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MissLemon

Gifted Kids who Always Argue (aka Little Lawyers): Can anyone relate?

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I have a gifted kid that constantly argues, bickers, and finds eensy exceptions to every rule, and frequently goes on tangents.  He challenges authority all the time and rubs all instructors/teachers the wrong way.  If an instructor says "Ok, everyone sit down at a table and take a blue marker", he'll say "Why do I need to sit down? What happens if I take a green marker instead of a blue marker?"  If the instructor responds "I need everyone to sit down so I can begin the activity", my little question-asker will say "What happens if I don't sit down? Can I just stand instead? Will the activity then be cancelled if I don't sit?".  (spoiler alert: the kid doesn't even want to stand. He wants to sit but also wants to micro-analyze why he has to sit vs stand)  This back and forth will go on FOREVER.  The kid will find new details to question and contemplate, and it's almost always stuff that really doesn't matter at all to the task at hand.  It always ends with a frustrated teacher and my kiddo in tears, because the teacher told him to stop asking questions and be quiet. 

Real life example:

Art teacher: Let's use these new paint pens I ordered online. 

Kiddo: The labels are in Japanese or maybe Korean, I am not sure which.  Why are they in Japanese or Korean? Why can't the pen manufacturer just write the labels in English since they were sold to people who spoke English?

Art teacher: Um, well, they are made by a Japanese company and they were imported into the US...

*kiddo interrupts* But couldn't they just import pens with labels written in English instead of Japanese?

Art teacher: I mean, I guess they could, but that wouldn't be very efficient for their business model to have labels in multiple langugages, and anyway, we're getting off track here...

Other random parent observing the class and getting annoyed: You know kiddo, not everyone in the world speaks English so you shouldn't assume that everything will be in English...

Me: Son, do you want a blue pen  or a red one? Just pick one. The paint is the same regardless of the language on the label.

Kiddo: I still don't really know why the labels are in Japanese and not English..And if it doesn't matter, then why not just have the labels in English.  I can't read Japanese or Korean or whatever this is.*sighs heavily*

I've asked for advice about this in other forums, and what I've gotten is suggestions on how to help him research international marketing and manufacturing, or perhaps to sign him up for Japanese and/or Korean lessons.  The issue is bigger than learning Japanese, Korean, or international trade research.   Or someone will huff "Well, he's 10.5.  He should know better than this by now".  Well, no kidding!  That's why I am on a forum, asking for advice! Because the Little Lawyer/Little Professor schtick is wearing thin and people are starting to avoid him because he's EXHAUSTING. I'm worried I am raising a kid that will job hop because he finds it more intriguing to argue with his boss over correct burger-flipping techniques rather than just flip the fecking burgers like he was asked.

I need some help? Reassurance? Book suggestions? about how to manage this.  What I really want is a kid that can sit down for a class, follow the instructions, asking *relevant questions* if he needs clarification.  It's not even that he can't see the forest for the trees. He can't see the forest because he's too busy asking for clarification about why we aren't at the beach instead, nevermind the fact that he doesn't even like the beach.

For what it's worth, he does not have autism, ADD, ODD, or any other diagnosis.  Yes, he's been evaluated by a specialist.

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10 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

I have a gifted kid that constantly argues, bickers, and finds eensy exceptions to every rule, and frequently goes on tangents.  He challenges authority all the time and rubs all instructors/teachers the wrong way. 

 

I need some help? Reassurance? Book suggestions? about how to manage this.  What I really want is a kid that can sit down for a class, follow the instructions, asking *relevant questions* if he needs clarification.  It's not even that he can't see the forest for the trees. He can't see the forest because he's too busy asking for clarification about why we aren't at the beach instead, nevermind the fact that he doesn't even like the beach.

 

 

Just to be clear: you're certain he really needs clarification? Or does he just like to argue, bicker, challenge authority, and get the upper hand, since he probably *can* in most situations, because of his giftedness? In the absence of a diagnosis (since you said he'd been eval'd), I would just draw a line and say that he needs to stop asking annoying questions. Period. There's a time to ask questions and there's a time to be respectful of other people by keeping quiet. If he needs to know these things, write down his questions and bring them home where you can research them together. I don't know your situation, of course, but this sounds less about a kid really needing information, and more about a kid needing to understand what's appropriate and how actually do it.

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I am going to suggest just telling him things like "The language of the labels is actually irrelevant, so ignore it and move on.  This is art class so it's time to begin art."  Also when kiddo interrupts "It's rude to interrupt, do not do it again.  It's time to open your ears and listen."

 

What will happen if I don't sit down?  What happens if I take a green marker instead of a blue-"If you don't want to sit, then you are welcome to come back to class another day.  I need people sitting to begin XYZ activity so if you don't want to sit it's time to go home.  Blue is the color of marker I need everyone to use at this time.  If you are not willing to follow the instructions that I am giving, then you may leave.  Participation requires doing what I ask so if you don't, you may not participate."

