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In Need on In-depth Understanding of Childhood Anxiety

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  • In Need on In-depth Understanding of Childhood Anxiety

    Hello everyone,

    As most of you know, I deal with kids every day. I thought I knew a lot having been into this route for 11 years now. However, this kid in question is giving my co-workers and I a lot of headaches.

    Let me start... he is 9 years old. He has Type I diabetes, so one of my co-workers has to monitor his blood sugar levels prior meals and does the necessary correction. He is a very bright kid, and in fact, he is among the highest ranking readers in the district. However, behavior impacts his everyday school life.

    This kid lives with his so called mom and dad who are not biologically his, but they are relatives. In school, he yells, disrespects, hits every person, young and old who "gets in the way" - (the way he wants things to be). He doesn't want to be told what to do, etc....

    I am suspecting this kid is one of those who was conceived by unprepared parents (meth addiction is pretty common in my area), among other vices. So here I am thinking, maybe he has an underdeveloped lymbic system and what not...that is why he behaves like this.

    We have taken all his specials (Art, Music, PE, Library time) because these are all less structured environments. We started out with a shortened day (1/2 day in school and the other half spent at home) because of his uncontrollable, defiant, non-compliant behavior. Recently, he has made progress. Shortened day, he got back to whole day of school and then earned back his regular classes. But when he acts out, he gets thrown to me, because I'm the manager of this case.

    What I'm curious about is that for those who have been in this situation or those who have lived, observed, or with these types of people what do you think I can do to reach him? It seems like he has so much anxiety in him and he couldn't express. I am training him to relax and to **develop/learn (positive) expression of emotion, as well as conflict resolution when challenging situations arise. But every time we get a headway, he always finds a way to sabotage his own progress.

    Right now, I feel like a failure as a professional. I spend my entire evening and weekends thinking about this kid and how to help him, that I end up spent and burned out, only bourbon and coke can help me stop thinking.

    Would you all help me figure this out? If you had anxiety/depression as a kid, how did it feel like to you when you were in school, dealing with teachers, school work, following school rules, etc.? How did you break through the barriers and became successful in coping?

    Desperately,

    Cat
    Last edited by caterpillar79; 12-07-2011, 11:15 PM. Reason: *incomplete info

  • I'm going to talk to my mom about this. She retired after 30+ years teaching middle school special ed, and then went to teach as a sub after retirement at the "alternative (aka detention) school". She truly has a gift for dealing with troubled children, and I know that her approach is not always a soft sweet one, but sometimes she tries to reach them on their level without overstepping her boundaries.

    You're dealing with lots of different things here. Part could be behavioral based on his upbringing, part could be medical based on his conditions, part could be mental based on potential drug use during pregnancy. Each one of those things has to be broken down and handled different, not simultaneously. It's sort of like making a brainstorming tree for him, then learning to identify where certain behaviors fit (was that one mental? was it behavioral? was it medical?) Can ANY of his outbreaks be tied to an out of whack blood sugar? Is he on any other meds that could cause irritability or anger? Once you learn to identify where the behaviors belong, you learn to deal with them.

    On a behavioral level it seems that once a child thinks they are "bad", all the other kids think they're bad, the teachers think they're bad, their caregivers think they are bad.......they are more prone to act out. A child like that needs someone on THEIR team, someone that doesn't think they're "bad", someone that remains calm when they misbehave, someone that talks to them like a normal kid, but someone in which that child learns won't accept carp from them. Often, children like him don't know attention unless it's negative so it is what they seek. Anything they can do to get them negative attention, is what they are going to do. So it's vital to teach them positive reinforcement. You need to be that person who is a constant for him. You need to be that person that doesn't throw him off onto someone else when he misbehaves. You need to be someone that he learns isn't going anywhere, is not giving up on him, and is going to butt heads with him until he concedes. He needs stability.

    With stability and consistency comes trust. This is the ideal time to set rewards. A reward shouldn't be "you get to go back into the classroom" because chances are he feels like such an outcast there that it is NOT a reward for him. And the more he hates it there, the more he's going to act out so that he can get out of there. A reward should be something that makes him feel special (most likely, he doesn't even know what it feels like).

