Help! (Behaviour)

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sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462
Help! (Behaviour)

Hi guys,

Maybe you could help me? I?m at a loss for ideas.

Leo (2.5yo) has been slamming and 'killing' stuffed animals the last week or so saying "Die!" "Bam! Blood all over the place". Last night he wasn't listening and was hitting Forrest (8mo) and I told him to go to his room. "Mommy are you going to kill me?". I wasn?t yelling or angry, I had just matter of factly told him to go to his room because he wasn?t listening and was hitting.

The thing is, Leo is a happy, gentle, playful, obstinate 2.5 yo. There is only one place this behaviour can come from. We don?t watch TV. He hasn?t seen the news. He doesn?t watch movies. He might see a facebook page every once in a while.

The behaviour Leo is displaying is an exact replica of how Skyler ?plays? with his, Ivy, and Leo?s toys. He thinks it?s cool to play wrestle and slam and Kill (he used to do it with Spiderman, now he is completely into WWE). He is constantly slamming them, killing them, punching them. Skyler doesn?t know how to play gently, imaginatively or just to explore (i.e. pretend to be a mouse, fish, elephant, dog). I've asked him not to display this aggressive obnoxious, bloody play in front of the kids, especially with the kids? toys. He ignores me. Leo is just copying Skyler - identically.

When I told Skyler about my concern about his lack of listening, and it?s affects, he laughed and thought it was hilarious. "I wish I could see that!"

I lost it on him.

How does a person deal with this situation? Any ideas?

To make matters harder, Skyler is with us every other week throughout the year.

He just thinks it?s funny and I?m ?unreasonable?. ?Unreasonable? in his books is defined as ?not what Skyler wants?.

Joined: 12/01/05
Posts: 1000

That is totally not normal. I wonder how much of it has to do with his medical issues. Maybe he has an obsession with death because of the seriousness of what he has been through? How open would they be to having him evaluated by a psychologist or psychiatrist? This is not something you are going to be able to resolve easily. I think he needs counseling. In the meantime, I would tell him that at this age, he should be acting as a role model for the little ones and say that if he cannot be an appropriate role model for them, he will not be allowed to play with them.

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

LOL! THat wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear!

-Asha-'s picture
Joined: 02/08/12
Posts: 173

Skyler is a typical teenager. He knows what you don't like so he exaggerates the behavior to get a reaction. I think,like with any unwelcome behavior , you might have to limit him to play like that only in his room so Leo isn't around to witness it.
For Leo- when he does it try to ask him questions that would make him feel bad for the stuffed animals. So he can reach for his empathy and if he thinks that he is hurting them, he might stop the aggressive play.
I really don't think this behavior on Skyler's part has anything to do with Reed.
Sorry that it took me so long- I was not on the board for a while. Just busy.
HUGS always.

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

He's not like any kid I've ever known. It is very worrisome. I can't understand why he hasn't been in counseling long before this. There is so much help he needs in many areas. He seems to be basically happy though. I just don't know about his future. I would not want him around my little kids....and not only because of the way he plays with toys. He is so very difficult! I feel so badly for Leo, Ivy and Forrest, and hope that their Mom & Dad can come up with some serious solutions they can stick with for the long haul.

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

No, Skyler’s actions and behaviour are unlike any other kid I’ve known. He starts counselling tomorrow, we’ll see how that goes.

As for Leo, I did exactly as you suggest, Asha, back when he displayed this aggressive behaviour to begin with. He hasn’t done it since then, either. Leo is also very empathetic (like Ivy). If he accidentally hurts me (hit my nose with his head when I was tickling him), he stops instantly and gives a big hug and kiss and says “Sorry mommy, sorry mommy!”

*rant*

Skyler, on the other hand, has no empathy whatsoever. He’ll say things that make you think he understands because it’s something that he thinks you want to hear. But a few minutes later it’s clear that it was lip-service and there was no comprehension. Not only that, but he lies constantly. I can hardly stand to be around him. Whatever he says is either a lie, a story about how someone has treated him unfair (half lies), or WWE wrestling (aggressive stupidity). If you call him on it, he yells at you, gets mad and changes his story to make it "OK". If you don't listen, he cries like a 2yo and hits his head on the wall, and says how it's not fair and everyone hates him and life sucks. 10 minutes later he's happy as a clam. I don't want to hear any of it. I don't want the kids around any of it.

Not a good position to be in (me or him), or a place I want to be. I would be quite glad if he didn’t come to our house any more, which is completely unfair to DH.

*Rant over*

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

Maybe DH could meet him at activities instead of at your home, or at his Grandma's place. I hope that he gets along well with the counselor and can learn some mature behavior. He seems almost autistic to me in that he has practically no emotional comprehension, except neediness for himself. It is mostly about ME ME ME. I can feel very sorry for him and his future, but I cannot imagine dealing with his behavior with small ones around who do look up to him.

