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What to make of my son's personality


Elizabeth86
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I often wonder what exactly is the deal with my oldest son. He is the most difficult of the 3 of them. For instance I was just playing with the baby, I was counting 1, 2,3 and the tossing her on the bed. My 4 year old joined in. Then the 5 year old came in and wanted to play too. He insisted I count too 100 for him. I told him I wasnt strong enough, he said just do it and Id get stronger. I tried counting by 5s 10s and saying 1 2 skip a few 99 100. Not good enough. Its like he enjoys spoiling the rest of the familys fun. Its like he is never satisfied. The 4 and almost 2 year can occupy themselves with a box of toys alone, but he cannot. There are barely any toys he even enjoys playing with. He just gets bored so easily while my other 2 can make fun out of nothing. He just has such a controlling personailty. Its not his age because thats how he has always been. There is only 17 months between 1 and 2 so he always has had a sibling as far as he can remember. Any insight on raising kids with this behavior and personailty. My dh and were talking about how crazy it is how much attention he manipulates out of us compared to the other 2. He steals the show every time.

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Right and we dont, but whe we say no we are the dealing with him beung whiny or being naughty to keep our attention on him.

 

Redirect him.  "I don't want to count 100 with the baby but I know that you can do a good job counting.  Why don't you show me how you count while I do ______________." 

 

"Why don't you build a tower and let me know when it is done so that I can see it."  Lets him have some practice doing something on his own but still checks in to give him that social attention that he craves. 

 

If you know that he's going to have trouble because you are going to say no to him then prepare him for it.  "I know that it is hard when you don't get your way.  Instead of whining, I want  you to hug the teddy really hard."  Then redirect him to something that you want him to do so that he doesn't have time to be naughty. 

 

Yes, you are going to have to be more active in your parenting with some children.  But this child will be a leader who will do things with his life and it's worth giving him a good start on that. 

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I would stop thinking of the behavior as trying to manipulate you or spoil things for you. Attempts to control a situation are often the result of anxiety and inflexible thinking; the person is just trying to resolve their internal discomfort. It can help to consider what internal need the child may be feeling that could be driving their behavior?

 

If this is going on to a problematic degree you might consider evaluations. Kids on the autism spectrum are one group who often struggle with being inflexible and needing control, though what you have posted here is certainly not enough to suggest any particular diagnosis.

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Could he be gifted?

I dont know. He is a great student and I feel he would. be in the top of the class, but gifted Im just not sure. If anything Id say he is quite advanced at math. Fir instance one day he asked me what 5 -10 was and I briefly explained the concept to him in passing and he really understands the concept of negative numbers. He doesnt know any multiplication facts, but just out of curiosity he understands 2 x 3 means 2 groups of 3. and so on. Math is the only thing he is like this with though.

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The words you are using here--controlling, naughty, manipulative--these are very negative ways to frame the behavior of a young child. Thinking of our children in a judgmental way can really impede our ability to see any unmet needs they are expressing and to come up with constructive solutions.

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Redirect him. "I don't want to count 100 with the baby but I know that you can do a good job counting. Why don't you show me how you count while I do ______________."

 

"Why don't you build a tower and let me know when it is done so that I can see it." Lets him have some practice doing something on his own but still checks in to give him that social attention that he craves.

 

If you know that he's going to have trouble because you are going to say no to him then prepare him for it. "I know that it is hard when you don't get your way. Instead of whining, I want you to hug the teddy really hard." Then redirect him to something that you want him to do so that he doesn't have time to be naughty.

 

Yes, you are going to have to be more active in your parenting with some children. But this child will be a leader who will do things with his life and it's worth giving him a good start on that.

Good advice. Yes I think he will go far because he wont accept no very well, he finds a way.

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The words you are using here--controlling, naughty, manipulative--these are very negative ways to frame the behavior of a young child. Thinking of our children in a judgmental way can really impede our ability to see any unmet needs they are expressing and to come up with constructive solutions.

I plenty of good things to say about him as well. I love him with all my heart. He just mentally exhausts me almost daily.

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Some kids are gifted in ways that are not necessarily tied to traditional academics so he may be gifted in ways that are not readily apparent.  I'm just mentioning the gifted part because gifted kids can be intense to parent.  They aren't being bad.  They just have different needs.

 

I agree with up thread, please try not to see the behaviors as manipulative or him trying to deliberately spoil things.  He is very young.  He is reacting to his environment  based on his internal workings.  For some kids they need a lot of control to feel comfortable.  They need more direct parenting and redirecting.  They need more external stimulation.  They aren't being "bad" in the sense they are TRYING to make your life miserable.  They just are more intense and need more from a parent.  That isn't easy and can be exhausting but that doesn't mean he is trying to be "naughty".  He may also need a lot more structure than is currently in place, as well as very clear expectations that are consistently and positively enforced.  Also not easy, especially if you are a more go with the flow type of person, but some kids just really need that to function well.

 

:grouphug:

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I plenty of good things to say about him as well. I love him with all my heart. He just mentally exhausts me almost daily.

I understand; I have one child who has required more of my attention almost from birth than my other six children combined.

 

I love him intensely, but raising such children is exhausting.

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The words you are using here--controlling, naughty, manipulative--these are very negative ways to frame the behavior of a young child. Thinking of our children in a judgmental way can really impede our ability to see any unmet needs they are expressing and to come up with constructive solutions.

