Saturday, 18 September 2010

Outside Looking In



We have been aware for sometime that one of our twins is "a bit different" to our two other sons.  He has always been a particularly sensitive little boy, showing extreme levels of embarrassment and self consciousness at a very early age.  Not traits normally associated with small boys.  Sensitive to the extreme, he crys easily and is upset by the smallest changes.  He needs very little sleep and questions, questions all the time .  He doesn't like to join in with other children at play time and hates rough and tumble games with his big brother . We put this down to him just having a more gentle nature to the rest of the boys in the family .


Since starting Year One a few weeks ago, he started off with lots of "silly" behaviour that is gradually getting worse. He ignores adults when spoken to or will challenge them, sometimes even saying "yea! yea! Blah ! blah! " in reply .   He is using swear words that lord only knows where he picked them up from and has started saying he is bored with school, bored with life "bored ! bored! bored ! "  he is 5 yrs old ! No amount of talking, cuddling, repremanding seems to work.


Yesterday I was called into school to be told he had bitten another child for no apparant reason.  After a lengthly conversation with the teacher it turns out he is continually disruptive in class, always questioning the teacher and saying that he is bored!. 


When I collected him from class I noticed he had a bump on his cheek, caused he said by his twin brother.  When we returned home we had a chat about how to behave and what was and wasn't acceptable behaviour.  Twin brother was repremanded for hurting his brother although no information on the incident could be gleened!


About an hour after bedtime he called downstairs "mummy, I'm sorry"  I went up and got into bed with him as he was obviously upset.  That's when it all came pouring out.  He finds it hard to make friends with the other children, nobody wants to play with him.  One boy yesterday punched him in the side of the head so hard his head hit a wall  and to my horror, the incident with his brother was caused when two boys and his twin brother (all five yrs old) chased him knocked him to the floor and his own twin kicked him in the face.   I spent an hour holding him while he and I both wept, his twin brother sleeping blissfully below us.  He eventually fell asleep.  I came downstairs horrifyed relating the details to my husband. 


I don't know what to do, what to say. I am at a total loss as to how to deal with this, How to help them both, I can't believe his own brother would do such a thing let alone to his twin. I need to talk to someone who can help him and us, do we take advice from a professional with no personal experience or do we seek out parents of twins ?

39 comments:

  1. ((((Karen)))) I am crying for you. 1 because I have twinnies and my fear would be that they do not get on and 2 because my little boy (7 in a couple of weeks) is being assessed this next week for Aspergers and a communication disorder as he shows many similar traits. Very intelligent, about a year above his age, tells teachers their work is boring, does not have friends, shouts out constantly, large and bullish without meaning to be, has no idea what is socialy acceptable, has no social skills etc etc

    I pray they will offer some strategies for the future.

    With regard to your twinnies I expect the one who had hurt your other was going with the peer pressure rather than actually wanting to be nasty to his brother. It is very hard for kids to be strong enough to stand up to some kids and go against the norma. Of course I am not saying it is OK for him to be mean to his brother but I expect a good talk from you might put it in perspective for him.

    If school are telling you your son is often disruptive did they suggest anything? JJ's school use sticker charts and smiley faces to motivate him and he has a pictural timetable which they talk through with him, so if there are changes to the day he knows in advacne and can start to process it without bursting into tears. There seems to be lots of small things they can do to help. Perhpas make an appointment with the head as a first port of call.

    Good luck, I so feel for you. Shout if you ever want to chat.

    Mich x

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  2. Oh Karen what an awful thing to have to go through for all of you.

    I'm not 100% sure what to say, maybe the twin who was picking on him feels the need to stay "in" with the other boys because he's worried he'll be left out, if you spoke to him privately about it and see what he says you can explain that he needs to help his brother not make things worse, for him to protect him. Maybe he could speak to his friends and tell them the same.

    I would also definitely speak to the teacher and explain he's being bullied and that's probably why he's struggling so much in class. They're there to help them as well as learn.

    Do they get on well outside of school? Peer pressure starts at a young age and it's hard for them to say no, even when they know it's wrong.

    Maybe someone could advise you of someone you could talk to, even if it's just for your own sanity?

