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Old 10-19-2009, 05:08 PM   #1
Wishing on a star
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Children 'touching' - Active boys who can't seem to keep their hands to themselves

Okay, based on a couple of recent threads (which are about special needs kids) I have something that I need some feedback on.

Where do you draw the line with kids who can't seem to keep their hands to themselves???? What is 'okay', in your opinion. And, what is 'not okay'.

I am facing a situation where there is a 8-9 year old boy who can't keep his hands to himself. I have constantly seen him doing things like walking up behind kids and taking a wisp of hair and yanking it... flicking/kicking them from behind... coming up from behind and smacking them on one shoulder and then quickly shifting over far to the other side (you know, the old 'who's there' stunt) etc.... etc.... etc.... You never see him without his hands on somebody.... He recently jumped on my son from behind, taking him down to the floor, and was actually on top of him giving him noogies. He has followed kids into the bathroom and then turned off the lights on them, either flashing them off and on, or leaving them there in the dark... Just on, and on, and on.

It appears obvious to me that when this is happening to my son, it is because this child is physically bullying his way in between my son and a mutual friend. Another boy my son's age (11), with whom my son would like to develop a friendship. (this other boy hasn't really noticed what is going on)

I have been around the block a few times. And I have been around other more hyper/energetic boys. And, this seems very different.

So, what are your thoughts.
Where are the lines?
When is it 'boys will be boys'.
When does it cross the line into physically bullying?
When is it okay, and when do you step forward?

What can be done to protect other children's, such as my son's, personal space.

WWYD????

Last edited by Wishing on a star; 10-19-2009 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:22 PM   #2
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My personal opinion is that when the touching and the constant contact starts to bug the other person, it's gone too far. This kid might think he is being funny, maybe he has some behavioral issues that cause him to do this, I don't know. But to me, if it bothers your son or any other child, then it becomes a problem.

Do other parents notice this behavior as well? I guess I'm asking if you've visited with other parents and they are bothered as well.

Good luck!
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:39 PM   #3
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Is this happening at school or in your neighborhood? I would react differently based on that.
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:41 PM   #4
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I've seen a lot of boys with this issue. If they're buddies, they don't seem to mind, but some kids can't read social cues, and continue. I'd have my ds11 tell him to knock it off, and walk away (disgusted). If he's looking for attention, your ds should deprive him of it. So far, ds has dealt with these issues on his own (he's also a foot taller than the rest of the kids in his grade). Is this happening at school? If so, you can make the teachers aware, but kids like this are going to pounce as soon as the authorities heads are turned. You really need to give your ds the tools to handle these kids - they don't go away.

I think ds has managed well thanks to dd13 - she's been noodging him, flicking him, knocking into him, etc., most of his life now. He's learned to handle these situations.
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWGal210 View Post
My personal opinion is that when the touching and the constant contact starts to bug the other person, it's gone too far. This kid might think he is being funny, maybe he has some behavioral issues that cause him to do this, I don't know. But to me, if it bothers your son or any other child, then it becomes a problem.

Do other parents notice this behavior as well? I guess I'm asking if you've visited with other parents and they are bothered as well.

Good luck!
I agree with this. Yes, boys will be boys and they'll horse around. When it's constant and it's annoying the other person, it's a problem.

I will also say that I've seen a lot of younger boys behave this way when they're around older boys in an attempt to fit in.

As to what I'd do it's hard to say. What has your son said about it? How does your son react to the boy when he bothers him? Is the other boy bigger than your son? Where is all this taking place? Where is the boy's parent?
How about the reactions of the other kids?

I generally just try to coach my boys and let them handle things on their own. If they've tried and can't resolve it on their own (in a peaceful way), they know to tell another adult and get them involved.

It's been my experience with boys and touchy/annoying younger boys that the older boys will give some latitude to the younger boy to a certain extent. They'll put up with it to a point and then give a warning to back off. If it keeps up, they'll tend to give back what they've been receiving and at that point the younger boy will get the hint and back off.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:09 PM   #6
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Sounds to me like the problem is not so much about touching as it is inappropriate behavior overall on the part of this boy who at 8 or 9 should know better.
If this is in a school setting-I would reach out to the teacher, or administrator if this boy is not in your son's class and go from there. It is definitely a problem in my opinion.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:45 PM   #7
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Wow, First I have to say that if I were your son this kid would drive me bonkers! Could it be that he doesnt know how to make friends, and wants to be your sons friend... or is he being mean spirited? It sounds annoying thats for sure! I cant imagine the boy having a single friend acting that way at that age. I wonder if he is also a problem in class for the teachers? Sounds like he really doesnt know how to handle himself socially.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:57 PM   #8
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Yes, it does seem that he simply does not know how to handle himself socially.... (but, I see no signs of disability or social deficit in this child) His mother does not see that there is any problem with her son's behaviors.... Nobody seems to know or believe in the old golden rule "Keep your hands to yourself".

The way I am reading the 'friendship' part is that this kid mostly feels that he is the neutral boy's friend, and it seems that he is being possessive of this neutral boy, and trying to dominate the situation and physically come between my son and this other boy. Perhaps he is trying to protect or guarantee his friendship with the neutral kid. So, yes, trying to enforce or manipulate a friendship and physically dominate a social situation are the factors here.

Once, when my son and this other boy were sitting next to each other in very crowded tight quarters, I am talking shoulder to shoulder, he crawled/jumped over tables and chairs and very physically (aggressively IMHO) jumped right in there between them. Which means that one of them (my son, of course...) has to give up his chair and move.