    Ask him to help you do things. Things other kids don't get to do. (Quite honestly I'm not 100% sure what your role is in this, so if you can't do these things, perhaps you can have someone do so that is in the position to) This might be something like helping to grade papers, helping to type up things, etc. They should be asked of him as a "I really need some help and am running out of time, could you help me?" type thing so that he feels a bit of a "hero" therefore, ego boosting.

    These are times when he won't feel like the center of attention and you just might get him to open up a bit with time. Once you establish that trust, and he respects you, and knows you respect him...he'll feel much more accountable for doing things that could jeopardize that.

    Sorry if this is overkill and all things you've thought about and tried. Just trying to go through the scenario in my head.
    "Be what you're looking for."

    Comment


    • So here I am thinking, maybe he has an underdeveloped lymbic system and what not...that is why he behaves like this.
      Probably not so likely. Behaviors such as these are often learned and based on the environment. Being born from a couple with drug addiction, for example, could expose him to more susceptibility of behavior problems simply because exposure to drugs in uterine can cause a person to be more affected by environment compared to one that was not exposed...and they can still have fully intact brain structures. If the parents are not so well suited, give him whatever he wants when he wants, do not employ discipline techniques, do not say no to him when those words should be said etc. then the child will learn that "hey I can do what I want". Acting out on others is also often due to not having a sibling at home, there is no initial learning process of "be nice to others". Couple that with poor parenting style and the child will be open to any action they want because they have not learned anything different growing up.

      The special needs children are often put into "learning rooms" for part of the day where they learn their necessary skills alone one-on-one with a teacher, there is when they often do best which shows that is not an overall problem-otherwise they would be lashing out and defying authority figures in that simple setting. It is when the child is reintroduced to other kids when the problems arise, that shows that it has to do with the communication between others...the body language, the verbal language, the associations with others. That is the stuff they often cannot do because the situations because it is just too overwhelming for the special needs child.

      All you can really do outside of asking for professional opinion of a child psychologist is to ease the child into situations. You know he can make progress with one-on-one time so maybe introduce the child to non-overwhelming situations. Sort of always be by his side watching him but not letting him interact with 15 children at the same time, limit it to one or two at a time so he can learn those calm behaviors (which you know he can do) around others without being overwhelmed. Positive reinforcement both verbal and physical can help as well when he has done something good like helped someone pick out colors for an art project or whatever. Say things like "you did a real good job high-five!".
      There are those who believe that dictionaries should not merely reflect the times but also protect English from the mindless assaults of the trendy.

      Comment


      • Thank you, BD and IAS. I always do take into account that, 1) his behavior could be because of his blood sugar level, hence, when I think he needs to be checked, he gets checked and gets the necessary correction; 2) he has a troubled home life - adoptive dad had PTSD, adoptive mom works late and almost always out of town; 3) he shows signs of oppositional defiant disorder; 4) he is taking medication for his anxiety (respitol); 5) our school district doesn't have the facility to cater to all his needs, I just do my very best to work with what I have available, which mostly end up to only coping from day to day. I deal with him in my classroom every day, as well as the other kids.

        Today, I was on-duty for outdoor recess and I had to sprint to intervene before a fight ensues. I succeeded so far. This kid in question (a boy) was pushed by another kid (a girl) and he heard me say "STOP" while I was running towards them, he ran into the building. I think right there, that so far, he understood what I've been teaching him - to get himself out of the situation so he does not get in trouble.

        Some days are good, some are bad. He is like a light switch and I am always on a roller coaster ride. I am truly curious how it is like to a person/a kid who has depression and/or anxiety. I wonder how their perception works. All I know is theory. Remember Temple Grandin? Before she came out to the public, Autism was just more of a theory - what experts say. But because of her sharing what it is like, how it feels/looks like, there is light, and now, we understand and know better. I hope I can find that person who can share his/her perception.

        Comment


        • I'm no expert...

          I raised a 9 year old and a 6 year old for a year, when I was 16..I was a Nanny who the guy employed I think cause he had the hots for me, he thought i was 23

          In any event, the 9 year old was rebelious towards me, locking her in a room wasn't the answer she just got worse. I suspect that she terribly missed her Mother and felt deserted.

          When ever I have found "lost souls" I be-friend them... I will / can be harsh, but ultimately, I make them feel that they are special to me, that I am a friend and I work my way as long as it takes to make them trust me, feel that I am there for them... From there, I've always seen a "different " person... Once with trust, and a friend, feels love...

