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#1 of 50 Old 05-29-2012, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We have a pool in our development that just opened and I'm already dreading taking my kids there. There are a ton of kids in our neighborhood and they all get along great except for this one 9 yr old boy who is a terror. He just doesn't understand boundaries and his mother seems to think that's just fine. The other kids will try to play with him but when he goes too far- like getting too physical, calling names, and generally being mean, they other kids will not want to play with him. They try to move to another spot to play and he will just follow them around until they lose their temper and lash out- and to be honest, I don't blame them. If I had someone following me around like that, I'd get angry too. I'm done trying to talk to the mother trying to explain to her why the kids are getting upset with her son. The last incident we had was when my two boys (who are 6&7) were at the tennis court trying to play tennis and the boy was riding his bike around the court so my boys couldn't play. They told him to stop numerous times but he wouldn't so my son ( the 7 year old) told him he was "going to do karate on him". So the boy's mom comes to me saying my son is threatening to hurt her son. I told I don't think it's ok for my son to do that, but please look at what your boy is doing- he's riding his bike in the court while my boys are trying to play. She said her son just wants a turn. At that point all the boys came running over to us and I ask her son if he wanted a turn why didn't he ask for one instead of disrupting the game? His mother said to him "yes, you need to use your words" and then she walked away and went back in her house. The boys tried to play again but this boy still wouldn't stop so I told my boys to just come inside. This type of stuff goes on all the time with this boy which takes me to the pool issue. I have no interest in my boys being friends with this boy. If they are at the pool together and they are playing nice, that's great. But the minute this boy gets out of hand, I plan on telling him to give my boys some space. I don't think it's fair that my boys should have to leave the pool because this other boy can't behave properly and I don't expect him to have to leave either but I'm afraid he will just keep following my boys around the pool after I've told him to leave them alone. What do I say to him or the mother so that my boys' space and right to play at the pool without being harassed is respected? The pool is big enough that they can all be there and do their own thing but in the past when I've told this boy to give my boys some space he has done so until I wasn't looking and then proceeded to start bothering them again. There is also the issue that I have a one year old daughter and she requires a lot of attention especially around the pool so there will be a lot of times where I will not be able to be right on top of the boys. Is there a polite way I can tell this boy's mother that she needs to make sure her son is not harassing my boys? I want my boys to know that they have a right to choose who they play with and have that right respected. There also might be some times where my boys just want to do their own thing and I believe they have a right to do that as well. There have been several instances last summer where kids would show up at the pool and my boys asked them if they wanted to play, and the other kid said no thanks, so my boys said ok and found something else to do- so I see that my boys respect others but they don't understand why this kid won't leave them alone when they just want to play by themselves. Are there any good ways to go about this without too many problems?
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#2 of 50 Old 05-29-2012, 03:57 PM
 
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I don't see you mention speaking to the boy directly. I've rarely had a child not listen to me when I told them to stop. If he kept bugging my kids at the pool I would look and speak to him sternly, but not meanly, and tell him that he needed to leave them alone and maybe they could play later together. I mean..what I would say would depend on the exact situation, but I would be blunt and tell the kid directly to knock it off or whatever. I think it's totally ok to do this..and I'm fine with other adults being direct with my kids too. It doesn't seem like you'll get much help from the mom.


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#3 of 50 Old 05-29-2012, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh no- I tell him all the time to leave my boys alone(I say the boys need space right now so you need to either find someone else to play with or play by yourself) and he will- until the minute I'm not looking and then go back to bothering them. That's the problem-I'll have my one year old with me so I won't be able to be on top of him all the time. You're right about his mom not being much help. I'm almost at the point of saying to this mom that she better make sure her son is not harassing my kids, or I will. It sounds a little threatening, but seriously I'm out of ideas and I feel like my kids' right to be at the pool and have fun is being taken away by him. If he was 3 or 4 I would feel differently but he's 9 yrs old. I think I need some ideas of wording or how to say this without sounding threatening- but letting the mom know that I won't let her son harass my kids. If anyone has any thoughts about it I'd really appreciate it!
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#4 of 50 Old 05-30-2012, 04:13 AM
 
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Wow. I've never really had a child not listen to me like that. I really don't know what to tell you. I would be direct with the mom and the son as many times as you need to. The mom will end up really disliking you most likely, but oh well. I know how hard it is to have a toddler and older ones too, but maybe your older children can come and get you every time the boy starts bothering them? Just keep repeating it for a few days where every time he starts misbehaving you are there telling him to stop. It's really frustrating trying to watch a little one and dealing with this I imagine! Also, I wouldn't engage the mother about her child's behavior. Just tell her the problem once when a situation arises and that her child needs to behave well or leave. 


