Posted by: Worried | 2009-04-29

Sadism in a 5-year-old (2)

Thank you and all the other people for your responses.

I forgot to say this child as well as his schoolmates are not allowed to watch tv. It' s the school' s philosophy. But for some reason he is the smartest and most informed child that I' ve ever seen. He pretends like no other too, so that most adults outside the household circle think he' s lovely. They keep saying he is such a good boy. Everything bad that he does around them he does in a camuflated way, always paying attention to see if adults are looking. So his father started saying he' s going to talk to his teacher about his behaviour at home and the boy gets extremely scared because he doesn' t want her to know about it.
One important thing here is that I live in the same house for 8 months and know his parents try their hardest to show their love for him and are firm in what they say if he does something wrong. But one thing is that his father cares a lot about him and always asks him to stop spinning when dancing or doing other things that seem dangerous to him, and the boy' s mother always: " A..., let them be."  Sometimes she even turns to the child and says " you' d better be careful or soon your father won' t even allow you to walk" . So the boy thinks his father' s opinion doesn' t matter and does NOTHING that he asks him to. If he knows his father doesn' t like him to do something, he will do it over and over again and say " A..., look what I' m doing" . And when his father says he would like him to stop, he says " no, I want to do this... Mum, tell A... (he doesn' t even call his father dad) that I want to do this.
So I am thinking first of all I should talk with the parents about this problem of authority between them because I think parents should support each other' s decisions and not deny them in front of the children. Am I right in doing this?

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That isn't a school "philosophy", it's idiocy, disguised as something more dignified. TV is a universal fact of life --- how much better to allow school children a controlled AMOUNT of TV viewing, in a setting which encourages critical thinking and discussion of what they see, rather than banning suich viewing altogether, which will convince the kids that TV must be something MARVELLOUS which they will devour in much larger quantities whenever they get the chance. Educators should not be allowed to make such eccentric and twisted decisions.
Sounds like the kid is intelligent enough to have learned some basic lessons not formally in the curriculum --- like learning that what gets you ahead is how well you can pretend to be whatever folks want you to be --- it doesn't matter what you're really like, if you can learn to be a genuine phony.
The mother is undermining his father's authority, and in fact also her own. When will parents learn that WHENEVER they contradict each other, the child believes neither of them, but learns to play them off against each other ? In the situation you describe, the father could probably reliably get the nasty kid to do what he wanted, by simply forbidding him to do it.
Whether these particular parents would listen to you, I don't know, but you have indeed recognized a key problem in their family. Parents may very reasonably disagree with each other about specific rules or aspects of child behaviour --- but must discuss such things together, OUT of the presence of the child, and jointly carry out whatever they have decided together.

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