I'll ask my question first, then give some background information.
What should I do to prevent my son's social behavior from regressing?
My 4 year old son is having a lot of difficulty with his behavior recently. He has been through a lot in his short life.
When he was 5 months old, I deployed to Iraq for a year. His mother sort of left him to fend for himself, other than feeding and changing him. I had to leave again for another year shortly after his 3rd birthday, however this time he was with his mother and my parents. During that time he began pre-school and had a very hard time at first. He could barely speak, had no way of communicating anything, and that was his first real interaction with children his age.
His progress since then has been remarkable. By the time he finished pre-school he met all of the criteria to move into Kindergarten.
His mother recently abandoned him (about 3 months ago). She hasn't called or made any attempt to communicate, which I'm sure is effecting his behavior somewhat.
He's always had a very hard time transitioning. He is extremely smart and has a great memory. He remembers things from right around 2 years old. He realizes that pre-school is over and he's going to Kindergarten next fall. Also, I've began taking summer classes and he's started in the summer program at a new daycare center.
He's been in the new daycare center for a total of 4 days. One of those days, my mother stayed with him. But he's only made through one whole day without a call for someone to take him home because of his behavior.
The behavior being described to me is the same behaviors he displayed when he first began pre-school at 3 years old.
His behavior at home is completely different. He acts mature for his age, communicates extremely well, and displays what I would consider typical behavior for a 4 year old boy turning 5 in a months.
Oh your poor little guy. Maybe he's having separation issues. That would be understandable given his history. If it is within your means to do so, perhaps a child psychologist could help him and you get through this. With stability and a loving father like you, he should get better with time. But until then, I think a psychologist would help him. Check your local school system and social services. Some offer counseling for children.
Good luck to you.
PS. I'm sure others will be on later with excellent advice for you. I'm just a mom of 3, not a psychologist by any means.
It could be that the daycare arent stimulating him , ask them what games they play with the children do they get outside to play, find out what the routine is. Do they sleep a lot at Day care he is 4 he doesnt need to sleep during the day and many day cares have a napping in the day routine. So check out the other avenues it may not be all him ..Good you are so caring , I always find its good to walk in their shoes see how they feel with what happens to them each day check out the day care ..when you are home or he is with your parents make sure he gets plenty of fun and games ..ball games are great Good luck I hope life is treating you well..
I agree that checking out the daycare is good, but you don't say what kind of behavior he is showing at daycare, which would help if we knew. Kids are different when it comes to the age they give up napping, but knowing his behavior while there would help us to help you. I'm sure he misses his mother and sees mothers dropping off their kids and picking them up, and this may just be a reminder to him that he doesn't have this. Plus, you were gone a lot in the beginning, so he may be having some abandonement issues. This is very sad that his mother just left him, thank God he has you!!! With your love and your parents, he can overcome this with constant reassurance. I would visit the daycare and speak with the administrator and explain your situation, and ask what you BOTH can do to help your son adjust. If it is a good daycare, they are accustomed to this and have things in place to help the children, as this is a common thing for kids his age. But his circumstances are a little different and they may need to put forth a little more effort in comforting him until he adjusts. You may also try giving him a photo of you and your parents to carry in his pocket and tell him you are always with him and will always be there as soon as daycare is over. Talk in a very excited way when it comes to daycare, about the fun, what did you do today, get him "pumped up" in the morning for a fun day at "school." This will also reassure him that it is supposed to be fun, and that daddy can't wait to hear about his day. Be very excited for him that he gets to go to school, and you will be anxious to hear about all the fun things he did. I know this is very difficult, but love and attention will go a long way in reassuring him. Kudos to you and your parents, you're all very lucky to have each other.
