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Single Mom of a Boy...At a Loss

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Old 07-29-2010, 01:58 PM   #1
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Default Single Mom of a Boy...At a Loss

(I really hope that you guys are getting tired of my random, more life than weight related threads. I just have found everyone here to be so helpful and it's therapuetic for me to write these things out. Also, I love hearing from so many people from different walks of life and different places and backgrounds. So, if you're tired of me, I apologize, but I almost can't help it!)

I'm just at a loss right now as a parent. I'm a single mom to a 6 year old boy. I know every mom says this about their kids, but he is really a very good child and very sweet. Compared to other kids his age, he seems much more childish (as weird as that is to say for a 6 year old) and innocent...and I love that about him.

However, he has started having some behavioral problems at school. These incidents have been few and far between, but concern me. I feel anxious all day at work because I'm wondering if he's being good at summer care or school or if I'm going to get a nasty note from the teacher or have someone meet me at the door when I pick him up to tell me he's been bad. It makes me feel like a terrible failure, it's humiliating. These incidents have been physical. Once, he was punched in the face (that makes me sick and sad to write) by a kid who told the principal that my son had been making fun of him (very unlike him). Two other times, he started the fight and apparently for no reason. The teachers or caregivers said it was very random and couldn't really explain what happened...apparently he was not being picked on or provoked. What causes a generally happy, easy going, sweet kid to randomly hurt someone?

I can't help but think that I must not be giving him everything he needs. I feel bad that he doesn't have a father figure (or any males in his life on a regular basis at all)...is there any way I can compensate for that particular gap? Could that be causing him to act out like this? I just wondered what other single moms (or just moms) have done for their boys when they started acting out? What do boys need in general?

My brother had a lot of behavioral issues growing up and I feel like a lot of it has to do with how we were raised...or not really raised. He is now a petty criminal and an absolute low life...this is my fear for my son. That I will screw it all up and he'll end up expelled from school or dropping out. (Yes I realize he's only 6.)
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Old 07-29-2010, 02:08 PM   #2
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Been through it with my daughter- as a young single mom, you tend to get 'guilted' by the school system, daycares, etc.- which doesn't really solve the problem. I wish I had spent less time feeling guilty and ashamed for being too young, single, working, busy etc.- the reality is, that's life. What I WISH I would have done (and am doing better with, now that she's in high school) was advocate more for my daughter. Don't let the caregivers make you feel guilty or scared because this will lead you to make decisions based on your fear of how they're judging you. Instead, realize you are the CEO of your family, and take the proactive approach. Meet with them. Get their suggestions and observations. Don't ask what you are doing wrong, ask what is happening in the school environment that is making your son act this way. Tell them you will take their suggestions into consideration, and then talk to your son about it. Bottom line is, the more advocating you do for your son, the more his caregivers get to know you and will pay more attention to your son because they know you are concerned, involved and paying attention to what THEY do, and they may find the root of the problem- it may be that HE is being bullied, but they are only getting one side of the story.

It's hard being a single momma, but it gets better, I PROMISE!! Hang in there!
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Old 07-29-2010, 02:11 PM   #3
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Have you just asked him why he's acting out and getting into fights, what made him tease the other boy? Maybe he'll spill some little nugget of information that will make sense.

Look into Big Brothers. My husband was a Big Brother for several kids over the years who didn't have a dad around, and it's a great program. Several are now adults and we still hear from them and keep in touch.
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Old 07-29-2010, 02:12 PM   #4
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Oh and I had the same fears about my daughter turning into a lowlife like another member of our family... When she was 13 she got into a tad bit of trouble, thinking it was happening already. I took her to a family therapist, explained I was worried my daughter was going on the same track the lowlife was. My therapist pulled me aside and said, very sternly, to STOP thinking that way or I would make it happen (like manifesting destiny, I guess?).

The reality is, you are a GOOD mom- you care about your son, you are giving him the best you can, you are probably a good person and set a great example- He will take after YOUR values, and not your lowlife brother's values... Best of luck!!
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:52 PM   #5
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Where is his father?

Honestly I would just try to spend more quality time with him. I know that's easier said than done- but really I think a kid in this situation has pent up anger because he doesn't get to spend enough time with his parents. So I'd make it a point that once a week you two go do something, just the two of you. Chores can wait- let the house be a little messy, but if say taking him to teh Saturday morning movie and buying him a hot dog with a coke makes him feel happy cuz it's mom and me time- then I say do it. It doesn't have to be expensive stuff either.

