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    #206214 - 11/21/14 11:54 AM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: suevv]
    kdoelit Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 11/19/14
    Posts: 32
    Sue, thank you so much for your detailed response. I had a lot of ah-ha moments as I read son sounds so similar. Time outs never worked for us, very few things have. He doesn't choose to do the things he does, and I agree things are not ever unprovoked. They look that way to us but a few times he has said "She hit me." Which maybe she did, but it was days ago...he doesn't forget anything, so that makes sense that maybe he is taking note of these little things that we aren't noticing and it looks like he is coming out of nowhere with his behaviors. You're totally right in that he acts on impulses that take over his mind and he has no choice but to act on them...I think that's the bottom line of why he does the things he does.
    Yeah stopping and thinking does not happen, especially at this age. His brain doesn't ever stop even for a split second.
    I totally have to throw out the idea that he is choosing to be defiant and act badly...this is a viewpoint as a parent that I totally need to shift. It's just so dang hard! I think I need this child to teach me a thing or two about patience myself...He has already shown his self esteem is low..saying things like "I am bad..." because that's what he hears from other kids. We need some serious self esteem building...
    What you said about your son saying "I'll never get better" really struck a cord with me....One night and one night I almost cried, he said "I'm just different and bad and I'm always going to be like this my entire life...I don't want to be, I don't know how to not be like this....I try mommy!" That seems like a cry for help. He said this as a 3 year old!!!

    #206215 - 11/21/14 11:55 AM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    cmguy Offline

    Registered: 03/30/14
    Posts: 387
    As always aeh's comments are helpful (even when they are from a different thread):

    "And, though not coming down one way or the other on this specific case, I will point out that antisocial behavior patterns have as much predictive accuracy as intelligence at age 3. (In a fifteen minute playground observation.) That is, the relational profile is as stable from age 3 to 16 as measures of intelligence are. (Not very stable, but somewhat.) Prosocial/antisocial skills become stable at about the same age as intelligence, too (around age 8-10), meaning that antisocial behavior patterns become entrenched and largely intractable to treatment around the end of third grade. (See the work of Hill Walker.)"

    #206221 - 11/21/14 12:19 PM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    suevv Offline

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Indigo has some good thoughts, but I can almost feel your panic when you read "red flag."

    You should explore his thoughts, though, before you decide your child is a sociopath. My son never said this the way your child did. But: He was asked why he did [X bad act to another kid], and he responded "because I wanted to." Bless the experienced, sensitive teacher that followed up on that, and helped him explain himself. In the end she showed us that he didn't mean "because I wanted to" but rather "because I had to." This was when we first started to understand that he didn't have the tools to stop himself.

    I think his impulse control would have improved anyway, because he's NOT a sociopath. But that teacher's skill helped him understand himself, and push himself the right way, with the right objective. Not "Just don't do it." Rather "Take responsibility to keep yourself away from that flashpoint. Recognize the signs, find the trusted adult, find a way to stave off the feelings."

    Anyway - my two cents.

    #206225 - 11/21/14 12:31 PM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: suevv]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 5215
    "Take responsibility to keep yourself away from that flashpoint. Recognize the signs, find the trusted adult, find a way to stave off the feelings."

    #206227 - 11/21/14 12:37 PM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    HowlerKarma Offline

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Agree with the others that impulsivity and physicality are potentially maturity issues that are exacerbated by asynchrony, intensity, and sensitivity.

    What is referenced in aeh's post linked above, however, is a different matter-- though they can SEEM like the same thing.

    A lack of perspective-taking can either be a lack of experience doing it, or it can be a lack of ability to do it, or-- ominously-- it can be a deliberate CHOICE TO REJECT DOING IT.

    Empathy is born on that perspective-taking, so getting to the reasons for it is crucial for knowing what to do about it with a young child.

    I've seen firsthand what the latter sort of child becomes as a teen if parents ignore the problem or make excuses for why their child is not obliged to treat others with respect and compassion.

    While I don't want to alarm you-- please reconsider justifying/rationalizing bullying type behaviors, or those that are interpersonally exploitative as "he's doing it because he's responding to the way that he's been mistreated." This is the precise defense that a peer used when my daughter encountered him-- and this person was an abusive predator in his teens. I don't know whether or not he was ever truly "victimized" (or if it had mostly been an affront based on his unmet-- if unrealistic-- expectations), but he was pretty committed to not giving any thought to empathy for others, and for exploiting and abusing them in any way available. His parents only saw him as the victim, btw.

    Yes, I believe that there was pathology involved, and this child was quite frightening as a 17 year old HG teen. I have no idea what he was like at four, however.
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

    #206228 - 11/21/14 12:38 PM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: suevv]
    suevv Offline

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Just to be clear - following up on cmguy/aeh's observations: The behaviors are unacceptable, and need to be addressed. The point for me is that the underlying strategy for addressing them has to align with the facts, not some belief/wish/desire that the child's behavior is a CHOICE that the child simply has to change. There is more to it here, and it's harder for the child than that. That reality must be addressed or all that will happen is the child will be punished for things outside of his control, will give up, and the pre-third-grade window aeh references will be lost.

