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#1 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How do I deal with this?

DS is 11, hyperactive, excitable, low self-control, etc. He's a fun guy, loves to run around and be silly.

Last night, the cousins were visiting. They were all playing together, it was fine. They get noisy, they get told to keep it down a bit -- by "they" I mean "he" of course. Noise is to be expected, but his volume level is beyond reasonable and he keeps yelling too fast instead of just talking to the people standing right beside him! I'm just trying to say, we don't expect them to be quiet little demure angels. They're free to have fun in our house.

However, I try not to let them get out of control. At one point, they were running around with quilts and blankets over their faces. That was quickly kaiboshed -- not safe. We're talking about an 11yo, 7yo, 4yo, and 2yo. Someone could get hurt. He gets careless when he's having fun and forgets to watch out.

So last night, he had already had several warnings/reminders to slow down, quiet down, get control, relax. Etc.

We grown-ups are upstairs happily playing bridge, then we hear a thump/crack and a wail. It's the 4yo, my nephew. It turns out he got kicked in the face by my son. Here, the stories diverge a bit. He insists he was running and tripped and his leg flew up behind him, whereas my niece says it was running then a deliberate cartwheel. In either case, he was being too careless and his cousin was too close, so he got walloped in the face by my son's highly-trained junior black belt heel.

When he didn't recover fairly quickly (you know how kids will scream then settle down then it's like nothing ever happened), and he couldn't open his mouth far, they took him to the ER, just in case. Yup, it turns out his jaw is broken. Pretty rare, apparently. And it might even need surgery to fix. They're still at the hospital.

I'm just... speechless. I don't know what to do with DS. I don't know how much trouble he should be in. He seems to feel bad, but is also trying to stave off responsibility (he rarely takes responsibility for anything, that's part of the problem, why he doesn't learn from his mistakes). Like he's trying to avoid the guilt. If he obviously felt terrible, like was crying and apologizing and offering whatever kinds of restitution, I dunno, but if it was obvious, I'd be likely to say something like "he's punished enough already just having to live with the fact of what he's done."

But I'm not sure that he is. Maybe he is. I'm not sure. He's still too quick to laugh and giggle and do fun things. Happy to forget aaaaaaaaaaaall about it.

He's been warned So. Many. Times. that if he didn't start to settle down and control himself, not get so excited, then someone would get hurt. Now someone has gotten hurt, an innocent little 4yo, and it could be BAD. And I'm still not sure that he "gets it". I guess only time will tell...

But I'm just... I dunno. I'm furious. I'm sympathetic. A bit. I feel terrible for my nephew, I feel responsible. I feel like I should have been able to help DS calm down by now, or should have stopped things last night before the accident happened. I feel like throttling him. I feel like giving up on him. I feel like locking him in his room until he's old enough to behave SAFELY.

I guess I'm just thinking... at this point, it's no longer about him behaving politely, or respectfully. Or in a way that won't break his own toys/belongings. Now he's shown that he's actually a physical danger to other people. That his carelessness and lack of self-control is negligent enough to be dangerous. And I don't know what to do about it.

I don't even know what forum to post this in heh... I posted here in GD because I want to be positive, helpful, supportive, not throw the baby out with the bathwater. (There's another problem though, what if it had been his 2yo baby sister that get whacked in the head? That would probably have been even worse). Looking for gentle parents to help calm me down and deal with this rationally. At this point I just totally don't know how I should deal with him. :

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#2 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 10:23 AM
 
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Although I think it's all pretty terrible for everyone, doing a cartwheel isn't the same as say punching someone in the face. Although he should have been more careful, it was an accident. So I think the first thought I have is that in this case the consequences were more serious than the offense.

That said I think you've really outlined the problem - he doesn't learn from his mistakes to take care.

I would definitely, if the other parents are agreed, put your son in charge of entertaining this poor 4 year old for the next couple of weeks. He can buy him games or toys out of his allowance and spend time amusing and nursing him, holding the straw, whatever. (It sounds like he'll need to be supervised.) I wouldn't frame that as punishment but as "what we do when we cause harm to someone, even inadvertently.")

I also think that you might need to take some share in the responsibility here. You knew he was out of control and yet all the kids were in the basement alone. That was a mistake too - he should have been removed from the situation to calm down, or been supervised. I think you can take a lead here by taking his behaviour seriously early when he is getting too rambunctious and not just reminding him, but stepping in to show your time and attention and focus.

