Yesterday when I picked up the boys from school one of the gals from the office who keeps an eye on the classroom and really is a friend to parents and kids got me in the hall. This is not the first time this month. It seems my angelic little Lion is doing a whole lot more lashing out at his classmates and yesterday he punched a kid and made him bleed. She said that the school psychologist wants to meet with both of us to see what we can do to get a handle on the seemingly escalating violent behavior. Of course I'm open to this meeting and welcome it even. I will never turn down assistance or advice on how to parent better from those who know.
I've been trying to figure out how to approach this meeting. I'm going to go in with an open mind and open heart but at the same time I want to make them understand that I KNOW what is going on and why he behaves this way. I know because he's always behaved this way. It's nothing new.
Lion does not share well. (My telling you this is like my telling you that NYC has a few people living in it) One of the traits that comes with the PDD-NOS is stunted social skills. Lion is learning slowly how to play with his new friends and how to interact. Sharing is of course one of the basic skills needed to be social. Lion will not share. Okay that's an overstatement. Let's say when he does share it's always a surprise to me and always brings a smile to my face. It's that rare a bird.
The typical interaction will be someone asking him for toys, asking him to share something he has. Lion's answer will almost always be NO. If the issue is pushed by the other child ie: another request for the toy or game or book, the request will again be denied but with more force. The no is more emphatic and louder and often his body language will become defensive and ready to fight. He will often cover the toy with his body or turn around so his back is to the child. Kids being what they are will at this point react in one of four ways and their reaction will determine how Lion behaves. They will either 1. Walk away 2. Get mad at Lion and yell 3. Try to take the toy anyway 4. Knock down or try to break whatever he has. (the whole if I can't have it you can't either thing)
One and two give the other kid a chance of walking away unharmed. Three and four will always set him off like well...like a Lion. He will bite, hit throw, slap, kick the other child.
If his language skills were stronger, if they were where they should be he would tell them he's angry and what they did was mean. He would try to use words rather than hands and feet. Lion doesn't have those skills yet. He's a little more primal than his classmates.
Consider your dog. What does the dog do when you try to take his food? He hunkers down and often will growl at you. If you make another pass at his food he's likely to lash out at you and try to bite you.
I don't know for sure but I'd bet my bottom dollar that all of the incidences with Lion have happened when the issue of sharing comes into play.
I want to explain all this to them but I need to go in without a chip on my shoulder and a little bit of humility. While I know my son better than anyone else they have seen hundreds of kids march through these classrooms and I'm guessing they know and have seen things I haven't even thought of.
As a parent it's such a hard line to walk. I want to make them understand WHY Lion does what he does. Make them see the reason behind his actions. I want to defend my son and I want to show them he's an amazing kid with so much potential but at the same time I don't want to come across as a parent who thinks their kids poop doesn't stink. I don't know it all. What I know you could most likely fit into a thimble with room left over. I'm flying blind with this whole parenting gig. I'm relying on instinct, common sense and a healthy sense of humor.
I want to do what is right for everyone involved. I want his classmates to feel safe and want to get along with Lion. I want Lion to learn and understand that it's NOT okay to hit and throw and I really want to not get stopped in the hall anymore.