 

Also, as children and adults dh and I both would be described as controllig and manipulative. No question why he is how he is, I just dont know what to do with him. I was an only child and my parents indulged me and did anything I wanted, dhs parents were abusive, so obviously both our parents didnt really have it figured out at all.

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I would not view his behavior as trying to spoil your fun or being manipulative.  It sounds as if he wants to participate in what you are doing.  What happens if you try something like, "Baby is so much smaller than you and can only do this to 5, but you are such a big boy what can you do 100 times?  Can you do 100 jumping jacks while we count?"

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is he smart? is he intellectually bored?

He is smart. He ist bored with what we are working on for school, but its like he cant cope with down time to just be childish and have fun. He cant play lemonade stand for instance with toy food or imagination he wants dh to build one made of wood and nails like on the spot and lets make signs and go to the store and buy real lemons, right now.. likd imaginary childs play is just beneath him. My second son will take a paper clip and run around and pretend its an airplane and spend a good time doing this. My 5 year olds birthday wish list includes a recliner and a fish tank. I feel sorry for him, I just want hin to be playful and carefree, but he isnt at all.

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The words you are using here--controlling, naughty, manipulative--these are very negative ways to frame the behavior of a young child. Thinking of our children in a judgmental way can really impede our ability to see any unmet needs they are expressing and to come up with constructive solutions.

waaa, I'm outta likes . ... . so, consider this liked.

 

Some kids are gifted in ways that are not necessarily tied to traditional academics so he may be gifted in ways that are not readily apparent.  I'm just mentioning the gifted part because gifted kids can be intense to parent.  They aren't being bad.  They just have different needs.

 

I agree with up thread, please try not to see the behaviors as manipulative or him trying to deliberately spoil things.  He is very young.  He is reacting to his environment  based on his internal workings.  For some kids they need a lot of control to feel comfortable.  They need more direct parenting and redirecting.  They need more external stimulation.  They aren't being "bad" in the sense they are TRYING to make your life miserable.  They just are more intense and need more from a parent.  That isn't easy and can be exhausting but that doesn't mean he is trying to be "naughty".  He may also need a lot more structure than is currently in place, as well as very clear expectations that are consistently and positively enforced.  Also not easy, especially if you are a more go with the flow type of person, but some kids just really need that to function well.

 

:grouphug:

very intelligent children - whatever their area - can be very intense, and it's the intensity that's exhausting.

I have that even as an adult . . . is intense and exhausting. (as I try to redirect them to "you're an adult now, take care of yourself!")

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I would not view his behavior as trying to spoil your fun or being manipulative. It sounds as if he wants to participate in what you are doing. What happens if you try something like, "Baby is so much smaller than you and can only do this to 5, but you are such a big boy what can you do 100 times? Can you do 100 jumping jacks while we count?"

I know he ist really trying to spil our fun, but thats just how it feels sometimes

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Imo he did this because he could. I agree with Jean; if you didn't want to do it you should have said no. Then try to redirect, if he doesn't go for that, then give consequences for whining, etc... 

 

If I was him I would have been upset and annoyed by you saying that you were not "strong enough". He knows you can do it. Yet instead of just saying no and sticking with it, you tried to pull one over on him and "count to 100" without really doing it. I would not respect that, and I would push back too, if I were him. This would be true especially if he needs more mental stimulation. 

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He sounds like he likes you.

 

Honestly, as long as you sound like you are trying to give him what he wants, it's logical for him to provide detail and clarity on how you can do better. He's far to young to pick up on your subtext.

 

If you don't want to do something, he needs you to tell him so. It's totally unfair for you to say that he is controlling, impossible to satisfy, and interested in spoiling others' fun. What's really happening us that you are hiding information from him, and then, when he responds 'in good faith' to what he understands, you are reading him as if he has advanced knowledge and is behaving that way in spite of it.

 

Don't fear his negative emotions. Don't expect him to spontaneously develop fairness and empathy without making a reasonable effort to teach those things plainly in ways that preschoolers understand.

 

Play fair, say what you mean, and hug him if he cries about it.

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Imo he did this because he could. I agree with Jean; if you didn't want to do it you should have said no. Then try to redirect, if he doesn't go for that, then give consequences for whining, etc...

 

If I was him I would have been upset and annoyed by you saying that you were not "strong enough". He knows you can do it. Yet instead of just saying no and sticking with it, you tried to pull one over on him and "count to 100" without really doing it. I would not respect that, and I would push back too, if I were him. This would be true especially if he needs more mental stimulation.

Really? Yes I guess Im strong enough if I had to, but swinging a 40 lb kid back and forth 100 times would wear anyone out.

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Really? Yes I guess Im strong enough if I had to, but swinging a 40 lb kid back and forth 100 times would wear anyone out.

 

I'm sorry, I did not get the part where he wanted you to swing the baby while counting. I thought he was just asking you to count to 100. Again sorry I misunderstood. 

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He is smart. He ist bored with what we are working on for school, but its like he cant cope with down time to just be childish and have fun. He cant play lemonade stand for instance with toy food or imagination he wants dh to build one made of wood and nails like on the spot and lets make signs and go to the store and buy real lemons, right now.. likd imaginary childs play is just beneath him. My second son will take a paper clip and run around and pretend its an airplane and spend a good time doing this. My 5 year olds birthday wish list includes a recliner and a fish tank. I feel sorry for him, I just want hin to be playful and carefree, but he isnt at all.

