How can I teach my boys to be gentle?

Jennifer - posted on 06/10/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My boys are so rough! With me and with each other. I understand that boys will be boys but My goodness! My husband is in the Army and is currently deployed to Korea until 2010, but even before that he has always worked 2 jobs to where he was basically always gone. I have felt like I'm a married single mom for the last 4 years! I sometimes feel like I'm out of my league with all these boys! :) One day I took my oldest son to meet my cousins new baby. As I'm holding the baby my son just walks right up to us and whacks the baby straight on the head! I do understand that he was probably being jealous and acted out but that's just crazy. I was sooooo embarressed.

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Di - posted on 06/22/2009

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Hey Jennifer, I always hoped when I was pregnant that the child would be healthy as we all do, but the biggest fear I had was that they would be autistic. Lately I keep running into women who have a child with autistic qualities and whilst I don't know that I could cope, I am not so scared now I think. Sorry just got off track a bit. But something tells me that you would find women who you deal with in real life that also have a fear of your son's condition as I did. I try not to be any different to the special kids but I would be on some level. I am involved in a church group and one of the kids is autistic. I know I shy away from him. We ran into him on Sunday and he came up and gave me a big kiss and also recognised my 4 yr old and called him by name, to say it shocked me was an understatement. Thats the first time he has interacted with us in the 5 years we have known him. I think you are a great mother, to be able to do this without much help, even on the medical side. I bet you cant wait til you can start counting the sleeps til your hubby is home. I know I would. Ah Jennifer, this is why I keep coming into CoM's. Sure I have met some really, not to be awful, some really nasty people, but I have met some really inspirational people such as yourself and it helps put me and my struggles into perspective. I also love that I get to learn about all these disabilities that affect people and how you all cope. When I grew up they used to hide away kids like your son in institutions. Sad isn't it! I am glad that we are getting better and its only by exposure that we will become a better humanity. Thank you for sharing some of what you go thru, I would love to know more. It's funny you say how he loves music, music seems to bridge so many things. My boys love classical to rock to country as I wanted them exposed to all kinds of music so that they would be eclectic in their tastes and just enjoy good music. It shines when you tell me his talents just how much you adore him.

Jennifer - posted on 06/19/2009

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SPD is a very hard thing to describe, it's kind of like his brain and his body don't work very well together. He also shares some qualities with a child with autism. He flaps his hands and hums it seems like when he is deep in thought or in "his own wold." It is also what causes him to be SO rough. His body is craving some serioius physical input for his brain to function. When he was a toddler first learning to walk and trying to learn the stairs he would never go down backwards like a lot of kids do, he wanted to skip the crawling up and down altogether and go straight to walking them, only when it came to going down them it was like he never really noticed there was a drop off, he wanted to just keep walking like it was flat ground. Him and the stairs were a nightmare for me until I finally got him to use the hand rail which slowed him down enough so that he could walk down them! For his speech he has been getting speech therapy since about 2 1/2. The doctor suggested getting his hearing tested then but his therapist and I both agreed that we didn't think he would be able to tell us if he hears or not in order to do the test. I think there is a more elaborate test where they put him to sleep and measure the brainwaves. When my husband is done with his deployment (Feb 1st, 2010) we will be moving to an army base and there is so much more medically available there for him. I plan to use every resourse I can find once we get there for him! He does talk some and through the therapy and he also now attends a special needs preschool, he is showing so much improvement, but still not always to where he can express wants and needs. Before he went to school I could never get him to stay in a time out, but now he does somewhat. What's funny is his teacher tells me he is hardly ever in a timeout! He has learned from watching other kids! Lately for me though it has seemed to more affective to send him to his room because he will go in there and shut the door and will not come out until I tell him he can! He is a remarkably brilliant boy when he wants to be. He has an impeccable memory. And he LOVES music. I don't know you, but I love you! You are so kind! :)

Di - posted on 06/18/2009

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What a great mother in law. Mine is way to old to even leave the boys with for a couple of hours let alone overnight.

When you say your son has spd, does he not comprehend what you are saying or is it just that he cant form words? Sorry, I haven't heard of it, so know nothing about it. I can understand his frustration at not being able to make himself understood and probably you get frustrated too. I know with my 2 1/2 yr old who is just now starting to get his words together, it can be really hard at times to pacify him. But I have hope as each day it gets better. Today he wanted a drink and when I went to get him water he said "no, milk". So we did a celebratory dance around the kitchen. Bobby said mil-ilk..Bobby said mil-ilk...lol.Will he get better? Have you had his hearing checked? Here where I am in Australia its mandatory at birth and around 4 prior to school. If he cant hear properly then that would be so hard for him. I know what you mean about needing to discipline them and feeling sorry for them at the same time. Sometimes during meltdown I know they are just so tired, but doesn't stop me from going over the edge. The hitting thing isn't acceptable and I agree you need to get this under control, but without knowing more about his illness, its hard for me to say what to do. I gather you have used the naughty chair. If he can comprehend then you can reason with him on the naughty chair. But if he doesn't comprehend then I will have to give it more thought. My husband's niece has some syndrome that puts her behind the eight ball. They have never allowed her to use it as an excuse and have treated her exactly like the others, obviously it was way much more hard work. It's difficult enough with two working together. When I read your post just now, I even admire you more. wow, I am just blown away!

Jennifer - posted on 06/18/2009

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Oh, and yes, I do get a little help. My mother-in-law is a dream! She is also a mother of 3 boys and knows a lot of what I go through! She takes ALL of them overnight on her days off one night a week so I can recharge my batteries!

Jennifer - posted on 06/18/2009

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I am having some issues with my oldest son right now. He is 4 and he has Sensory Processing Disorder. He is delayed in his speech. He does talk but not always able to express wants and needs and so most days are difficult because if I'm not understanding what he wants he reacts by hitting me and his brothers. Or he screams as loudly as he can! He takes his frustrations out on everyone! I don't really know how to discipline him so that he understands not to do this but at the same time I feel sorry for him because he can't express to me what he wants! I also think he might have a hearing problem. Everyday is a learning experience for me, that's for sure!

Di - posted on 06/18/2009

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Actually, I have really well behaved boys. But then my husband has that big deep voice and I know this sounds awful, but when he gives them a swat on the behind, they know they have been swatted. With me, its almost to the point where my eldest looks at me as if to say, was that supposed to be a smack....he he he didn't feel a thing. I have a friend who has two boys roughly the same age and they are almost identical in nature with the rough and tumble. I think its just a boy thing. I don't know how you do it on your own. When my eldest was born, his dad and I weren't married so we lived in diff homes. Was the hardest job I have ever done. I take my hat off to anyone that does it. I know when my hubby's away (infrequently) the rules slack off a bit. We get macdonalds or something else like that as a treat. The boys get to watch tv in my bed with me at bedtime for an hour, that sort of thing. Its just a really tough job being the everything to them. Bet you all love it when Dad is home. Do you have some support to help you have breaks? I hope so. I said it before, I will say it again, you are amazing!

Jennifer - posted on 06/18/2009

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Thank you Di, I so appreciate the compliment!!! I don't feel at all heroic or anything though. Yes my boys wrestle with each other all the time too! Maybe there is no way to teach them to be gentle, I don't know either! What about discipline? Do yours take to discipline well?

Di - posted on 06/18/2009

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I have no idea. My question is this: can you teach boys to be gentle? My two love to lay on top of each other, bounce on each other, wrestle, whack each other.

Wow Jennifer, you deserve a medal for what you are doing. I don't know if I could do it. You are amazing and I hope you realise that.

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