    I really hope someone gives you some advice and help, it's such a horrible feeling when you know you're children aren't happy at school.

    Lots of love.

    Kate x

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  3. Michelle, Thank you so much for your comment, you will never know how much it helps. I struggle with posting personal stuff on my blog, but really do feel that it helps me and others with similar problems.
    You speak and awful lot of sense and for someone with a similar child that means so much.
    I think you are right about his twin brother I have spent a lot of time talking to them and the tachers over the last 2 days and it does seem there is another boy in particular who is really big for his age in the class who is obsessed for want of another word with the twin that hit his brother. This could be a lot of the problem.

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  4. My friends son has some of the traits you describe, he has dyspraxia(sp?) and he is extremely shy and self aware. He is sensitive to changes in routine too. Can you ask the school to refer your son to the educational pyschologist? It sounds like he is super bright, and if he is bored and understimulated at school that may be some of the cause of his disruptive behaviour. I have twin brothers and they fought a lot when we were growing up but now they are adults they are very close. Peer pressure does sound like it played a part yesterday.
    So sorry you are going through this, my daughter was bullied in yr one and I cried buckets. The school were very good though. Perhaps do as michelle suggests and make an appointment to see the head to work out a plan of how to help him best. Big hugs xx

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  5. Kate,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I think you are spot on about the peer pressure. We are trying to make him understand though that its so wrong to gang up on any child, let alone his twin brother. The problem is the "naughty" twin is very sociable, makes friends easily and is easily lead. Totally different to his twin brother.
    Thank you xx

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  6. Thank you Juicytots
    Its so good to have advice from peoplee with experience of twin boys. Part of our problem is the other twins we know seem to get on really well and "never" fight according to their mum's, which adds to our feeling that we are failing our sons or have done something wrong somehow.
    I'm sorry to hear about your daughter, I do hope its all sorted now.
    I will def make an appointment with the head if the teachers fail to keep the promises they made yesterday.
    Thank you xx

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  7. Hello lovely, I'm so sorry to hear about the sadness and pain you and your son are experiencing, I can relate, my 11 year old son is high function autistic and his 9 year old brother may well need assessing if his behaviour doesnt improve. I had to really battle for help with Connor, to get someone to even agree to assess him and it didnt happen til year 5, I would urge you to ask for all the help and assessment you can get, as a mother you know your child dont let anyone fob you off, because its life changing for all involved when you get the help and support you need. I wish you and your son well, I blog quiet a bit about my life with my boys if you want to read. Take care and huge hugs xxxxb

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  8. Oh Karen I feel for you. I wouldn't worry about them fighting, there was 18minths between my sis & I & we fought like cat & dog for most of the time we lived at home. As small kids it was pretty soul destroying for my mum, it used to get very physical between us too. We r better now but can still bicker. We where complete opposites, like poles apart. She said black, Id say White, I had more drink in my glass, she had a biscuit that hadn't broken. U name it we rowed. Mum used to have to put a physical obstical inbetween us in the car!
    My aunt has a boy who was diagnosed with aspergeres, they have encouraged him to play games which rely on only him rather than team work, tennis, swimming, playing the guitar. He has just starters at 10yrs old playing rugby in a team, he loves it so much but it was his choice. Doing the stuff on his own has given him untold confidence. He used to sit in assembley facing into the students rather than the stage & shout things out. The kids where told to not draw attention to it & to ignore it. They got the gist & eventually he stopped doing it. He used to get upset that he had no friends but he has a close family life & he has found his own way as he got older & more understanding of other people. He still speaks his mind with no filter & finds lots of contact difficult but he will let you give him a hug & a kiss now without wiping it straight off! He is super bright & the teachers couldn't keep up with the pace he could work. He still has his foibles but he's even got better with change. He has 2 new baby sisters who he dotes on! There is help out there for you & if you like I could put you in contact with my aunt?
    On the dyspraxic front, I've been told on rather a few occassions that I have tendencies towards being dyspraxic! :0 I may be a little odd but I manage! ;D
    anytime you want to talk yell, you know where I am darling :) huge hugs & a big raspberry blown at all the people who think being different is odd. I actually think it's the best! Ps my sister used to bite chunks out of me til my mum bit her back quite forcefully, nit badly but enough to give her a shock & think of the pain...she never bit me or anyone else again. My son belted my daughter in the back the other week with a heavy object, he's always doing it when he thinks I'm not around & he's been ignored by her, I whacked him back, again not realy hard but hard enough. He was rather shocked. He realised how much he hurt his sister. He is massively strong & doesn't realise. It's gard but they get there eventually. A friend said recently for the most part u don't see adults in work having a heated discussion & one of them bites the other one or hits them! Eventually they get the point that they can't unless they ate drunk & it seems these days to be a free for all! He's not done it since...an option when I've tried everything else?

