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Threats with knives - WWYD?

post #1 of 166
Thread Starter 

I was woken up this morning by an intercom call from dd1 (9). She was locked in the downstairs bathroom with her little sister, and the downstairs phone handset. DS2 (almost 7) was chasing the two of them with sharp knives from the kitchen. I came downstairs immediately, and he jumped out from behind a curtain, holding the two knives like swords, and said "hiya!" and told me to stay back. In my not finest parenting moment, I told him to give me the knives now, or he was getting his butt paddled. *sigh*

 

He gave me the knives and I sent him upstairs for a time-out. I honestly have NO idea how to deal with something like this. His behaviour is frequently awful in the mornings, but not this awful.

post #2 of 166

By age 7 my DS knew not to play with knives under any circumstances.  Can you start some kitchen training, safety lessons etc.  

For example - this is the bread knife, look at the deep grooves, its ONLY for cutting bread.   These are steak knives, still have grooves but much pointier at the end. and smaller.   This is a fruit knife.... 

post #3 of 166
That's scary. Can he be on vegetable chopping duty for the next couple of weeks? Instead of doing other stuff like playing with friends, reading, watching tv, ect before dinner he has to help you make dinner. I'm sure he knows how sharp knives are, but maybe after a couple of weeks of having to use one (or watch you use one) he will understand exactly how sharp they are and how they are intended to be used.

Also, for the time being I'd move them out of his reach (if there is a such thing for a 7 yo boy). My brother stabbed me in the forearm with a steak knife when he was that age and I was 10. It wasn't too bad, but it sure did hurt.
post #4 of 166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post

By age 7 my DS knew not to play with knives under any circumstances.  Can you start some kitchen training, safety lessons etc.  

For example - this is the bread knife, look at the deep grooves, its ONLY for cutting bread.   These are steak knives, still have grooves but much pointier at the end. and smaller.   This is a fruit knife.... 

 

We've been doing that since he was a toddler.

post #5 of 166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

That's scary. Can he be on vegetable chopping duty for the next couple of weeks? Instead of doing other stuff like playing with friends, reading, watching tv, ect before dinner he has to help you make dinner. I'm sure he knows how sharp knives are, but maybe after a couple of weeks of having to use one (or watch you use one) he will understand exactly how sharp they are and how they are intended to be used.
He's used the knives before (under supervision), but this might be a good idea. It's hard to say what really sinks in with this one.

Also, for the time being I'd move them out of his reach (if there is a such thing for a 7 yo boy). My brother stabbed me in the forearm with a steak knife when he was that age and I was 10. It wasn't too bad, but it sure did hurt.

 

I was thinking about moving them out of his reach, but I honestly can't think of anywhere that he can't get to, if he tries. It would be difficult for him to reach the very top shelf in the kitchen, but if he stood on something on the counter, he could do it...and there's the chance that he'd end up taking a tumble (possibly with the knives in his hands...that wasn't a good mental picture at all).

 

He apparently started sawing on one of my cookbooks, too.

post #6 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

I was thinking about moving them out of his reach, but I honestly can't think of anywhere that he can't get to, if he tries. It would be difficult for him to reach the very top shelf in the kitchen, but if he stood on something on the counter, he could do it...and there's the chance that he'd end up taking a tumble (possibly with the knives in his hands...that wasn't a good mental picture at all).

He apparently started sawing on one of my cookbooks, too.

I had a feeling that would be the case. My little brother was just like this...he'd climb up the Empire State Building if he thought there was something my mother didnt want him to have at the top of it. Sounds like a lock box is the only solution to actually keeping them away from him.

As far as mornings go, what if he has to stay in his room (or in a certain room..one that wasnt the kitchen) until you got up?
post #7 of 166

Peace.gif

 

Hi gang!

 

I'm stepping out of my depth a little here, but I wanted to lend my support and an idea.

I've been around little boys my whole life.  My family makes lots of (big) men.  We say, manly, manly men.

I don't know about your men - but I know our men, they're very "typical" men.  It's in quotes because let's face it, not all men are one way or another, but for better or worse, our men are what passes for "an average manly man" or passed for such in the less enlightened era - in other words, these men of ours, they smash things, they take something apart and poke at it's innards (A car!  A toaster!  We keep them away from living creatures until they're taught empathy and boundaries!), they harass the rest of the clan until we trick them into going outside and lock the door.  They are fairly violent little hooligans until we can teach them to get a handle on themselves.