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#5 of 50 Old 05-30-2012, 10:59 AM
 
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Do you know whether there will be any kind of lifeguard or attendant on duty? We've had some serious issues with kids in our neighborhood being very rude and disrespectful, and sometimes violent, to the point where we avoid one park and just hang out at the other one where there's more parental involvment -- and we NEVER have trouble with any of these kids at the community pool.

 

We do sometimes see one or more of them there -- we can't afford to pay the $9.00 it would cost for me and my two daughters to go on most days , so we only go on the free days -- but apart from them giving us the occasional dirty look and such, they leave us completely alone. I'm pretty sure it's because the lifeguards are so vigilant about watching everything that goes on in the pool and making kids sit out if they're acting up.

 

Getting to go the pool is such a privilege, it seems like even children who seem totally lacking in self control are able to muster up some self control rather than getting kicked out into the heat. And you can just leave it up to the attendants if you have some on duty.


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#6 of 50 Old 05-30-2012, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We do have a lifeguard, but he's a college kid and although he's attentive and tells the kids to stop running and no head- first diving and those types of things, he seems a little reluctant to say anything. He's the same kid we had last year so I know him pretty well. I will talk to him though and ask what's the rule here if the kids aren't behaving and see if he can (or we can) come up with something that all the kids would have to follow. Thank you for that idea.
It is very strange to have a kid that doesn't listen to grown- ups, even when they are being stern with them. But I'm determined to make sure my kids have fun- they are good boys and they deserve it- and I'm sure the mom is going to hate me by the end of the summer but I guess that's too bad!
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#7 of 50 Old 05-30-2012, 03:25 PM
 
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Maybe write up a list of appropriate pool behaviors and slip it into her mailbox on a dark night?Sheepish.gif
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#8 of 50 Old 05-31-2012, 03:19 AM
 
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Yes, I guess it would be harder for just one lone lifeguard. Our neighborhood pool seems to always have a staff of at least four or so people, plus at least one police officer -- at least on the busier free days when we are there. So I can just focus on my own children and I don't have to worry about what the other kids are doing like I did at that one park I mentioned earlier, where I was often the lone adult.

 

I know what you mean about not knowing how to deal with a child who won't listen to adults. It seems to me that the only way to get through to a kid like that is to be in a position to remove him or her from an area where he or she wants to be. If they want to be there badly enough, they suddenly learn how to listen. At least, one particular child in our neighborhood who seemed quite out ot of control at that one park, has absolutely no problem behaving herself at the pool where there are plenty of staff to back up what any lifeguard says -- plus a police officer.

 

And as hot as it is here this year in May, it looks to be a scorchingly hot summer. All the more incentive for anyone without ac to get along at the pool.


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#9 of 50 Old 05-31-2012, 05:21 AM
 
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This kid is THREE years older than yours. That is not being annoying that is bullying ... big time! I would tell your boys to never ever ever engage him. Do not talk to him, do not be friends with him, do not play with him, etc. This kid needs to get a clear message that your boys want nothing to do with him. I would also tell the mom flat out that this is crazy inappropriate and that you want her to tell her son to stay away from your kids ALWAYS. It may not be nice but they are not being nice either. This kind of thing pisses me off to no end. I would be mortified if my almost preteen was harassing a six year old.


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#10 of 50 Old 05-31-2012, 08:11 AM
 
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Wow, that's a problem.  I guess I would be as stern and scary as you can to him, since the mom doesn't seem to want to control him.  Don't talk about your boys needing "space"  to him. Tell the boy:  "I want you to leave my boys alone.  I think you're bullying them and we don't like it.  They are much younger than you and they are not going to play with you. Here's the rule: I do not want to see you near them or trying to talk to them. It's not appropriate. If I see you near them,I'll know you'll trying to bully them again and there will be consequences that you don't like.  Do. You. Understand. Me?  Leave them alone."