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#3 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 10:42 AM
 
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Wow - how sad and frustrating at the same time. Sounds like you know your little guy very well and know his struggles and limitations. Have you ruled out all underlying causes for the behaviors you described? I'm just a mama, but when I see kids struggling with behaviors (impulse control?) that most kids have mastered by that age my first thought is to wonder if there is anything else going on that make it harder for that child to reach that developmental point. kwim? I know when I get stares at the grocery store because my 5 yo is pushed to his limit and expressing some of his behaviors that his 2yo brother has mastered, they are judging me the parent and him the child but they don't know everything else he's had to deal with.

That said -- if my child is careless and the result is he breaks a $200 lamp, I don't know that my reaction should be different than if it was a 20 dollar lamp. You know. It was the level of carelessness or degree of behavior that caused the mishap I should judge, not the expense of the resulting damage. So yes, a broken jaw is a bigger problem, but if it had been a cartwheel/flayling limb and a simple goose egg or a black eye what would you be doing differently? I'm saying our adult assessment of how much worse this will be for the 4yo shouldn't cloud the issue of the simple horseplay/lack of impulse control of your child.

And if you're feeling that he hasn't learned his lesson yet regarding this incident, well, it's probably not over yet -- but that doesn't mean be harsher. In my mind, you have the chance to involve him in helping make amends for a long long time as the 4yo heals. Helping the family with chores, making smoothies and cards for the little guy, sharing special toys with him... oh the opportunities. And if impulse control is the issue then whether the lessons are associated with this incident or not, the teaching can continue. bestwishes. And remember that broken bones and unfortunate dramatic injuries can be (and often are) the result of fairly mundane incidents. This is not a dire prediction of your son's future. It's just unfortunate.
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#4 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In my defense, they're usually left downstairs alone all the time. We never imagined anything like this happening, didn't realize that his being so excited would be THAT dangerous. At this particular point, he didn't seem so out of control as to warrant being taken out of the situation. Maybe I should have seen it coming? I dunno.

I like the idea of tending to his cousin, buying him treats out of his own allowance. Living with the consequences of his carelessness right in his face, so to speak.

I am hopeful that this is finally the "big one", the lesson that he FINALLY learns to slow down and be careful. I don't know... he's broken so many of his prized possessions before and still swings his camera on its strap, etc.

And yes, I know it's not as bad as punching someone. I know it was not deliberate. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body. It's the carelessness... the lack of concern that he has for being careful.

Bittersweet story: I dropped him off at gymnastics this morning. He's a competitive gymnast, trains 3 hours each morning over the summer. His coach used to always 'inform' me of the troubles he was having with DS paying attention, being too rambunctious with the other boys, being out of control, etc. Last year after his first BIG competition, he started noticing a change -- DS was a bit more focused and serious about it. One week early this summer, out of the blue the coach said there had been a fairly sudden, positive change in DS, he was like a different kid in training.

I hadn't talked to the coach much since then, but he talked to me today. He wanted me to know how wonderful it had been coaching DS this summer. What a huge change it had been. What a JOY he was to work with now. How his "uncontrollable energy" was finally getting somewhat under control and harnessed.

Such great news it makes me tear up. He loves his gymnastics, he's good at it, it's one of the few things he's actually motivated in. And yet, to get this on the heels of his huge LACK of control last night... I'm just all the more bewildered!

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#5 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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I worry about this with a friend's daughter. She is really rough. And I don't ever allow her to play alone with my kids, because I worry that (because she is bigger/stronger) she could accidentally break someones neck or something in a freak accident while roughhousing. I remember reading a news article several years ago whre an 11 year old (or close to that) killed his younger brother (2) by accidentally jumping on him on accident. I feel for you OP. I think your son probably needs some impulse control help, but I don't know how you would do that. I agree with pp, I don't think this is a dire prediction of your son's future, just taht he needs help controlling himself right now.
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#6 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 11:17 AM
 
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I agree with the other posters, it was an accident, but I do think whatever you can do to show him that being careless has consequences will help. And yes, it doesn't have to be a punishment, just that when we hurt people by accident, we do what we can to help them recover.

