Ok, dss is 13 and he is a WONDERFUL kid. He is very in touch with his siblings and cares about them alot. For instance, ds (9 yrs. old) is having a hard time at this new school. He is being picked on for being smart and being short. He came home from school fighting tears. When dss came home he started his typical picking behavior (always done in fun) but ds couldn't handle it and went into the bathroom to cry. I simply asked dss to give him a break and explained what was happening at school and he hasn't picked at him since. He says he's going to give him a month to adjust and then slowly start having fun with him again (mind you they both laugh usually about this picking and it's usually two way). Today he was messing with dd (one of the few people who can) about her freckles and playing like he wanted to pick them off her face. So my point is, he gets along with his sibs and always wants them to be happy.
So why am I concerned? WELL.......
He jokes alot and I'm not sure how concerned I should be, maybe this is a 13 yr. old thing or a bad humor thing, but I figure it can't hurt to ask you all what you think.
He says these things with a smile and laughing, but here are some things I've heard him say...
Him---so can I kill my brothers and sister
him---can I accidentally stab them
him---can I accidentally fall on them and not be able to get up
me---no of course not
him----can I accidentally drop something heavy on them
me---G if you don't stop talking like this I'm going to have to get you some help
Mind you he does this every time with a smile on his face laughing after every one he says, but it is happening so often that it is really starting to concern me that he may really need help. Is this typical for a child his age, or is it something I should be really concerned about. I can't tell if he's actually joking or if he's saying it as a joke because he's afraid I will actually get him help if I think he really means it. Maybe I'm just being paranoid.
My vote would be he does this because he knows it pushes your buttons, and he thinks it's funny (partly to talk like this, partly to push your buttons). It's sort of like Roadrunner vs. Wiley E. Coyote humor.
I don't know if the specific comments are typical, but the inclination to say things that will make mom visible uncomfortable is certainly very typical. I am "teased" perpetually by my 14 year old son, and the more shocked and unnerved he can make me, the more pleased with himself he seems to be.
As a middle school teacher (for 17 years) and a parent of an older teenager, I would say that these comments (particularly the conversation you shared) are likely not typical. I recently got my son "some help" in the form of a counselor--but I kind of led him to think it was his idea by dropping the thought into a conversation and sort of coaching him into "thinking up" the idea of seeing someone when some school difficulties led us into a brainstorming discussion of what could help. It is okay to tell the child when their joking has gone over the line and into an area with which you are uncomfortable--and you can put it just like that. I would never use counseling as a threat, but refer to it as if it were a tool--one of many which can see you and him through the teenage years. Compliment him specifically about things he does or aspects of his personality that you think are good, and do it often...this is one way to effectively shape pro-social behavior that you want to see more of. However, it is also important to pay careful attention to any threats of harm to self or others. Being a good step-parent is hard hard hard. Good luck and keep up the good work!
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