 

very smart kids would find pretend "anything" boring.  imaginary play is developmental. . . he skipped it and moved on.  that's ok - that is how *he* is developing.  it's not because "it's beneath him". what a thing to say about your five year old child.   he'll do that another time, but it isn't *beneath* him.  it's where his developmental level is.  meet him on his level.  you've been entrusted with this little child - fill his needs, which are different than his siblings, and probably different than the average 5yo.

 

get him snap circuts, or marble works, gears, does he like lego?  let him build something more intricate  . . . let him "do".  find what is interesting TO HIM.  you may have to get creative - and that's o.k.

does he read?  allow him to read to his siblings.

 

my friend put her dd in kindie because she was so intense "and controlling" (it did give her time for the younger two, who benefited having their sister gone) . . . she tried to take over teaching the K class.  she has her at home this year.

 

1dd was given the task OF TEACHING math to the class when she was in 2nd grade.

 

I have two gifted kids. . . one, the school counselor (who knew her outside school since she was little) tried to get to scale back the intensity of her schedule (full IB dip, shakespeare as an elective, and chem at the CC) . . . uh, no, she needs the stimulation. she's like her dad.  boredom is B.A.D.!

her first semester at a top tier college - she. was. bored.   we still laugh that one of the things she translated for fun - was part of the final exam. 

 

when 1ds was nine - I was giving him old (cheap) computers to play with . . . . he had to remind me he was nine . . . he had a blast, learned a lot, - and he made them work.  my friend's dh, was given motors.  one year, his parents gave him one that mechanics said couldn't be repaired.  he had it working by the end of the day.

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I'm sorry, I did not get the part where he wanted you to swing the baby while counting. I thought he was just asking you to count to 100. Again sorry I misunderstood.

No I was swinging the baby and the 4 year old 3 times the tossing then. He wanted me to swing him 100 times then toss Him not the baby.

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He is smart. He ist bored with what we are working on for school, but its like he cant cope with down time to just be childish and have fun. He cant play lemonade stand for instance with toy food or imagination he wants dh to build one made of wood and nails like on the spot and lets make signs and go to the store and buy real lemons, right now.. likd imaginary childs play is just beneath him. My second son will take a paper clip and run around and pretend its an airplane and spend a good time doing this. My 5 year olds birthday wish list includes a recliner and a fish tank. I feel sorry for him, I just want hin to be playful and carefree, but he isnt at all.

My mother could have written this about me.  I am in my 50s and she STILL complains about how I was like this as a child.   Not only did I "play" very differently than she had when she was a child, my younger sister was just like my mom.  As adults my sister is much more of a dreamer and I am much more of a doer.  

 

I can remember my mom saying that I wasn't creative, had no imagination, etc.  I also remember that what was creative for me was messy for her and she would shut it down.  Playing in the sand box, building a sand castle would get me dirty.  Having my blocks out to build a parking garage for toy cars got in her way.  Putting two sheets between chairs to be my castle made the house look messy.  When I was 5 I asked her if I could go sell paper plates in the neighborhood.  She said, "yes." So I headed out.  When she found me later in the afternoon going door-to-door selling the left over Mickey Mouse paper plates from my birthday party, I was in trouble because she thought I was going to "pretend" to go sell them.  (I thought designing a business was creative; my mom thought lying under a try dreaming about being a princess being rescued by prince charming was creative)

 

Are there things your son finds fun and creative?  

 

I think it helped my mom a lot once I learned to read.

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very smart kids would find pretend "anything" boring. imaginary play is developmental. . . he skipped it and moved on. that's ok - that is how *he* is developing. it's not because "it's beneath him". what a thing to say about your five year old child. he'll do that another time, but it isn't *beneath* him. it's where his developmental level is. meet him on his level. you've been entrusted with this little child - fill his needs, which are different than his siblings, and probably different than the average 5yo.

 

get him snap circuts, or marble works, gears, does he like lego? let him build something more intricate . . . let him "do". find what is interesting TO HIM. you may have to get creative - and that's o.k.

does he read? allow him to read to his siblings.

 

my friend put her dd in kindie because she was so intense "and controlling" (it did give her time for the younger two, who benefited having their sister gone) . . . she tried to take over teaching the K class. she has her at home this year.

 

1dd was given the task OF TEACHING math to the class when she was in 2nd grade.

 

I have two gifted kids. . . one, the school counselor (who knew her outside school since she was little) tried to get to scale back the intensity of her schedule (full IB dip, shakespeare as an elective, and chem at the CC) . . . uh, no, she needs the stimulation. she's like her dad. boredom is B.A.D.!

her first semester at a top tier college - she. was. bored. we still laugh that one of the things she translated for fun - was part of the final exam.

 

when 1ds was nine - I was giving him old (cheap) computers to play with . . . . he had to remind me he was nine . . . he had a blast, learned a lot, - and he made them work. my friend's dh, was given motors. one year, his parents gave him one that mechanics said couldn't be repaired. he had it working by the end of the day.

My dh was like this with repairing computers and things. I appologize to everyone about what I am saying. I dont know how else to describe his behavior. Its not like Im telling him this, I feel lost and Im talking to you all.

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He is smart. He ist bored with what we are working on for school, but its like he cant cope with down time to just be childish and have fun. He cant play lemonade stand for instance with toy food or imagination he wants dh to build one made of wood and nails like on the spot and lets make signs and go to the store and buy real lemons, right now.. likd imaginary childs play is just beneath him. My second son will take a paper clip and run around and pretend its an airplane and spend a good time doing this. My 5 year olds birthday wish list includes a recliner and a fish tank. I feel sorry for him, I just want hin to be playful and carefree, but he isnt at all.

