Thought things were gettng better when he started on medication but its just as bad as before now.
!4 years old behaviour is just appaling. It affects everyone in the family. His 4 year old sister. His mum has fibromyalgia which is getting worse.
He uses every trick in the book to get what he wants now. He lies constantly, hes manipulative. Whatever you tell him he just does what he wants anyway. Hes also started using his illness OCD as an excuse not to do things. He also deveopled strange new things like spraying anti-bac spray onto his bits after using the toilet (which is not good).
Also, apparently its all our fault as parents because we made him like this by stressing him out all the time.
Constant letters from school now about homework etc.
Hes done none of the homework given to him by counsellor. Basically, makes zero effort to help himself. Seems happy to just go along as he is, shout at everyone and get his own way. Counsellor has pretty much said to us that she can do no more him until he decides to help himself.
We're been trying to treat him fairly but still sticking to basic house rules. Nothing too difficult. Just put things back, consideration for others (inc dont use all the hot water every day in the shower for an hour!), no shouting and screaming, homework gets done. Thats it. Nowhere near at the moment.
Are we taking the right approach? I guess we should still have rules in the house.
Things we have problem with at the moment:-
1. Homework. "Forgets" to do. Lies that he didnt have homework.
2. Hot water. Uses it all 45-60 min showers. Tried to make rule 10 min max - never sticks to it. What do we do physically supervise a 14 year old?
3. Leaving toilet in a mess. Has so far ruined one floor, one toilet by hosing with water/anti-bac spray. Constantly leaves EVERY surface with spray on. Wont stop doing it.
4. Has sprayed on himself in past and given himself chemical burns. Still sprays on himself if we dont lock it away.
5. Uses 100ml a day of anti-bac hand gel. Shouts and screams like a drug addict if he doesnt get his fix. We've had to put lock on outside of bedroom door to stop him going in there and searching through drawers etc.
6. Gets given homeworks sheets by counsellor. Has yet to do one.
7. Loses his temper and shouts and screams at everyone inc his 4 yr old sister, his mother and me (says he wishes he didnt live with us.) He know he makes his mothers fibromyalgia worse but hes says its not his problem
Hi there, o.k., I don't have a child and didn't really do any of those things except for 7., but then my mum had no condition I could be blamed for. The attitude towards other "crimes" I did commit was similar though. I can see that this is all very annoying, but in your list there are quite a few things he will genuinely struggle with, while you seem to see them as his naughty choices. 3., 4, and 5. are probably in that category, and related to this quite possibly also 2. He really has an issue with this, he wouldn't have been diagnosed with OCD otherwise. It presumably gives him a great deal of anxiety, if you can understand that or not, and he's trying to relieve it somehow, not with very healthy methods, but he's trying to cope. This is probably something where the counsellor would be someone to help but he does 6. Maybe he can't see how it's going to help him or maybe they don't get on or whatever she tries just doesn't work for him, or maybe, being 14, it's not something he is comfortable with discussing this with others and spending time thinking about it even more then.
Do you know why he does 1.? He may not tell you if you ask, but maybe he does. It could just be quite a typical puberty thing (it may even be seen as "cool" and he's trying to fit in), or he may not quite know where to start, so not doing it is the easiest, or he is too stressed to focus after the day at school, or needs more time for what he's really interested in, or... Perhaps if you find out why he isn't doing them it's a bit easier to find a way around it.
7. is pretty harsh, I think. Losing temper and shouting/screaming isn't great of course but 2. - 5. may be reasons for this, among other things puberty comes with, and when it all gets too much then that's how he reacts, probably not a choice to be naughty though (although at times there may be a bit of that too, puberty is that time of life, I guess). But to make him responsible for his mum's condition getting worse seems not quite just. There will be lots of factors that cause her stress, this one will play a role but not sure if it really is that simple. He could also say you are making his condition worse, that would be just as true really. Or why does his mum not see a counsellor (or maybe she does) and simply make this not affect her? I'm playing devil's advocate here, but I think as long as you have so little understanding for 2. - 5. you do really cause him a lot of stress which will not help the situation.
