Hi, I'm sorry if this has been covered before, I am new on here and desperate. I have been trying to contact the helpline but it is so busy.
My son is 13 and was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was about 9. Most of the time he manages really well, he does very well at school and has a few friends, however he has always had a problem with house rules and acceptance of the fact that, as parents, we do have to say what needs to be done and when, and that there will be sanctions for bad behaviour. Now we are entering the teenage years he is becoming more aggressive, threatening and violent and to be honest it is tearing our family apart. The only things he cares about are his iPad and xBox. All he talks about is computer games. We have set screen time limits and parental controls to protect both our children, and whilst we understand that our son needs his screen time to calm down, he cannot do this every waking moment. When our son is violent, refuses to cooperate and makes life unpleasant for everyone he needs some sanctions to learn that this is not acceptable behaviour. The only sanction that means anything to him is reduction of screen time or bans from use of the Wi-Fi. We have discussed other sanctions and asked our son to suggest something else, but he refuses and states that any sanction is unreasonable. He wants complete control and says that no-one has the right to control him or tell him what to do. All we get back from him is the sanctions thrown back at us, with him saying he will confiscate our devices, or trash them and any bans he has apply to us too. He has threatened extreme violence and says that he will get worse and worse until we back down and remove the screen limits and see his point of view that we are causing the arguments so if we want a quiet life we have to do what he says. Obviously we can't have a 13 year old set the rules like this and control everyone but I just don't know where to go. His ASC makes him inflexible and he cannot see the effect it is having on us and our 11 year old daughter, who is terrified of his behaviour.
We have written down the screen limits, 1.5 hours a day on the xbox along with a bulletpoint explanation of why we set screen time and monitor internet access. We have written down that good behaviour will be rewarded with more screen time and bad behaviour will invoke sanctions of screen time reduction. We have specified what is meant by good behaviour (positive attitude, completion of homework and household tasks as expected and being cooperative, friendly and helpful) and bad behaviour (negative attitude, refusal to do tasks, violent, aggressive, threatening behaviour). The list is ripped up, refused and thrown back at us with more threats. He stormed to school today threatening and cursing me. He is very eloquent and his abuse is relentless. It is causing a lot of stress to us all.
Has anyone else experienced this and found a solution that works for their family? Many thanks.
I don't have any solutions but i can totally understand what you are experiencing. My 11 year old daughter is awaiting a diagnosis of ( Autism) Asperger's . What you are describing is a regular occurrence in our house and I personally find it difficult on where to draw the line. My other children are also scared of her explosive behaviour and i find myself allowing her to get away with much more than the others. I feel like i am treading on eggshells much of the time. If i remove her mobile phone it causes huge uproar/ meltdown as she feels it is unfair, she just finds it impossible to understand, the inability to understand others feelings or emotions causes real problems. Its much more than just a difficult child. Much of what some of my other family members don't seem to understand. The abuse i receive from her is very very hurtful and makes me feel inadequate as a parent,. The effects of her behaviour has real negative effects on the rest of the house. I turned to this website today for the first time and it was strange to read your story as my feelings are very similar to yours.
Do you get any support from any local services or school ? or anything from anywhere?
I'm sorry to hear you are going through this and hope you get a diagnosis soon.
We don't get any help as my son is very high functioning and he controls himself so well at school that there is no evidence or need for support there. He bottles it all up for home. We've spoken to our GP who is very understanding, says this is extremely common for ASD of the Asperger's type, but he admits there is next to no real help for families like ours.
Good luck, I'm sure you are doing a great job.
That's interesting. Maybe it's the structure and routines at school that he likes. Is he doing well academically? Have teachers mentioned anything at all about behaviours?
The response from your GP is sadly common. There is help out there, but it's finding it. Most GPs, it has to be said - as well as most mental health services - have little knowledge or understanding of ASC, and often don't know what to suggest for the best. At worst, they turn people away without hope.
I only got my diagnosis 3 years ago, at age 56, after a very challenging lifetime! I hated school and was bullied incessantly (most likely because of my 'difference'). At home - particularly around puberty, and having to cope with all those hormonal changes - I was an absolute nightmare. My mother came with me to my diagnostic interview. She said I was like a 'Jekyll and Hyde' in my childhood and youth, with volatile moods. I know, looking back on it now, that I was horrible to her in many ways. I treated her with contempt, and was extremely verbally abusive. It kills me to think of it now, because she was so stoic in the face of it. It was a struggle to get that diagnosis, though. My GP kept sending me to mental health services, which made matters worse. Finally, a therapist I was seeing insisted on the direct referral to autism services - and my GP was open-minded enough to admit that she was out of her depth, and went ahead.
You would think, with all of the coverage that autism is now getting in the media, etc., that understanding would improve with the medical profession and educationalists. Sadly, that's not necessarily the case.