    DS is a case on point. With his hard-core punitive K teacher, he just gave up, and K was a horror. Over the summer (with that awesome, sensitive teacher I earlier mentioned) and with his first grade teacher who was on board from the start - he has made good progress (even if the poor little guy can't see it yet)!

    #206229 - 11/21/14 12:41 PM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: indigo]
    suevv Offline

    Registered: 08/10/12
    Posts: 381
    Yes - the heart of the matter!

    #206230 - 11/21/14 01:03 PM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    cammom Offline

    Registered: 07/11/13
    Posts: 299
    Okay, I read the description of social issues after I said to be wary of a diagnosis at age four. Hmmm....

    1. The fact that your son keeps doing something that he has recently gotten in trouble for, and caused him to lose something that he enjoys is concerning. It sounds like an issue with impulse control/ obsessive behavior-- that is, he gets it into his head to do this thing, and can't shake it until he does it.

    2. My son hit at that age- not other children. He hit me- a lot, and hard when he was angry. He also bit, kicked, flailed, head butted, etc. It was obviously painful for me, and when I said it "hurt" he was non responsive or he would something like, "I'm glad." He didn't hit other children, but he didn't engage/show remorse when he would (for example) accidentally knock down a block tower.

    Obviously, we were worried- but we took it in context with all of his behavior. We reached the correct conclusion that he did not know how to engage emotionally with a person who was upset, especially if he was the one who caused it-- either accidentally or on purpose. Later, we discovered that he has a disability in social pragmatics-- it means that he's sweet and kind, but that he doesn't know how to read social cues. He's completely out of his depth in understanding what he needs to do or say "in the moment" and responds by disengaging or saying something inappropriate. It was at around five that he realized that people just need to hear "I'm sorry" and around six that trying very hard not to do something again is the most important part of an apology.

    Saying "I want to make someone feel bad" at four, is nothing like a self aware person saying it at twelve.

    It sounds like your son could benefit from play or social therapy.

    #206237 - 11/21/14 01:53 PM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    Dude Offline

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    Originally Posted By: kdoelit
    An instance recently...there is a trampoline with a net at his school...which is AMAZING for his energy. He randomly out of nowhere hit a 1 year old little girl in the face. For no apparent reason. He wasn't allowed to jump the rest of the day. The next day he goes on the trampoline and does it again! Same talk to him, explain why that is not ok. He apologizes, says "I'm sorry, I won't do it again...sorry to the other child, hugs her, acts ok..." Then he did it one more time! Do these kids sometimes have a hard time learning from their mistakes socially?

    Sometimes parents unknowingly are encouraging repetitive bad behavior, because they're rewarding it in some subtle way.

    So, let's say your DS is jumping, having a good time, wants Mommy to look, Mommy is distracted by something, how do I get her attention? [PUNCH] Attention received, behavior rewarded.

    #206238 - 11/21/14 01:53 PM Re: Suspected gifted 4 year old...what do I do? [Re: kdoelit]
    aquinas Offline

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2513
    Yes, let's not get carried away extrapolating context from one line that could easily have been delivered by a 4 year old who felt threatened on a sensory level by the movement/presence of others.

    Originally Posted By: kdoelit
    The issues we are having with him now are that if his mind is not engaged in something that he finds challenging or fascinating, he finds inappropriate outlets to get out his frustrations...he can be physically rough with other kids and excessively loud and disruptive among many other difficult behaviors. At the same time, he can be completely content and focused on his work for hours at a time and be a joy to be around. It is so variable and frustrating! I feel like I parent 2 separate children sometimes....It's like if he even has more than 1 minute of time that he can't figure out something interesting to do, he falls apart...he can play by himself but likes to have something specific to do... Have any other parents dealt with behavior issues?

    I'm a SAHM to DS3, with suspected SPD, and I see this degenerative pattern of behaviour when DS plays with other children. Because I have the luxury of being around him 23/7 one-on-one (two-on-one when DH is home from work), I think I can offer some insight based on what I see in my DS.

    1. Conflict is usually precipitated by the other child not understanding DS, either in vocabulary or in social gestures. DS converses and mingles like an adult.

    2. DS will usually verbally object to something once or more before lashing out, in a pattern of escalating volume or more forceful language. After one or two objections, I usually intervene to stake out DS' space and explain to DS that the child simply can't understand.

    3. We stop and do a post-mortem of his behaviour, highlighting where he did well and how a well behaved child who understood him would have been expected to respond. I try to be vigilant, as I don't like to leave him fending for himself once he's exhausted the acceptable responses he's been taught.

    Where I suspect your DS is getting into trouble with hitting is in step 2. This is my personal opinion, but I don't think teachers can reasonably keep up with the nuanced developments of play in HG children and effectively teach them appropriate responses. Because their attention is divided, they miss the triggers that elicited the acting out and fail to witness the child's attempts to self-advocate.

    With close attention, when the child's impulse control is overloaded, he knows he can rely on the backup of a trusted adult. With spotty attention, he's faced with a binary--and, might I add, totally rational--"choice" between passivity (and pain) or going on the offensive. I put choice in quotes because, truly, there is no choice when the child is threatened. For an SPD child with various manifestations of sensory defensiveness, the threshold at which threat is perceived is simply lowered.
    What is to give light must endure burning.

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