 

Honestly, it almost sounds like what you need is people who don't dance around the instructions so much.  There are absolutely times when following the directions is more important than understanding why the instructions exist.  For example, if I went into a sewing class at JoAnns and started asking the instruction things like "what happens if I don't sit at the machine?  Can I stand?  Why does this pattern have 2 different languages on it?  Can't pattern makers just make differenet patterns for different languages, this is confusing!"  I expect the instructor would at minimum tell me that they can't teach the class if I keep asking questions that they aren't there to answer.  And generally, I might even get kicked out.  

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Have you told him that he is being annoying and that he needs to stop it? Because that’s where I’d start.

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21 minutes ago, EKS said:

Have you told him that he is being annoying and that he needs to stop it? Because that’s where I’d start.

Yes, and he said "Well, I don't think I am annoying".  

Which makes me want to laugh and cry.  

He does the same with math.  I say "You got these two wrong, please look them over and correct them".  He says "Well, I thought I got them right" very matter of fact, like that should shut the whole discussion down.  I lost my cool and yelled at him. :/ 

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4 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

Yes, and he said "Well, I don't think I am annoying".  

Which makes me want to laugh and cry.  

He does the same with math.  I say "You got these two wrong, please look them over and correct them".  He says "Well, I thought I got them right" very matter of fact, like that should shut the whole discussion down.  I lost my cool and yelled at him. 😕

Ha ha! I have a kid like this!

The best the best defense I have found thus far  Is just to respond, equally matter-of-factly, “well, they are still wrong. Please correct them now” or “Well, it is annoying to everyone else, so you need to quit anyway.“  or whatever fits your particular situation. 🙂

Edited by 4KookieKids
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4 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

Yes, and he said "Well, I don't think I am annoying".  

Which makes me want to laugh and cry.  

He does the same with math.  I say "You got these two wrong, please look them over and correct them".  He says "Well, I thought I got them right" very matter of fact, like that should shut the whole discussion down.  I lost my cool and yelled at him. 😕

 

I think you can just tell him that other people find it tiring, and his opinion is valid but isn't representative of what's in other people's heads ;-). And we have to respect other people's feelings as well as his. 

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9 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

Yes, and he said "Well, I don't think I am annoying".  

Which makes me want to laugh and cry.  

He does the same with math.  I say "You got these two wrong, please look them over and correct them".  He says "Well, I thought I got them right" very matter of fact, like that should shut the whole discussion down.  I lost my cool and yelled at him. 😕

"Sometimes, even if you think you got it right, you didn't.  Go back and check your math."  

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

Honestly, it almost sounds like what you need is people who don't dance around the instructions so much.  

I do need that. In my area, we seem to either have very lax instructors or very, very, very strict.  The very strict instructors have zero patience and tons of structure.   The lax instructors have tons of patience but zero structure.  Literally, I live in a military town with a lot of hippie families, lol, and you see both philosophies in the teaching.  We struggle to fit in for so many reasons. 

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6 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

I do need that. In my area, we seem to either have very lax instructors or very, very, very strict.  The very strict instructors have zero patience and tons of structure.   The lax instructors have tons of patience but zero structure.  Literally, I live in a military town with a lot of hippie families, lol, and you see both philosophies in the teaching.  We struggle to fit in for so many reasons. 

I totally get this.  Something that many people don't understand is that there's a very fine line between patience/understanding and structuring things appropriately.  I think both things are important....but that they are often difficult to find in the same 'system' in a beneficial way.  I think it's often just a compromise.  

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1 hour ago, 4KookieKids said:

Just to be clear: you're certain he really needs clarification? Or does he just like to argue, bicker, challenge authority, and get the upper hand, since he probably *can* in most situations, because of his giftedness? In the absence of a diagnosis (since you said he'd been eval'd), I would just draw a line and say that he needs to stop asking annoying questions. Period. There's a time to ask questions and there's a time to be respectful of other people by keeping quiet. If he needs to know these things, write down his questions and bring them home where you can research them together. I don't know your situation, of course, but this sounds less about a kid really needing information, and more about a kid needing to understand what's appropriate and how actually do it.

 

I think he just likes to bicker and argue because he can get the upper hand. I think he's only mildly interested in the information, but the "fun" of bickering and challenging the authority figure makes it more interesting to him. 

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21 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

I do need that. In my area, we seem to either have very lax instructors or very, very, very strict.  The very strict instructors have zero patience and tons of structure.   The lax instructors have tons of patience but zero structure.  Literally, I live in a military town with a lot of hippie families, lol, and you see both philosophies in the teaching.  We struggle to fit in for so many reasons. 

I'm a little curious: where do you live? 

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21 minutes ago, 4KookieKids said:

Ha ha! I have a kid like this!

The best the best defense I have found thus far  Is just to respond, equally matter-of-factly, “well, they are still wrong. Please correct them now” or “Well, it is annoying to everyone else, so you need to quit anyway.“  or whatever fits your particular situation. 🙂

 

Do kids like this every finally figure it out and just chill? lol.  It would be so nice to have a day where he's not fact checking me, catching me on some technicality, and grilling me about some minute detail that no one cares about, not even him.  He's been like this since he was 4 or 5, just endless "What about this? Or this? OR THIS?! Have you considered all the possible angles of this!?"  No kid, I have not considered all the angles because I don't care that much. It doesn't matter whether we use the school glue or the glue-all or a glue stick or the target brand of glue or rubber cement or e-6000.  Just glue the two papers together and get it done. 

