Kids Who Need Friends And New Attitudes

Kids Who Need Friends And New Attitudes

Dear Dr. Meg,

Hi, I am a mother of a 10-year-old boy who has been harassed at school by other kids and even classmates for the pass 5 years.  It’s getting to the point that he asked me crying to change him to another class or he does not want to go to school anymore.  My husband asked the teacher what was going on, and the teacher said that the kids are just trying to help him keep up with the class.  The teacher said that he has difficulties focusing and he gets distracted easy.  His grades are not bad but he needs to study more than the other kids.

My son does not have any friends.  Kids always laugh at him because he is not coordinated when he plays any sport activity.  He attends Sunday school classes got baptized at age 7.  Since this happened this school year he believes that Jesus does not love him because Jesus is allowing all this things to happen to him.  My son has good behavior at school, but at home is different.   If we ask him to do something while he is playing or watching TV, he will talk back at us in a very loud voice.

What to do?

My daughter, who is 13 years old, also does not have any friends.   She always plays alone.  She has good behavior at school.   All the teachers tell me that she is a very nice girl.  At home she also has a bad attitude when ask to do something.   I have asked her why she does not have any friends, she says that the kids do not want to play what she wants to play, and then the kids will start making fun of her.  She also attends Sunday school and Sunday service.   She was baptized when she was 10.  She has been diagnosed with ADD and is currently taking medication since she was in Third grade, only during school year.  Her grades are good.

These situations are affecting the quality of our family relationships and communication with each other.  Please, do you have any advice of what to do or how to handle these situations?

Signed,
Mother That Needs Help

Dear MTNH,

You and your husband need to find out whether your son is really being bullied at school by kids or whether he dislikes school, because he is having trouble studying. If the problem is that kids are being mean to him, then I would firmly ask the teacher whether she helps the other kids stop and if she can’t, then I think it would help him to change classes or perhaps go to another school. Children can’t learn in an environment where they feel sad and bullied all the time.

If he does have attention issues, take him to your pediatrician and ask him/her to help you find out what is going on. Your doctor can guide you in the direction he needs for further testing or perhaps medication at some point.

As far as his bad behavior at home- you need to put your foot down. You and his father need to decide what you are going to do if he speaks badly to you. He can’t yell at you- this is not acceptable. Together, you and his father can decide on an appropriate punishment for this. I would take away some privilege, like watching television, playing video games or being on his computer. And when you do take these away, make it stick. Don’t let him have them back for a couple of days and don’t give in.

The other thing that might really help is for you to invite one of his friends over to your home on a weekend. Then, you can see how he interacts with kids. You may see that he isn’t nice to them, and you can see if they are mean to him. Also- inviting friends over to the house may help him establish some friendships with kids.

Finally, you say that he isn’t coordinated. Can you find him something that he is interested in that doesn’t involve athletic skills? Does he like to play an instrument? Does he like to act in plays? Or does he enjoy any type of outdoor work or woodworking? If you ask him, I’m sure that you can find him some activity that he can enjoy and then sign him up for classes. This will help get his mind off of school, and he may meet new friends there.

Concerning your daughter, I would work with your husband about the way she treats you. This needs to stop and it sounds as though, if you make consequences for her when she misbehaves, she will probably stop. Since she doesn’t have friends either, I would try finding her something to do outside of school that she enjoys too- just like you can do for her brother. Many girls are interested in things that their friends aren’t, and she just may be bored with her friends. So do some digging- does she like animals, arts, playing an instrument or dance? I’m sure that you can find something that she will enjoy and when you do, she will meet other girls who share a common interest with her.

Best of luck!

Signed,
Dr. Meg

Stay Or Leave? An Unfaithful Spouse

Stay Or Leave? An Unfaithful Spouse

Dear Dr. Meg,

I’ve been married for 19 years and in 2009 my husband had an affair and was ready to leave our kids and me. We went to some therapy with a psychologist and our priest.   Things were good for a while but in 2013 it happened again.  I also learned he had an affair when I was pregnant with our 1st.  Am I crazy for staying with him?

Signed,
Wife of an Unfaithful Spouse

Dear WOAUS,

No, you are not crazy to stay with him. In fact, I admire you. Clearly, your husband has some emotional issues and they are being worked out through having affairs. He must be a terribly insecure man.

The reasons that men have affairs are varied. Many wives blame themselves but this is misguided because no matter how strained a marriage is, having an affair is never justified. I think that you are a great mother. Your children may think that you are crazy to put up with your husband’s affairs, but as they mature they will understand that you did the best thing for them. Think about it like this; it is better for kids to stay in a home with married parents where one parent is unfaithful than to live with divorced parents. The harm that they endure from an unfaithful father is far less severe than what they would experience from divorce.

I would strongly encourage you to get some help for yourself so that you can stay emotionally healthy and strong. He may continue to act out because he knows that he can and perhaps he knows that you won’t demand anything better from him. I encourage you to toughen up. No, you do not want to threaten to leave, but you need to demand some respect for yourself and the marriage.

I’m sure that friends will tell you that you are crazy but also think about this: if you do leave him, then you are putting your children in a position where they will have to deal with their father’s habits on their own. They would have to go to his house and see him with other women and this could be devastating for them. And there would be nothing that you could do about it!

You are a good woman. Keep getting stronger and try not to listen to the negative banter out there. You are doing the right thing for your family.