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#7 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 11:29 AM
 
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I would also have him be a regular part of entertaining the 4-year-old as he heals. I would also have him work to earn enough money (or a fair amount of it if it is too high) to pay his cousin's insurance deductible (or help with whatever financial expenses there are.
I do not agree that you should treat this as if it were a minor injury (ie a black eye). It isn't and your son is no longer a young child. If my 11 year old did this my goal would be not to punish him but to teach him to take responsibility for his actions.
If you as an adult were driving while distracted and you ran over a fence pole the results would be very different then if you hit a person. Even if it is an accident one still has to take responsibility and make amends. I would have your son do this. If you yell and punish him he will probably not learn much but soberly having him help make amends as best he can hopefully will.
Good luck.
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#8 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post
In my defense, they're usually left downstairs alone all the time. We never imagined anything like this happening, didn't realize that his being so excited would be THAT dangerous. At this particular point, he didn't seem so out of control as to warrant being taken out of the situation. Maybe I should have seen it coming? I dunno.

I like the idea of tending to his cousin, buying him treats out of his own allowance. Living with the consequences of his carelessness right in his face, so to speak.

I am hopeful that this is finally the "big one", the lesson that he FINALLY learns to slow down and be careful. I don't know... he's broken so many of his prized possessions before and still swings his camera on its strap, etc.

And yes, I know it's not as bad as punching someone. I know it was not deliberate. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body. It's the carelessness... the lack of concern that he has for being careful.

Bittersweet story: I dropped him off at gymnastics this morning. He's a competitive gymnast, trains 3 hours each morning over the summer. His coach used to always 'inform' me of the troubles he was having with DS paying attention, being too rambunctious with the other boys, being out of control, etc. Last year after his first BIG competition, he started noticing a change -- DS was a bit more focused and serious about it. One week early this summer, out of the blue the coach said there had been a fairly sudden, positive change in DS, he was like a different kid in training.

I hadn't talked to the coach much since then, but he talked to me today. He wanted me to know how wonderful it had been coaching DS this summer. What a huge change it had been. What a JOY he was to work with now. How his "uncontrollable energy" was finally getting somewhat under control and harnessed.

Such great news it makes me tear up. He loves his gymnastics, he's good at it, it's one of the few things he's actually motivated in. And yet, to get this on the heels of his huge LACK of control last night... I'm just all the more bewildered!
I didn't mean the supervision comment to come across as harsh - sorry if it did.

He sounds like a great kid. Growth is not always linear - sometimes it is a step back before going forward. I do still think though that having to help with his cousin's care would be a huge life lesson that might make a big impression. It is quite different from breaking a camera.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#9 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Update: He's not going to need surgery, it's a hairline fracture and should heal well on its own. Liquid diet for 3 weeks, though.

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Have you ruled out all underlying causes for the behaviors you described? I'm just a mama, but when I see kids struggling with behaviors (impulse control?) that most kids have mastered by that age my first thought is to wonder if there is anything else going on that make it harder for that child to reach that developmental point.
He's definitely got sensory-seeking issues. We can't get any OT, it's not considered a 'treatable illness' or whatever here in Canada yet (we've tried). I've been contemplating whether he might have a touch of Asperger's (ironically, SIL is wondering the same thing about my nephew, it runs in her family). So yes, we're aware of some of the underlying causes, but while it gives us a little understanding and patience, it still doesn't help control the situations much. A bit, but not much.

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That said -- if my child is careless and the result is he breaks a $200 lamp, I don't know that my reaction should be different than if it was a 20 dollar lamp. You know. It was the level of carelessness or degree of behavior that caused the mishap I should judge, not the expense of the resulting damage. So yes, a broken jaw is a bigger problem, but if it had been a cartwheel/flayling limb and a simple goose egg or a black eye what would you be doing differently? I'm saying our adult assessment of how much worse this will be for the 4yo shouldn't cloud the issue of the simple horseplay/lack of impulse control of your child.
That's an interesting point. I think, though, that if we treated this like any bruise, then he'll learn that he can get away with this level of carelessness with only minor consequences. It's okay for him to be crazy because no one is REALLY going to get hurt, you know?

And in fact, we have often treated minor bumps etc more seriously because the cause of it was something that COULD have resulted in something more serious, as in a "you're lucky noone got badly hurt" situation. He didn't learn from that.

I think he does need to learn that this level of carelessness is really unacceptable because people can AND DO get badly hurt. Yes, accidents happen, and sometimes someone gets badly hurt apparently randomly (my nephew on the other side of the family recently broke his collarbone -- he just fell off a chair!)... something that seemed very innocuous ends up being a more serious injury. If that were the case here, I think (I hope) that I would treat it as such. A youthful accident that ended up bad just from bad luck, chance.

