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    problems with a 7 year old

    I have been having an issue with my 7 year old nephew and wondered if anybody else has had a similar problem. If so, how did you deal with it? Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this.

    My brother dropped my nephew at my apartment and left to run some errands for me. We did this before and it worked out well.

    This nephew, I have several, dealt with my injury well and in the past has enjoyed helping with small chores such as getting me a drink or feeding the cats. The last few times he has come he hasn't seem interested in helping so I haven't asked him to do anything.

    Usually our visits consist of us reading a book together or him playing a video game while narrating the action in great detail to me. He doesn't play games at home so this is a big deal for him and he has always liked coming for visits.

    We get along well and until very recently he behaved so well around me. This evening though he was definately testing his limits with me.

    He basically spent his time here fiddling with things he knows I don't allow, such as constantly ejecting a dvd from the player and sticking his fingers in my fish tanks.

    None of it was overly bad behaviour but whèn I asked him to stop I got stuff like this:

    Why should I stop you can't get out of your bed.

    And

    You can't make me

    He was right on both accounts of course. But because I have never had him talk to me this way, or even seen him act this way towards other adults, I totally didn't know how to react.

    Part of it I am sure is just that he is 7 and testing people. He has been doing things to test me the past few visits but always stopped without saying anything if I asked. Even if he began another behaviour a few minutes later.This was his first flat out refusals.

    But what do I say to him when he throws my physical inability to stop him at me?

    This evening I reacted by not reacting as me saying anything just seemed to encourage him more. I haven't mentioned it to my brother yet because I think he may come down harder on my nephew than I would like him to over this. If it just happens once then it would be a non-issue. But I am sensing the beginning of something here and would like to get it under control before it gets worse.
    Last edited by orangejello; 6 Aug 2008, 3:12 AM.

    #2
    Sorry OJ.

    I think he's still testing ... he probably thinks when everyone is gone you get up and walk around like normal. He wants to see it so he can tell everyone that you're all better. I think it comes from a place of innocence - he wants you to be better and he wants to witness it.

    Let's hope it's not a, 'Alright Aunt 'OJ', I can get away with stuff," place.

    I'm reminded of my niece when I was younger. I transferred to the rocking chair and the 3-4yr old ran screaming into the kitchen that, "Aunt Jenny is healed!" lol ... to think like that at her age!

    I don't know. What do I know? I have no children nor am I a child psychologist ... but I'm taking at stab at the answer anyway. lol

    I would just tell him that you would do anything for him, if the roles were reversed (not sure if kids that age can grasp their own mortality yet).
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

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      #3
      I'm trying to think of what I would have said to him. I think I would look him in the eye and say " you're right. I can't get out of this bed and I can't stop you but it's still wrong for you to do things after I've asked you not to. It's not nice of you take advantage of that and my feelings are hurt right now." I might add "I don't think we should do this any more until you're willing to respect my wishes and that makes me very sad." Depending on what you think, I'd discuss it openly, the three of you when your brother returned or mention it to your brother privately.

      If you're going to address it, remember to speak in "I" statements and address his behaviour not his being.

      He is testing and I don't think he totaling gets the reality of your injury or just what a little... dickens... he's being right now. Sorry you're going through this.
      My blog: Living Life at Butt Level

      Ignite Phoenix #9 - Wheelchairs and Wisdom: Living Life at Butt Level

      "I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."

      Dawna Markova Author of Open Mind.

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        #4
        Originally posted by orangejello
        But what do I say to him when he throws my physical inability to stop him at me?
        You tell him that he will not be allowed in your home again if he will not abide by your rules. You tell him that there will be consequences to his actions (and you list what they will be according to whatever you have agreed upon with his parents).

        I had my three yr old niece take my wheelchair into another room and refuse to return it to me once. Luckily, her mother came home right about the same time and pretty much caught her in the act. I'm not altogether certain what I would have done if my sister hadn't come home right when she did, but I'm sure I would have handled it (as long as the house didn't burst into flames.) And there was another situation that occured much more recently.