He sounds gifted and intense to me. My son was also both. Does he have any strong, focused interests? If so, I would try to feed those as much as possible. We found that providing books and materials led to him entertaining himself for hours and hours pursuing those interests. But there was definitely an upfront investment in time and materials and an ongoing time need, as he loved to talk about and share his interests. But we also worked on teaching him that others also have needs and interests and there has to be a balance.

 

Does he like to help around the house or with projects? My son got a great deal of satisfaction out of truly contributing to our household and helping us with projects.

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My mother could have written this about me. I am in my 50s and she STILL complains about how I was like this as a child. Not only did I "play" very differently than she had when she was a child, my younger sister was just like my mom. As adults my sister is much more of a dreamer and I am much more of a doer.

 

I can remember my mom saying that I wasn't creative, had no imagination, etc. I also remember that what was creative for me was messy for her and she would shut it down. Playing in the sand box, building a sand castle would get me dirty. Having my blocks out to build a parking garage for toy cars got in her way. Putting two sheets between chairs to be my castle made the house look messy. When I was 5 I asked her if I could go sell paper plates in the neighborhood. She said, "yes." So I headed out. When she found me later in the afternoon going door-to-door selling the left over Mickey Mouse paper plates from my birthday party, I was in trouble because she thought I was going to "pretend" to go sell them. (I thought designing a business was creative; my mom thought lying under a try dreaming about being a princess being rescued by prince charming was creative)

 

Are there things your son finds fun and creative?

 

I think it helped my mom a lot once I learned to read.

Kind of. We have a sand box. We have junk wood and plumbing pipes and things like this laying all over our yard because he likes things likes this but he just gets frustrated when dh cant produce the things he dreams up. I let them dig in dirt, play in creeks whatever. He sells things to his grandparents. We let him invent and make recipes. The house gets trashed daily with all the kid stuff and I dont mind this. I like to see then enjoy themselves. He reads a bit, but he really likes to write although I have to spell every other word right now. I mean he has free range to have fun, but he often isnt motivated enough to carry it out himself, he just wants us to do things for him.

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He sounds gifted and intense to me. My son was also both. Does he have any strong, focused interests? If so, I would try to feed those as much as possible. We found that providing books and materials led to him entertaining himself for hours and hours pursuing those interests. But there was definitely an upfront investment in time and materials and an ongoing time need, as he loved to talk about and share his interests. But we also worked on teaching him that others also have needs and interests and there has to be a balance.

 

Does he like to help around the house or with projects? My son got a great deal of satisfaction out of truly contributing to our household and helping us with projects.

He works in our garden and he will help some around the house. He currently doesnt have a stromg focused interest at this moment, but he goes through phases of being super fixed on one thing just like dh.

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It sounds as if your son may be somewhat a perfectionist--getting frustrated when what he is trying to make doesn't come out exactly the way he dreams it will.  Sometimes gifted children get frustrated easily because they send they have the ability to see the end goal but don't see the steps (or have the ability yet) to get there.   Sometimes breaking down tasks into manageable pieces (or pieces that won't require your attention) will help.  For example, "after you write your ideas to this line on the paper, we will figure out how to spell the words you did not know".  Or, "your job is to work on this alone until the big hand gets on the 12 and then I will help you spell the words you did not know"

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Kind of. We have a sand box. We have junk wood and plumbing pipes and things like this laying all over our yard because he likes things likes this but he just gets frustrated when dh cant produce the things he dreams up. I let them dig in dirt, play in creeks whatever. He sells things to his grandparents. We let him invent and make recipes. The house gets trashed daily with all the kid stuff and I dont mind this. I like to see then enjoy themselves. He reads a bit, but he really likes to write although I have to spell every other word right now. I mean he has free range to have fun, but he often isnt motivated enough to carry it out himself, he just wants us to do things for him.

It sounds like things will get easier as he gets older and develops more reading and writing and other skills. I would continue to provide the basic elements for free play and projects for him, realizing that he may need different things than your other children. As one example, we have binders full of recipes my son developed. The early ones are written by a variety of different people, as he would try to enlist anyone who entered our house to take dictation. But the later ones, and the majority, are all his. We planted an herb garden with him, but once he could read, he would spend hours pouring over his encyclopedia of herbs and spices. When he tried baking, cooking, and making flavored oils and vinegars when he was young, we had to help a lot with clean-up. But when he was older, it was great having someone who could easily cook an entire meal and clean-up. We used to make lots of Goodwill trip to find some of the "fancy" kitchen stuff he desired. But eventually he started spending his own birthday money on the real stuff, and we benefited from many of his purchases, especially high quality kitchen knives.
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He is smart. He ist bored with what we are working on for school, but its like he cant cope with down time to just be childish and have fun. He cant play lemonade stand for instance with toy food or imagination he wants dh to build one made of wood and nails like on the spot and lets make signs and go to the store and buy real lemons, right now.. likd imaginary childs play is just beneath him. My second son will take a paper clip and run around and pretend its an airplane and spend a good time doing this. My 5 year olds birthday wish list includes a recliner and a fish tank. I feel sorry for him, I just want hin to be playful and carefree, but he isnt at all.