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Just now, square_25 said:

I'm a little curious: where do you live? 

San Antonio area.  Military City, USA with a lot of influence from crunchy-Austin.  

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Just now, MissLemon said:

San Antonio area.  Military City, USA with a lot of influence from crunchy-Austin.  

 

Aaaaaah, I understand now :D. We are in NYC currently, but we were in Austin for 7 years before this year. 

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11 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

 

I think he just likes to bicker and argue because he can get the upper hand. I think he's only mildly interested in the information, but the "fun" of bickering and challenging the authority figure makes it more interesting to him. 

 In that case, I would definitely approach it the way that I mentioned above. My child like this responded relatively well to it, but I had to be very firm going into a situation, because the authority figures were usually flustered or unsure how to respond to questioning. So before we went pretty much anywhere, I would review what I expected from them with regards to doing what people tell them to, and how much conversation is appropriate,  And especially that bickering for the fun of it wouldn’t be tolerated (and we’d have to just leave if I felt like they were being disrespectful.) They still push boundaries sometimes, but they are smart enough to figure out that I mean it and that the consequence for them will be losing out on fun activities that they actually do want to participate in.They still push boundaries sometimes, but they are smart enough to figure out that I mean it and that the consequence for them will be losing out on fun activities that they actually do want to participate in.

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6 minutes ago, square_25 said:

 

Aaaaaah, I understand now :D. We are in NYC currently, but we were in Austin for 7 years before this year. 

Yep.  Local advice is either "You need to spank him and he'll stop!" or "Just love him through this and honor his spirit!" lol

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1 minute ago, MissLemon said:

Yep.  Local advice is either "You need to spank him and he'll stop!" or "Just love him through this and honor his spirit!" lol

 

People's inability to find a sweet spot in the middle is one of my major pet peeves with humanity :P. 

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13 minutes ago, 4KookieKids said:

 In that case, I would definitely approach it the way that I mentioned above. My child like this responded relatively well to it, but I had to be very firm going into a situation, because the authority figures were usually flustered or unsure how to respond to questioning. So before we went pretty much anywhere, I would review what I expected from them with regards to doing what people tell them to, and how much conversation is appropriate,  And especially that bickering for the fun of it wouldn’t be tolerated (and we’d have to just leave if I felt like they were being disrespectful.) They still push boundaries sometimes, but they are smart enough to figure out that I mean it and that the consequence for them will be losing out on fun activities that they actually do want to participate in.They still push boundaries sometimes, but they are smart enough to figure out that I mean it and that the consequence for them will be losing out on fun activities that they actually do want to participate in.

I had been doing a little of this, reminding him before art class about his behavior.  I will keep going with this plan.  It felt a little weird to me, but I have always been able to "read the room" and understand the social expectation.  It feels so strange to have to specify behavior expectations like "Do not challenge the authority of the teacher.  Do not fact check the teacher. Do not interrupt the teacher.  Etc"

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Mine likes to tick people off by taking every single word's literal meaning on purpose and annoying people. If the instructor said "You can get a blue marker now", he will go and pick up a red marker. When the instructor reminds him that he should have a blue marker, he will matter-of-factly tell the instructor that the word "can" implied that the child can do it (if he wants to) or it was ok if the child "could not" do it. And he will argue that he was following the instruction verbatim. This goes on and on. It is a gifted trait in him and he feels gleeful in being able to verbally spar with learned adults even though he is just a kid. He also tries to invoke the Constitution and the rights therein which protect his freedom of choice when it comes to doing chores etc. I might tell him that "maybe its a good idea to hurry up eating his lunch if he wanted to go out" and he will pick up the "maybe" and sit there for a long time because I said "maybe". 

My child does not have any diagnosis which would require accommodation of this type of behavior . He is just challenging authority and tries to get away with it. I tell him bluntly that he is an annoying and antisocial kid and he would become friendless in his adult life if he keeps up with this. I also tell him that he has a civic responsibility to the class room full of people to cooperate and not obstruct the instructor from doing his job. I tell him that the purpose of communication is to get a clear message across to the listener and it is pointless if the listener tries to rip apart the phrases trying to poke logical holes in the communication. And finally, I tell my son that he needs to keep a mental note about all those urgent questions that crop up and to discuss them outside of class with parents and to count to 100 if he cannot control his impulse. And the final warning is that if he disrupts the class with more than 3 inane questions or arguments, he will lose the privilege of being amongst other kids and knowledgeable instructors. It works most of the time.

My son became this smart mouthed and irritating talker when he turned 9. Some people tell me that it is a development phase that tweens go through and that everything will be fine in a few years.

Edited by mathnerd
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Hi mom, I just wanted to say I'm sorry now. 

No, but seriously, I was this kid and it was all about somehow "look at me I'm smarter than these stupid adults."

I am not 100% sure what would have made a difference at that age. Having other high school kids tell me that "everyone hates you because you never stop arguing" did make some difference, but I would not recommend that course of action. I do think explicit instructions or possibly being instructed to write them down might have made some. 

