Murder and mayhem at the park

I always knew that reducing his medication was going to be tricky. I was and am prepared for what may happen. His psychologist warned me today that we shouldn’t make any judgement about how far he’s come with controlling things himself until he’s come fully off it and settled down to a plateau. She believes he’s made huge progress and has made many new neuro transmitters from having so many new successful learning experiences while being on the medication, but supports our slow weaning off from the drug.

Today, our sons psychologist said that for the first time he said to her that he is quite lonely and he showed emotion (sadness) when he said it. Yes, it does break my heart. He his lonely, but there is no point in me throwing him out there and letting him have lots of negative social experiences either.

When he had finished his work I took him to the park on his bike, with the dog. It was close to school ending so I knew there would likely be some other kids there. There was a group of about eight boys all in school uniform and all about my sons age. He stood aside for a minute and watched what they were doing then approached and tried to climb on the playground equipment they were playing on. He didn’t do or say anything weird, he just tried to climb on with them. Two of the boys told him to get off. He did. He then went away and came back over again later. This time he said
“There is enough room on there for one more!” He gave them a winning smile and waited for a moment. Most of the boys seemed happy to have him join in so he approached again.

One of the louder boys said, “hey kid! You can’t come on, but you can push us!”
My son obliged them. I have told him before that it sometimes helps if he joins the game by playing their rules at the start until he knows them a little better…
The loud boy kept saying “hey kid push us faster!”
My son smiled and pushed them faster. He then said,
“My name is Corey, not kid.”
Naturally, because the kid was a little asshole, he called my son ‘kid’ even more times. My son handled all this very well.
My son got tired of pushing and went and lay on his back in the middle of the playground. Some mums looked concerned, and started looking around for his parent. I was watching from close by but had the dog and didn’t want to interfere just yet.

He returned to the apparatus because the loud boy and his buddies had moved on now. He was playing nicely for a moment with some of the other boys, until loud boy spotted him and came back over.
“Hey! Coral, you can’t play here! How old are you?”
“I’m 8.”
“Oh. I’m 8 too. When’s your birthday?”
I think my son was getting flustered at this point because he didn’t answer but walked away. Some of the other boys called out that Coral was a girls name, and my son came over to me, grabbed his bike and took off.
I followed with a hope that he would just keep riding.
He turned the bike around and headed the bike back to the playground where he rode his bike right up to them as if he were going to hit them with it. That of course frightened them, but also gave them a chance to notice that he has a basket on the front of his bike which he uses to carry his soft toys around in…..cringe.
“Why do have baby toys?” One of them asked. Bad move.

I shouted for him to come over to me as I could tell he was about to go crazy. I thought I had succeeded when he rode away ahead of me and headed off around the path. Then he threw each toy and his water bottle out one at a time and kept riding. I had a bad feeling. I ran and picked up all the toys, now looking somewhat crazy myself with a penguin in each pocket and a fox under one arm and a water bottle and dog hanging off me!

By the time I backtracked to find him, he had all the kids corralled and was circling them on his bike like a predator. I called out for him to come to me in a somewhat desperate voice. He did.
He rode his bike full pelt at me and the dog. The dog caught the brunt of the wheel in its side. Thank god he’s a massive strong dog. I managed to grab the basket and reduce a lot of the impact of it slamming into my legs.

It is seriously hard to stay calm and patient in this situation, but I tried really hard to put myself in his shoes. Unable to control his rage after having done all the right things to make friends and then having it go horribly wrong.

Me: “sweetie I’m so sorry that just happened to you. I know you are hurt and angry right now. You absolutely can not go back and hurt those kids. Or me. You need to just go and ride home right now.”

His face was so red with rage that I wasn’t sure I was getting through. Plus he was telling me how he was going to break their legs and get a knife and stab them. Fortunately he chose to ride off for home. Phew!

By the time I, the dog, and all the soft toys caught up with him, he had calmed down a lot. Enough in fact to be waiting for me at the busy road that he isn’t allowed to cross alone.

He still wanted to go back and kill them, and he described to me in some detail what he would do if he saw them again. I tried not to answer except to let him know I heard how angry they had made him.
He apologised to the dog, (who seemed perplexed as to why his boy was cuddling him and saying sorry!”, and then said that next time maybe he would just leave.

Later, after he had had a good play with our family friends, I talked to him more about it. I told him that I wanted to make sure he didn’t start saying things to himself about liking soft toys. That everyone is different and there is nothing babyish or wrong with the things he likes. He was already thinking he would never make friends unless he threw out all his ‘furries’ as he calls them.

It’s hard. It makes me sad for him and also angry, but at the same time I know that he could just as easily say mean things to kids he meets if he is feeling threatened somehow. I’m keeping him in his “feathered nest” a bit longer and only exposing him to that kind of stuff in small doses thanks.
Next week, hopefully he will try going to Scouts. Maybe that will work for him. Maybe it won’t, but we will keep trying. I just might have to do some strength exercises to make sure I can physically contain him if needed!

What a day!

