Friday, January 17, 2014

Not Being Able to Distinguish A Deliberate Act From an Accident

Kai is doing much better overall when it comes to his anger and aggression.

But it is still not perfect.

About a month ago, Kai visited and helped out at a food bank along with other kids from school. While there, another boy accidentally dropped a can of food on Kai’s foot.

Kai is still mad about it.

We keep telling him that it was an accident. From what the school told us, the boy did not deliberately do it. But Kai has difficulty distinguishing between the two. In his mind, all that matters is that he suffered pain and so that boy is his enemy.

One further complication is that this boy and Kai share a cab to school. We understand that shortly after the “can incident,” Kai raised a ruckus in the cab when this boy sat next to him. Since then, the school has instructed the taxi driver to seat them in separate rows. And all has been calm.

But earlier this week, a new driver came to pick up Kai. We found out later that she either had not been told or had forgot about the seating arrangement.

She went to the boy’s house after picking up Kai and she seated them in the same row. Kai ended up hitting the boy with his backpack and then had trouble calming down even after he arrived at school.

It is frustrating.

1. The other boy did not intend to drop the can.
2. It happened weeks ago. Why can’t he get over it by now?
3. The taxi is a wide van; it is not like they are sitting directly next to each other. There is a space between them.
4. Kai should not react so angrily regardless.

We spoke to Kai about this. The school had already made him apologize to the boy but we had him do so again. He also apologized to the driver for the trouble he caused.

But I don’t think we have seen the last of him getting angry over an unintentional action of another.

In fact, just yesterday, he had another major incident. We didn’t get the details from school, but from Kai said, it sounds like he over-reacted when another student may have accidentally damaged a project Kai was working on during break time.

So, we will need to continue to work on this.


  1. I think your list is on the right track. I know from my own personal experience (and that of my son) that it is REALLY hard - NEUROLOGICALLY!!! - to let go of things. So while that should be on the list (letting go) I do think that re-visiting in the interest of REFRAMING/REINTERPRETING is the most important piece. IF you can REALLY get it in his H's head that the intention was not there, that may be the most important piece. Cuz he will always remember the incident of the can. Next, do you also deal with H not realizing when people actually DO have bad intentions? Sigh. Love,

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts. It is really hard for him to let go. And, no, we have not yet really started to deal with the fact that sometimes people do have bad intentions... know that is important to teach him, but don't want to blur the message for now. That will be a tough one, too.

  2. I would use the opportunity when they arise in everyday life when Kai accidentally hurts someone. I would point out that he is forgiven...he accepts their forgiveness...and so he must forgive others.

    Kai will then be able to see from the other person's perspective...and remember that he had been forgiven also.

    1. I think that is a great idea to reinforce the message from his perspective. He's always telling us when he does something by accident, but we need to help him better understand that others do, too.


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