 

I also think the kid is bullying your boys.  Is there some kind of apartment management you can complain to?  It doesn't really seem like a police matter, but if the kid is harrassing your boys, you might give them a call to see if they can visit them mom and talk to her about enforcing rules for her kid.

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#11 of 50 Old 05-31-2012, 08:29 AM
 
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Is there any chance the older kid is disabled? No excuse for bad behavior, but sometimes an invisible disability such as autism looks a lot like bullying and general rottenness. It could be that this child and his mom are doing the best they can. That doesn't make anything easier for your kids, but I thought maybe some empathy and understanding (even if it is just the benefit of the doubt type) could help. Could you actively engage this boy with yours? A rousing game of Marco Polo, or dive for the penny, or whatever you could do with a group in a pool. Might be hard with your little one too..

 

This kid is clearly lacking some social skills. It is not your responsibility to teach him really, but perhaps it could make the time together more pleasant. And under the heading of "It takes a village", ostracizing him surely won't teach him how to get along.
 


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#12 of 50 Old 05-31-2012, 09:33 AM
 
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I would definitely talk to the mom. Explain that you feel this is bullying behavior. If it doesn't stop talk to her again and say politely but firmly that if the bullying doesn't stop you will have no choice but to contact a lawyer or the police. It sounds ridiculous but a nine year old could hurt a six year old, it needs to be stopped before it escalates. 

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#13 of 50 Old 05-31-2012, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your suggestions. It does make me angry and I wish I could just tell this boy's mother to keep her kid away from mine- a lot of what he does is classic bullying behavior, but it's tough because he plays well for a little while, and then goes too far. Like one time he had a hand buzzer so he was going around to the kids asking them to shake his hand, then buzzing them. It was funny, the kids were all laughing, but then he decided to start chasing my six year old around, slamming the buzzer on his head. Or if we are all at the pool the boys will play a water squirting game with their toys, and he will join in and play well for a few minutes, but then start trying to squirt the kids in the eyes so then I have to break up the game and tell them all to stop because he's getting out of hand. The kids in our neighborhood are so nice and forgiving, they keep letting him join in, in the hopes that maybe he's learned how to play nice. I'm the one who is totally fed up. Thanks again, I'm not a confrontational person by nature, so going to the mom and telling her to keep her kid away from mine is a little scary for me, but I definitely don't want my boys thinking this kid can go around and treat them like that.
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#14 of 50 Old 06-01-2012, 07:42 PM
 
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It sounds to me like less of a bullying situation (wherein the perpetrator genuinely knows what he's doing and is attempting to wield power in a dictatorial way) and more of a situation where a child really does not know how to respond appropriately in a social group. I don't think I would personally go the route of ostracizing him or warning my child to never play with him. I think that solution models a lack of compassion.

I would privately have a chat with my own two boys, acknowledging and affirming their complaints about this boy. I would work with them to outline what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. And then I would ask them to do the hard work: keep making an effort, while understanding that as soon as their boundaries are crossed, it is time to communicate that clearly to the other child, and if he does not back off, it is time to involve an adult.

When they came to me, I would then approach the other child, and explain that he is not allowed tonplay with your children for a specific amount of time. I would clearly define the behavior that led to this consequence, and I would tell him that YOU will let him know when the required amount of time has elapsed.

Using your example:
* Your children would be able to vocalize to you privately that playing buzzer is fun, but being chased with a buzzer is too much, and being buzzered against their will is inappropriate.
* Older boy buzzers inappropriately, and your children tell him, "STOP IT. WE DON'T LIKE THAT!"
* Older boy continues. Your children come to you for help.
* You go to older boy saying, "It is not appropriate to continue doing something to somebody when they have asked you to stop. Because you did not stop when you were asked, you are not allowed to play with my boys for the next 30 minutes. You will get a second chance to play nicely then. I have a timer. I will let you know when the time is up. Do you understand?"