          Sometimes that word "love" is all it takes.... It's what is missing so much in this world with people.
          PUT A LITTLE 'LIKE' IN MY SOUL!

          Comment


          • That's what I've been trying to do, Mum - since school started. He was so used to being blamed at each mistake he makes and he is hard on himself. Today though, the event during the outdoor recess showed him how much I care about him (I dropped my phone on the concrete pavement and broke the glass cover when I sprinted, just so I can intervene before it escalates into a physical fight and he gets in trouble). I talked to him afterwards and pointed it out to him that the teachers and I care about him and all the other kids that we are taking risks everyday to reach them. He is such a smart kid and I know he understands. It is this same smartness though that backfires at times. He can be manipulative. I always have to be careful not to baby him.

            Likewise, there is no consistency at home. I have heard him a lot of times telling adults including myself saying, "you're a liar!" and it hurts my feelings. I think he hears this a lot at home. If not from the adoptive parents, from his grandparents whom they visit once in a while. This burns me out and I do look forward to holidays and weekends, and at the same time dread going to work. How bad is that?

            I love what I do, but it takes so much energy.... thanks for letting me vent. It always feel good afterwards. Never a minute passes that he does not cross my mind! Argh!

            Comment


            • Never a minute passes that he does not cross my mind! Argh!
              What does this tell me? That you are that special person. You have the gift he needs. You know...that person that cares so deeply that she will find a way to reach this child. You may not get as far as you'd like, but you have it in your heart to reach him and to make a difference in his life. As frustrated as you may get with him at times.....just never lose sight of the fact that you ARE that person. It's very clear to me that you are.
              "Be what you're looking for."

              Comment


              • "you're a liar!" and it hurts my feelings. I think he hears this a lot at home. If not from the adoptive parents, from his grandparents whom they visit once in a while. This burns me out and I do look forward to holidays and weekends, and at the same time dread going to work. How bad is that?
                Cat, my love, daughter, he is testing you..."Is she real?"... And when you take it to heart he sees that, and so he questions, "is she real?" Your answer is, no love, I know some people may tell you one thing and do another, I promise what ever I tell you I will see through.

                You are doing a beautiful job... Use your heart... The one you have immensely and see when he is reaching and smile at him and give him the answer he needs.

                It's very fearful when you hear things like that because it breaks your heart but at the same time, you only hear the words, not the meanings, or what he really could be saying.

                Off course everyone is a lier until, someome, shows, him, different in words and actions.

                Love you
                PUT A LITTLE 'LIKE' IN MY SOUL!

                Comment


                • Originally posted by CHANDLERS WISH View Post
                  Cat, my love, daughter, he is testing you..."Is she real?"... And when you take it to heart he sees that, and so he questions, "is she real?" Your answer is, no love, I know some people may tell you one thing and do another, I promise what ever I tell you I will see through.

                  You are doing a beautiful job... Use your heart... The one you have immensely and see when he is reaching and smile at him and give him the answer he needs.

                  It's very fearful when you hear things like that because it breaks your heart but at the same time, you only hear the words, not the meanings, or what he really could be saying.

                  Off course everyone is a lier until, someome, shows, him, different in words and actions.

                  Love you
                  It's a test everyday. Sometimes I wonder is he going to be a future JDF (juvenile delinquent facility) client? I have another kid who is similar to him but a year older. This second kid, we request the campus police in to school 90% of the time. Is this the future of America? Unwanted/unplanned, uneducated parenthood.....remember the movie, 'Idiocracy'? That comes up to me almost everyday. These kids are who they are because of what happened as a result of their parents' actions when they're being conceived and developing in this environment.

                  I feel for the parents who are doing their best to help and care for their kids. But at the same time, I pity the kids who have so much potential but their parents seem like they have no business having their own. I apologize for this comment. I just want to vent this carp.

                  I try very hard not to take it personally when student A says or does this or that. But it can get to me when I am emotionally challenged myself. To some extent, this is taking a toll on my marital happiness. Hence, I conclude, I have no business parenting another child in this world. I already had two and I failed at that as well - that should be enough lesson for me.
                  Last edited by caterpillar79; 12-10-2011, 01:23 PM.

                  Comment


                  • Cat, it's evident to me, this is very rooted for you.