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Do you think something like this might help? "I have time for one question and one follow-up. Think carefully about what you want to ask, because after those, I'll expect you to just do what I'm instructing."

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I would pull him from all outside classes in which he is behaving like this.  His behavior is unfair to the rest of the class (and the parents who are paying in time or money to have their children there).  Also, every time he behaves that way in a group and gets a reaction (negative or positive from the adults or kids) then it is reinforcing the behavior and making it more likely that he will continue it or even ramp it up to see if he can get an even bigger reaction.

I would make a chart at home with a box for each day.  I would make a tally mark in the day's box for EVERY unnecessary, argumentative question or comment.  I think he needs to objectively see how big of a problem this is.  This would also allow you to set concrete goals: when he has gone two full weeks with no more than 5 provoking comments or questions each day then you could discuss his going back to classes.

Wendy

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I have had this in youth group.  Basically the child is not getting enough intellectual stimulation or attention elsewhere;  the solution for the teacher is to have a helper on the side. To avoid disrupting the class, the child and helper can communicate via text or writing - that will pull his mind thru the dead zones or satisfy his need for attention. 

As a parent, during your cookie/milk chat you have weekly,  explain the purpose of the activity and the fact that he does not get to assume leadership of the activity or hijack the direction the leader is going -- he must respect the teacher and he can keep his mind busy with other projects he has going on, just like you do when you vacuum.  If, during class, he can't hold his questions in his mind for an appropriate time, he can use a notebook.  He can then bring the notebook to the library and ask the librarian for any research assistance he needs, as the fee paid to the teacher doesn't include Q/A time..or he can get a job and earn that fee and hire her.

Bottom line, the class is not a fit, as the instructor isn't keeping his mind busy or learning.

Edited by HeighHo
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11 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Yes, and he said "Well, I don't think I am annoying".  

Which makes me want to laugh and cry.  

He does the same with math.  I say "You got these two wrong, please look them over and correct them".  He says "Well, I thought I got them right" very matter of fact, like that should shut the whole discussion down.  I lost my cool and yelled at him. 😕

It sounds like he's in his own post-truth world.  It doesn't matter what he thinks.

In my house, at that age, screen time was a coveted commodity.  If he were my kid, my response to that comment would be no screens at all for a month and the month would restart each time he is contrary or tiresome.  I'd probably have a code word that would serve as a warning for the first week or two.  But he would need to complete the month without it.

Anyway, that is how I would deal with ingrained behavior that the kid didn't think was a problem but that was big problem for everyone around them.  I only had to do it a one or two times for each kid over the course of their childhoods.

Edited by EKS

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I can relate! Care to have a glimpse into your possible future?

I remember when we were working on Explode the Code where they ask questions. One of them was “Can Tom have a soda?” His response: I don’t know. Is he allowed to have soda? What time of day is it? Is he eating? Is it diet? And bajillion more questions.  

He’s 13 now. He’s super logical. He knows how to push buttons, though he’s not always aware he’s doing it. He’ll keep challenging because he knows he’s right. We have to tell him to just drop it sometimes. He drives his little sister nuts telling what she shouldn’t do, like holding the cat for too long, because he cares and can see that something will go wrong, which it usually does, which of course makes her embarrassed and frustrated. All I can say is clear and narrow boundaries help....a little. 

He’s dh’s mini-me. Dh was in GATE as a child and had many of the same tendencies I see in ds. He’s found ways to channel it. He’s usually right, which is so annoying! But he is really good about knowing when to drop it.  They do get better as they mature. At least that’s what I’m telling myself as ds approaches his teen years. 

You’ve already gotten a lot of good advice here. Mine always has to see the purpose in lessons, which can be hard to see sometimes. For example, I sometimes explain where the math concept he’s learning will lead. Spelling out why helps. I always try to have one hands-on project that is all his responsibility. He’s been getting into engineering and 3D modeling. I got some engineering kits and he’s teaching himself the 3D programs. I showed him how to access Lynda.com and have left it up to him. Amazingly, there’s no arguing when it’s all his decisions. 🤗

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12 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Yes, and he said "Well, I don't think I am annoying".  

Which makes me want to laugh and cry.  

He does the same with math.  I say "You got these two wrong, please look them over and correct them".  He says "Well, I thought I got them right" very matter of fact, like that should shut the whole discussion down.  I lost my cool and yelled at him. 😕

 

I"d suggest rephrasing:  "two of these don't have the answer the solution key says is correct".  

then no matter what he says "I know, and if you figure out that the key is wrong, you can email the publisher.  Let me know which solution is correct and why" 

actually by grade 5 my teachers had given my group the solution key

 

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Have you tried having him lead an activity or teach you something while you act like he normally does? Or just talk through what it would happen in that situation? Sometimes kids have to be forced to look at things from another perspective. When I do this with my kids, they often walk away in a huff, but then I see them applying what they learned later on.  I agree with others about pulling him out of class if he's disrupting the experience for others, but I'd be very clear and explicit about what's going to happen and why, as well as what he needs to do to re-earn entry.