But since this is something he's been repeatedly warned about, though I guess I never thought it would really happen... He does need to learn that very bad consequences CAN happen, that he's not just able to get away with carelessness because nothing really bad happens, or if it does it's "not his fault."

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And if you're feeling that he hasn't learned his lesson yet regarding this incident, well, it's probably not over yet -- but that doesn't mean be harsher. In my mind, you have the chance to involve him in helping make amends for a long long time as the 4yo heals. Helping the family with chores, making smoothies and cards for the little guy, sharing special toys with him... oh the opportunities. And if impulse control is the issue then whether the lessons are associated with this incident or not, the teaching can continue.
Yes, this is what I'm kind of thinking now. Wait and see what his own reaction really is, how much he has learned naturally, and work WITH that, gently (but VERY FIRMLY) pushing him to restitution with helping with smoothies, treats, etc. I've talked with my brother and he agrees with that idea.

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#10 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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Maybe he'll qualify for help now that something big has happened? Might be worth looking into.

I'd also supervise him very closely from now on. It's ovious that his size is an issue now when playing with his cousins.

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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#11 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, I was away from the PC for a few minutes and you guys all replied while I was typing the last response lol... Catching up now.

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Originally Posted by Spirit Dancer View Post
I would also have him work to earn enough money (or a fair amount of it if it is too high) to pay his cousin's insurance deductible (or help with whatever financial expenses there are.
Thankfully we live in Canada with universal health care. Actually this led to a 'teachable moment' last night, about ER wait times and doctor shortages and how doctors get paid a lot of money because their work is so very difficult, DS asked me 'what about if someone is sick and they can't afford to pay the doctors'? So I got to tell him all about the history of universal health care and the current struggles in the US over the issue.


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I do not agree that you should treat this as if it were a minor injury (ie a black eye). It isn't and your son is no longer a young child. If my 11 year old did this my goal would be not to punish him but to teach him to take responsibility for his actions.
Yes, that's it exactly. Thank you.

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If you as an adult were driving while distracted and you ran over a fence pole the results would be very different then if you hit a person. Even if it is an accident one still has to take responsibility and make amends.
I agree with this analogy. I do appreciate the intent of the poster who said that, that we shouldn't overjudge an action due to unpredictably bad consequences, I agree with that. I just think that in this case, the action is indeed one that warrants a more serious consequence. If it had been just a bruise, perhaps we wouldn't have realized how seriously he needs to deal with his carelessness at this point. But the same action could have had even more serious consequences. It's just a fractured jawbone. If the same force had hit a nose, or an eye, or a skull of a 2-year-old, we might be having a very different conversation. He's 11, skinny but very strong, a competetive gymnast and a karate black belt. He needs to be careful with his body.

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#12 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't mean the supervision comment to come across as harsh - sorry if it did.
No worries, given the situation it was an entirely reasonable comment that I might have made myself if the situation were reversed. Just wanted to clarify, give a bit more information. I'm not offended or anything.

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#13 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe he'll qualify for help now that something big has happened? Might be worth looking into.
Unfortunately any 'help' he might qualify for would likely just be drugs (ridalin). OT, which is what would really benefit him, just doesn't seem to be AVAILABLE.

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I'd also supervise him very closely from now on. It's ovious that his size is an issue now when playing with his cousins.
Agreed and he's already been told this. He usually helps looking after his sister while I get stuff done. This is going to make it harder on the rest of us *sigh* In some ways he's 'young' for his age, I wonder if he's just not aware of his size and strength... he's not HUGE by any means (in fact he's quite tiny for 11), but like I said he's strong, and he's FAST.

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#14 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 12:00 PM
 
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My inclination would be to have a long talk about it emphasizing how he would feel if he were the victim and maybe how he would feel if he were the victim's parents and maybe how he would feel if he were in your shoes. Really ask him to consider it and think about it.

Then ask him what he thinks he could do to make amends. If he got his jaw broken by a big older cousin (maybe a 14 year old!) how would he feel and how would he feel if the big cousin just said "sorry" and went on playing? Would he feel a little better if the big cousin offered to make him some smoothies? What else can he think of that might make him (as the injured party) feel better? Would a homemade card help?