This was how my dd was at that age, and she's ADHD. You have a bit more intensity and some things that might go further, but you could start by reading about ADHD. You could read my old board posts. I used to talk about how dd didn't want to do crafts of history--she wanted to DO the history. Like no paper canoes of indians for her. Nope, she was like let's cut down a tree and make the canoe! She also couldn't remember all her options, so she benefited from some structure to help her remember her choices for things to do.

 

Really, you have to just roll with it. For my dd, it reflects that she's a doer. She can make things happen. She's that way now. At 14 she could cook an entire Thanksgiving meal, like 20 dishes, all from scratch. She's going to work in a costume shop this fall during college. She's just a doer. That kind of imaginative play was a much earlier stage, much earlier.

 

To me, it sounds like you're so busy with your youngers that you're having a hard time keeping up with him. Are you doing any enrichment courses or gifted programs or anything? You need to step it up or outsource to bring in things that are more on his level. For where he's functioning and how he's likely to test, he's probably going to be several grade levels ahead in everything, across the board.

 

My dh was like this with repairing computers and things. I appologize to everyone about what I am saying. I dont know how else to describe his behavior. Its not like Im telling him this, I feel lost and Im talking to you all.

 

There's no need to apologize. You have a bunch of little kids and are overwhelmed. The key is to see the answers and work toward solutions, to DO something about it. 

 

So what you need to DO is go to Hoagies Gifted, find their referral list, and get a psych. Do the psych eval, plunk out the money. A clinical psych eval will do, because you don't suspect SLDs. Around here, you could get that for $800. A neuropsych eval like my ds needed, that's $2500, ouch. But you could be fine with a clinical psych eval from someone who specializes in gifted, someone who could give you good advice.

 

The psych eval will give you achievement testing with no ceiling to let you see where he's at. Sometimes you need to advance, but sometimes you need to broaden. My ds listens to college lectures and adult audiobooks. I just give him a lot of variety. Yes to Snap Circuits. We were doing it with ds at that age, yes. There are curriculum options you have and materials that can be intriguing. (MBP, TinMan, Hickory Press/Zaccaro, etc.). I hunt through sites like Carson Dellosa, Evan Moor, TeacherCreated, etc., finding brain teasers, challenging math workbooks, etc. There's neat stuff out there. I put things that tingle his brain into our day, just like any other academics. I'll make packets for his math, for instance, and 2 pages might be regular and 1 page a brain teaser thing.

 

Also you can do strategy games. With my ds, when he's driving me crazy, my two standbys are DK books (lots of information, lots of graphics) and strategy games. So go to amazon, Timberdoodle, etc. and buy a bunch of strategy games, and get a pile of DK books from the library. Or pictorial encyclopedias of anything he finds interesting. Pirate (DK Eyewitness Books)  Here's an example. For the games, I'm really into games by Family Pastimes right now. They're cooperative, which works out radically better with my ds, who struggles with losing. Over the years we've really enjoyed Catan Jr. (a great starter game for that age!), Battleship, Ticket to Ride (regular, but there's also a really nice Jr version), etc. Timberdoodle has great stuff. My ds was playing Star Trek Catan at age 5, so don't look at the ages on the box. Doing something like that can be really good for his mind, because it's on-level stimulation. Get a chess app and play TOGETHER. Get a solitaire app and play TOGETHER.

 

I would definitely facilitate his interest in real things. My dd started sewing at that age, and now she's doing it avidly. My ds seems to have a bit of a bent with wood and visualizing and building things. I just facilitate. I'm hoping to get my ds a mower pretty soon to let him tear it apart. Old engines, wood kits, anything real. 

 

You also could look for a mentor or someone he can go with an afternoon each week to give you a break. They can work on life skills (shopping), do projects, whatever.

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Some of it is his age.  It is frustrating to think of neat things and then just not be able to make them come out the way you envisioned.

 

One thing that has helped me is to think of coming alongside my children in this journey.  I try to see things from their perspective.  (Like I did in the sentence above)  I use empathetic language with them but I also acknowledge that I can't fix everything to their specifications.  I let them know that things will be different as they get a bit older and more capable at things.  And I try to find things that they can be successful at in the current developmental stage.  I'm out of likes but I really like jdahlquist's and Frances' ideas. 

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It sounds like things will get easier as he gets older and develops more reading and writing and other skills. I would continue to provide the basic elements for free play and projects for him, realizing that he may need different things than your other children. As one example, we have binders full of recipes my son developed. The early ones are written by a variety of different people, as he would try to enlist anyone who entered our house to take dictation. But the later ones, and the majority, are all his. We planted an herb garden with him, but once he could read, he would spend hours pouring over his encyclopedia of herbs and spices. When he tried baking, cooking, and making flavored oils and vinegars when he was young, we had to help a lot with clean-up. But when he was older, it was great having someone who could easily cook an entire meal and clean-up. We used to make lots of Goodwill trip to find some of the "fancy" kitchen stuff he desired. But eventually he started spending his own birthday money on the real stuff, and we benefited from many of his purchases, especially high quality kitchen knives.

 

Yes, yes, my dd did this! We still have her recipes. And yes, now she has an amazing knife collection and is a stellar cook. That's charming to hear how it worked out for a boy too.   :)

 

Adding: You know, it might sound jumpy to say evals, but I *thought* about them in 1st gr for my dd, called a psych, got the blow-off, didn't do them. It's really one of those regrets. I was MUCH more pro-active with my ds. It's not jumping the gun to say you want answers and advice on how to work with him. That's the whole point. And doing it with a clinical psych who specializes in gifted can be really informative.