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5 hours ago, HeighHo said:

I have had this in youth group.  Basically the child is not getting enough intellectual stimulation or attention elsewhere;  the solution for the teacher is to have a helper on the side. To avoid disrupting the class, the child and helper can communicate via text or writing - that will pull his mind thru the dead zones or satisfy his need for attention. 

As a parent, during your cookie/milk chat you have weekly,  explain the purpose of the activity and the fact that he does not get to assume leadership of the activity or hijack the direction the leader is going -- he must respect the teacher and he can keep his mind busy with other projects he has going on, just like you do when you vacuum.  If, during class, he can't hold his questions in his mind for an appropriate time, he can use a notebook.  He can then bring the notebook to the library and ask the librarian for any research assistance he needs, as the fee paid to the teacher doesn't include Q/A time..or he can get a job and earn that fee and hire her.

Bottom line, the class is not a fit, as the instructor isn't keeping his mind busy or learning.

 

Good advice and a good reminder.  I have been the "helper" when the instructor allows it, and classes do go better when I am allowed to be there.  It's really hard to find instructors that will allow it in my area, however.  I've gone round and round with a few instructors in the past who acknowledge they struggle with him but also do not want me to sit in on a class.  I find that so frustrating!

I think you are right that some of these classes are not a good fit.  Even when they are on topics he loves, (like math), either the pace of the class is too slow or the instructor is put off by him.  He wants to talk to the instructor about math like a peer and instructors don't like that.

 

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3 hours ago, xahm said:

Have you tried having him lead an activity or teach you something while you act like he normally does? Or just talk through what it would happen in that situation? Sometimes kids have to be forced to look at things from another perspective. When I do this with my kids, they often walk away in a huff, but then I see them applying what they learned later on.  I agree with others about pulling him out of class if he's disrupting the experience for others, but I'd be very clear and explicit about what's going to happen and why, as well as what he needs to do to re-earn entry.

Yes! I did that to him yesterday.  He was trying to teach me how to play a game, and I kept interrupting him to ask about his socks, why he had freckles and I do not, why his room is blue and not green, what would happen if I stood up to play the game, what would happen if I *don't* stand up to play the game, etc.  He did.not.like.that. lol  I asked him how he felt when I did that (angry and frustrated), and I said "That's how you make other people feel when you do it to them".  He got teary-eyed after that.  It's too soon to tell if that lesson will stick with him or if we need to repeat it a hundred more times. 

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Another San Antonio area contact.  My son, who is 14 now, recently went through a period of unending questions and debate.  I even asked if he would be interested in a debate group.  He still considers law as a possible career.  I've found the best approach with him is if he has an argument, go away and come back with a good rebuttal or a presentation for discussion.  He's taken it to heart many times.  We've had presentations regarding a cruise trip, chores selections, school schedules, (he's a night owl), sleep schedules, (he thinks he needs less), what courses he needs to move to college classes, etc. It's opened the discussion and sometimes minimized arguments just because we listen. 

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Try https://www.socialthinking.com or library materials from Michelle Garcia Winner, especially her ideas about expected and unexpected behavior.  Years ago I watched her DVD Growing Up Social from our library.  She talked about how behavior is expected or unexpected by other people and how it makes other people feel, especially how changes in setting requires changes in behavior.  If you're talking in a group, people expect your body and eyes to be pointing into the group.  If you are in an elevator, that behavior is not expected and makes other people feel uncomfortable.  She talked about how some kids would need her to wear big arrows on the sides of her glasses to show where her eyes were pointed.  Even if you don't get specific techniques, but he's bright enough that he may find it interesting to analyze how we interact.  And to realize how others perceive behavior.  I found it fascinating and while watching it made me think back to people I've worked with and realized why certain people made me feel uncomfortable.

 

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 I can relate and am following.  We've been ok about discouraging arguing for the sake of arguing.  We treat it as disobedience and he gets counted (a la 1, 2, 3 Magic).  We've had a LOT of conversations in our house about respectful speech (cuz my kids are both 2e ADHD so we get a lot of thoughtless words), and I will say that when he delivers his questions respectfully, it helps.  Also, we've talked some about how you can be right, but the way you say it makes it wrong.

However, I am the same way when it comes to words and pickiness.  I am not trying to be annoying.  I am trying to pick my way to understand what you are trying to say among what seems to me to be a lot of different possibilities.  It bothers the heck out of my husband sometimes but I really do not understand sometimes.  So I try to be gentle with my arguer and discern whether he means to be disrespectful and argumentative, or if he truly is asking for clarification. 

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I used to work in a school district that uses "Boys Town" behavior system. I don't hear much about this anymore, but it used to be popular in schools.

the focus was on learning routines for behavior. The routine for Following Dirctions sounds like it would be good for this kids. 

It wnet something like this, but I have probably forgotten some.

1. Listen to the instructions.

2. Say okay.

3. Begain right away - there was a no arguming statement in there somewhere.

4. Ask questions later (not - I don't understand question, but questions that are not important to carrying out the task)

if the student does not follow the routine then the adult is siupposed to as the "what are the steps for following directions? The process did escalate after that. - the main point is not engaging the student in the distracting questiong and get him to follow the instructions.