I see so many kids act out BECAUSE their parents spend little time with them. Granted most of the times the parents work hard so they see their kids very little- but a 6 year old doesn't understand that.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:09 PM   #6
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I saw this happening with my nephew. And he is now in all kinds of complicated circumstance. Maybe get him into Karate or something that has structure and discipline, and a sense of achievement which can only boost self worth. Just thought I'd mention it.
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by nicolejoy View Post
Been through it with my daughter- as a young single mom, you tend to get 'guilted' by the school system, daycares, etc.- which doesn't really solve the problem.
That is so true. My mom went through it - and she was single because my father was killed in an accident when I was 8. It's horrible how people who are in positions of authority in schools sometimes treat the parents whose lives aren't perfect.
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThicknPretty View Post
(I really hope that you guys are getting tired of my random, more life than weight related threads. I just have found everyone here to be so helpful and it's therapuetic for me to write these things out. Also, I love hearing from so many people from different walks of life and different places and backgrounds. So, if you're tired of me, I apologize, but I almost can't help it!).........
Don't ever apologize for coming to this site for advice or encouragement

Those are the reasons that make this site so valuable for so many

And yes, you and I both know not all advice is appreciated

That being said I will share some advice since I have some experience in this. I raised (co-parented) a son and a nephew (daughter and step-d also)....and am married to a middle school teacher and my son and daughter in law are high school teachers as well. I get a lot of stories

My "boys" are grown up now 29 and 19 ....just last night I was "raising" my nephew .....sure wish the NAVY would teach him to manage his $$$ but that is MY STORY

Anyway, in a perfect world...boy and girl meet...get married...have babies...stay together forever....kids grow up...marry...have well adjusted wonderful grandchildren and the cycle continues

Not too many of us fit that mold and that is too bad.

Which causes us to reach out for help. You are doing the right thing. The best thing you can do is to keep contact with your son's teachers and authority figures. Take in all their advice...some of it will be good ...some of it will be bad and some of it just may be outright nasty

Everyone will see your child in a different way, under different circumstances. By staying in contact you will find out which ones can really help you and which ones may not be qualified. All of them are going to give you advice based on their experiences.

I started raising my nephew when he was 9 years old....he came from a very dysfunctional mom and dad...drugs...anger...you've seen Cops...you know the story....

Without going into all the details all I can tell you is staying in contact really helped me and the teachers. For the most part my nephew is doing pretty darn good

You may never know where the "anger" is coming from. It may be nothing! We all lash out when somebody makes us mad...children at the age of 6 are not ready to calm down and think things through...they usually come out swinging!

Your child does need a solid male figure in his life....hopefully that will happen for you both....but as I said it isn't a perfect world.....this does not mean he won't grow up to be a fine upstanding citizen!

The Big Brother mention is an excellent choice. He is at the age of just starting to be able to participate in sports....soccer/baseball/basketball/football/track/tennis/cross-country. I am a very big fan of youth sports and was blessed to watch my son and daughter take their sports all the way through college and be coaching youth today.....continuing that cycle

Not every child is sports oriented though. He is old enough now to get into scouts where camping and fishing are available and of course so much more. My son loved scouts until it came time to go camping...he would rather play ball. All kids are different. Maybe music is his thing. Martial arts is a great way to learn how to control that anger.

I am very much in favor of church youth groups

Keep your feet moving...the contact with him open....don't read too much into everything that happens and yet don't just blow stuff off either. You both will get it figured out.

Main thing...keep him too busy to get into trouble....

but be careful....don't trust them for a minute ...a couple of years ago I allowed my nephew to go back to youth group at church (I took him out because he was causing too much trouble)....I made the right choice...he was doing so well...I kept up contact with the youth director, he said nephew was well behaved now....I went to the parent things....stayed right on top of it. Every Wednesday right after high school he would walk the 1/2 mile up to church and hang out with the kids for a few hours until youth group started....or so I thought

seems he was FIRST going downtown and skateboarding through town for a few hours then going up to church for the one hour meeting...no wonder he was so good...he wasn't there for very long

It isn't easy being a parent under the best of circumstances....but remember...the best thing you can do as a parent is by showing up!

You have and are and will continue doing that!
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:10 AM   #9
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EZMoney, when I wrote my post, I was hoping you would respond. I really appreciate the male perspective and you do seem to have some quite extensive parenting experience! I guess one of my biggest issues is this: how can I help him be a good decision maker and remember to think things out when I'm not around? Like at school? I feel like I cut him loose every day and just have to cross my fingers. I want to prepare him for life...but he's so young and I worry that the things I tell him just go in one ear and out the other and are the last thing on his mind when he's actually at school.

He is going to a soccer camp this Saturday. I do want him involved in sports and music and whatever else, maybe scouts. I sent in my info to the big brother org. yesterday, too. I know to a certain extent I'm overreacting...but I feel like my mom didn't take an active interest in our lives until it was too late...we were totally unsupervised throughout our high school years and got really off track. I really want to do everything I can and be involved every step of the way in the most positive way possible.

Beerab, that's a very valid suggestion and thought. Every Saturday is already "date day" for Mommy and Payton. I always ask him what he wants to do and we'll go see a movie or go to the playground or feed the ducks (or all of the above...Saturdays can get a little complicated lol). We always have fun. Sundays are usually a toned down version of Saturday, but still quality time with my kiddo. The last few Sundays we've camped out on his floor and eaten popcorn and watched movies. During the week, we always read and do a little homework and usually play a card game or color before he goes to bed. I try to make the most of all my time with him.

