do you correct every social "no no"? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-21-2011, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Ds (almost 4) is at a very difficult phase right now it seems. He's always been a super intense/high needs kid, but lately I'm starting to really worry about him. Whenever we're in a social situation with other children, ds becomes "Mr Confrontation". He literally stands there with his hands on his hips and a scowl on his face as we enter a room where other children are. He grabs toys, screams when another child wants to share a toy with him, and is also very quick to anger. For example, if another child were to accidentally brush his shoulder while walking by, ds without fail will scream "Hey! He hit me!! I'm bleeding!!" and will then proceed to sobbing uncontrollably for a couple of minutes. When he does "play" with other kids it's more like him barking orders and getting upset over every little thing rather than actually playing. "That's not how you do that! Hey, you're going to break it! An airplane sounds like this, not that! You can't have this, it's too special!!" It really is exhausting for everyone involved. When we're out in public, I take him home when he acts this way. However today, we had a friend over at our house and it was just plain awful. I eventally had to send the friend home because ds was just not dealing well at all. My kid is so miserable and I don't know what to do. He is just flat out unhappy. So, when your child acts this way, do you intervene each and every time? Right now I'm correcting the first offense, giving a warning for the second offense, then taking him home for the third offense. This has been going on for a LONG time with little to no improvement. Ds goes to preschool and has been having the same issues there as well. Is there a better way I can handle this? There are a ton more issues going on (mostly sensory). I don't have time for the whole backstory but can come back to answer any questions. TIA!

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#2 of 10 Old 02-21-2011, 02:14 PM
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My highly spirited 5yo is exactly like this. It's improved considerably in the last 6 months or so, largely thanks to his amazing new preschool which is working hard on skills like this for him, in particular. I agree, it is exhausting (and embarrassing), and I too often feel that he's always miserable and likely to make himself miserable in social situations in the future. It sounds to me as though you deal very well with it. dh and I recently met with a child psychiatrist to talk about getting him into therapy or something for his various issues, and the psychiatrist's view, based on our detailed report, was that ds's anxiety is at the heart of most of this (he does have significant separation anxiety, among other things, and is also very gifted, which also correlates). His controlling behavior is actually a response to anxiety and an attempt to make sure that other people and the world conform to his expectations. So we're going to try some therapy targeted at the anxiety and also hopefully giving him some skills to deal with his rage/anger and other issues.


Anyway, lurking in case anyone else has any suggestions. ETA that 3-4 was the worst of it, for us, and that things got much better after he turned 4 (though obviously we're still struggling with some of it). So hang in there.

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#3 of 10 Old 02-21-2011, 02:23 PM
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To answer your question, yes I correct my children when they do a social no-no.


I want my boys to grow up to be polite and considerate people. I may not correct them in front of others but I do correct them. Being spirited, or whatever you want to call it, is no excuse to be rude.

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#4 of 10 Old 02-21-2011, 04:42 PM
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Yes I correct anything that my children do that is not acceptable, certain social behaviors as well.  My oldest is only just turning 3 tho, and as yet hasn't had really any issues here, other than things that really only need correcting once.  So, I'm not really sure how I would handle that particular situation but I certainly wouldn't do nothing.

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#5 of 10 Old 02-21-2011, 05:27 PM
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Yup, I correct. Like a PP mentioned, I don't do it publicly, but will pull the child aside and explain their behaviour is not appropriate and that if it continues we well be leaving. And always follow through on that too. The natural consequence of not being able to play nicely is you don't get to play.

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#6 of 10 Old 02-21-2011, 05:39 PM
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I guess it depends on what you classify as a "social no-no".  Sometimes I don't step in immediate and wait to see how the kids handle it between them.  Like if my DD snatches a toy, most of her friends have no problem saying "Hey! I was having that!"  If it descends into tears or something I definitely step in, but I also want DD to learn that her actions affect other people and not just because Mommy is telling her things all of the time.


But in what you are describing, yes I would step in every time.  I am sure it will be no fun for you, and no fun for your son, but the poor kids getting yelled at probably have no idea how to handle it either. 


Your son sounds very intense.  Maybe you can find some more specific suggestions in the Gentle Discipline forum.