Then I'd direct the conversation to what to do in the future when he's feeling rowdy and rambunctious. What activities are safe? What do we need to do to make sure they're safe (make sure nobody is behind you when you do a cartwheel). Talk about the safety measures they take at gymnastics. Remind him of those next time he gets wild. "DS, remember to keep everyone clear like at gymnastics!" or whatever.

I hope your nephew is feeling better soon. And while I wouldn't "go easy" on my DD if she did that I wouldn't ground her for a year or anything, either. I'm sure she would get tired of hearing my lecture, though!

Good luck

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#15 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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You keep using the word carelessness. This is such a pattern for him--I really wonder if it is carelessness or if the way his brain is wired makes things that seem really obvious to others not so simple for him.

There are things that you can try at home to help that don't require an OT--and you already are some--gymnastics is great for him.

I'm probably going to sound like a broken record, but two things have helped my intense impulsive son a great deal. Feingold Diet and Transforming the Difficult Child by Howard Glasser.
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#16 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You keep using the word carelessness. This is such a pattern for him--I really wonder if it is carelessness or if the way his brain is wired makes things that seem really obvious to others not so simple for him.
Yes, I think you've hit the nail on the head there. I still say "carelessness" because it's faster lol... The net result of whatever factors there are, is that he does not take sufficient care of his surroundings/actions/possessions/work/etc. So it is still a lack of carefulness, whatever the cause.

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There are things that you can try at home to help that don't require an OT--and you already are some--gymnastics is great for him.
We have a weighted blanket. We homeschool and try to work around his particular abilities and weaknesses. He has a wrist thing that he uses to fidget with.

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I'm probably going to sound like a broken record, but two things have helped my intense impulsive son a great deal. Feingold Diet and Transforming the Difficult Child by Howard Glasser.
Hey it can't hurt to hear it too many times, it might be the first time for somebody. We've tried Feingold and other dietary things and found little difference. I've read The Explosive Child and some books on sensory kids. He doesn't have temper tantrums as often anymore, which is nice. I'm confident he'll "grow out" of any last remains of that aspect of things. It's the impulsiveness that's still a problem.

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My inclination would be to have a long talk about it emphasizing how he would feel if he were the victim and maybe how he would feel if he were the victim's parents and maybe how he would feel if he were in your shoes. Really ask him to consider it and think about it.
Will do. I'm actually surprised I haven't already, that's usually high on my list heh. He has a worrying lack of natural empathy, we constantly have to remind him to think about things from another's point of view, and he's prone to keep on playing when someone else is hurt (whoever's fault it was heh). His 2yo sister has like 5000% the empathy that he does already. That's one of the reasons we're thinking about Asperger's, apparently that's a common trait. It's not that he CAN'T see things from another's POV, it's just that he DOESN'T on his own, he needs to be prompted, it doesn't come naturally.

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Then ask him what he thinks he could do to make amends. If he got his jaw broken by a big older cousin (maybe a 14 year old!) how would he feel and how would he feel if the big cousin just said "sorry" and went on playing? Would he feel a little better if the big cousin offered to make him some smoothies? What else can he think of that might make him (as the injured party) feel better? Would a homemade card help?
Good idea. We've talked about amends a bit (he's home from gymnastics training now), he actually suggested before I even brought it up that he should not play his Smash Bros Brawl game for the next week but only play "quiet" games like Endless Ocean. When I suggested he should use some of his money to get his cousin a treat, he suggested that he could make him a card. He WILL make him a card, but it's not going to be a way to get out of spending his own money. We'll continue to brainstorm for more ideas.

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Then I'd direct the conversation to what to do in the future when he's feeling rowdy and rambunctious. What activities are safe? What do we need to do to make sure they're safe (make sure nobody is behind you when you do a cartwheel).
The problem with this is that he already knows this, we've already done this. He does KNOW, he just doesn't DO, when he gets out of control. He is still insisting that he wasn't doing a cartwheel either, but tripped -- which is less predictable. You don't make a habit of checking that it's clear around you before tripping, right? heh...

But that's an interesting point you make... what to do in the future WHEN HE'S FEELING ROWDY. If we had some kind of a list of activities that are 'safe' (more or less) and get him to recognize when he's getting out of control and then stick to that list... Of course, then he has to have enough self-control to stop what he'd rather do and switch to something on the list. But at least it's planting a seed. We might talk about that.

I should add that SIL is an MDC mama as well, I'd be very interested to hear her take on this when she gets a chance.