Thanks to everyone for the responses. Nicolejoy, the comment about being the CEO of my family really stood out to me. I do need to take more control and build my confidence as a mom. I have definitely let school officials make me feel like crap too much in the past. I've cried so much and been so infuriated because I know how awesome my kid is...but they always seem to be telling me otherwise. They even hinted that he might be autistic (totally unfounded, ridiculous, outrageous and NOT true...we know this for sure, tests run). His teacher last year desperately wanted to label him.

Thanks everyone....

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Old 07-30-2010, 11:49 AM   #10
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..... I guess one of my biggest issues is this: how can I help him be a good decision maker and remember to think things out when I'm not around? Just trust yourself to give him the best advice you have at that moment in time. Like at school? I feel like I cut him loose every day and just have to cross my fingers. Super, crossing fingers is a proven Parental move add a little prayer with that too I want to prepare him for life...but he's so young and I worry that the things I tell him just go in one ear and out the other and are the last thing on his mind when he's actually at school. Not everything will stick...but you will be surprised later on, as he grows up, how much will!

He is going to a soccer camp this Saturday. I do want him involved in sports and music and whatever else, maybe scouts. I sent in my info to the big brother org. yesterday, too. I know to a certain extent I'm overreacting...Trying to do the right thing by your son, as a level headed parent, is not overreacting.but I feel like my mom didn't take an active interest in our lives until it was too late...we were totally unsupervised throughout our high school years and got really off track. I really want to do everything I can and be involved every step of the way in the most positive way possible. Super...and this is exactly what you are doing ...you will not make the same mistakes your mom did
You are on the right track...keep it going...one warning I have....'cause I have seen it from time to time when women have "lost" the father's support of their children for various reasons....be very careful to not cross the line of mother and "smother" allow him to be a 6 year old boy....exploring life on his own as only a boy can do .....
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:05 PM   #11
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I know partly how you feel I'm a single mom to a 6 year old girl. Her father isn't around. I'm always nervous picking her up from summer camp if they are going to say she was misbehaved..it happens often. I do try and spend time with her but after work/school/exercise/errands etc I'm usually so tired I don't have hardly any energy to even play a board game. It stinks but you're not alone and hopefully as people say "it will get better".
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:15 PM   #12
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My radar perked up with you saying he was having trouble last year when he was 5 and it continues now.
I am not saying that the adults in these situations are right but it seems something is happening that isn't working for your little boy.
Don't get caught up in the blame game, but do find out more as to why your little guy is maybe acting up.
You are his advocate, dig deeper and I know you will do what is best for him.
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:20 PM   #13
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I'm chiming in as a teacher--documentation from your teacher would be really helpful. Make a paper that has 3 columns: Time of Day the incident occurred, what happened right before the incident, and what the teacher did right after the incident.
Time of Day:
This can give you a better understanding of his behavior. For example, are his incidents occurring right before lunch when he's hungry, at the end of the day when he's tired, or during a subject he finds difficult?
What happened before the incident:
Was he being asked to share something during free play he didn't want to share? Was he feeling frustrated over a math problem? did someone cut in front of him in the restroom line?
What did the teacher do after the incident:
Did she ask other kids who saw the incident what happened? Were there timeouts? Verbal reprimand? Did she redirect your child into another activity?
Sorry I'm throwing a lot at you! I teach special ed. pre-k, and I give this form to many regular ed. teachers who are perplexed at a student's behavior.
It only take a minute to fill out when an incident occurs.
When a parent asks me how their child did that day, I try to stay away from generalizations, like "He misbehaved." That's vague, and the parents deserve to know more.
Good luck--I think you are doing a great job, and I hope I didn't offend you!
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:54 PM   #14
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Great advice CHICKYBIRD....

I remember with my nephew (adhd?....but that is another entire complicated story!)....anyway...he was horrible in 7th grade right after lunch....where we was going wild with energy on the playground and would continue that right into science class...my wife taught school there so we tried having him go into the library after eating and read or do homework to calm down a bit...then we allowed him to play right after school for an hour or so...worked much better at that time.
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Old 07-30-2010, 03:27 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by chickybird View Post
I'm chiming in as a teacher--documentation from your teacher would be really helpful. Make a paper that has 3 columns: Time of Day the incident occurred, what happened right before the incident, and what the teacher did right after the incident.
Time of Day:
This can give you a better understanding of his behavior. For example, are his incidents occurring right before lunch when he's hungry, at the end of the day when he's tired, or during a subject he finds difficult?
What happened before the incident:
Was he being asked to share something during free play he didn't want to share? Was he feeling frustrated over a math problem? did someone cut in front of him in the restroom line?
What did the teacher do after the incident:
Did she ask other kids who saw the incident what happened? Were there timeouts? Verbal reprimand? Did she redirect your child into another activity?
Sorry I'm throwing a lot at you! I teach special ed. pre-k, and I give this form to many regular ed. teachers who are perplexed at a student's behavior.
It only take a minute to fill out when an incident occurs.
When a parent asks me how their child did that day, I try to stay away from generalizations, like "He misbehaved." That's vague, and the parents deserve to know more.
Good luck--I think you are doing a great job, and I hope I didn't offend you!
Well said Chickybird
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