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Author Topic: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid  (Read 8425 times)

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Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« on: August 10, 2010, 10:36:01 PM »
I know from when bullying threads have popped up in the past that many ehellions did not have great middle/high school social experiences.  I'm looking for insight and advice:  what did your family do right, what did they do wrong, what do you wish they had done when you were a kid?

My DS, age 12, has a difficult time socially.  Some things are beyond his control: he has a physical muscle condition that affects his coordination, resulting in an inability to play sports well (most but not all boys at that age socialize through sports) and a tendency to pack on weight (despite eating healthy and getting regular exercise).  He is just basically "awkward," glasses, braces, etc.

Other things are within his control, and those are more frustrating.  He will harp on a topic, even when his classmates ask him to stop/move on.  He has difficulty compromising, even though we are careful not to give in to him being unreasonable.  He still throws "fits" at home, although he usually is fine at school.  He insists on playing "his" way (like if he and his friends are putting on a "show") and has difficulty with compromise. 

He definitely feels like he is different from the other kids, and that is upsetting to him.  I'm proud that he is true to himself but I also feel he brings a lot of problems on himself by judging other kids too harshly.  For example, if he gets in a fight with a friend, he stews for days, decides that kid is not his friend, etc.  Meanwhile, the other kids seem to recover much quicker.  He wants to have more friends, yet to hear him speak he doesn't really like many of the other kids.

I will say, he does not have a mean bone in his body, he just reacts to feeling picked on (sometimes justified, sometimes not).

He doesn't have Aspergers, but there were enough symptoms that we took him to several doctors over the years trying to get a diagnosis because he fits many of the descriptions. 

We've got professional help on various things involving motor and social skills, while at the same time trying to encourage his individuality and not make him feel like we're focusing on his deficiencies when he has a lot of great qualities.

I've tried to include the most helpful points, but it's hard to sum up a person in a few lines and I'm sure I didn't do a great job.  Please let me know if you have any advice for me on how to help him get through the rough years.  Thanks!


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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2010, 10:40:44 PM »
Are there any activities he enjoys and does semi well? Could you look into setting up a group or enrolling him in a group for that activity? Like he likes putting on shows, maybe D&D? Or a local theater group?
I'd think that having more friends outside of school might take away some of the pain of not being super popular in school.


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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 10:59:31 PM »
Perhaps individual sports would be better than team sports.   That way there are no players throwing balls at him  or running at him.  No split second decisions.

You know, there is a "misfit" kid out there looking for a friend just like him.


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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2010, 11:23:42 PM »
Even though he isn't an Aspie he might benefit from a social skills group.  

Is there something he is really successful at?  If not try finding something and then building from there.  For instance if he were really good at chess or photography most schools have clubs, but there are other options as well.  Our local zoo has a photography club that spans all ages.  Is he coordinated enough to swim?  Swimming is a good sport for kids who have trouble with groups because there is a lot of independent work and some socialization.  There may even be a special needs team if that would fit better.

Another thing that could help is volunteer work.

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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2010, 11:57:35 PM »
I hope this isn't insulting to you but I kind of see a comparison between a problem I'm having too.

My cat is de-clawed, so she bites more than other cats. I can't blame her. She's defending herself, or asserting her power where she can. It does not make me like her more though.

So I can see where your son is making up for his other deficiencies by being able to argue, it's the tools he has.

I like the idea of Karate. They will work around his muscle issues, work him out and teach him respect. I wish you luck, I'm sure he'll grow to be fabulous, it just takes a while sometimes.


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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2010, 12:00:10 AM »
My son was also a "misfit" kid. For different reasons, but same result.  He went into taekwondo. It's an individual sport, while still having being part of a team, at least at that age. It's a great boost to self-esteen, because you advance on your own merits, at your own pace.  When you break a board with your hand, you know it's because of your own abilities. :D It also gave him a sense of his own "physicalness", if you know what I mean. He felt the physical power he could have if he applied himself.

However, my son, who has always been extremely personable and outgoing, still only has a few good friends. Part of that has to do with his own standards for friendship, but part of it is that some kids just aren't "pack" kids. He gets lonely sometimes, but that, too, is something a person learns to deal with. It's just part of life.

In other words, I don't have a great answer for you. The best thing for your son is to find something he has a passion for, even if it's for a couple of years. That will bring him closer to others with the same passion. From those, he may find a good friend.  If he does this in a couple of areas, he could end up with a couple of good friends.  It's never easy to not fit in.  It's really not easy to "know" that you don't fit in.  Your son will find his own path in life.  If he loves, lives, laughs - it's still good.


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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2010, 01:09:51 AM »
Is he at all interested in theater? Acting, lighting, sound, costuming, scenic design/building, there are lots of different aspects for different interests. A lot of "misfit" kids get into theater, as that world has a high tolerance for individuality and quirkiness. I was also a rather "different" kid, very sensitive like your DS, a total bookworm, very much in my own world most of the time. Theater (acting and costume design, in my case) helped me find friends, things I liked to do, and helped me learn better social skills. It's a thought, if his physical issues make sports and physical disciplines difficult.