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Edited by OhElizabeth
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My mother could have written this about me.  I am in my 50s and she STILL complains about how I was like this as a child.   Not only did I "play" very differently than she had when she was a child, my younger sister was just like my mom.  As adults my sister is much more of a dreamer and I am much more of a doer.  

 

I can remember my mom saying that I wasn't creative, had no imagination, etc.  I also remember that what was creative for me was messy for her and she would shut it down.  Playing in the sand box, building a sand castle would get me dirty.  Having my blocks out to build a parking garage for toy cars got in her way.  Putting two sheets between chairs to be my castle made the house look messy.  When I was 5 I asked her if I could go sell paper plates in the neighborhood.  She said, "yes." So I headed out.  When she found me later in the afternoon going door-to-door selling the left over Mickey Mouse paper plates from my birthday party, I was in trouble because she thought I was going to "pretend" to go sell them.  (I thought designing a business was creative; my mom thought lying under a try dreaming about being a princess being rescued by prince charming was creative)

 

Are there things your son finds fun and creative?  

 

I think it helped my mom a lot once I learned to read.

 

 

this.

the mother of a gentleman of my acquaintance received a phone call about his twin.  he was going around their (upper income) neighborhood attempting to sell a dead rat.   when asked who he thought would buy it, "someone with a cat".  needless to say - he has done *very well* in sales.

 

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He is smart. He ist bored with what we are working on for school, but its like he cant cope with down time to just be childish and have fun. He cant play lemonade stand for instance with toy food or imagination he wants dh to build one made of wood and nails like on the spot and lets make signs and go to the store and buy real lemons, right now.. likd imaginary childs play is just beneath him. My second son will take a paper clip and run around and pretend its an airplane and spend a good time doing this. My 5 year olds birthday wish list includes a recliner and a fish tank. I feel sorry for him, I just want hin to be playful and carefree, but he isnt at all.

 

Why do you feel sorry for him? Honestly, he sounds awesome!

 

And I say that as the mother of two highly/profoundly gifted kids. 

 

One of the things I had to learn when mine were little was to let go of the picture I had in my head of what a generic "happy childhood" would look like and focus on creating an environment in which my two specific, individual kids could thrive. I also had to redefine my understanding of the concept of "play" to include the kind of intellectual gymnastics my kids found enjoyable.

 

And, lest you get the wrong idea, let me mention that, although both of mine share the smarts, they have entirely different personalities and, when they were young, expressed their giftedness in very different ways.

  • My daughter never connected well with kids her age. The running joke used to be that, when I went to collect her from the playground after church, all I had to do was look for the adult supervisor, because my daughter would be hanging out right there. She usually had one other child at a time with whom she got along, and she would bond intensely with that one kid, making life miserable for everyone when the child inevitably moved away or lost interest in being BFFs with my weird and intense little girl. 
  • She used to have trouble communicating with age peers, because they literally didn't understand the words she used and would sometimes accuse her of making up things. We talked with her repeatedly about trying to adjust her vocabulary to her audience, but she never could get the hang of it.
  • Her attention span was way off the charts for her age, meaning she wanted to stick with games and such for way longer than other kids did, and she would get so frustrated and upset when her friends abandoned her or "wrecked" things by taking apart her carefully assembled sets to use pieces for other things.
  • She tended to take all of those lightly educational activities adults come up with for kids far more seriously than did either her peers or the adults running them. I have vivid memories of her coming home in tears from a summer day camp at the local art museum. The camp had an ancient Egypt theme, and my baby (five or six at the time) was incredulous that the students had been instructed to assemble a paper model of a pyramid that had the wrong number of sides . . . and then confused and infuriated when the teacher didn't seem to understand or care why the activity was wrong.
  • She was a perfectionist about anything she perceived as "grades" and would work herself into a tizzy if she was afraid she would be less than perfect at anything. I used to sit her on my lap and have her practice writing down wrong answers in her workbooks just so she could get over the panic.
  • All of those traits and more made it extremely difficult for her to participate in "normal" kid activities like preschool and summer day camps. 

Meanwhile, my son was entirely different:

  • He was less obviously "gifted." To the naked eye, he just looked like a troublemaker.
  • Like yours, my son wasn't particularly interested in "age-appropriate" toys when he was little. He much preferred "real" things and almost never used or played with anything in the way in which he was "supposed to." He was always happiest with a pile of supplies (cardboard, duct tape, string, etc.) and the freedom to do his own thing.
  • He was physically incapable of blending into a group; he always sucked up all of the attention in a room. If the teacher or adult leader happened to like or appreciate him, this was fine. If not, he was constantly in trouble. Basically, he would be doing the exact same thing other kids were doing -- sometimes less, sometimes even trying to tell other kids to stop misbehaving -- but because all eyes were on him all the time, he always got caught.
  • He was always tall for his age and, once he started talking, extremely well spoken, meaning everyone thought he was a good one or two years older than his actual age and expected him to behave in ways that were beyond his developmental stage. 
  • He seems to have been born with a highly developed sense of justice and, as he would tell you now, something of a hero complex. So, he could never stand to watch what he perceived as injustice happen without getting involved . . . which drew yet more attention and irritated yet more adults by causing "disruptions."
  • He was also, apparently, born with a bully target on his back. In virtually every setting, he would pick up one or two other boys who seemed to make it their mission to torment him. And he took even small slights extra hard.
  • He was, quite honestly, just better at a lot of things than were a lot of kids his age, and he picked up skills very quickly. This meant he got unbearably bored waiting for other kids to catch up and (see descriptions above) was always getting in trouble for "goofing off" and "not paying attention." (Imagine his dance teacher's frustration when she would call him out for not learning the combination and make him do it in front of the class, only to discover he knew every step.)
  • He's extremely bright but tends to fly under the radar because he is not at all motivated by grades; he consistently does just barely enough work to earn whatever grade or score is required to meet his goal or stay out of trouble.
  • Unlike his sister, who was content to simply step away from activities with age peers for a few years, he constantly craved interactions with other kids, except that he often didn't get along well with them and -- you guessed it -- wound up getting in trouble.