What you described your son doing, while completely not OK, sounds pretty typical for the men I know at about that age.  <sigh>

 

Have you given him something he can menace, terrorize and destroy?  At 7, my brothers had things they could tear to ribbons, and they did so, on a daily basis.  We still have things they can punch if they need to punch something.  There has always been something available for the boys to disassemble, or just break.  I don't want to tell you how often the menfolk will group up and safely make something explode.  Grown men here.  Potato guns are built and fired.  Go-carts turn into bumper cars.  Mayhem.

 

Try giving the boy something to shred, and explaining that he needs to keep his need to shred contained.  See if that helps.

Good luck!  (Me, I'm doing every trick I know to be sure I have nothing but girls!)
 

post #8 of 166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

As far as mornings go, what if he has to stay in his room (or in a certain room..one that wasnt the kitchen) until you got up?

 

I have no way to enforce it, so he won't do it. To give you an idea what ds2 is like, a pediatrician I saw last year gave him a tentative diagnosis of ADHD and ODD. I happen to disagree with her diagnosis (she was ignoring quite a few aspects of what I was telling her), but I can see why she reached that conclusion. He doesn't understand boundaries very well.

post #9 of 166

I know a lot of people with boys that age, say that their boys are better behaved when they have a productive outlet for their energy/agression,   In times past, boys would be spending time chopping wood or working int he fields and they would learn to use knives to carve wood or whittle things or make things.   That energy would be channeled in a productive direction. What about giving him a pocketknife (that an adult keeps for him but that he can use under supervision for carving wood or whittling).  Or maybe give him some physical work he can do outside.. cleaning up a yard, or mowing grass (with a manual mower...I wouldn't give a 7 yo a gas or electric mower), or raking leaves (in the fall).

post #10 of 166
I would have flipped out. If I thought my child didn't know the seriousness of threatening another person with a weapon I would find a way to make that clear. If she did know how serious it is I would seek counseling fast unless I was absolutely certain it was an attention seeking thing gone to far, in which case I would only seek counseling if I wasn't able to effectively help her find other ways to get attention. With siblings being involved this could be a cry for attention gone too far thing.
post #11 of 166
Thread Starter 

DS2 doesn't seem to understand the seriousness of much of anything. It's extremely difficult to get through to him. DH and I have resorted to absolutely outrageous threats, which we both know is stupid, because we just can't seem to make him get it. His behaviour is very attention seeking - but he gets more of my attention than his three siblings combined.

 

He's very difficult to deal with. I think we're going to have to start the process of having him evaluated again.

post #12 of 166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ameliabedelia View Post

Or maybe give him some physical work he can do outside.. cleaning up a yard, or mowing grass (with a manual mower...I wouldn't give a 7 yo a gas or electric mower), or raking leaves (in the fall).

 

I would love to do this, but we don't have a yard. :(

post #13 of 166

If he's so defiant and has no boundaries, I would find a good family counselor.  I had a friend whose son was like this and their pediatrician also said he probably had ODD.   He's 10 now and somewhat better, but the things he would do had my jaw on the floor.  I have twin boys the same age and they would never have considered doing the things this kid did.  

 

Some of the doozies I heard about:

-- stomping on neighbor's flowers, refusing to stop and when finally threatened with a spanking he said, "come and get me."

-- Screaming in a rage for 2 hours when the wrong pizza was delivered

-- Hitting younger sister daily

-- Refusing to go to school and having to be carried into the school office (literally kicking and screaming)

-- staying up until midnight or later because he would throw tantrums (keeping the rest of the family awake) if his parents tried to force him to go to bed

 

No form of discipline-- and they tried many I didn't agree with-- worked.  Finally they saw a family counselor when he was about 7 and stronger than his petite mom, who couldn't control him at all.  The counselor told them their kid was wired differently than most and he needed to make more of his own decisions than most kids his age.   Letting go of some of the control helped with some of the behavior problems. But the counselor also gave the family strategies for dealing with the hitting and tantruming.  I don't know all the details of it, but a year later, she told me things had improved. He's still over the top but they can take him out in public now without being afraid he'll run away or freak out.  I think there are still issues with his sister, but they're not afraid for her safety anymore. 

post #14 of 166
Thread Starter 

I can't honestly describe ds2's issues very well - it's hard even in person, and almost impossible online. He's not really particularly defiant, although I can see why he comes across that way. He thinks most of the things he does are funny, If people aren't amused when he's being "funny", he feels rejected and becomes amazingly upset. While he does occasionally act out with his sisters (such as the knife incident that prompted this post), he's more likely to be found hitting himself in the head and calling himself a jerk, an idiot, stupid, etc. He's quite destructive at times, but it's almost always tied to rejection (or sometimes, when someone takes something of his) - his older sister doesn't want to play with him, so he throws one of her favourite toys across the room, or tears up one of her drawings/paintings, or he wants to hug his little sister, and she doesn't want a hug, so he pushes her or grabs something from her hands.

