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21 Oct 2009

son&#39 s behaviour
Hi CS,

Hope you are well.

I thought having a baby and being on demand day and night was tough, but parenting just gets harder every day as my little angel grows.

He will be six early next year and has been at his new school since April this year.
What I' m concerned about is that he comes home often with all sorts of things that he has secreted away in his underpants - milk bottle tops that they use in the classroom for wheels on trucks they make out of boxes  bits of card and paper, pretty stones he likes, bits of bark from the gardens.
He seems to forget they are there, and when he undresses to bath, he is quite ashamed if I happen to see them.
I' ve told him it' s OK if he wants to gather these things together, but that he must put them in his pockets or his bag, not in his underpants.
He used to collect stones and bits of paper - rubbish that had blown out of bins etc, and his teacher told me it might be a comfort thing. She has not told him to stop doing it, though I did ask him to please leave the stones in the schools pot plants, and to rather bring clean paper home, not things people have thrown in the bin.

I' m no expert on children' s behaviour - but I' m pretty certain this is a bit odd.

We have started seeing the school' s psychologist, but so far have only had the initial parent session. He' s become a bit aggressive at home, and very negative and angry. I' m a bit concerned about bullying, though he is a child who is assertive and who stands up for himself, so doesn' t come across like a perpetual victim. We had an incident a few months ago where a boy of 8 or 9 was following him around and harassing him at a local indoor play park, he asked the boy twice to leave him alone and when he wouldn' t, my son, who didn' t even reach his shoulders punched this child so upwards into his nose that this boys head flew back and he ran away if he saw my son and his friends walking past. We don' t condone violence, but I think he did defend himself and did try more civil means first. We had a chat about it on the way home later and he certainly doesn' t go around beating up older boys as a regular habit.

I' d really like your opinion on the collections of things and stuffing them in his underwear, as you are always so level headed in your response. Also if there is something I can read up that would be helpful.

I have asked him why he likes to do that and he said he didn' t know but would I help him to stop.

I wonder a little if it might be the start of an obsessive compulsive disorder. I' ve always told my husband he suffers from this, as he is obsessive about his inflexible morning routine - everything must be done in the same order, he takes checking electrical appliances are switched off to new heights - each thing must be checked a set number of times. Makes us all feel very safe, but can get somewhat irritating when you are running late and he won' t move out of the way as that is his time for pouring juice. He gets quite panicky if something interferes with his plans.
Answer 400 views

01 Jan 0001

Sorry, I was writing such a great reply, but the admin section of these forums has been redesigned, without consulting those of us who run forums, and is very buggy still - so in mid reply it threw me out and I had to re-enter, losing the brilliance already written.
OK, Raising kids, even angels, is difficult. If, amidst the joys and pleasures, it doesn't strike you as difficult, you're missing something.
Most kids at some stage or another, collect stuff. It may become a formal collection of stamps ( though such tradtional collecting seems to be becoming rarer these days ) or just an assembly of attractive stones, feathers, what a pretentious artist would call "found objects".
Insisting on keeping them in his underpants rather than pockets or bad is odd, as is his apparent forgetting about them, till rediscovering them at bathtime, and his apparent sense of embarrassment on their discovery.
What is fascinating, is that apparently he has asked for help to stop, which suggests that he personally considers it odd and unsatisfying,m or at least recognizes that other people consider it odd.
It would be best to discuss this with the school psychologist, who can explore this better as part of a proper assessment, and see it in broader context.
An OCD can start young, and is often not recognized. Short of a disorder, some of us have an Obsessive personality, compared to others. But the rigidity with which he sticks to his routines, and the panic if the rituals are disrupted sounds more like OCD, though it can also be seen in conditions like mild Autism. So convey these concerns to the psychologist, so she can get directly to the important diagnostic point, rather than wittering around in generalities which are much less important at this stage. Whatever the diagnosis ultimately, he's likely to manage better and feel better with some psychological help.
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