Joined: 07/21/02
Posts: 1006

I have not been around in a while either--busy!

So sorry you are dealing with this-it sounds like such a hard situation to be in! I really hope the counseling helps because his behavior definitely does not sound like normal teen behavior. I have not had to deal with teens as my own children yet, nor with split custody. I wonder if spending a week here, week there constantly has something to do with his adjustment? I know I would not do well bouncing back and forth so frequently :/ But thats the only idea I had, not knowing him or the situation personally. I hope you get some answers and improved behavior soon with the counseling! (((HUGS)))

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

From my point of view, 50/50 custody is an awful thing. Period. Yet what better alternative is there? Ideally the child would know that each parent adores him even if they bring out the worst in each other, and then go on and miraculously manage OK. But the fact is that 2 "homes" means split loyalties in the child's mind. Which parent is "right" and which parent "wrong"? Kids, at least this one, don't understand gray areas. Nor is he capable of understanding that he manipulates his parents and others ...as a kind of self preservation. Add on medical issues and a certain laziness about applying himself to family and school issues, and you have a very complex situation. As a teen, he'd love to be treated as a mature individual and begin to be trusted baby sitting and taking driver education etc, but he is nowhere near responsible enough to attempt these things. I am not around him enough to evaluate the daily issues though. I only visit about twice a year, but that is enough to know that the tensions are constant. I hope that counseling allows him to vent to a third party and see his role more clearly and then make an effort to be a true family member and a responsible adult.

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

Today's news, that Skyler enjoyed his first meeting and likes the psychologist is ever so hopeful.

-Asha-'s picture
Joined: 02/08/12
Posts: 173

Good to hear!!
I hope the counseling will be a breakthrough for the whole family. It is a very difficult arrangement for everyone involved, so maybe with the therapist's help things can get easier! Keeping my fingers crossed!!

-Asha-'s picture
Joined: 02/08/12
Posts: 173

Good to hear!!
I hope the counseling will be a breakthrough for the whole family. It is a very difficult arrangement for everyone involved, so maybe with the therapist's help things can get easier! Keeping my fingers crossed!!

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

I hope I'm not being too hopeful and setting myself up for enormous disappointment. I'm not expecting miracles really, but some sound helpful guides that would be effective would be a dream! To get the necessary educational testing accomplished at last - this would be a good beginning.

-Asha-'s picture
Joined: 02/08/12
Posts: 173

Right. There are many factors that contributed to his behavior. Is there any way they could change the custody agreement to weekdays/ weekends? I think those work better for kids in school.
Also if he receives help with any learning disabilities things should improve.

-Asha-'s picture
Joined: 02/08/12
Posts: 173

Right. There are many factors that contributed to his behavior. Is there any way they could change the custody agreement to weekdays/ weekends? I think those work better for kids in school.
Also if he receives help with any learning disabilities things should improve.

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

Absolutely we could change the custody/access schedule. But the problems are:
1) Who should he be with? With his mother, with whom he says he barely sees except to watch TV. He comes home from school, she watches her TV, he watches his TV, and then they eat dinner in front of the TV, and then a show together. Mom says she doesn’t want him with her full time because it’s too much work. But then she complains vehemently that 1 week is too long to go without seeing him…
If we have him with us, we have to deal with mom complaining that it’s too long to be without seeing him, and telling Skyler that we don’t know how to parent.
2) With custody comes the money issue. Biomom wants money – which is the reason she will try desperately to have Skyler with her full time. Then she will try to get us to babysit him as much as possible because she goes out of town so much for work. We see this already. If Skyler were to be with us full time, legally she would have to pay us, and she will say that she doesn’t have any money.
We are at the point to let him go to his mom’s simply because it would likely be better for him to be in one house, and then someone will have to take responsibility for helping him instead of just saying that they can’t do anything and it’s our fault. It’s like giving up. We’ve talked about it. We’re about ready to do it, but some things have changed in the last month that are making me think it’s not such a good idea. We were seriously considering it, but now that Skyler is in counselling I think it may be better to get some guidance from the counsellor. Also, his mom is moving to the next town away and will try to take Skyler out of his school (she’s asking us to have him fail already). If he goes to live with her full time she will try to get him to change schools and move away from us. We don’t think that that is a good plan at all.

So, as much as changing the custody/access schedule is, in theory, a good way to help him, I don’t believe it will help him right away.

-Asha-'s picture
Joined: 02/08/12
Posts: 173

Oh gosh Sarah- it is so complicated! There is no win really. I hope you guys can work something out somehow... His biomom doesn't sound like a grown up at all. That's sad.