                    You are comparing what you believe to be your own failure and consequently, viewing other parents of children you are looking after and viewing their failure and assuming that these children have no chance in heck to ever jump over those hurdles.

                    This is all very raw and emotional to you because you are allowing "you" to play a role in this, your personal thoughts, feelings and past...

                    Off course, then you are bringing that home with you, you are such a sensitive soul, it's all eating at you past and present... And, off course that has to effect your marriage.

                    You have to take "you" out of this... And, you have to understand we as man can not change the world.. We can not stop kids from growing up and following the wrong path, because when they leave school, they go back to the home where drugs, abuse, theft, is still all in place on a daily basis...

                    You know my belief, "If, I only help one person, just one, then I have done my job"... And that is the reality.

                    You are not there to change all these children as if they were you own and guide them onto better lives, stop them from going down the wrong road.. You are there to teach what you can, and hope that one, at least one, holds onto your beliefs, thoughts and follows your advice, path... And, if more do? Bonus.

                    Any profession that requires success, and is almost un-achievable, will always result in that person feeling like a failure. However, the real success simply comes from giving everything you had, knowing you did everything you could, then there is no failure Cat, only success. What "they " choose to do from there is their success or failure.

                    You do not know in 6 years time, 10 years time, that you made a difference in one or more of their lives, that they remember their teacher, admired her, believed in her and changed their ways, as a result taking your teachings over their parents, when they are of an age to think for themselves... You can't know that, you are not there yet.

                    Keep focused, on a path of you are successful in your teachings and keep teaching, and keep in hope that one day you will see, you actually made a difference in one or more of those kids lives, later down the track...Because you will.

                    Stop taking this home with you and stop beating yourself up over what ever happened in your earlier life where your children were involved, there were reasons beyond your control, at that time, that I am sure of...

                    The only time we fail is if we give up...

                    It's never to late either to start again...

                    I don't know if you want to share anything here but I'm feeling, gut feeling is you need to vent and get it all out once and for all.
                    PUT A LITTLE 'LIKE' IN MY SOUL!

                    Comment


                    • Yes, Mum. I do need to vent and I am so grateful that WH is here - that all of you are here. I am such a reclusive person. My talkative nature in the forum is not as true in person, especially if there are more than 3 people around. Sometimes I wonder how I ended up in this career. I just love to share what I know and teach, etc....

                      BTW, did you know that the states look at the number of 3rd grade students who cannot read and they base the number of jail cells to build on that count and there is about 4% margin of error in there estimate? This just puts more pressure on me as part of these students' lives. Somehow, I am so hard on myself today. 5 more days and I'll have a 14-day Christmas break, it should be nice.

                      The mind of a kid who is depressed or anxious really makes me curious - I wonder if they can even feel real joy when it comes. I wonder how they perceive my firm warnings and gentle instruction? I wonder if, at the age of 9, they can tell that they are really set out to fend for themselves because their parents are too busy to keep their lights and bills paid. It's not their parents fault predominantly, but.....how can life be so cruel to such innocent souls?

                      Comment


                      • If there were no hurdles to jump as a child, that child would not be wary of the real world, nor be educated about what lays ahead and how to handle that.

                        We can not choose our parents but as we mature, we can choose if we wish to be like them or, the opposite.

                        You are a part of their childhood, one that they will remember if you be you, and in that, you have become a part of that lesson that they will impliment later in life.

                        YA JUST NEED A HOLIDAY
                        PUT A LITTLE 'LIKE' IN MY SOUL!

                        Comment


                        • caterpillar, when training someone of whatever age who seems untrainable, the key for the trainer is to learn to deal with and let go of the frustration of the slow pace. Start each day anew and go over what you are trying to teach to the depth that you can in the time you have (kind of like Zen). Celebrate the small achievements. Over time progress should be made.
                          I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
                          ...
                          Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

                          From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

                          Comment


                          • I'll do my best to keep that in mind and do it everyday. (And here I am again with the negative thought, saying, " one step forward, two steps back".)

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by caterpillar79 View Post
                              BTW, did you know that the states look at the number of 3rd grade students who cannot read and they base the number of jail cells to build on that count and there is about 4% margin of error in there estimate?
                              just wow

                              just found this thread and needed to bring it forward for parents/teachers of elementary kids

                              Comment

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