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  9. So so sorry to read your post, brought me to tears. We don't have twin boys but we do have a lot of experience of boys who don't 'fit in'. Great advice on here from others and I can't add anything new really other than push for a meeting with the educational psychologist and go from there. We found it hard once we got into the 'system' because somehow that was acknowledging our boy was not like everyone else and that's really tough as a parent. But the help has been a revelation and we now wish we'd pushed sooner. In fact my best advice is be prepared to push like hell, being fobbed off in the early days seems to be the name of the game which sadly is the last thing you need when you're trying to cope with all this. You'll also find many parents on Mumsnet who have been there and are a source of great advice. Good luck x

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  10. Briggita designs, can't find your blog or twitter can you post a link ? Thank you so much for your comment. Really want to read your blog about your sons xx

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  11. Niki, you are my hero : ) Thank you so much for your lovely long comment, it really does help to know that your own children arn't "abnormal" that, there are lots out there just the same. I often feel very alone at the school gates, I worry so much about my boys behaviour and this latest development has shocked me to the core, not only No1 twins behaviour in class but his own twin attacking him in such a way.
    Thank you xxx Big hugs xxxx

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  12. Hi Karen, so very sorry to read of what you and your boys are going through. I hope that writing it down and sharing and seeing the wonderful supportive comments here will have helped you. I think you can take each day as it comes, as well as the counsel of other parents, like has been said here, find "expert" help too, you could speak to the school and to your doctor if that's not too scary a prospect, some wise soul who works in this area must be able to help? If it's any consolation at all I have friends whose children went through the mill when they were younger in terms of behaviour and not taking well to school, with kicking and biting and more, now as 11 year olds, this is long forgotten. I know that may not help you now but I hope that may show that you are not alone, lots of love from me. xx

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  13. Hey Lady. You poor thing this made me cry and I'm sending you all massive hugs. Chick has similar problems at school and is always being told off for continually asking questions and I have no clue what to do about it either! As for the fighting thing I agree that some of it is probably peer pressure but when we were kids even though we fought we would stand together against outsiders! Can you talk to the boys together and maybe see if they can come up with a plan of action whereby they help each other at school? I would also definitely involve the school and Teachers! I don't really have any good advice for you but you know if you ever want to talk I'm always at the end of the computer or phone xxx

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  14. Hi Linda,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment it means an awful lot to me. I am always in 2 minds about posting personal stuff on my blog but am always really glad I did afterwards from the support that I receive. I've had some amazing comments here and I am really hoping that what you say will be true for my sons too. It is just so shocking to find out that one could be so unkind to his own brother. That's what hurt us as a family the most.

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  15. Little Sunflowers, thank you so much for your supportive comment. I admire what you have done. Its knowing when to take the step or indeed whether too. Hoping maybe both will "grow out" of their respective problems with family support ?
    Thank youxxx

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  16. Sorry should have said, I'm Bev (I do have a name!) & didn't twig that it wouldn't show with the comment. I really hope you can get through it with, as you say, family support and time. I obviously don't know you but it seems to be a parent's (almost) universal truth: when our kids are upset like this it absolutely rips our hearts out :( They'll always be our babies no matter how big they get! Love to you allx

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  17. Karen,

    Hello there. You post has really touched me and I carry you and yours in my thoughts.

    My next door neighbor has twin girls that I've been watched grow over the last 5 1/2 years. One is "normal" and the other was diagnosed with a spectrum disorder from age 3. They are both turning 7 years old next month and attend school with my my son who is the same age. While I am no doctor, I sense that there is something amiss in your son, perhaps something similar.