Signed,
Dr. Meg

New Live-In Boyfriend and a 3-Year-Old

Dear Dr. Meg,

My 3 year old is waking up 4 or 5 times in the middle of the night and I’m getting no sleep.  I’m afraid it might be the changes that have taken place in my life that have affected him directly.  I am in a new relationship and the man I’m dating moved in with us.   I went back to work and he started school. My son goes to school from 8:30am to 2:30pm Monday through Friday.  I take him to school everyday but some days my boyfriend picks him up, cooks him dinner, bathes him and puts him to bed.  I’m afraid the stress is too much on him and I don’t want to hurt my son.  Please help!

Signed,
Sleepless Mom

___________

Dear Sleepless Mom-

Your 3 year old is trying to send you a message loud and clear- he can’t take the stress! The truth is, and I know that this is hard for you to hear, he can’t handle your boyfriend living in your home. Since your responsibility as a mom is to your son first, your boyfriend needs to move out.

I know you don’t want to hear this, but you must face the truth. There is something about your boyfriend that your son doesn’t trust and you aren’t seeing it. He may seem like a nice guy to you, but kids read people better than we do because they aren’t blinded by love. Your son doesn’t trust this man and you shouldn’t.

Please do the right thing and have your boyfriend move out. Take your relationship slower. Get to know him better and don’t leave him alone with your son.

Signed,
Dr. Meg

Mood Swings and a Daughter with Attitude

Dear Dr. Meg,

Hi, I have a question for you. I have a 9-year-old daughter (almost 10). I can definitely tell we are going through some hormonal changes such as breast budding and mood swings. I am trying to very carefully correct or discipline behaviors and she gets so upset. She refuses to apologize and thinks everyone is wrong except herself. I try to explain to her that God allows me to be her mommy so I can teach her and guide her and families were meant to help each other grow. I need daddy to tell me when I’m getting a nasty mouth because sometimes we don’t even realize it. It’s not me hounding on her or that I think she’s SO bad, it’s just helping her to notice it’s not polite to talk that way or roll her eyes at people. My main concern is her unwillingness to apologize. When she does it’s because I ask her to but it’s not a genuine “I’m sorry”.

Any suggestions?

Signed,
Mother Wanting Resolution

__________________

Dear MWR,

There is an answer for your daughter and it is, brain development. Most 9 or 10-year-old kids have difficulty understanding or admitting when they are wrong because psychologically they are profoundly egocentric. Additionally most lack the ability to see life from another person’s perspective because of cognitive immaturity. So, the good new is, that your daughter may not be a mean person; she is just immature.

Here’s what I would do. Do not continue to explain things to her because doing so frustrates you and her. Simply tell her that behaving in a rude manner toward people is against the rules of your home. You don’t roll your eyes at others and neither can she. Discipline her for rude behavior as you would for anything else.

Don’t worry about her apologies not being sincere. That takes a lot of maturity and if any of us waited to feel 100% sincere before we apologized, we might never say we’re sorry! Keep training her to do the right thing and eventually, her heart and mind will catch up with her behavior.

Sincerely,
Dr. Meg

Same Sex Attraction

Dear Dr. Meg,

Do you know of any support group for parents or mothers who deal with an adult child who has same sex attraction? My daughter has not admitting it to me but to many others. She knows I do not agree with that lifestyle and expect chastity. I have not been open about it to others, as I do not want to hear or feel their condemnation of my daughter. I am praying so hard that there will be a miracle of healing.

Signed,
In Need of A Miracle

_____________________

Dear In Need of A Miracle,

I would go online and see if you can find support. Have you tried a local Catholic church or another church, which can offer you support? Often pastors and priests are willing to talk with parents about sexual identity issues in kids.

As a mother, I would encourage you to continue to love her and to not show your feelings about her sexual choice. Here’s why. If she senses that she disgusts you and that every time she is with you, you want to change her, she will avoid you. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with her. A grown patient of mine has a sister living a gay lifestyle and this is what my patient told her sister. It preserved their relationship. She said, “Sara, you know that I love you dearly. I always will. I don’t agree with your lifestyle and you probably know that. I will always be here to support you and help you. You are always welcome to come stay with me whenever you want and you may bring your girlfriend. But, I ask that you respect my feelings about sharing a bedroom with her because I believe that if you aren’t married, you should be celibate. That is what we are teaching our kids and I want the behavior in our home to support what we teach them. I know that this upsets you but we simply have to agree to disagree on this issue. After we end this conversation, we don’t need to talk about it again but I needed to talk to you openly as we always have.”

After the conversation, my patient carried on her relationship with her sister as she always had. She loves her and supports her but made her feelings known. She never brought the issue up again and the two have a very strong, respectful relationship.

I encourage you to listen to a radio show that I did for Family Talk with Christopher Yuan. Christopher is a beautiful man who is HIV +, has a strong faith, a close relationship with his mother and lived a promiscuous gay lifestyle. He is celibate now and openly discusses the relationship struggles he has had.

This is a tough issue for many parents and family members. The truth is, many adults and kids are confused about their sexual identity because they (all kids) are pressured by many different sources. The most important thing for a parent to do is to love them and separate their feelings about the child’s lifestyle from their behavior. It’s tough, but you can do it.

Sincerely,
Dr. Meg