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#17 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 01:02 PM
 
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Unfortunately any 'help' he might qualify for would likely just be drugs (ridalin). OT, which is what would really benefit him, just doesn't seem to be AVAILABLE.



Agreed and he's already been told this. He usually helps looking after his sister while I get stuff done. This is going to make it harder on the rest of us *sigh* In some ways he's 'young' for his age, I wonder if he's just not aware of his size and strength... he's not HUGE by any means (in fact he's quite tiny for 11), but like I said he's strong, and he's FAST.
I'm not one to usually say this.....but if the alternative is him injuring people....you might want to consider it.

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#18 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I actually blogged about my wrestling with the idea of Ritalin a few months ago:
http://motherbynature.ca/2009/03/the...to-be-working/

I'll continue to consider it. I dunno. *sigh*

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#19 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 01:11 PM
 
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I'm finding a lot of interesting information reading about "executive functioning." There's a book called "Late, Lost and Unprepared" that gives a great overview of the issues.

It sounds to me like maybe this is some of what's going on for your son, that this "carelessness" is really about neurological wiring.

I'll ditto other posters re having him make it right in concrete ways, including taking extra care of his cousin.

Good luck. Rowdy, impulsive, active boys can be a pip .

Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.

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#20 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 01:14 PM
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I'm not one to usually say this.....but if the alternative is him injuring people....you might want to consider it.
I have to say I agree. And I'm wondering if there isn't something else going on... Most 11-year-olds aren't that interested in playing with older toddlers. I know I have a hard time convincing my 6.5-year-old to play with my nephew, who is 4. If your son, at 11, is playing with toddlers, you might want to consider that he has a developmental delay.

Good luck... Sounds like you appreciate how serious this is and are trying to do the right thing.
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#21 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 01:33 PM
 
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I think its pretty clear that your son should NEVER be unsupervised when playing with others. He has high energy and poor impulse control. He is not just dangerous to toddler/preschoolers acting this way. I am just picturing if I had a family member whose child did this to my four year old. I sincerely hope yours are way more forgiving than I am. I would be enraged. This is a serious issue. The growing four year old now has to eat a liquid diet. There is pain, there is the potential for growth issues while the child heals, maybe future dental issues. This is HUGE and I would think that the parents of the child in question would be pretty angry if they didn't see some huge consequences of this action.

You call it an accident, but seriously, cartwheels in the house with a group of children all around? Your 11 year old doesn't know that to be completely inappropriate and dangerous in an enclosed - non-gym space? I have two 11 year olds and they would know that they needed to go outside and have people clear away to do gymnastics. I think you do need to consult a doctor who specializes in hyperactivity and find some therapies or drugs that could help.
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#22 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 01:42 PM
 
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I have to say I agree. And I'm wondering if there isn't something else going on... Most 11-year-olds aren't that interested in playing with older toddlers. I know I have a hard time convincing my 6.5-year-old to play with my nephew, who is 4. If your son, at 11, is playing with toddlers, you might want to consider that he has a developmental delay.

Good luck... Sounds like you appreciate how serious this is and are trying to do the right thing.
My 11 year old nephew plays with my 4 year old son when we get together - not because it's exciting to him, but because he loves him and is willing to entertain him. It's not a sign of mental illness but caring!

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#23 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 01:42 PM
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Your son sounds a lot like mine...when he isn't taking his meds.

My boy is on a daily dose of biphentin to help with his adhd. He has had zero side effects on this drug, whereas with the ritalin we did notice a bit of depression (which is why we switched). On the meds my son is still the sweet, considerate boy we know and love, but he's also more capable of assessing whether or not the impulse that has just come into his head is going to be a good idea or not.

And he's also able to see his own fault in his actions and he's able to feel remorse when he hurts someone. Because he's able to focus on the thoughts, whereas off the meds there is so much going on in his mind he's not able to focus.

Sensory issues can go along with ADHD, my ds has super sensitive ears, has to wear a cover on them when he rides his bike because he really cannot handle the wind against them. Really loud music bothers him as well.

Here's the cold reality of it all: No amount of time, maturity or punishment is going to help him if he has ADHD or any other neurological variation.

And typically people with undiagnose/untreated disorders turn to self-medication with drugs and alcohol.