 

Another option that a teacher used with my DS was to give him 5 popsicle sticks each day.  Each time he wanted to ask an off topic question he had to give up a stick. When his sticks were gone he could not ask any more off topic questions. He was still allowed to ask questions that were directly related to the instruction.

Edited by City Mouse

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I think this is largely attention seeking behavior and since I am teacher myself  I came down pretty hard on my son the times when he did this (thankfully not a problem now).  I think fixing it boiled down to three things:

1) Empathy. I explained how draining it is to be a teacher, and he's seen first hand when I've been flustered and annoyed by challenging students and situations. I reminded him of this.  That sometimes teachers even come home at the end of the day and cry after a difficult day.

2) Respect. Regardless of whether you're challenged or stimulated or not the teacher is giving their time to teach you something and you should respect how they run their classroom. Classroom situations are not the same as private tutelage and you have a responsibility to go with the flow. 

3) Wait. If it's important it can wait until after class or a quiet moment to discuss with the teacher.  Also that when you do mention something, make sure its only once. If you find yourself having to say the same thing over and over again, especially because you don't like the answer then you're bring rude.

4) I stopped allowing the same behavior in our homeschool mostly by using the "wait" approach. If we're doing math for the next hour and you want to discuss something irrelevant like how the text book is organized it waits until our break.

Edited by RoundAbout
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So, I thought I'd give a tiny update.  Long story short, it finally sunk in that kiddo was hitting the ugly tween years and that is what is fueling this non-stop bickering.  I actually had to ground him, for the first time ever, because he was so rude and snotty to everyone around him.  While yes, he has always had a tendency toward bickering over rules, in the past he would settle down when I'd tell him "I know you disagree/don't understand, but I need you to do what I am asking and we can discuss it later".  These days? Nope! Doesn't work anymore.  He just sits there sullen, muttering under his breath and giving me stink eye.   

So, it's less a gifted kid issue than a snotty tween issue.  Except for when he gives me condescending attitude because he's a better mathematician than I can ever hope to be.  Then it's kind of both issues! Yay. 

On the plus side, my house is REALLY clean after all the chores he did.  It's kind of nice. I suspect my house will stay really clean this summer, as well, if the attitude I got today is an indication of how the summer will go.  😕 

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On 3/14/2019 at 9:33 PM, MissLemon said:

 

Do kids like this every finally figure it out and just chill? lol.  It would be so nice to have a day where he's not fact checking me, catching me on some technicality, and grilling me about some minute detail that no one cares about, not even him.  He's been like this since he was 4 or 5, just endless "What about this? Or this? OR THIS?! Have you considered all the possible angles of this!?"  No kid, I have not considered all the angles because I don't care that much. It doesn't matter whether we use the school glue or the glue-all or a glue stick or the target brand of glue or rubber cement or e-6000.  Just glue the two papers together and get it done. 

 

My son is like this. (He's approaching age 12)

Sometimes he gets yelled at. Sometimes I patiently repeat my instructions and refuse to engage. Sometimes (If we have time) I tell him if he has unrelated questions, to write them down and when he has time he can investigate them and I will help if needed but now is the time to respect authority and obey.

I find when I ask him to write his questions down, he has a lot fewer questions.

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Gifted kids don't do well without intellectual stimulation. Usually they need to take some reins so they understand how to be followers and how to handle people who communicate at a much slower pace and depth.

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I am just now seeing this post.  My son is so much like how you described....the behavior can be very maddening.  I also had my son evaluated two times and neither time said autism, though many people think he is on the spectrum.  I still think my son has Aspergers, but I guess I agree that he is not at the level of "autism."  Also, the phrase "significant social impairment" can be subjective.  Some days the constant debating certainly seems like significant social impairment to me!   My son is on medication now and doing a bit better, but the theory of mind issues are still there.  I mean, if someone told me as a child that I was being difficult, pestering, annoying, I'd want to stop what I was doing.  My son just keeps on keeping on and doesn't really understand (or care about) the problem.  Thank goodness for his ADHD medication though....its made a big difference.   I hope things improve...for all of us really!

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On 3/15/2019 at 7:27 AM, Plum said:

I remember when we were working on Explode the Code where they ask questions. One of them was “Can Tom have a soda?” His response: I don’t know. Is he allowed to have soda? What time of day is it? Is he eating? Is it diet? And bajillion more questions.  

 🤗

OMG, yes!!!  Explode the Code was exactly the same for us when DS was younger.  Those questions always came with a "well he could if..."  I had forgotten all about that.