Yes, this is a structured situation, like school or church (not the neighborhood or playground)

My reaction is usually to separate my son, or have my son separate himself, from these types of boys/situations. But, lately, this has not been enough. My son lacks the assertiveness to tell this kid to back off... And, 'walking away' means that he basically forfeits his friendship with the other boy.

Thanks to everyone so far!
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:25 PM   #9
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It's not just special needs kids that are touchy. I have girls and boys in my classes that touch the hair of the kid in front of them on line, touch each other, just because, etc.

The hair thing, I stop right away because I think it's gross. For the other touching, I think the point where it needs to stop is when it makes the other child uncomfortable. If it's someone poking or doing an annoying type of touch, it is usually quickly that they are asked to stop or they tell on them.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:38 PM   #10
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A constant need to touch other kids is actually sometimes a symptom of ADHD; we had "touching" issues with oldes DS. Many kids with ADHD/ADD have impulse control issues. ADHD could be the childs problem. If this is bothering you and you know the family you could ask if he has issues. But no matter what touching is not appropriate unless the other kids are inviting the touching.
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:53 PM   #11
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A constant need to touch other kids is actually sometimes a symptom of ADHD; we had "touching" issues with oldes DS. Many kids with ADHD/ADD have impulse control issues. ADHD could be the childs problem. .
I was wondering about this too.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wishing on a star View Post
Yes, it does seem that he simply does not know how to handle himself socially.... (but, I see no signs of disability or social deficit in this child) His mother does not see that there is any problem with her son's behaviors.... Nobody seems to know or believe in the old golden rule "Keep your hands to yourself".

Yes. A lot of kids just don't pick up social cues or mature as quickly as others. Especially boys. From what you wrote about the Mom it doesn't seem like anything positive would come from approaching her.

The way I am reading the 'friendship' part is that this kid mostly feels that he is the neutral boy's friend, and it seems that he is being possessive of this neutral boy, and trying to dominate the situation and physically come between my son and this other boy. Perhaps he is trying to protect or guarantee his friendship with the neutral kid. So, yes, trying to enforce or manipulate a friendship and physically dominate a social situation are the factors here.

Once, when my son and this other boy were sitting next to each other in very crowded tight quarters, I am talking shoulder to shoulder, he crawled/jumped over tables and chairs and very physically (aggressively IMHO) jumped right in there between them. Which means that one of them (my son, of course...) has to give up his chair and move.

Yes, this is a structured situation, like school or church (not the neighborhood or playground)

Does the Church have any kind of bullying policy or has the Sunday School teacher seen anything or gotten involved?

My reaction is usually to separate my son, or have my son separate himself, from these types of boys/situations. But, lately, this has not been enough. My son lacks the assertiveness to tell this kid to back off... And, 'walking away' means that he basically forfeits his friendship with the other boy.

Thanks to everyone so far!
The boys sounds REALLY annoying but from what you've said it sounds like the heart of the matter is that the boy perceives your son as a threat to his friendship with the other boy and is acting out this way to alienate your son and protect the friendship. Wrong and immature? Yes. How does the other boy your son wants to befriend act when he sees this?

What about talking to your son and having him attempt to befriend this younger boy as well? (And I realize by this point he probably can't stand him and might not want to, however.......). If the younger boy feels included, the threat to his friendship with the other boy is eliminated. In addition to this once the younger boy feels comfortable that the friendship is secure, your son and the other older boy have an opportunity to mentor the younger boy.......they can tell him when he's being inappropriate and guide him in correct social cues and behavior, which could really help this boy, especially since it's coming from an older set of peers. Kind of a teachable moment.

You could also have your son invite the boy he really does want to pursue a friendship with over to your place or on an outing. (I wouldn't make the invitation in front of the younger boy).

I hope all of this made sense. Your son shouldn't have to accept being annoyed like that for trying to make a friend. Some kids just have bad reactions when new kids are introduced into the mix. I'd also work with your son on building his assertiveness. It probably won't be the last time he encounters a situation like this.

Hope things work out.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:08 PM   #13
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I teach a self contained room for kids with more moderate to severe disabilities. Even then, I would never accept this from any of my students. I have one student in particular that likes to touch. We address it on his developmental level. So when he hugs, we use the phrase, "Hugs are for mommies and daddies." If he is ever aggressive (and everything you describe is aggressive), it is promptly taken care of. He understands what he is doing is wrong and we teach him that there are consequences.

The same thing nees to happen to this boy. You say this is a structured situation, which means there should be an adult in charge. You need to have a sit down with that adult and explain the situation. If it's not school, you may need to threaten (and be ready to follow through) that if it does not stop you will find another (Sunday School class, boy scout troop, whatever) for your son. Somebody needs to do this kid a favor and teach him this is not appropriate before it escalates and he ends up in serious trouble.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWGal210 View Post
My personal opinion is that when the touching and the constant contact starts to bug the other person, it's gone too far.
Agreed.

OP, I wish I could offer some advice but I've got nothing.
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Old 10-20-2009, 01:44 AM   #15
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If you're in a position to make a suggestion, they may want to try having this boy hold something in each hand during the time these things most often occur (if appropriate).

I once saw a young boy who was always holding things as he walked down the hallway at school. Apparently he had had a huge problem with touching others and pulling things off walls as they walked from place to place. Giving him something to hold kept his hands busy. Easy fix and may be worth a try.
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