If the mother approaches you unsatisfied with your response, I would explain that you are extremely frustrated with the situation, and that you are trying to be fair to her child while also protecting her own. If she situation persists, I would contact the homeowner's association. Ours has clear policies outlining inappropariate behaviours and the suspensions that go with them. While you only have one life guard and his priority needs to be on watching the water and the safetyof the swimmers, at pur pool, he would also be the one to issue such suspensions when necessary. He may not want to intervene in what appears to be a parenting issue, but perhaps you should approach him during an adult swim period and ask him about a possible suspension if inappropriate behavior continues.
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#15 of 50 Old 06-02-2012, 07:39 AM
 
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Chenchen, don't you think it's asking a bit much of a 6 year old to set boundaries with a 9 year old?  The OP has said the boys try, but the 9 year old constantly oversteps those boundaries.  It's time for the mother to step in and protect her children from the 9 year old.  Yes, it's very sad he hasn't learned appropriate behavior yet, but being told to stay away from kids is a consequence that he will hopefully learn from.  

 

It's always a dilemma-- how much to help another child vs. how much to protect your own.  In this case, when her own are 2 & 3 years younger, the situation in my mind is easy to see.

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#16 of 50 Old 06-02-2012, 01:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by chaimom View Post

Chenchen, don't you think it's asking a bit much of a 6 year old to set boundaries with a 9 year old?  The OP has said the boys try, but the 9 year old constantly oversteps those boundaries.  It's time for the mother to step in and protect her children from the 9 year old.  Yes, it's very sad he hasn't learned appropriate behavior yet, but being told to stay away from kids is a consequence that he will hopefully learn from.  

It's always a dilemma-- how much to help another child vs. how much to protect your own.  In this case, when her own are 2 & 3 years younger, the situation in my mind is easy to see.

Well, yes and no. I DO think it's too young to expect the six year old to be able to adequately set boundaries and then to ensure that they are adhered to independently. But I think it is a very good age to move from modeling that behavior (which this mom has probably been doing since they were much younger) into coaching that behavior. I don't at all believe that it will be a hands-off approach for the mom. She will have to have the initial talks with her boys about what appropriate boundary examples are. Then she will have to give them the language to voice those boundaries aloud. And then she will likely have to assist them the first several times they are trying to assert themselves. And then even when they reach the level at which they are able to do so, she will have to be on standy-by and ready to intervene when they need her to step in.

So, yes, I think they are too young to meet this expectation independently, but no I don't think they are too young to begin to take on these responsibilities with loving guidance from an adult. A lot has to do with the maturity of the younger children in question, but the examples given of how they have exhibited tolerance with this child-nuisance in the past lead me to believe they are capable of being challenged in this way.

Also, bear in mind that while this approach is compassionate and considerate of the child who does not belong to the OP, that it also is mindful of creating effective communication and conflict resolution skills in her own children, ultimately arming them with very useful resources that can be carried over into many other venues.

I agree with you that when it comes to protecting our children, setting other children's needs aside is sometimes necessary. In some cases though (and this seems like one such to me), an opportunity presents itself for both sets of children to have a growth experience, and on those occassions, if at all up for it I try to rise to that challenge. I'm no saint, and I don't always see the opportunity in the moment, and sometimes I just don't feel like dealing with it even if I do, so believe me I'm not trying to preach. It's just that in this instance, the OP is anticipating a problem that she expecte to arise, and wants to be armed with a course of action in advance, so to that end, I put forth "conflict resolution coaching" as an alternative.
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#17 of 50 Old 06-02-2012, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Chenchen- thank you so much for those strategies- I think they will be very appropriate for our situation. My boys are already able to recognize when someone is crossing a boundary and come get me when that happens. So what I have been doing in the past is trying to talk to my boys and this other boy all together and help them see what the problem is and what they can do about it. It seems to help my boys but this other kid is like a brick wall- so I'm done with that. I do think a consequence for his behavior is a good idea and it will give my kids a break from him. I need to be more firm with him that he needs to leave the boys alone rather than saying the boys need space. I feel very strongly at this point about letting my boys decide if they want to play with this boy. I feel like in the past they have been sort of forced because we were all in the same area and he would be on top of them. But I told them they are old enough now to chose who they want to play with and if they don't want to play with him, they have the right to say to him that they want to play by themselves and have that choice respected. And I told them if the boy would not leave them alone after they politely told him they did not want to play, they should come tell me and I will take care of it. That's where I am seeing having a problem with the mom- she just expects my boys to play with her son and I don't think she'll be very receptive of my explanation that my boys have the right to chose their playmate and her son needs to respect that. I don't feel out of line with that but from my past experiences with this woman, I believe she will think I am.
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#18 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 12:23 AM
 
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I can't remember whether the user agreement allows reference to other threads.  I hope it's ok.