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

Asha, you are right about Biomom. And at 45, I don't see a drop of effort on her part to change. That alone is a reason not to have him in her full custody. Yet, the kid is absolutely torn apart and doesn't know what to make of his world. I hope his counselor can help him through the teen years...and beyond! But I also hope she understands just how difficult it is for his siblings and can work on that too. Heck, there are just so many areas where he needs help!!!

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

Ugh.. too much to worry about. No way to help other than try to teach him to think critically.

Today he has another appointment with the psychologist, this time with mom. Hope all goes well. I know she will have a conniption because she will have to pay and she says she doesn’t have the money (though she had enough money to buy 2 trips to Mexico about a month ago, and it didn’t go through). Oh well.

And Skyler called this morning to talk to Ivy and Leo on Skype. They had a go good chat. Then he talked to DH and told DH that he had asked his mom if he could come out to our land for the weekend and she said ‘No, that’s your time with me’. Curious. She just finished telling him 2 weeks ago that it was up to him, and he was to call us to stay extra time at her house. Now when he asks to come to our house the answer is ‘No’. Interesting way of being consistent, and he, I think, realized it all by himself.

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

Nothing surprises me any more... but it does make me ever so sad.

PS:
After thinking about this, I am a bit surprised. It is a pleasant thing to hear that he Skyped while at his Mom's place. Shows he's thinking of you and that she allowed it.

It is also a surprise that he is thinking about going to your land, a place where he doesn't get to use electronics.

And it is also a surprise that he asked his Mom about spending extra time with you. In the past he never would have dared.

Perhaps this is a tool you could use to have him earn the chance to join you? I hate to insist on more rules though. Of course he hates to miss out on things, but that's what he has to live with as a product of a two home family. You can't always pick and choose....

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

I think it's spelled T-R-A-M-P-O-L-I-N-E...

Nothing else.

That's the reason for the phone call/Skype.
That's the reason for wanting to come over.
That's the reason he wants to e at the mosquito infested wilderness without a place to hide from the bugs....

Don't know if he would feel the same way if he were up there, honestly, especially since it's supposed to rain all weekend!

Now, once we get the hunting tent up, on a frame and deck (Northway style), and maybe a roof for a cook-house, THEN he may actually be excited!

-Asha-'s picture
Joined: 02/08/12
Posts: 173

Wait, so you have a trampoline on your land and you are going to put up a hunting tent? Sounds like fun!! Watch out for ticks. We have caught/ pulled out of skin 7 already! We never had to deal with ticks before- such a big difference between city and rural area.
How far do you have to drive to your land?
As for Skyler, he will notice the inconsistency in his mom's behavior... What you can do is gently empathize with him when he notices, so he doesn't feel like it is all in his head.
I thought healthcare was free in Canada? Is therapy not covered?

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

Some years are worse than others for ticks. This is a really bad year.

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

Ticks – ugh! We don’t have many here – it’s too cold for them. I’ve never had one at least since I got here.

I remember one terrible trip when I was in Ontario, when I took Indy Dog to do some of my field work with me. The drive back (2-3 hrs) I spent pulling ticks off her ears and throwing them out the window. I was going at a rate of 10-15/minute. I had dressed appropriately (socks over pants, tucked in shirt, etc… but for some reason had never thought about her. Then, the idea of her in our apartment with all those ticks was just gross! But, as I’ve said, I haven’t seen a tick since I moved here in 2004 (almost 10 years)! Wonderful!

You do have to worry a little about ticks, though. What is your area’s Lyme’s disease frequency, and how do they suggest to treat it? You should talk to your doctor about this, and watch out for symptoms. It’s easy to treat if you get it quickly. Frequent baths with a friend are the best way to keep on top of the situation.

As for ‘free’ health care in Canada: Basic health care is free. Typical doctor’s appointments, necessary specialist appointments, etc… But many things aren’t. For example, dentistry is not covered. Pschological therapy is not. Chiropractor is not. Naturopathic doctors are not. Major health related issues are as well (heart surgery), but not necessarily all the drugs pre and post op. At least, they weren’t for us. Perhaps that is because we said we had health care coverage. There are random things that aren’t covered too. Like crutches!

Most employers have an employee assistance program that covers basic psychological evaluation and assessment for a certain amount by their own group of professionals. If you need something that is more specific (someone who deals with children, specializes with medical, divorce related issues). Then work health care covers at 80% usually. If you have two health care plans (both parents), then everything is covered, generally…

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462
-Asha-'s picture
Joined: 02/08/12
Posts: 173

We check the kids and ourselves as well as pets any time they have gone into the woods. So far things have calmed down. The ticks we pulled out have just attached themselves, so not long enough to release the bacteria ( 48 hours) they weren't swollen yet.

we do have a trail in the woods and as long as we stay on it, we seem to have a lesser chance of getting a tick. We just didn't know that before. Last year we didn't have any ticks- and it was a warmer winter- weird!