I agree with Mammo, I think he may have some seperation issues/abandonment issues... he may not be sure that when he is dropped of somewhere that he will see you again at the end of the day, he may feel like since there was period of seperation fro myou at one time, and then now his mother up and left that one day he might get dropped off and then not see yo uagain or soemthing...and also too like mammo said he probebly sees other moms and misses his. and yes sometimes change (especially traumatic like mom leaving) can cause behavioral regression but if it is dealt withproperly it will improve again.
have you ever heard of the book "the kissing hand" 9not sure what the other is but its a great kids book, about a kid who is going off to school and is worried and the technique in th book the mom uses is great she kisses the palm of the childs hand and says everytime you are at school and you miss mommy (in your case use daddy obviously) put you cheek ot your hand and you will feel my kiss on your cheek that way i will always be there with you... its something that may help if you try something like that in case the daycare doesnt let you give him your pic to carry with him...
oh and also i forgot to explain that the behavioural regression is the childs way of soothing or comforting themself when they feel they have no control over what is going on in their life...like they arent sure how to cope or deal with the situation so they find a way to control something...they cant contro lothers behaviour..but their behaviours they can control...or maybe the ones hes regressing to are ones that at that time in his life gave him some sort of good attention in some way, or got him out of some thing or situation...and maybe thinks this behaviour will do this now? but im not sure what the behaviours are so i cant really say... hope this helps.
Basically, whenever he's with me his behavior is next to perfect. The second he goes with my parents, or off to day care he regresses.
This is what he regresses to:
Biting, hitting, flailing, screaming at the top of his lungs, temper tantrums, pushing, scratching, throwing things. Taking things out of their place and making a mess out of spite. Incoherent crying/talking that gets louder as people attempt to sooth him.
He doesn't do this with me. He starts, but I've explained to him that it's just not acceptable behavior. Sometimes I give a T.O. to try and calm him down ( I sit a few feet away talking to him calmly) and once I can see he's calmed down, I let him up. But I never have him there more than 4 or 5 minutes. And other times, he doesn't need a T.O. I just remind him of better ways to express himself and he does.
Another thing he does is talk about sending people to heaven. He usually says this when he has to wait for something, i.e. in a line. We were at the doctors the other day attempting to get papers for his daycare and after we went to a park near-by. Because it was an unsuccessful attempt where we wound up sitting in the waiting room for about 45 minutes, I said something to express my impatience. He told me to get a gun and send them all to heaven. He also said he wanted to get a sword and "sword" the kids in his daycare class so that he doesn't have to wait in line anymore.
The guns and swords part comes from another child he met in pre-school with his own set of issues. I was a little concerned about that, but I understand that because he has no real concept of life or death at 4 years old, I realize that he'll grow out of that. He only knows that when you're dead, you go away forever. I'm slowly working on that concept with him, trying not to give him nightmares in the process.
For a 4 year old to be speaking of sending people away to heaven is of some concern to me. I think his past has caught up with him, and you need a child psychologist to intervene at this point. I've seen it over and over where people will get custody of a grandchild as young as three thinking that they will create wondeful times and memories with the child and all will be fine. What they find is that their little minds were shaped during those first few years and no matter how much they were loved and well cared for, the child still had the past in their memory. So therapy became a regular thing with these families. You tend to think by getting a child at such an early age that you can make up for the past and all will be okay, but it doesn't work that way. I think your son has some issues which are too big for just you to handle on your own, and righfully so. Since he is so young and has you, with some professional help you can get him beyond this so that he can live a happy, normal life. Parenting is extremely hard to begin with and then add something like your son has endured and it's becomes more difficult. It may be that your son behaves this way as a way of protecting himself from getting attached to people who may just leave him someday, sort of putting up a wall. He feels safest with you, you are now the one constant in his life, but he may find that he doesn't trust others to not hurt him like his mother did. I truly think at least an evaluation by a child behavorial therapist is best right now. You're doing very well as a single parent, but his mother has left some scars and these need to be addressed. You can get him over this, but you will need some professional help in finding out exactly what he is fearing and feeling. I do wish you luck, I'm sure this is difficult for you both, I'm happy he has you. Take care..
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