair to expect her to spend her time day after day with the added pressure of dealing with this. 

 

To the OP- Two YEARS is an insanely long time for you to have to be dealing with this. Your kids deserve to know that their feelings, their bodies and who they are matter just as much as anyone else. I would still tell your boys they should NEVER play with him and tell the mom she HAS to tell her son to stay away from your kids 100% of the time. Period. Can you complain to the town home association? 

post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemygirl View Post

It's really dangerous in my opinion to teach children that they should have to tolerate someone kicking them and calling them hurtful things. I never ever ever want to even imply to my dd that she has to allow someone to treat her badly over and over again because it's the nice thing to do. Quite frankly, I don't care what the reason is. If this child is ill, his parent should be dealing with his illness. It may be hard for her but you know what ... it's hard for all of the rest of us too.


To the OP- Two YEARS is an insanely long time for you to have to be dealing with this. Your kids deserve to know that their feelings, their bodies and who they are matter just as much as anyone else. I would still tell your boys they should NEVER play with him and tell the mom she HAS to tell her son to stay away from your kids 100% of the time. Period. Can you complain to the town home association? 


I agree with much of this. redface.gif
post #36 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemygirl View Post

It was mentioned that the mother said other kids don't play with her son because they sense he is different but these kids aren't excluding him for being a little different .. they are excluding him for being mean, acting like a bully and physically and emotionally bothering them. 

It's really dangerous in my opinion to teach children that they should have to tolerate someone kicking them and calling them hurtful things. I never ever ever want to even imply to my dd that she has to allow someone to treat her badly over and over again because it's the nice thing to do. Quite frankly, I don't care what the reason is. If this child is ill, his parent should be dealing with his illness. It may be hard for her but you know what ... it's hard for all of the rest of us too. You never know what is going on in life for anyone. I'm sure the OP has her hands full trying to take care of her own three children plus whatever else may or may not be going on in her life. It's not fair to expect her to spend her time day after day with the added pressure of dealing with this. 

 

To the OP- Two YEARS is an insanely long time for you to have to be dealing with this. Your kids deserve to know that their feelings, their bodies and who they are matter just as much as anyone else. I would still tell your boys they should NEVER play with him and tell the mom she HAS to tell her son to stay away from your kids 100% of the time. Period. Can you complain to the town home association? 

I agree with this 100%. Her kids have the right to be safe and if this child is causing a problem constantly I would get together with the other parents and the property managers and find a solution.

post #37 of 50

I have never seen a mother of child with Aspergers or Autism not be totally on at all times.  I can't imagine why this mother is not doing so.  She is harming her son by not helping him through social interactions that he seems to be having troubles with.  It's not fair to him at all. 

 

OP I feel for you and I hope you can find a way to get through this summer. 

post #38 of 50
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure if this is something I can complain to the HOA about- I'll have to check that out. I always tell my boys that they do not have to play with this boy or be his friend, but what should I do if all the kids are outside playing or swimming at the pool and he goes up to them? Usually I wait until he does something inappropriate, which could either be right away or 10-15 minutes after, and then intervene. But do you think I should tell him to leave my boys alone immediately? If we are at the pool and he shows up, sometimes he swims up to my son and says hi! and sometimes he swims up to him and kicks him. I never know which it's going to be, I just stand by on high alert until something inenvitably happens, but I don't know how to preempt the situation without starting something with his mom. That would be one of those situations where I would have all the right things to say in my head but when it happened, I would get nervous and totally forget what I should say. Or chicken out.
post #39 of 50

My response would be:

 

 "Joey, you hurt someone/you called someone a name. It's time for you to go home." And then WALK him home/walk him to mom. He's used up all his chances, and keeps doing it.

 

Then tell mom what you expect HER to do: I'm bringing Joey home because he hurt someone. He needs to stay here for 10 minutes (first offense, 20, then 30, then the rest of the day). Your son is hurting other kids/calling kids names. If you can't be out there to monitor him, I'm going to send him home each time he does it." If it's at the pool, then take him by the hand and lead him to mom. Yeah, it's a lot of work for you. But by popping out and telling him three or more times to stop, the only thing he's learned is that he can keep doing it for a while before other kids get really mad.

 

You need to be really really direct with mom and son. Mom may also have some pragmatic difficulties. It may be more direct than you're used to being. But this child has a disorder that (a) makes it hard for him to read others social cues, (b) makes it hard for him to stop doing something, and (c) prevents him from easily learning new strategies. It's not your job to teach him these things, but you can make everyone's life easier by simply never beating around the bush.

post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Then tell mom what you expect HER to do: I'm bringing Joey home because he hurt someone. He needs to stay here for 10 minutes (first offense, 20, then 30, then the rest of the day). Your son is hurting other kids/calling kids names. If you can't be out there to monitor him, I'm going to send him home each time he does it."

 

Boy, I really wouldn't respond well to another parent bringing my child home and saying something like that to me. I would be totally on the defensive and feel like saying, "you can't tell me what to do."

 

I think you need to approach this in a much less confrontational manner, but you can still be clear and firm. And I don't think it's realistic to tell your kids that they never have to play with this kid. What are they supposed to do the minute they see him in the pool or outside? Run away? There will be people throughout their lives that they don't get along with. Teaching them to stand up for themselves w/o being adversarial is a great skill. What happens when there's a similarly annoying kid in their class at school? 

 

Arm your boys with  appropriate phrases. They don't have to be best friends with him, but they need to know how to manage interactions with him. "Joey, I don't like it when you call me dummy. Call me Aidan." 

 

By all means talk to the mom, too, but I would approach it in a much more collaborative way. "Joey's having trouble playing in the pool without kicking others. What do you suggest? Maybe the boys should just play apart." Repeat as necessary. 

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