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@nwahomeschoolmom Not to derail this thread, but someone shared this recently with me. I thought it was so insightful. Completely changed how I understand autism, and I have 3 nephews with autism. 
https://theaspergian.com/2019/05/04/its-a-spectrum-doesnt-mean-what-you-think/?fbclid=IwAR0FRdwssQmoNENaikmRj6kL9x8ZGDJ2uhbOPZg981kYED8x8x_1wxa-WLk

 

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On 6/13/2019 at 8:27 PM, calbear said:

@nwahomeschoolmom Not to derail this thread, but someone shared this recently with me. I thought it was so insightful. Completely changed how I understand autism, and I have 3 nephews with autism. 
https://theaspergian.com/2019/05/04/its-a-spectrum-doesnt-mean-what-you-think/?fbclid=IwAR0FRdwssQmoNENaikmRj6kL9x8ZGDJ2uhbOPZg981kYED8x8x_1wxa-WLk

 

I thought that article was really interesting....It does make sense now to me why some people are diagnosed with "sensory processing disorder" and not autism.  I still do think there can be a spectrum within autism.  Some people can have challenges in all of those areas, but to a lesser degree than someone else.  But it is a helpful article, to realize that just because someone is sensitive to sound, for example, it might just mean that and nothing more.  My son definitely has all of those issues she mentioned, but not enough for a diagnosis at this time I guess.  In all honestly, as a young girl, I think I had trouble in all of those issues as well.  I can't figure out if it is a genetic social delay or what, because you couldn't really tell now.  (Well, I haven't polled the public on that though....).  Interesting article...Thanks for sharing!

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Hmmm...do you think it is worth continuing to pursue a diagnosis. I know nothing about it, but two of my nephews were not diagnosed until they were in college. Things really came to a head. Also, their mother is an MD so it is rather surprising to me that it was not picked up earlier.

Edited by calbear

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12 minutes ago, calbear said:

Hmmm...do you think it is worth continuing to pursue a diagnosis. I know nothing about it, but two of my nephews were not diagnosed until they were in college. Things really came to a head. Also, their mother is an MD so it is rather surprising to me that it was not picked up earlier.

 

 I get the sense doctors who don't specialize in it aren't super aware of it. Did they have trouble coping in college? 

By the way, your link led me to look up Carly Fleischmann and I had trouble figuring out what I thought of it... I have to admit, I'm a little suspicious. There don't seem to be studies about her and I haven't actually seen her type very much. And a lot of her output seems to happen when no one is watching. 

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On 5/10/2019 at 2:54 PM, nwahomeschoolmom said:

I am just now seeing this post.  My son is so much like how you described....the behavior can be very maddening.  I also had my son evaluated two times and neither time said autism, though many people think he is on the spectrum.  I still think my son has Aspergers, but I guess I agree that he is not at the level of "autism."  Also, the phrase "significant social impairment" can be subjective.  Some days the constant debating certainly seems like significant social impairment to me!   My son is on medication now and doing a bit better, but the theory of mind issues are still there.  I mean, if someone told me as a child that I was being difficult, pestering, annoying, I'd want to stop what I was doing.  My son just keeps on keeping on and doesn't really understand (or care about) the problem.  Thank goodness for his ADHD medication though....its made a big difference.   I hope things improve...for all of us really!

 

My 11yo and 7yo were both diagnosed with ASD near the beginning of this year (extremely long story). The doctors told me that Asperger's is just wrapped into ASD now, so if someone would have qualified for an Asperger's diagnosis 10 years ago, they would be diagnosed with ASD now. 

FWIW, my 9yo with behavior similar to the OP's kid, super argumentative, picks apart everything anyone says, finds every flaw and every loophole in another's explanation or argument, pushes every button he can -- that kid does not have ASD. He is HG+ with ADHD, ODD, SPD, and anxiety. He will take things too literally, and sometimes it's a real misunderstanding, but more often he's trying to get a reaction, unlike my ASD kids, who sometimes understand but more often miss the point. They are legit confused or even upset by the hidden meaning in those non-literal phrases they miss, and when they "get it" they tend to be proud of themselves for catching on. They may even point it out like, "You're being sarcastic right now," or "You mean _______."

My non-ASD 9yo is also masterfully manipulative, whereas my ASD 11yo and 7yo may *try* to manipulate, but have too hard of a time reading other people to actually pull it off the vast majority of the time. Their efforts are very obvious. My 9yo *is* socially immature. He was even recommended to join in a social skills group, but that's part of his ADHD. His social impairments are different from my 7yo's, who has social skills scores an entire eight standard deviations below his cognitive abilities.

Gifted traits, especially with higher levels of gifted, have a lot of overlap with autism traits. Things that in the general population are not "normal," like extreme interest in unusual topics, may be "normal" for the gifted population. The sensory issues stereotypical of kids with ASD are basically indistinguishable from SPD/sensory over excitability in the gifted. Webb's Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults was a good read.

And there is supposedly a genetic link between autism and high intelligence and propensities for certain professions. Children with ASD often have many family members with similar traits, just not quite to the extent or across enough diagnostic categories to warrant an ASD label. Autism often runs in families with more engineers, mathematicians, and scientists than in the population at large, as do autistic-like traits. It's all very interesting.

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5 hours ago, Cake and Pi said:

 

FWIW, my 9yo with behavior similar to the OP's kid, super argumentative, picks apart everything anyone says, finds every flaw and every loophole in another's explanation or argument, pushes every button he can -- that kid does not have ASD. He is HG+ with ADHD, ODD, SPD, and anxiety. He will take things too literally, and sometimes it's a real misunderstanding, but more often he's trying to get a reaction, unlike my ASD kids, who sometimes understand but more often miss the point. They are legit confused or even upset by the hidden meaning in those non-literal phrases they miss, and when they "get it" they tend to be proud of themselves for catching on. They may even point it out like, "You're being sarcastic right now," or "You mean _______."