        My 2 nieces were spending the night at our house for the first time a couple of months ago. They both know how important spiders are to me and that they are welcome guests in my home, to be left undisturbed as long as they are not on one's person or in one's bed. Despite that, the girls killed a spider in their bedroom (with much drama and pseudo-hysterics), rather than coming and asking me or my husband to remove the arachnid so that they could sleep. There were shrieks and squeals, but basically, they committed the act before I could get out of my bed, into their room and stop them. I don't expect anyone else to understand this, but I was horrified at what they did and deeply disappointed that they would do it in my home. My husband and I have since made it very, very clear that we will not accept this behavior again. If the girls would like to stay in our home in the future, they must respect our rules. One mistake may be forgiven, but repeated, willful transgressions will not be tolerated.

        It is part of a kid's job to test limits.

        It is the adult's job to set and enforce guidelines.

        I know it's tough to lose the physical manifestation of enforcement, but I don't believe it's really necessary in the long run if consistent rules are set and adhered to. You need the support of your family to backup your authority, but that is true for all adults. I certainly hope you get it and that you and your nephew make it through this phase relatively unscathed.

        C.

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          #5
          Originally posted by lynnifer
          (not sure if kids that age can grasp their own mortality yet).
          Depends on the child. That age is transitionary regarding the understanding of death.

          C.

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            #6
            I agree with Jen Jen. You may also want to ask him if he has any questions or concerns about your disability. I think sometimes kids around that age do start to come to a realization of their own mortality. Maybe it's kind of scary for him to see you as you are. Please don't take offense to that statement. I only say that because one of my own kids still struggles with that and he acts out negatively at times also. Of course he's a lot older, but my condition is new. You might be able to ask you brother if he can (in a secret squirrel way) talk to your nephew about you and your disability and see how his little wheels are turning these days. Maybe he's just acting out cause he can't fix the situation.
            "We're one but we're not the same. We get to carry each other" U2

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              #7
              Originally posted by watchthisbaby
              You might be able to ask you brother if he can (in a secret squirrel way) talk to your nephew about you and your disability and see how his little wheels are turning these days.
              Perhaps I'm missing a pop culture reference here, but I am wondering why you think that the child's parent should be secretive in questioning the child regarding disability and mortality.

              C.

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                #8
                OJ, two words. Paintball gun. Stings like hell when hit, and parents will know if the kid misbehsved when they got back. And OMG a 3 yr old taking ones chair away--I'd crawl to swat that liddle turd.What will that one be like at 13?

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                  #9
                  Tiger , why you always so mean and rude. everything you post is a comment on what somebody says. why not trying to just making a post without a quote in it. i don't think you have done that since you been here. sad
                  oh well

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Tiger Racing
                    Perhaps I'm missing a pop culture reference here, but I am wondering why you think that the child's parent should be secretive in questioning the child regarding disability and mortality.

                    C.
                    I don't think one needs to be "secretive" in dealing with kids but there are times when you can learn more by coming at a conversation sideways. I'm guessing that was the context of the WTB's comment. Kids can shut down when heavy issues are discussed directly. Sometimes a "spiral" conversation works better -- started casual and non-specific and working to the real issue. THis can take days with kids.
                    My blog: Living Life at Butt Level

                    Ignite Phoenix #9 - Wheelchairs and Wisdom: Living Life at Butt Level

                    "I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."

                    Dawna Markova Author of Open Mind.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I think it's a power struggle. He knows you are the only adult that can't physically overpower him. How utterly intriguing! So you have to exert your power some other way.

                      You say he only plays video games at your house? OMG, that's the best bargaining chip EVER.

                      I'd say..."What do you mean, I can't do anything about it? Of course I can! Right this very moment, one word from me and my aide puts that video game into the closet, where it will stay until I say it comes out!"

                      If he keeps pushing, make that very thing happen.

                      I'd tell my brother but ask him to let you handle it your way, first. I can pretty much guarantee that kid is testing them at home, too. They probably respond like normal ppl, which comes down to "You have to, because I'm bigger."

                      Aunt OJ isn't bigger so she'll have to be smarter.

                      This isn't happening b/c you're paralyzed. It's b/c he's 7. They gotta test everything. He's not bad, he's normal.

                      PS-I've raised 2 boys that still give me hell, so what do I know. When they were 7 though, I was able to bluff them pretty successfully.