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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2010, 01:23:23 AM »
I think that you should help him learn to let things go. He might not realize that he's harping. I know that I get off on a rant about something and it's Katie bar the door....I have a hard time remembering that not everyone would like to work themselves up into a fever pitch about the cruelty of the Inquisition, or whether or not Catherine Howard was actually physically unfaithful and whether or not that's treason or even the Bloody Assizes.

Why yes, I do get funky about strange things.

Maybe you could talk to him and tell him that while you know that he's not being intentionally unpleasant people may think that he is. Tell him that sometimes being "right" is not as important as being respectful of other people's feelings (I am not talking about serious moral issues or not giving in to peer pressure, I'm talking about "Batman could TOTALLY annhilate Superman" or the equivalent).

Theater is a good idea, as is karate or another physical exercise class. Weight lifting could be helpful, and it is very healthy exercise. You also don't have to be the world's most graceful human being to pump a little iron.
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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2010, 01:33:54 AM »
I think the PP's have some great ideas.  As a bullied unnatractive introvert with not so good social skills in my school days, the worst thing my parents did was brush aside my problems.  Specifically, my Dad told me constantly that if I didn't have anything nice to say (in regards to how my day went) then I shouldn't say anything at all.  The thing is, I was moderately bullied all the time, so often I didn't have anything nice to say and it just mad me clam up and not talk about bigger issues.  I pretty much stopped going to my parents for any social-related advice/problems for a few years.

I'm sure I wasn't always right in my perceptions, children/teenagers being rather self-centered by nature, but it would have been nice to at least be listened to and thought about instead of dismissed out of hand.

And my Dad (and mom) is a good guy and a great father.  I just think he didn't believe me that it was that big of a problem.  So, I guess my silly advice is to talk it through with your ds before you try to box his problem in as general whining (not that's what you're currently doing).
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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2010, 02:39:18 AM »
I so agree with the PPs who say find something he has a passion for and is good at.

 I was that misfit kid, and am still that misfit adult, to a degree. For me, the solution was a musical instrument, and joining a band. Doing an activity where I had something in common with other kids was an absolute lifesaver, and it still is in my adult life. Band is where I go to just be me, and be accepted, and it works every time.


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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2010, 03:46:03 AM »
The thing that worked for me was having (1) a loving home no matter what happened outside and (2) friends from outside school from all the activities I did and my parents' friends. For me those activities were swimming and music.


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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2010, 05:55:01 AM »
JordanX, please give your DS a hug from me if he'll accept it! I agree with the PPs, and Bethalize has put this very well.

I was a misfit too, and school was not much fun for me from the age of about 12 to 16. I was the scrawny awkward late-developing kid with glasses who was too clever by half and who didn't really have friends. I was bullied, and I developed a kind of self-defensive manner that (I now suspect) put off those people who would otherwise have been prepared to be friendly. I was also quite fiercely independent.

I didn't say anything to my parents about my problems, because to me they weren't things that my parents could solve. As long as I knew I was accepted and loved at home, and by my church congregation and the choir, I could cope without having a happy time at school, more or less.

Looking back, my teenage years were certainly a long way from perfect, but there were definitely happy times as well as sad ones, and I never felt unhappy to be at home with my parents even when I felt unhappy at school. I know there were kids in my year who had a much worse life than me.

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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2010, 09:13:05 AM »
My DD (now 14) went through a similar phase at that age.  We resorted to telling her (repeatedly) that the world did not revolve around her and that to have a friend she had to be a friend.  She also joined karate on her own and really enjoyed it.  It gave her a huge boost to her self-esteem when she really needed it.

Time and maturity will also help. At 14, my DD is still a misfit but she's a less self-absorded and more confident one.
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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2010, 09:23:37 AM »
I'm still a misfit, always have been, always will be. Moving around a lot as a kid and having a not so great home life will screw anyone up.

POD'ing the PP's who said to find a passion for your DS- I found theatre my freshman year of HS and that kept me relativly sane in HS. I became the "Costume Queen" (okay, not queen, but I can't say the real word on here...) in my Drama Club- 3 years of being in charge of costumes meant I was a force to be reconned with. (and then the stupid boys wouldn't listen to me senior year....)

I also found the other misfits and we kinda joined together- met my now BF in 7th grade (we were the misfits of our team's two 7th grade classes), met my best friend in 5th grade, met everyone else really in 9th grade. According to my friends no one else really liked me "because you were mean" and when asked why they were friends with me they said "I've never given her a reason to be mean to me". (middle school+puberty+undiagnosed thyroid problem=one messed up mentally kitty-cat with anger issues)

I'm still a misfit, but growing up has helped me mature more, and I'm to the point that I don't care if people don't like me anymore. (plus, college is great for weird people :P)

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Re: Advice for mom of "misfit" kid
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2010, 09:53:50 AM »
I was that kid!

One of the few things that got me positive attention back then was the fact that I was very good at academics- got good grades and excelled in academic competitions like Spelling Bees. Another one was that I was very good at playing the piano, and did rather well at art.

Volunteer work MAY work- if he likes the activity and does it on his own free will. Required volunteer work may make him resentful. An individual physical activity may work under similar reasons- if he likes it and chooses to do it.
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