 

So, yeah, I spent a lot of years being tired and frazzled, trying to keep up with both of them and give each one what she/he needed.

 

I remember the mother of one of my son's friends musing "sympathetically" one day that life would be so much easier for my son if he could just learn to tone down some of what she perceived as his more problematic traits. I told her that, as far as I was concerned, some of those traits that she considered problematic -- refusing to tolerate unfairness, not being afraid to stand up for what he thought was right, etc. -- were things that were going to make him a wonderful adult and that I had no intention of trying to round off his square edges just to make life easier for that moment in time. She was a little taken aback, needless to say. However, I think time has proven my point.

 

I now have two incredible young adults, neither of whom is perfect or "easy." No one would ever accuse either of my offspring of being "laid back," but I also wouldn't trade them for any of my friends' adult kids. The daughter who never got along with age peers went to an early college program and earned her B.A. at 16. She was self-supporting by 19, lives on her own in NYC, is highly focused on making the world a better place and still finds the time and energy to call or message me pretty much daily.

 

The son who was a "troublemaker" and couldn't get along with others has been in a stable, healthy relationship with a wonderful girl for almost two years. He is taking the scenic route through college, mostly because he's still great at and interested in so many things that he can't make up his mind what to settle down to doing forever. He has a nice group of friends, and his biggest flaws are that he doesn't clean up after himself around the house and can't be bothered to keep up with paperwork for school.

 

If I had spun my wheels trying to wish away their differences or "feeling sorry" for them because they didn't fit neatly into the "normal, happy child" boxes, I highly doubt either of them would be who they are now . . . and I'd probably be even more burned out and frustrated from trying and failing to force them into those boxes.

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Haven't read all the replies - might be time for him to learn how to read, if you haven't already started on that (actual fluency rather than just letter and sound recognition). A friend of mine had a child like you describe, and learning to read completely settled his issues.

 

Make sure you also get plenty of one on one time with him. He could feel like the smaller ones get your attention more (which is naturally necessary as they are ages that still need more mom hands-on).

 

And, what I always tell moms of boys - be sure you are providing LOTS of physical activity, outdoors whenever possible.

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I'm on my phone but I have a ton to say about this personality type. I have one exactly like this.

 

First, he's a frustrated perfectionist. That's why he loses interests in projects. He's too small to make them fit the vision in his head. That's why he wants y'all to do th for him.

 

Second, he doesn't see himself as a child and it annoys him that others don't take him seriously. For my dd it made her angry to have people telling her what to do and how to do it because she didn't see herself as a child.

 

Third, this personality type needs very direct instruct and talk. If you can't swing him 100 time say nope. Can't do it. You get 3 like everyone else. Don't get dragged into the argument/ discussion. When he says yes you can say "already said no. Do you want to be swung 3 times or not at all."

 

Also, my did hated wishy washy maybes. She needed yes or no. Sometimes perhaps maybe later meant she'd nag and complain.

 

I may come. Ack with more when I'm on my pc.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by fairfarmhand
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very smart kids would find pretend "anything" boring.  imaginary play is developmental. . . he skipped it and moved on.   

 

 

I strongly disagree with this. Many very smart kids engage in intense pretend play, far past the age of 5. If there are any valid references that say differently, I'd be very interested in seeing them.

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I strongly disagree with this. Many very smart kids engage in intense pretend play, far past the age of 5. If there are any valid references that say differently, I'd be very interested in seeing them.

 

This is true. In fact, if anything, each of my kids was at various times so involved in imaginary play that she/he would lose track of it being pretend. I mean, the kiddo would "know" it was pretend, but would not feel like it was.

 

However, I do think it's worth keeping in mind that moving in and out of phases of different kinds and levels of imaginative play is normal, and gifted kids might not move through those developmental stages at the expected ages.  Basically, those neat "What to Expect When" timelines often just don't apply with these kids. Some highly/profoundly gifted kids move neatly through the stages in a linear but accelerated way, while others hop over things entirely and/or get stuck for longer than they "should." (I had one of each.)

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He is smart. He ist bored with what we are working on for school, but its like he cant cope with down time to just be childish and have fun. He cant play lemonade stand for instance with toy food or imagination he wants dh to build one made of wood and nails like on the spot and lets make signs and go to the store and buy real lemons, right now.. likd imaginary childs play is just beneath him. My second son will take a paper clip and run around and pretend its an airplane and spend a good time doing this. My 5 year olds birthday wish list includes a recliner and a fish tank. I feel sorry for him, I just want hin to be playful and carefree, but he isnt at all.

 

:confused1:  What's wrong with wanting a recliner and a fish tank? 

 

My oldest was just like this and never enjoyed playing with toys, other than legos. 