Just some food for thought.
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#24 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have to say I agree. And I'm wondering if there isn't something else going on... Most 11-year-olds aren't that interested in playing with older toddlers. I know I have a hard time convincing my 6.5-year-old to play with my nephew, who is 4. If your son, at 11, is playing with toddlers, you might want to consider that he has a developmental delay.
I'm going to respectfully disagree with this one. I believe that it's TRUE that most 11yo's don't want to play with 4yo's, but I don't think that it's necessarily NORMAL. I think it's largely a product of our age-segregated school system. I actually think it's GREAT that he can play with kids of any age without bias, I don't see that as a negative at all.

He is 'young' for his age and seems to be most 'peer-matched' with kids about 8-9yo. He's 'asynchronous' in his development, and his emotional maturity is at the lower end while much of his intellectual development is off the scale -- common with gifted kids, and again, with Asperger's.

But it's not that he simply PREFERS playing with young kids, he plays with everybody. He happily plays with the 4yo, the 8yo, the 10yo, the 14yo, and the adult -- assuming they want to play with him, of course.

Anyway, I do appreciate all the comments, even those I disagree with, it's all good food for thought. We'll see where we go from here.

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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#25 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 01:43 PM
 
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I do not see this being completely your son's fault.

Your son has issues. He ussually does not behave this way. But you admit that he had been warned several times. Hind sight is wonderful there were things you SHOULD have done to prevent it.

Then you get the diverging stories. It could have been they both were at fault. My son slammed his sister's finger into a door once. Who was more at fault? My son that was not being careful or my dd for sticking her hand in the way? They were playing and both had a responciblity of being careful.

Accidents happen. It can take a day or two for it to sink into your son. His advoidance behavior could be a coping (bad one) mechinism. I think you are doing great on trying to help him make "restitution".

I have a 14 (almost 15 year old) and an 11 year old. Neither one has ADD but they do things that show lack of judgement, esspecially when wound up. We have had minor Wii injuries and fights with friends. Even though they should know better we have found sometimes we adults need to step in. Lets watch a calm moving and have low sugar snack. I do not doubt your son was the only "wound" child. He was just not the one not injured.

I might help him in making that card. Finding reciepes to add varity to nephews diet. Babysit while mom gets a break.
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#26 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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And I'm wondering if there isn't something else going on... Most 11-year-olds aren't that interested in playing with older toddlers. I know I have a hard time convincing my 6.5-year-old to play with my nephew, who is 4. If your son, at 11, is playing with toddlers, you might want to consider that he has a developmental delay..
Eh....they're cousins. We have cousins ranging in age from 2 to 11 in our family playing together That seems more typical than not, to me.

OP, I'd take my dc every day to visit the child he injured, to offer some sort of care/company/comfort each day. 3 weeks is a LONG time for a 4 yo to be on a liquid diet (and, I'm assuming, activity restrictions and some pain). It is also a LONG time for an 11 yo to check in with someone every day. It might make an impact, say, on day 18 when he feels like moving on but the cousin is still recovering from this accident.

And, I think it would mean a lot to me, as the parent of the injured child, to see the other parent putting that kind of effort into holding their dc accountable. I'll admit, I would be pretty angry if my dc was hurt in this way (even though it is an accident)--esp if there is a clear history of carelessness and close calls.

Every evening, he could make a plan for the next day (finding a book to take and read to his cousin, finding a recipe for a good smoothie, planning a game to play together, etc).
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#27 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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I agree with PPs who suggested that he make amends with the four year old by entertaining him and making him smoothies for the next few weeks. Can you also maybe get him to make a nice big "I'm sorry. Get well soon" card? I think sometimes kids deny responsibility if they are freaked out by the consequences of their actions, so I wouldn't come down hard on him for that, but would just say to him, "This happened. Nobody intended for it to happen, but now your cousin has a pretty bad injury from everybody monkeying around. We first need to make sure that he is well taken care of and that he knows you didn't intend to hurt him and want him to get better soon. And we need to learn from this and think about how we can all prevent something similar from happening in the future." Maybe trying to help him shift from a 'kid' role into a 'caretaker of the younger ones' role could help redirect that energy in the future if he perceives that he is the older, more 'adult' one of the group and needs to look out for the littles, be the one reading to them or putting on a puppet show while they watch or whatever.

