Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I am sorry to know about this frustrating situation.
For how long has your son been this way? Has he been this way around every activity or it depends on what gets his interest?
I ask this because you said he "never listens" to his teachers. Does he listen to other people at school, home and at other settings? Is he able to focus his attention at other activities, games, playing with other kids, around activities he truly likes?
He has been very emotional for as long as I can remember. It seems to have escalated lately. He only seems to listen to me the most out of everyone. He seems to what we call spit the dummy at a lot of things at the moment. For example at swimming today he did not want to listen to his teacher which seems to happen most weeks. The teacher asked me to remove him from the pool as he was distracting other students. I asked him why he wasn't listening and he said he cant do it so why try. It seems every time he is given a challenge he just gives up if he cant do it first time. His behaviour when told by a teacher or someone other than me is just unacceptable. It breaks my heart to see him so upset but he cant keep behaving like this
Thank you for replying. What about when with your husband, does he also dismiss his father directions-requests?
If a child, from early childhood or infancy shows "emotional lability", hypersensitive to frustration, unable to cope with challenges or stressors, then it'd be obvious there is something that is not fine affecting him. If there was not a medical condition or specific situation that could have caused these issues, then we'd say that it could be a genetic predisposition, setting a very low tolerance to frustration, and high levels of anxiety. But the only way to know for sure is by a direct and complete psychological assessment.
How could you explain that he is able to listen to you and follow your commands and not do the same when with other people, regardless of the consequences, or do the implementation of consequences affect his behavior?
My husband is fly in fly out so it is hard at times with him away. He is on a short roster one week away one week home. He dosnt seem to respond to him the same way as me. I am the discipliner in the house because I am the constant in the house. He will listen to my husband but only when it suits him.
Is he able to stay quiet, and focus on anything that he truly enjoys?
Yes very much. He seems to zone out when he is doing something he loves which only makes things hard when you are trying to talk to him. He loves art and craft and he is able to focus on that for a long time frame.
Then your son has the ability to listen, to pay attention and to follow directions when it is convenient to him, or when you push him, like in yoru case, mostly affected because you now how to set boundaries and consistent discipline , right?
Yes he seems most affected when a boundary is set.
I see, then I'd say that most times, when a person is able to listen direction, focus on activities for even long periods of time, but chooses not to do so hen he feels it is not convenient or enjoyable, it'd be much more about a behavioral issue than a problem based on an attention or hyperactivity disorder. It's obvious he has a low frustration tolerance, but he also seems to be manipulative and to disregard authority if not feeling he would be pushed hard enough.
Then I would say that your son would need consistent and assertive parenting and discipline with healthy affection, limits and boundaries without exception. That consequences must be implemented at home and at school for him to develop necessary coping skills, self-control and maturity. Any form of tolerance to unacceptable behavior or spoiling should be eradicated for this approach to work.
yes I would strongly agree with the disregard authority when not being pushed hard. Swimming is very much like this
I would say that the fact is mostly absent and does not play a consistent effective and close parental role affects every child, even more one that presents challenges about self-control, frustration -stress tolerance.
Then the first things you need to reassess with your husband is the necessary consistent improvements you both need to implement around discipline, consequences and boundaries at home, related to any issue at school , swimming classes or any other setting, for your son to actually learn what it means to be respectful, responsible and assertive.
do you have any suggestions on what sort of consistent and assertive parenting and discipline I need to be focusing on as we do have lots in place in home and I have tried to copy school's actions to make it a consistent environment. I suppose I am just looking for reassurance that what I have been doing is the correct thing
When consequences are not consistent, when spoiling happens, when a child finds a way to do something dysfunctional without always having to afford the consequences of his actions, then distortions in personality, behavior and mood arise.
One key is about "consistency", no exceptions in any effective-assertive parental approach, from setting boundaries, conditions, rules, limits, to applying consequences, that way your son would learn that no matter how hard he acts out, cries to manipulate and more, he would have to face consequences, and that the more he chooses to do the wrong thing, the higher the consequences he would get. Next to this consistent affection healthy affection, not spoiling must be present too, for him to feel loved, understood, supported. Father must focus on sharing as much time and quality time with him, since he is the male role model, and his strengths and deficiencies do directly affect your son.
Many times children act out to get parents attention, it's like their way to say they do not feel they get enough good discipline, attention, affection, time together. Children would even prefer to get constantly punished than being ignored and feeling more alone.
Only you know your child's heart and fear, longings and needs. Try to promote further closeness and intimacy in your relationship, literally teaching him to value what is truly important and worthy. It would take time, but it is necessary and worthy, he would negatively react, but it would be OK, it's normal for children to show resistance to change, even more if they represent further responsibility and effort.
Please look for a parenting class locally and if you see you need extra guidance on how to effectively cope with these concerns and support him, do not think twice and look for professional family counseling, which could make a real difference for your child, you as parents and helping school staff to better support him.
Thank you for your advice. I will take it on board and re-asses our actions. I feel I have a very strong bond with him but maybe that is the answer he needs to bond with his father more too.
You're very welcome. I support you and hope you could take consistent action with your husband's active participation, providing both, healthy and sound affection and discipline. Thank you for your trust.