 

He loved building and creating and taking things apart - and he still loves doing those things at age 18. He absolutely would have wanted to build a real lemonade stand and make real lemonade instead of pretending (I think that sounds more interesting than pretending, too, to be honest).

 

My feeling has always been that if you have a racehorse, you have to let it run - so we always had plenty of materials on hand for him to use for his various projects and creations. 

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:confused1:  What's wrong with wanting a recliner and a fish tank? 

 

My oldest was just like this and never enjoyed playing with toys, other than legos. 

 

He loved building and creating and taking things apart - and he still loves doing those things at age 18. He absolutely would have wanted to build a real lemonade stand and make real lemonade instead of pretending (I think that sounds more interesting than pretending, too, to be honest).

 

My feeling has always been that if you have a racehorse, you have to let it run - so we always had plenty of materials on hand for him to use for his various projects and creations. 

 

Same with my kid.  He took toys apart and never played with them as intended.  And he has always been a big dreamer.  When little he wanted to start a business.  He got pretty intense with the idea and checked out books on accounting (already spending his money), would scout buildings in the area, etc.  No joke.  He picked out a name.  He would go on and on about it. 

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He sounds a lot like my oldest. There's nothing wrong with him- he's just always had a very intense, high maintenance personality. There are wonderful sides to this personality as well as drawbacks like parental fatigue! FWIW, I say there's nothing wrong with him, but DS does have OCD. It's part of who he is, though, and I see it as useful info to know but not necessarily a flaw, and certainly not a personality flaw.

 

Some kids are easier than others but that doesn't make them better kids. Some kids stretch us as parents and that's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm a better person today than if I'd only had my 3 easy kids. That's not to say I wish my new baby will be as high maintenance (please no), but there are some tremendous gifts and talents among high needs/maintenance children that easier kids have a harder time developing.

 

I can't really give advice as each child is so individual. The one thing I'd suggest as a parent of a child like that who is 15 is to be gentler. Try to give him more of you, less criticism, be more patient, give him more affection. It's you; not him- seriously. It's not his fault he has so many needs and our job as parents is to adapt to what we're given. Pull him close, because I find that the high needs kids are also highly sensitive and emotionally fragile. 

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Haven't read all the replies - might be time for him to learn how to read, if you haven't already started on that (actual fluency rather than just letter and sound recognition). A friend of mine had a child like you describe, and learning to read completely settled his issues.

 

Make sure you also get plenty of one on one time with him. He could feel like the smaller ones get your attention more (which is naturally necessary as they are ages that still need more mom hands-on).

 

And, what I always tell moms of boys - be sure you are providing LOTS of physical activity, outdoors whenever possible.

reading is good.  if you've only done prereading - he may be bored and you need to step up the game. my friend's dd's K-teacher was concerned becasue her daughter had no pre-reading skills at five.  makes me wonder what the teacher was doing since she taught herself to read at four.

 

  and I had a girl who needed A LOT of outdoor time, so don't think it's just boys.  (she's still very outdoorsy.  she needs it to burn energy)

 

 

some kids - need intensity and serious intellectual stimulation.  1dd has always been this way. from the time she was little.  all through school. right now, she has taken over a tech dept for a small company that their tech  -are in a state of utter and complete disaster.  they've had people who contributed to the mess, and others who ran away when they saw the mess.  the ceo has expressed concern that she too might run when she grasped the scope of the mess. her reaction? .... . :drool5:  for one of the first times in her life - she feels like she's doing something that requires all of her skills and it's refreshing to her. she's having a Blast - with a capital 'B'.  this is Fun for her.    yeah    it's intense, yeah she's rarely had a weekend off (and has worked 20 hour days), but  she's also bringing order to the chaos. (and everyone there loves her because she's actually fixing things.  the phones now dependably work.  for the first time in too long. and their on schedule to install a new network - which will fix many things.)  this is just the most recent - but she has. always, always. been. this. way.  and high maintenance . . . :tongue_smilie:

some kids . . . . enjoy super intense stuff that intimidates adults.

 

 

regarding the perfectionist vision in his head that he lacks the physical or cognitive ability to articulate . . .support him in this.

just a story from history:

when mozart a very young child, he was begging for instruments and pen, ink, and paper from the time he was two? three?  he finally just went and got them - his father was greatly annoyed - until he looked closer.   all those ink blobs really were coherent notes

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No I was swinging the baby and the 4 year old 3 times the tossing then. He wanted me to swing him 100 times then toss Him not the baby.

 

To this above I would respond, "Nope. That's not how we play this game.  It's a three swing limit, Bud."

 

I had six kiddos with ages spanning 16 years. There were plenty of times that a littlie wanted to do what the big kids did or vise versa.  With the one who had a hard time taking things at face value, I used the 'that's not how this is done' line when needed.  (Or, for those who are less flexible and think you should just change the rules - "That's not how I do it. ")

 

Of course, I always tried to redirect with an alternative that WAS acceptable. In your specific case, was there a place he could jump while you counted to 100? Perhaps held his hands as he did so he had that connection?  Was there a bar to swing 100 times?  Could you have asked him to 'help' you toss the baby?

 

My little ones used to love to play "1-2-3 Knock Over!"  They would stand/sit on the bed and we would help them jump/bounce to the count of 3 and then gently 'knock' them over.

 

These are all specific to your original problem and you may never have your specific problem again but perhaps it gives you some ideas to get your thoughts spinning about how you might stay in the playful moment but offer an alternative that works for you.

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