    It sounds like you have a lot of good advice on how to get your son evaluated. My neighbor found local services to provide therapy in most unusual ways, horseback riding being one of them. I pray that you can find similar services where you are.

    My neighbor is an extraordinary person because she was open about her travails. She shared her burden with her friends because to keep it all to herself would have not only alienated her but her child as well. So please lean on those who offer their shoulder to you.

    Her daughter is still a little different than the other kids, but she has friends and hobbies like any other "normal" kid. 4 years ago she would not look me in the eye or talk to me. Now she shouts my name in the halls of the school and smiles at me whenever she sees me. My kids love her. Most of all, her twin loves and accepts her sister.It was a long road, a bumpy road, but things eventually got better.

    I wish so many things for you right now, but most of all I wish for you to find some peace in this rough time. Hugs to you and your precious children.

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  18. This post broke my heart. I have no advice i can give, but i really hope you find someone you can talk to. I'm a little dismayed that the school couldn't suggest anything more positive. But re assured it is a phase. You will not be the only parent experiencing this. And there will be ways you can help and get you and your children through it. Kids can be cruel. simpe as that. doesn't make it any easier though.

    big hugs

    M2Mx

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  19. Aww Karen, i shed a little tear reading this.
    I havent got any advice for you but i didnt want to read and run.
    Im sorry your little man is going through all this at the moment and i hope you get to the bottom of it. (((hugs)))

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  20. I just wanted to send you hugs. I also sent the blog post link to someone who is a kids' life coach. I hope she can point you in the right directions.

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  21. Oh My dear friend

    I sat reading this with tears in my eyes. I understand about your children being different, we are all unique and have different traits which we have to deal with and the same appplys to our children, but it is so hard to hear about issues with them. I had such a hard time when Mini was being naughty and disruptive in Preschool and I was called in. I was horrified. My friend has a senstive soul and she found this book a great help http://www.amazon.co.uk/Highly-Sensitive-Child-children-overwhelms/dp/0007163932/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284880967&sr=8-1 you can always ring me any time to dicuss you know that. We love you and the boys. xx

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  22. Oh, Karen. Sending you much love and support and sympathy and empathy and cups of tea. I would second Jen's recommendation - the HSC book is wonderful, and there's also a website, I seem to remember. My daughter struggled (still does, sometimes) with change, with socialising, with school. It's so hard, because as parents we want to be able to fix everything for our children.

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  23. I can't help as no experience of either but you seem to have lots of good advice. I Hope you manage to get to the bottom of things and get things sorted.
    Lots of love. xxx

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  24. Hi there, I'm not a mother so I can only imagine how you feel. I did teach for a while though, and had cause to tackle classroom bullying in that time.

    The first thing I would say is that the concept of 'normal' does way too much damage for my liking. For me, every child is exceptional and deserves to be seen as a unique and special individual.

    Secondly, always ask for help. Teachers, the Head and others should work with you to build a community that will support and nurture both of the twins. Don't be fibbed off and never be embarrassed as no parent can do everything alone and all parents deserve support.

    Hope all will be well. X

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  25. Hello Richela,
    Thank you so much for your heartfelt comments. I am overwhelmed by the comments and kind words of support I have received.
    karen xx

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  26. M2M Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I think maybe the school see's so much of this kind of thing they get a bit blase about it. What they don't seem to understand is how badly its affected us as a family unit.
    I am determined to keep ontop of it.

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  27. Cherilyn, thank you for your comments, it really does help me to see how much people care and make an effort. I am overwhelmed by the kindness of people on here xxxx

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  28. Hi Susie,
    Thank you, I have had several people contact me and books recommended. I am totally overwhelmed and certainly don't feel such a failure now as I did thursday and Friday. Thank You xxx

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  29. My dearest Jen,
    Bless you, I have ordered the book. I am devastated that J could do that to M though and that M has been suffering so much at school. No wonder his behaviour has deteriorated. Apparantly he is regularly bashed about because he isn't "the same" as the other boys! I am in two minds whether I go back to work at Jacob's school as well as all my other work and get M a place back there in private school. xxxx

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  30. Hi Karen, you have two precious little boys - one is sensitive and the other has different qualities. Things will sort themselves out - why because you are a wonderful mother who can give the love and support your babies need. xx

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  31. Hi Karen,
    Thinking of you, and hoping you get the help you need.
    x

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  32. *Really* feel for you and am happy to see you have received so much support and good advice.