 

I know from another thread that the boy in question DOES have a disability, and that this disability means he probably can't understand vague phrases such as "my boys need space."  OP, I think it's wonderfully self-reflective of you that you recognize that the phrase is vague. I think you are doing a great job of working through all of this.  I have a son with Asperger's, and have learned the hard way over the 8 years of his life to make my language very, very direct.  It takes practice, when you don't live with it 24/7.

 

I really like Chenchen's concrete suggestions.  From my own experience, I'm guessing you will have to repeat many many times during that 30 minutes that he has to be "on the other end of the pool" (point it out) from your boys.  Just today, I pointed out to my kid that if he walked on the left side of the walkway, he could get run over by a bike.  Time and time again I repeated that he needed to stay on the RIGHT side of the walkway, and yanked him out of the way of bicycles.  Direct words, but he was having anxiety about getting to our destination, and just couldn't keep my directions in his brain.  So I'm saying yes, do be direct, and do follow through, and don't be discouraged if even all of this doesn't result in the desired behavior for very long.

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#19 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 06:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for remembering about my other post about this boy. It was suggested to me that it would be helpful to post in the parenting forum to see if the ladies here had any suggestions and I think that was good advice. His mother told me that this boy has epilepsy and high- functioning autism. I've never said anything to my boys about it because I was afraid they would say something to him that might embarrass him- not in a mean way, just maybe asking him questions about it or being curious, but embarrass him none the less. Do you think it would be beneficial for my boys if I did explain to them that this boy is a little different so it might be hard for him to understand when he's being "mean"? I remember one time his mother said to me that she thought the other kids didn't want to play with her son because they are aware that he's a little different. I didn't say anything to her at the time, but I went home and thought about it and I actually think it's the direct opposite- they don't want to play with him because they think he's just like them- no different at all- just bad and mean. So they treat him like they would any other kid on the playground that's not following rules and causing chaos- they don't want to be involved. The mother does not do anything different for her son- like extra supervision or helping him get along with the other kids so I got the impression that she wanted everyone to treat him like anyone else. It's a little contradictory- she expects the other kids- and parents- to give him special treatment, but she doesn't help out in any way or do anything different than the other moms.
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#20 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 06:37 AM
 
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Mom of 3, what grade are your boys in? At 6 & 7 they could be in 1st and 2nd and the other boy at 9 might be in 3rd. That's really not a big age difference. My youngest is 8 and one of her best friends is 10. She also plays well with the 6 yr old little sister of another friend. I think the age gap is not the problem here.

 

I do think you should say something to them about the autism. I doubt the epilepsy has much of an effect on his behavior unless they see him having a seizure (like spacing out during an absence seizure or if he has a grand mal that would be pretty dramatic). One of my best friends growing up was epileptic and it didn't really affect her socially at all, but it may have affected her self-esteem. It can be hard to be the kid who is different. I know my friend carried some worry about having a seizure in front of people. 

 

It's a shame that the boy's mom doesn't guide his play more and help him in social situations, but I do think stepping in when you see it and giving your sons some tools to deal with it would be the way to go.

 

Can you approach the mom from a place of collaboration? Since she has told you that he has autism can you ask her how to best help him integrate appropriately into play?


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#21 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 06:39 AM
 
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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.


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#22 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 08:25 AM
 
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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.
 

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#23 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 09:10 AM
 
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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.

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#24 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!
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#25 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 02:04 PM
 
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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.

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#26 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 02:58 PM
 
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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. 

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#27 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 03:00 PM
 
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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."

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#28 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 04:22 PM
 
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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. 

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#29 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#30 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 05:53 PM
 
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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!


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