 

When I talk about boundaries, I mean all kinds of boundaries. He doesn't get the idea that other people have personal space. When he's in classes, he frequently speaks up at totally inappropriate times (mostly, it makes instructors and/or spectators laugh...but he honestly has no idea why they're laughing, because he has no idea that he really shouldn't have piped up right then, or said what he said). If someone is playing a videogame that he likes to watch, he'll hang on them (right in their face, sometimes holding an arm) and offer a constant stream of unwanted commentary or game advice (drives his big brother crazy). Attempts to address these things tend to trigger a "tantrum", but it's of the "you all hate me - I'm worthless" type. He honestly can't understand why people might not like that...despite the fact that he frequently doesn't like it when people do it to him, either. With that behaviour, or any other, people can say, "please don't do that"...."please don't do that"...."please don't do that"...."stop that"..."stop that"..."STOP that!"...and when they eventually lose their temper, he ends up crying in a corner, saying "why doesn't anybody like me?". He almost never bears a grudge about anything - will be mad enough to hit someone, and wanting to play with them again in 10 minutes - and has no understanding that other people aren't necessarily over an incident that quickly. So-and-so doesn't want to play with him, because they don't like him - not because he pegged them in a head with a pinecone 10 minutes ago...things like that.

 

*sigh*
I just ended up yelling at him again. We're trying to clean up. I asked him to put some clothes by the washing machine. He came back, with his foot wrapped up in dd1's favourite dress, dragging it along the floor, and can't understand why I'm upset. I asked how he'd like it if I damaged his sweater, and he started crying, saying "I love that sweater". I screamed (in sheer frustration - and I'm not proud of myself, because I know he just does not process this stuff the way most people do) that dd1 loves that dress, too - it's her favourite. And, he just said, "well, I didn't know". I actually think he wouldn't have dragged it if he'd known it was her favourite (unless he was mad at her), but he just doesn't get that it's not okay to do that to other people's stuff...period. Prior to that, he was helping me while I was putting a string around our floor lamp (hoping dd2 will stop knocking it over - she smashed the glass shade to bits yesterday, and knocked it over again about 20-30 minutes ago). He was very willing, but he also tends to try to do what he thinks I need, instead of what I actually ask for...because I was precariously perched, I wasn't as patient as I could have been, so he's probably feeling bad, because I was terse. He's amazingly sensitive...and people don't see it, as a rule. He's also very friendly and outgoing - adults mostly really like him, but he has HUGE social issues with other kids.

 

 

And, on the flipside of all this, he's the first one to share the last berry on his plate, or piece of chocolate. He spent most of last year reguarly assuming the super-hero identity of "Toddler Saver" and looking out for dd2, a little boy in our townhouse complex, and the younger brother of one of his homeschooling friends. He slipped into my bedroom this morning, saw I was sleeping, kissed me on the cheek and left (I was just starting to wake up - didn't even know who it was, until he mentioned it later). If anyone in the family is upset, he's the first one to run over and give them a hug (causes him problems with dd1, because she mostly prefers to be left alone, and then he feels rejected - again).

 

 

We've had a few real doozies over the years (one, in particular, really blew me away - a major meltdown, including kicking me in the stomach and trying to choke me, because he wasn't allowed to stay at a playdate that dd1 was having). But, they're generally triggered by rejection, not defiance...and they're really not the norm, although they're so amazingly draining that they feel as if they happen more often than they do.

post #15 of 166

If your gut feeling is that he's not in danger of hurting anyone, I would suggest you try to involve your son in martial arts, woodworking, scouting, a fishing club, archery, a traditional sleepover camp--anything that will give him a chance to develop real, hands-on skills.  My son doesn't run around with knives but does engage in some attention-seeking behavior that seems tied to his need to be doing meaningful work.  Scouting has been good for him in this area, as has a week-long day camp he attended.  Kids who know how, and are allowed to use, sharp objects responsibly typically don't feel the need to play around with them.

post #16 of 166

It doesn't matter what the intentions of a 7-year-old who is chasing his sisters with a knife are - he can easily hurt someone very seriously in that situation regardless of his intentions. 

 

Stormbride, if your house has doors that lock, you have a way to put the knives out of reach, and you should use it.  Your ds has now clearly informed you that he cannot be unsupervised with knives, and he cannot be unsupervised in the morning, so you also need to get up when he does so you can be alert to these situations as they develop. 