                      The reason I say I'd ask my brother not to interfere, is 1. As parent, he needs to be in the loop but 2. As an AB, he'll be horrified and overreact. He'll project how he thinks he'd feel if he were in your shoes, and it will look like the worst thing imaginable to him. We expect better from our kids, he'll be disappointed that his spawn would take advantage of a paralyzed relative. If you take the horror of paralysis out of it (which this kid has) he's a kid intrigued by what appears to be no enforceable rules.

                      All spawn take advantage of every advantage they can get, i firmly believe it. This is why my hair is silver at the roots once every 6 weeks.

                      After this is resolved, of course, have as many "disability" conversations with the kid as you feel like. I can almost guarantee what's happening here is that you're being treated as an equal. He isn't going to discriminate and treat you special LOL. He'd do the same to anybody.

                      My kids forget I'm different, esp Jake, who was 11 when I got sci'd. When he was 13, we had a TERRIBLE morning. I was SOOO frustrated. I sat in front of him and pounded my fist on his leg, for emphasis. (I had as much emphasis that way as any given flea.) He goes off to school. The counselor calls, says "Jacob is having a TERRIBLE day, can you come in?" I don the AFO, grab my crutches and totter off. Counselor looks at me, her eyes widen, she turns to Jake-"Jacob, THIS is the woman you claim beat you this morning?" He slunk down in his chair, mumbled Yes. She just looks amused, suggests I take him home and we try again tomorrow.

                      We're in the car. I say "Jake, you told that lady I beat you? I had the feeling she was expecting a female truckdriver, not some tiny feeble person that can barely balance upright. Bet you feel stupid now, hmmm?"

                      More slinking down. "I forgot what you look like, Mom."

                      Kids. The truest non-discriminators on earth!
                      Last edited by betheny; 6 Aug 2008, 1:59 PM.
                      Blog:
                      Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?

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                        #12
                        OJ My son will be 8 in 2 weeks. He tried getting on the top bunk one time when he was in trouble. I guess it didn't occur to him that he had to come down sometime. I agree with Betheny and the video game. I don't think I would tell him he could not come over again as TR said. Kids need to know you love them and want to see them even when they are bad.
                        If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.


                        Sometimes it is easier to widen doors than it is to open minds.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by JenJen
                          I don't think one needs to be "secretive" in dealing with kids but there are times when you can learn more by coming at a conversation sideways. I'm guessing that was the context of the WTB's comment. Kids can shut down when heavy issues are discussed directly. Sometimes a "spiral" conversation works better -- started casual and non-specific and working to the real issue. THis can take days with kids.
                          I agree with this. My children are 13 and 11 and a lot of times they will just be quiet if questioned directly about certain things. You have to play it smarter and slowly work your way into the conversations to get to what is bothering them. Sometimes it takes a while but most children are generally very honest when just talking and having normal conversations. Most children I have seen are suspicious of direct questions.

                          Now back to the other, my children or at least my son has pulled you can't get me, I'll hide in my room, you can't spank me, etc.. Like Bethany said the best bargaining tools for my children are Take away the cell phones, the PlayStation, the TV, the radio, bicycles you name it, make them stare at the wall for a couple of hours. Works wonders. Now that mine are getting older taking all that away and having to clean house is a killer. I would tell their father just so he would know and can be watching but I would also tell him to let me handle it myself until you feel like you can't. He is obviously testing everyone so just set a punishment and stick to it if he misbehaves. He obviously likes you or he wouldn't keep coming over. Good luck, children can test your skills sometimes.

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                            #14
                            I'm in agreement with the video game technique, it works the best in my opinion. Also, use your caregiver to your advantage, an extension of your body, especially hands. I've had unruly kids in the past, but when the caregiver reminds him/her that she must do whatever I say, they shape up quickly.

                            Again, it's also his age at this time. When he is over again, he'll likely be the normal nephew again.
                            C2/3 quad since February 20, 1985.

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                              #15
                              LOLOL @ Addiesue: Guess he forgot he had to come down sometime.

                              OMG they're all alike. Don't you know he's up there, and his thought processes are going like this-"Haahaaa. I showed her! She can't get me! What should I do now? Oh. Oh crap. Whoops. Guess I didn't think this one through...."
                              Blog:
                              Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?

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