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

Completely different topic...

Today and yesterday I just want to be home with the kids.

Forrest has just exploded this past couple weeks. He went from pretty much exclusively nursing and crawling tentatively just two weeks ago, to climbing a couple stairs, chatting at us (when he can get a word in edge-wise with his siblings), exploring, splashing in the dog water-bowl, pulling himself up on everything, and needing to hold a fork and eat what we are eating (or try to).

Leo has started counting and talking, but it’s very hard to understand him.

Ivy is bossing Leo around, logically explaining everything, and doing addition on her fingers.

I don’t want to be at work, I want to be home! I REALLY want to be home with them. Why would I want to be anywhere else? Now how can we make this happen?

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

One of the reasons you notice these signs of growth is because you are away... Not that this makes you feel any better.

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

Well, I got to be at home with them today... Be careful what you wish for. You might get it with a nasty twist.

We were given the day off work if we liked today. You see, a coworker was killed in a helicopter accident, and another coworker is in the hospital. Now... how badly did I really want to stay home?

-Asha-'s picture
Joined: 02/08/12
Posts: 173

Sarah- big hugs. I am so sorry to hear about your coworkers. Still, staying home with kids while they are little is a reasonable desire.
I hope one day you can!

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

I'm feeling a little less overwhelmed today. My best friend's fiance is doing better after a month of very worrisome medical issues ending in an experimental procedure that has, so far, turned out very well. Gardenbug and my dad will be coming out to visit in 10 sleeps (Ivy is counting), and I managed to schedule a dentist's appointment. Excellent! I've been needing to go for a while.

I also slept relatively well the past couple nights, and have Friday off. WOOHOO!

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

What is funny is that when I called the dentist yesterday to make an appointment, they said I already had an appointment for 5:30 pm… I was rather surprised since I hadn’t made an appointment. Then I showed up at 5:30, and Skyler was there, with his mother… And it seems that they had given me his mother’s appointment! LOL! She was rather ticked.
As it turned out, we both got our appointments, and all was well, but what a coincidence that we happened to schedule an appointment for the same day!
And, the dentist wants Skyler to get braces. This will be interesting since Skyler refuses to brush his teeth and eats lots of junk.

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

I'm bad. I shouldn't laugh....

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

Ugh... I accidentally deleted my post...

Skyler wnet to the orthodontist and... He does not need braces! He has shallow roots on his teeth, and the oprthodontist thinks that as the roots grow it will straighten out his teeth (and they have straightenned out a lot in the past few years). He may have a gap between his front teeth, but DH laughed because he has one too!

That's a financial relief!

In other things, Skyler had an psycho-educational assessment a couple weeks ago. The results of that assessment will be discussed with DH and Skyler's Mom on Aug 6/7 (can't remember). I can't be there, but look forward to the results of the assessment. I hope it is helpful!

-Asha-'s picture
Joined: 02/08/12
Posts: 173

Oh what a relief about the braces!! Yayy!!
I hope the assessment is helpful too. It should be. I bet it will explain a lot.

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

Assessment was helpful in some ways, and not in others. Helpful for teachers, but so far not helpful with Biomom. Assessment basically says has patterns typical of ADHD, but it's not ADHD, it's a result of a lack of motor planning skills (organizing, lists). Mom says "ADHD - let's give him supplements, if not pharmaceuticals. There are lots that are really good.

Problem - he already gets too many supplements, eats junk, etc. He thinks pills should solve lall problems. If it was ADHD caused by impalance of hormones/whatever, then maybe it would help. Truly, though, it's because his brain isn't wired to organize - not that he gets distracted, so he needs to re-wire it. It's very typical of kids who have had surgery as kids.

So - the ADHD is useful for teachers in figuring out how to deal with him, but pills will NOT solve the problem.

Of course, I am an advocate of change the diet first before adding pills (remove sugar, white flour, etc...), and there is lots of research to support that.

UGH...

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

As the grandma, I'd have to agree that because this was an educational assessment, there has not been a discussion yet on techniques to help him in the home with other children about. But, further discussion has been offered and suggestions for techniques to assist are available.
Unfortunately, the X has many strategies for blocking the road to improvement and not focusing on helping the child...who will soon no longer be a child.
But this child lacks motivation to work on his weaknesses and prefers to manipulate them to benefit himself, to make excuses. Also, little mention has yet emerged on working on his lack of ability to concentrate or on his inability to empathize with others, both younger and older. No one said this would be an easy journey, but they have given some hope and will likely offer more suggestions if the parents keep at it!
Frankly I expected them to assess him superficially with ADHD. The fact that they went further is a hopeful sign.

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