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4 Responses to Murder and mayhem at the park

  1. KL says:

    Thanks Sarah.
    The kids who were being mean, their mums were chatting at the nearby cafe and I don’t think they even noticed. The concerned mums were actually there with much younger kids so they were supervising them on the equipment. I guess it would be nice to be able to sit in a cafe and chat with your friends while your kids all play. Whether they are being mean or not isn’t a concern I suppose when usually the kids just sort it out themselves or come and tell an adult. Sigh… that’s not for me though! Yes, of course Corey now thinks that there is something wrong with him. He’s not blind. He even said later, “it’s so annoying. I didn’t do anything wrong at the start, but then I was the one who got really mad and had to leave, but they all got to stay there and keep playing and also they have friends and I don’t because of how stupid I am!” 😦 We just gently acknowledge those feelings and help him find a better way I guess.

  2. JudgeRoy says:

    Could you have gone over to tell the parents what a little snot their child was being? I don’t think it’s right to just treat this like national geographic – observe but don’t get involved. These are little people who we have to direct so that that they grow into decent human beings. A little bully like that will just get worse and worse and intervening could save him from being beaten up by a kid who can’t control himself as much as Corey can now, or save him from being likely to being sent to prison later or living a life of crime. Bullies are often bullies for their own personal reasons and who knows he might have ADHD/ODD himself. It’s most likely not but it’s always a possibility. I’ve been in a group with people and would make fun of people from far back. It’s easy to get caught up in that type of behaviour in a group which is why I now like to stay away from people like that. I have a knack for finding the most arrogant of friends who always seem to make fun of other people. It’s not really nasty to your face bullying but it’s still behaviour I would discourage.
    To tell you the truth my mum would have told the boy off. She’s got this ability to just tear down a person’s own self worth when she tells them off. Unfortunately, she’s done that to her own kids. But if she didn’t like a child’s behaviour she’d tell them off and I’d be embarrassed and would think ‘mum, it’s not your kid – stay out of it!’ But now I think I’m more in favour of it. I mean if the parents aren’t caring what their kids do then somebody needs to try to direct them to the right behaviour.
    If I saw my eight year old nephew Owen get picked on I’d probably step in. I get suspicious enough if I see older men lurk by and I’ll be pushing my two nephews forward to get away from them quickly while trying to come up a way about how to take the guy down if it came to it. I think we need to protect kids from situations that might send them into therapy later, which coming back to my original point, is what bullies can do. Sure, it might help them to get some exposure to it but I think when kids emotional states about friendship and confidence around other kids is rocky like Corey’s you need to make to sure that it doesn’t get any worse.
    I suppose I’m sort of going through all that now. I’m not going to get bullied by kids anymore but I have distrust of people especially around my own age. Thing is when I was Corey’s age I wasn’t bothered by what people said because I had no interest in them. Now it wax and wanes. I can do plenty of things on my own but the loneliness is still there but I don’t want to find myself in the same situations that drove me to isolation.
    I just hope one day that Corey will be able to find one child he can become good friends with. It usually happens so randomly but when it’s happened you’ll know it. One thing that helps me make friends better is to find them through my own interests.
    You’re doing a great job with him. He seems to more aware than most children his age, with his problems or without, and has some control over his emotions, which the Ritalin might be helping with. Best of luck to the both of you.

  3. KL says:

    Thanks for your comment Shanti.
    To be honest, I used to always hang around close by and step in. Now I have a different view of it. I hate it when people tell Corey off. He gets really upset and that can tip him over even more. So I figure, if I don’t want someone telling my child off, I had better not tell other people’s kids off. Plus I’m a lot less self controlled and patient with other people’s kids than I am with my own. The most I will do is pull Corey aside somewhere close to where the other kids parents are and say in a slightly louder than usual voice, “It’s usually best to try and walk away when there are kids like that who are being mean and bullying others.” That way, the parents are indirectly made aware that something has happened and hopefully they’ll wonder whether their child was involved or not!

    The other difficulty is that if I always step in, Corey will never really learn how to handle it himself. If his Mum is there telling everyone off for him, what does that teach him? Plus, he already has a tendency to tell people off rather rudely, so he doesn’t really need to see his Mum doing it. I don’t think it sets a very good example. I am fortunate that Corey is not the kind of kid who allows himself to be bullied, and he also doesn’t tolerate other kids being bullied in front of him, but he just needs to settle his responses a little bit. I am also always mindful that Corey has a tendency to act like a bully when he’s annoyed, even to our closest friends kids whom he loves. He will say mean things about them and the things they like, so I can’t really judge other people’s behaviour.

    I guess, it’s a fine balance between allowing him to learn and fight his own battles vs stopping him from being too traumatised. I do think that homeschooling is providing that balance though, because those sorts of kids aren’t something he has to deal with every day of his life like some kids do. He just has to deal with it in short bursts every now and then, which allows him to build up strength without demoralising his character.
    I think you must be a very fun and fierce Aunty! I bet Corey would love you too. 🙂

    • JudgeRoy says:

      That’s understandable but Corey does have special needs, those kids do not. I just don’t think they should get away with it. I wish those other parents would step up a bit too. It’s dangerous to leave children unattended as well. Owen is a very energetic boy and can travel very far quickly on a scooter so he’s still kept under the watch of an adult or his teenage cousins.
      I remember when I was about five and being told I had baby toys. To be honest they actually were fisher price style toys. Back then I would just ignore people, take most things said at face value so had no idea when I was being picked on and be emotionally unaffected. I wish I was the same these days.
      I’m kind of a bad influence on my nephews – other people might think that at least – because I encourage their love of video games. That’s really my only way to bond with them.

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