April 7, 2009

Banging our heads against the wall.

Yesterday, Noah's teacher (Mr. S.) called to let us know that Noah's been "increasingly difficult" in class. Not getting along with the other kids...throwing full-on raging hissy fits over relatively minor happenings, and being so nasty to one of his friends, that the teacher had to separate them. Mr. S. explained to Noah that he's pushing his friends away by acting like this. Noah's defense is that he's being bullied, and he gets so angry that he loses his cool and lashes out. I told Mr. S. that Noah has told me about the bullying in the past, and my advice to him was to not react like he does, because that's what is fueling the fire for these kids.

Mr. S. says he's not quite sure Noah is being truthful about all this bullying, because he said Noah overreacts and blows things up so much...like the boy who cried wolf. I agreed that Noah can and does overreact, but he does not lie, and told him of a few recent instances of the bullying. Mr. S. was not aware of these, and wondered why Noah didn't tell him about it. I said-" just because he didn't tell you, doesn't mean he's lying." He said he would investigate what I told him. Most of it, he went on to say, is the age...5th grade is tough and all that, and I understand, but what worries me most is that Mr. S. believes Noah is seriously lacking coping skills. I agree with him there. It's like he's so innocent, that he takes everything at face value. He has no "street smarts". He can't recognize when some one's being sarcastic in a mean way, (as kids are known to do ) and can't seem to understand when someone doesn't like him, or doesn't want to be his friend.

I let Mr.S. know that we have talked this through with Noah till we've been blue in the face, and that we feel at such a loss for what to do next. Counseling? More talk? what? I can only give him so much parental advice, and at this point, it seems like it's falling on deaf ears.

My husband and I spent a good amount of time last night going over what we could have done wrong. I feel like we broke our kid. It seems like before diabetes came into the picture, he was doing fine coping with life, he had school buddies and was generally a happy camper. We realized his diagnosis didn't change him...it changed us. We went from letting Noah be this free and easy little boy, to hovering over every move he made. I tried to make everything easy for him, because my thinking was that he had so much to adapt and adjust to already being a person with diabetes. I overcompensated and tried to make the days go smooth for him. I babied him too much. I didn't let him live and learn, like a kid is supposed to. My dad says a kid has to eat a little dirt sometimes. He's right.

So, after some mulling it over, I think some kind of counseling is the way to go. Now begins a search for someone who hopefully has some knowledge of Type 1...not that it's essential, but it may help.


Kelly said...

OH MY GOODNESS. I think you have written this post about my Maddison! (and us as parents) We are in this very similar place right now. We even just had a bully too. No wise words of advice, but I am right here with you.


Jill said...

Oh gosh! I feel for you :( Are you sure these outbursts are not due to sugars bouncing (a.k.a. hormones?) I hate to use that as a crutch but it could explain some of whats going on...especially the "hissy fits".

Not long ago, we had the same thing going on with Kacey. She was throwing temper tantrums that were soooo not like her and worse than she ever did when she hit terrible 2's. She'd stomp and flail her arms and I'd stand there and say "Who are you and what have you done with Kacey?" because it was so bad. Her blood sugars were all over the place and there was nothing she could physically do to control them. I know it's hard to get other people to understand that their moods are affected THIS much by blood sugars. Especially teachers...I always feel like I'm making "excuses" for Kacey but it's obvious that blood sugars affect her work because the proof is in her attitude and grades when they match up to the time of day she tested and what her blood sugar was.
Another thing he needs to understand is when Noah is being bullied, his sugars can go up from being upset and that can cause the outburst too.

Gosh...I sooooo feel for you :( (((Hugs))) Have you talked to the school counselor yet? Maybe start within the school since thats where it's happening. Maybe they can bring the nurse in on the situation and she can help them understand how diabetes affects Noah entirely.

Above all...DON'T blame yourself :( As Mommies, we have a natural instinct to be overprotective and even more when we are dealing with something like diabetes. You're a great parent and you haven't done anything wrong!

Keep your chin up! :)

Amy said...

My heart just hurts for you right now! My little one is small enough that I haven't had to worry about any of this- yet. I know that we will, though! Hang in there and like Jill said- don't blame yourself! This is a tough disease and just wreaks havoc on their bodies in every way possible. You're doing a great job!

meanderings said...

Ok - stop blaming yourselves. I've met all three of you and you're very nice adults with a delightful son.
Having the teacher watching may just do the trick. A long time ago, a teacher (umm, 5th grade) called about our son's behavior. I agreed that he could keep a "record" and we would meet again to analyze just what was going on.
Turned out K was not the problem.
I'm guessing that your teacher may now see/hear what's going on with Noah and be able to nab the bullies and so, help Noah cope with difficult situations as well.
I agree w/ Jill, start with the school counselor, if there is one. If not, at your next conference w/ the teacher, please have someone else there also, like the principal or other staff member. And, both of you should be there if at all possible. AND, take notes, ask questions.

Anonymous said...

"he's so innocent, that he takes everything at face value. He has no "street smarts". He can't recognize when some one's being sarcastic in a mean way, (as kids are known to do ) and can't seem to understand when someone doesn't like him, or doesn't want to be his friend" From what you have written, I don't see a problem with your son. I see he is being bullied at school. There should be zero tolerance for this kind of behavior in the school system. Sadly, though, you are going to have to teach your son to be tough and learn how to handle these people and others like him. I think practicing responses in advance, learning what to do it this situations, kind of like improv. would help him just as much as therapy. And I would be aggressive about advocating for your son at school. Letting the school know THEY have a problem and you want them to deal with it.