Your guy sounds a lot like the son of our lifelong family friends. This young man is incredibly sweet, very energetic, a talented musician, and completely careless - low impulse control, lack of ability to plan and execute, lack of ability to consider the consequences of his actions. His mom is a psychologist who specializes in assessing children, and she had him tested up, down, and 3 ways to Sunday, including brain scans. He received a diagnosis of ADHD and was on Ritalin from age 8 through at least the end of high school (I don't know if he's on it now). She considered ALL their options and felt that in his case, the Ritalin was actually the most helpful. It allowed him to do well in school, be in three different instrumental groups, and excel in foreign language classes.

As he's gotten older, he's gotten into semi-serious trouble because of his neurology - hes pretty much flunked out of college, and not to tell long stories, but he's been charged with arson for playing with firecrackers on a school property (even though he wasn't the only one involved, just the only one the police caught) and almost got sent to a federal penitentiary for trespassing on a military base (he was going to the LIBRARY there to photocopy a language textbook). Both times, he wasn't doing anything with malicious intent, but he just doesn't THINK before he acts.

His parents don't know what to do with him - he's a grown young man now, but is like a leaf on the wind. He's very innocent and well-intentioned, but at some point may get himself into a situation they can't help him out of.

It sounds like you are doing really well by your son to have him in this intensive gymnastics program - any ways that you can think of that will help him focus and channel that energy in a positive way are good. Have you investigated any kind of cognitive training - something like mindfulness meditation along the lines of what John Kabat-Zinn promotes or even some kind of cognitive behavioral therapy, where he runs a little program or set of questions before he does something? One way or another, he needs to start practicing stopping to reflect on an action before he does it. But some of that higher level reasoning and decision-making and ability to plan for the future doesn't come into its full bloom until a person is in their early 20s.

Maybe you've tried all this, but does limiting screen time, modifying his diet, or making sure he's on a good sleep schedule produce any tangible results?

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#28 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 02:25 PM
 
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It could have been they both were at fault.
Between a 4yo and an 11yo, the 11yo is at fault.
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#29 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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I think a few of the PP were a little harsh! It was an accident. There are different stories of the accident, but it was an accident. My dh's sister broke his arm by accident when they were kids (she squirted him with the hose while he was on top of the family car washing it), but she didn't need medication because of it.

The OP has said her son has issues and it may be that they decide to look into that further, but I don't think just because he has an accident is any reason to jump to "must medicate" mode.

I think what Marsupialmom said about both being at fault is possible, too. No adult saw the incident. It could be that the 4 yr old ran up to him just in the middle of the cartwheel. (And fwiw, if I could do a cartwheel worth a darn I would be happy to do one in our basement playroom if it wasn't strewn with my little ponies and legos. I don't think that activity needs to be relegated to outdoors or gyms if you have the room. I'd do one in the hall, too, but it's hardwood and I'm old.) Maybe when my DH was a little boy he didn't actually need to be on top of the car to wash it.

I think it's great that he can play with kids of all ages, too. My 16 yr old neice happily plays and entertains my girls (8 and 5) when we get together.

I also agree that his avoidance can be a coping mechanism. My dd1 is the queen of avoidance. She will avoid avoid avoid unless I call her on it directly. She does own up to issues with her sister, but will deny being feverish, for example, in hopes that it will just go away if she doesn't talk about it. She can avoid/deny about other things, too, so that's why I would have the big talk about empathisizing with the injured party.

Make sure he knows that you don't think he did it on purpose, but emphasize that he's really strong (he's probably proud of that) and, although it was an accident he still needs to take responsibility for it. Sometimes people think that saying "sorry" is an admission of guilt. It's not! It's just empathizing and expressing regret.

I'm reluctantly, but firmly in the make 'em say sorry camp (mainly because my dd1 would not pick it up on her own if I didn't enforce it—dd2, sure, but dd1 needs prompting) and that's the angle I would approach this from. You did something really bad even though you didn't mean to and we've got to take responibility for it. When you do something wrong there's three things we need to do:
1) Let the other person/people involved know we're really, really sorry.
2) Make amends (fix the broken window, buy a new toy, get a cold pack for a bruise, smoothies for a broken jaw).
3) Make sure it doesn't happen in the future by having a specific plan in place.

hth

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#30 of 81 Old 08-31-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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Unfortunately any 'help' he might qualify for would likely just be drugs (ridalin). OT, which is what would really benefit him, just doesn't seem to be AVAILABLE.
What about a child psychologist? There could be behavior therapies that address impulse control. I know that, when my dd was in counseling (anxiety issues), there were games and activities in the room focusing on impulse control.

And, you could get an evaluation for aspergers at a child psychologist.
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