 

There's no need to have a fine parenting moment when a kid brandishes a knife at you. 

post #17 of 166
Thread Starter 

I'm afraid I lack the telepathic abilities necessary to wake up when he does.  I'm also unlikely to be "alert" to these situations, as I'm beyond exhausted myself. I'm barely able to keep my eyes open all day as it is.

 

Quite frankly, dealing with ds2 is more than I've got in me. I'm actually sitting here crying just at the thought of dealing with having to lock my knives in the bedroom every night. It may well need to be done, but I'm not looking forward to locking up my broom, my meat tenderizing hammer, canned goods, etc. The real problem here isn't the knives. It's ds2. He just doesn't get it., and I'm clearly not the right parent to be dealing with it.

post #18 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

I'm afraid I lack the telepathic abilities necessary to wake up when he does.  I'm also unlikely to be "alert" to these situations, as I'm beyond exhausted myself. I'm barely able to keep my eyes open all day as it is.

Quite frankly, dealing with ds2 is more than I've got in me. I'm actually sitting here crying just at the thought of dealing with having to lock my knives in the bedroom every night. It may well need to be done, but I'm not looking forward to locking up my broom, my meat tenderizing hammer, canned goods, etc. The real problem here isn't the knives. It's ds2. He just doesn't get it., and I'm clearly not the right parent to be dealing with it.

C'mon, stop crying. hug.gif He's a 7 year old boy with some behavior problems. You've dealt with way worse than this. You are the right parent to deal with it- you are his parent. The issue here isnt the knives, it's the behavior overall. It sounds like you are overwhelmed and you need help to deal with him. What about some extra activities like pp mentioned. What about camp? Does he get along with others well enough to do something like that? Where is your teenager? Can (s)he help?
post #19 of 166
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post


C'mon, stop crying. hug.gif He's a 7 year old boy with some behavior problems. You've dealt with way worse than this. You are the right parent to deal with it- you are his parent. The issue here isnt the knives, it's the behavior overall. It sounds like you are overwhelmed and you need help to deal with him. What about some extra activities like pp mentioned. What about camp? Does he get along with others well enough to do something like that? Where is your teenager? Can (s)he help?

 

My teenager isn't home very much. He helps with the kids when he is, but he's moving on with own life. He has work. He just came back from a four day visit with his father. He has a girlfriend.

 

I haven't really noticed any overnight camps that he could attend (age limits and such), but he does do some other activities. Most of them have wound up for the summer, except for Tae Kwon Do. (He's taking it one night a week for July, but not for August, as we're going to be away for 10-11 days.) Due to some major issues with the other kids, he's indoors, unless I can go out to supervise him, for....well, I don't know how long, exactly. I don't get him out as much as I should, because it effing drains me. I took them to the pool in our complex today (something I'd be doing every day that we were home, in a perfect world - it's the second time since the pool opened at the end of May). We were there for about an hour, and I came back so utterly exhausted that I could barely face unloading the dishwasher. Up until a couple weeks ago, he was in swimming two days a week, circus arts one day a week, and Tae Kwon Do one day a week.

 

I'm sure I do need some help, but I can't figure out where to get it. I've woken up some mornings in tears, just from knowing I have to deal wtih ds2 all day. And, at the same time, he's one of the sweetest kids I've ever known. I just can't maintain the level of emotional, mental and physical energy that he requires.

 


I need to get him evaluated. But, after my initial attempt (last July!), I folded. If I don't have the energy to deal with him, I certainly don't have the energy to deal with the medical crap.

post #20 of 166

You can buy a motion sensor alarm for his bedroom door.  Or some jingle bells, if he sleeps with the door closed. 

 

Stormbride, I sympathize with your frustration at the difficulties inherent in creating a safe environment for a kid who is having serious boundary issues.  It is WORK.  It's time-consuming, and frustrating, and has to be combined with more time-consuming, exhausting supervision.  While he may not realize it, and while you wish he wasn't, your ds is asking you in the clearest possible way for a lot of direct supervision.  You can sign him up for whatever energy-burning thing you want - it will probably be good for him, he'll love it, and he'll continue to seek attention from you in any way he can.  The best, safest, soundest choice in front of you is to give him that attention.  You know he can force you to pay attention - he just has to do something wildly unsafe.  You are all better off if he gets your attention without having to resort to reckless extremities first.  I hear that you're exhausted, and I know what I'm suggesting is difficult, and I really do sympathize. 

 

I also sympathize with the feelings of your other children, who were so scared they had to lock themselves in a room and call you.  They shouldn't have to live like that.  You can't give in to exhaustion. 
 

Who can help you?  Dad, grandparents, local agencies? 

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