My non-ASD 9yo is also masterfully manipulative, whereas my ASD 11yo and 7yo may *try* to manipulate, but have too hard of a time reading other people to actually pull it off the vast majority of the time. Their efforts are very obvious. My 9yo *is* socially immature. He was even recommended to join in a social skills group, but that's part of his ADHD. His social impairments are different from my 7yo's, who has social skills scores an entire eight standard deviations below his cognitive abilities.
 

Thanks for sharing.  It helps to hear especially that there is another challenging child out there that does not fit clearly into one diagnosis!  

 

5 hours ago, Cake and Pi said:

The doctors told me that Asperger's is just wrapped into ASD now, so if someone would have qualified for an Asperger's diagnosis 10 years ago, they would be diagnosed with ASD now. 

This is supposed to be true and it may be.  My friend who was a school psychologist says in practice it is not true...and the diagnostic criteria is slightly different and does exclude a few children.  There is a teenager I know who is a classic "Aspie" (walks on his toes even) and his diagnosis is "Social Communication Disorder."  I think some psychologists are biased and do not want to give the diagnosis of autism to a very high-functioning child.  My son's report even says as much.  It actually says something like "the diagnosis of autism is reserved for those with severe communication challenges."   That would exclude many with Aspergers.  I'm not saying my son is for sure on the spectrum....I'm not sure.  

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1 hour ago, nwahomeschoolmom said:

This is supposed to be true and it may be.  My friend who was a school psychologist says in practice it is not true...and the diagnostic criteria is slightly different and does exclude a few children.  There is a teenager I know who is a classic "Aspie" (walks on his toes even) and his diagnosis is "Social Communication Disorder."  I think some psychologists are biased and do not want to give the diagnosis of autism to a very high-functioning child.  My son's report even says as much.  It actually says something like "the diagnosis of autism is reserved for those with severe communication challenges."   That would exclude many with Aspergers.  I'm not saying my son is for sure on the spectrum....I'm not sure.  

 

According to the DSM-5, the diagnostic difference between ASD and Social Communication Disorder is basically just the presence or absence of restricted/repetitive behavior/interests. SCD is like ASD-light. My DS 7 was originally diagnosed with SCD, but that psychologist didn't actually rule out ASD with any kind of diagnostic tool. She thought he didn't "seem autistic." Things got harder as he got older, not easier, and his therapists kept recommending him for therapies that our insurance wouldn't cover with a SCD diagnosis, so I took him for a second opinion from a multidisciplinary team, which determined that we are in fact dealing with autism, not SCD. And as it turns out, SCD isn't supposed to be diagnosed unless ASD is conclusively ruled out, so the SCD was a hardcore misdiagnosis.

When they evaluated your DS, did they use the ADOS? That's the gold standard for diagnosing or ruling out ASD. Many will supplement with the ADI-R. 

HERE'S a good explanation of SCD.

THIS page lists the current diagnostic criteria for ASD and SCD.

And for reference, HERE is the diagnostic criteria from the DSM-4 for Asperger's. To me it actually seems more restrictive than the current criteria for ASD (basically the DSM-5 ASD criteria + no significant language delay + no cognitive delay + no delay in adaptive behavior).

Edited by Cake and Pi

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13 hours ago, Cake and Pi said:

 

According to the DSM-5, the diagnostic difference between ASD and Social Communication Disorder is basically just the presence or absence of restricted/repetitive behavior/interests. SCD is like ASD-light. My DS 7 was originally diagnosed with SCD, but that psychologist didn't actually rule out ASD with any kind of diagnostic tool. She thought he didn't "seem autistic." Things got harder as he got older, not easier, and his therapists kept recommending him for therapies that our insurance wouldn't cover with a SCD diagnosis, so I took him for a second opinion from a multidisciplinary team, which determined that we are in fact dealing with autism, not SCD. And as it turns out, SCD isn't supposed to be diagnosed unless ASD is conclusively ruled out, so the SCD was a hardcore misdiagnosis.

When they evaluated your DS, did they use the ADOS? That's the gold standard for diagnosing or ruling out ASD. Many will supplement with the ADI-R. 

HERE'S a good explanation of SCD.

THIS page lists the current diagnostic criteria for ASD and SCD.

And for reference, HERE is the diagnostic criteria from the DSM-4 for Asperger's. To me it actually seems more restrictive than the current criteria for ASD (basically the DSM-5 ASD criteria + no significant language delay + no cognitive delay + no delay in adaptive behavior).

Yes, they did the ADOS.  However, she said if in a few years he doesn’t improve on ADHD meds, SCD would be considered. I just don’t like the diagnosis because it only mentions social, when he struggles in all of the areas, just less so.  After a Skype call with his grandparents last weekend, he had a meltdown and was out of sorts for a whole day. SCD just doesn’t seem to include stuff like that.  And he does have repetitive behavior, interests....though improved on medication. I’ve kind of given up on an accurate diagnosis. 

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