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#7 of 10 Old 02-21-2011, 11:41 PM
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i absolutely NEVER EVER correct my dd when her behaviour is the symptom of an issue - not the issue itself. if i KNOW that her behavriour is due to a certain reason. you mentioned sensory issues. i had that with dd with not enough sleep or enough energy spent.


i dont believe that i have to correct ALL of dd's issues. however i have also seen this happen right before a growth spurt. a phase. i have been there and helped her. obviously if she is going to hurt someone i stop that. but that situation has never come up. i let her have it out at home. 


at 4 as long as dd was wearing clothes with no tags, socks with no seams, allowed to run around barefoot - esp. on the bark, had enough exercise perhaps twice a day (esp. after a full day at dc), if she had enough to eat, enough rest, enough stimulation - she would be able to hear my correction. if one of those were off then forget it. just help her cope. 


so i have not corrected her most of the time because i know she gets it - but coz she's too overwhelmed she cant deal with it now. and therefore there is no reason to correct her because she wont be able to hear. every single time EVERY SINGLE TIME she has had a bad episode from the age of 2 to 5 - i could point to the exact reason why she was that way. once she got close to 6 pre puberty issues came up. and the dynamics changed. 


however i became super corrective at age 7. btw 7 and 8 is the development of consciousness. i make sure i help dd - try and catch her from getting overwhelmed otherwise its really hard for her to cope. i am super vigilant now because she is her worst critic and she is teribly hard on herself. so i step in to save her from herself, if that makes any sense. 

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#8 of 10 Old 02-22-2011, 08:51 AM
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I do think it is very important to look at the reasons why.  Try to understand and work with that.  There have been many times in my sons life where, when I took a step back, I could easily pin point the reasons why - and I simply had to change that to change the behaviour.  For example, he used to be great when we went shopping - then he was a nightmare!  Taking stuff on shelves and running around where I couldn't see him - etc.  Why was this happening I used to say to myself - it was embarassing and his behaviour was not socially acceptable!  But then I realised I was doing my shopping after a playgroup before lunch.  He was very hungry (despite a healthy snack at the playgroup!) and tired.  It was hard to work out when else I could do the shopping but I managed it - and as a result, he was much better behaved when we went shopping.  In fact - the difference was amazing!  Children under 8-10 years of age are incapable (heck - even some adults are! lol) of not acting on natural impulses so they sometimes need our help.  By removing the situations that are the problems (the resons why) - the behaviour can often times improve greatly.  I don't think this removes teaching situations - by avoiding them (I was trying hard to show him how to behave in the store - but nothing was getting through! lol) - in fact, doing so can actually teach our children what their limitations are within themselves and how to remove themselves and calm down, etc


There are so many different situations and scenarios this post could be about!.


Between the ages of about 2.5-3.5 - we had to avoid playgroups because my son was not comfortable with the sensory side of it (the amount of peopel and noise, etc) - and his beahvior was telling me such (much like you describe your sons right now).


Thats the thing - sometimes you have to step back and look and sometimes that means making changes that maybe you are not happy about.  I didn't realy want to stop going to playgroups because it was a time for me to socialise as well - but it was for the best for everyone - and my son eventualy outgrew the problem!  I also didn't really want to do my shopping any other time of day - we didn't have a car and it was walk for us both and it was handy to go after the playgroup because it was near where the playgroup was....  but it was so much better when I stopped shopping then.  It meant I had to do a little extra work and plan a little more efficiently - but it worked out for the best in the end!       


I also see no need to 'correct' if none of the children are fussed.  A lot of the times - children are not fussed about it.  I also think its good for children to learn how to work things out between themselves.  (I am not saying its okay to let it get into a fist fight of course! - But general everyday stuff like sharing, etc! lol) - Especially at this age.   


And remember - they go through SO many phases!...This one will pass and be replaced by a new one! lol 

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#9 of 10 Old 02-23-2011, 03:01 AM
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My DS was like that, too.  One of the things I would do before we had anyone over to play was to ask him if there were any toys he would like to put away before the friend came over.  If something was too "special" or too new to share, he was allowed to put it away.  Anything else was fair game for the friend to play with and he knew that ahead of time.  If he got upset about the friend playing with something, I would remind him that he chose to leave that toy out and that did seem to help.  You want your child to be successful at peer interactions, so sometimes you have to set them up for success.  Try to figure out what causes the meltdowns and eliminate the sources before they happen.  Then, after they have some successes, you will both feel better about having friends over to play or going to play dates.  It sounds like he's just overwhelmed right now.  Find ways to give him some control over the situation and I bet he'll start to come around.

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#10 of 10 Old 02-24-2011, 04:58 AM
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labdogs gave good advise.  Do as much ahead of time to set him up for success.  For my kids going over what they could expect to happen and how I expected them to behave, and for how long was helpful (reduces any anxiety-where that controlling behavior usually comes from)  I would keep playdates short and structured as well and incorporate sensory activities that would be calming for him.  You could also use social stories with him before playdates and outings. 

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