    I feel certain that you will find the right course for both you and your boys. And you know what? You obviously have a close enough relationship with them so that the one that was bullied at school eventually felt able to confide in you...that is no small thing! As I say to my teen, 'if I don't know the truth, I can't help you'. I'm not kidding myself that he tells me everything (and at his age he needs to have some secrets!) but I know how important it is that kids feel accepted and fell that they can express themselves safely with their parents.

    Keep up the good work mama!

    p.s I think it's totally fine to seek out professional help - can make all the difference in the world :)

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  33. Dear Bron,
    Thank you for your wonderful supportive comment and yes you are so right, I Also have a 15 yr old son and agree totally with what you have said. I think it was just the horror that one of my children could hurt another child let alone his own twin bother. I cry still now when I think of it. But we are getting there and school seems to be supporting us. I want to give it a short while longer before I jump into the professional pool as it were.
    Thank you so much. Hope the sun is shining for you down under xx

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  34. Hopefully you've been able to sort things a little, as I am late reading this post.

    I hope you're all OK. I hope your little twinny is feeling a bit better. Bullying is awful and it must be such a difficult experience for you, with it involving your other child.

    Be strong honey - big love to everyone. I want to help, but I'd be at a loss too, so I guess offering you a bit of support is the best I can do :(

    Becca xx

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  35. I don't have any useful advice, but just wanted to say how your post touched me. There is lots of perceptive advice in other comments though. I hope the school help and that your mind can be somewhat put at rest. Although it's not the same, I was verbally badly bullied at the same age and went home from school everyday sick with stress. Once it was resolved I was ok. Just to relate and say that your twins are young enough to recover from this time and you will too.
    Good luck, I hope you get the support you need. X

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  36. Massive hugs special friend, i am so sorry I haven't been around to read this sooner.
    I know you have already had lots of really amazing comments tho.As usual @loucrafts and
    @CraftyRichela are total stars when it comes from talking sense most eloquently.
    I do not have twins but I know what its like to be bullied, I have no gcse's as my life was made SO hard at school that i left to work for my dad at 15. It was SO hard...and I think it will always stay with me, on a practical and emotional level.
    I know you already have this in motion but I cant stress how important it is to get to the bottom of the issue with little Milo. I know for sure if my mum (good bless her, i hope she doesn't ever see this) had been stronger at the very start of the bullying I would have been able to stay and finish school.
    Obviously your little chap is only 5 so he has along way to go yet, but it would be awful if he switched of from school at such a young age.
    And as for his brother, i feel sorry for him too, it must be agony to feel the peer pressure to do that to your brother, and somewhere inside maybe he is mad and frustrated with his twin for not being like him.
    You have my 100% support hun, big massive bear shaped HUGs! :) XXXX

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  37. Wow Karen! what a lot of lovely support you have had! I couldn't read it all! I'm so sorry you are having such a tough time and even more so for your boys! I just wanted to say that i would push for the educational psychologist. If he does have a definite problem then you want it diagnosed as soon as possible so you can get all the help he needs for him. It does sound like he might be on the autistic spectrum and the educational psychologist will be able to assess that! Hoping that all is well and this is nothing more than a phase. Thinking of you all sweetie!

    Love Teri xxxxxxx

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  38. I am late reading this post too, and I hope by now things are a little easier for you all.

    I don't have any professional advice, but I am a twin, and I am now a mother! I grew up constantly fighting and bickering with my twin brother. We did some truly awful things to each other - He once stabbed me with a pencil, and I him with a dart!!

    However, it doesn't mean we love each other any less. There is a lot of pressure put on twins to get on. But sometimes they just don't. Just like any siblings they will sometimes fight.

    As a mum now, I can see how hard it must be to witness. What I'm trying to say, in a very roundabout way, is that it doesn't mean they don't or won't love each other. Siblings will be siblings. whether they come from the same pregnancy or not xxx

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