Sorry, no advice there really, I just found the way you speak about him quite sad, it doesn't sound like an attitude that makes it likely that things improve. You seem to give him and his attitude all the blame for this, but I think you are no less guilty.
You have my sympathy since much of his behaviour sounds similar to my father's. Someone, once, asked him not to do something then he kept doing it repeatedly indefinitely. Like peeing on and around toilets, over the floor, leaving shoes in middle of corridors, using all hot water, filling kettles 100% full when making one cup etc etc.
Ways of dealing with this. I have no easy answers. Try having him sectioned, a spell in a tough secure unit with strangers might scare him.
Thanks Robert. Its a thin line between being mean to him and disciplining him though.
We've almost been at that point. Called out for help to various organisations but nothing was forthcoming.
Disinfectant and urine don't seem quite the same to me, but I may have a different take on this as a chemist. Maybe you can find some solvent-free hand disinfectant for the sake of plastic surfaces, not sure if they come as sprays though, although he may find it only does the job if it smells of solvent...
1 - Can you setup an agreement with the tutors/counselors where they contact you directly to let you know he has homework? Then there is no excuse for you not knowing whether he has homework or not. I would also set a routine agreed with him for a time he dedicates to working on homework.
2 - My brother had a habit of doing this and my mum's response was to barge in and drag him out of the shower - sounds harsh, but it reduced his shower time down from an hour to 20 mins. Could you get a shower timer to show him how much time he is taking? Start at 15 minutes and then see about reducing it down to 10 gradually etc. Maybe he could be rewarded with a hot bath at the weekends as a way of rewarding the cut down on showtime in the week?
3 - Have you asked him the reason for doing this? I have OCD and get anxious if I cannot bleach the toiler after every use and also I get very stressed if it isn't spotless after someone else has used it. Don't have a go at him when you ask him. Say you want to understand how you can make the bathroom experience easier for everyone.
4 - Again, this is linked to OCD and will get worse when anxious and stressed. I have to do a thorough hand washing technique and used to use alcohol gels on my hands before they irritated my skin. It might be that you have to get some intimate cleaning wipes for him, so he can satisfy his OCD without hurting himself.
5 - As above, this is OCD related and will get worse with stress and anxiety.
6 - See number 1.
7 - This is a result of built up tension and anxiety. Can he express how he feels and thinking in writing or pictures. It sounds to me he is getting very frustrated in not being able to express himself.
Either way bad behaviour is still not acceptable, but I suspect that a lot of it is a result of his anxiety and frustration. Hope the above helps.
oktanol - now you've fallen into the stereotypical trap. Poor kid his parents don't understand and they're blaming his illness on him and not helping him. If you knew how many times I'd heard this *******.
We're well aware thank you of his condition and well aware of how things affect him. Yes its difficult for him we know that.
I'm sorry but some of your suggestions are just not going to fly. Its the real world - he has a little sister, he has school, we have work, his mother happens to have an illness. Although its not his fault he knows damn well what the affect is.
1. Homework - sorry got to be done. Might not feel like but thats the way the world works. At what point to you pin a 14 year old to the chair?
2-5. We've tried to speak to him calmly and sort thing out amicably with him. He refuses to do so. Do you suggest we now "live with it"? Life goes on for everyone else.
6. Given up on this one. Consellor tells us he still doesn't do. Same with homework.
I might sound harsh but you don't know the half of it. We've tried it all. In theory, yes, all your ideas are right bt as you said you dont have a child. Its all different in the real world where the world keeps spinning.
Of course, we're not experts which is why I came on here for advice on how to stop these things. And how we should deal with.
[ Edited by moderator]
Thanks starbuck. I agree a lot is made worse by this condition but not all of it. Hes recently tried using his illness to get out of other things which we were not impressed with.
1. Yes partly our fault for giving him too much space here. But everyone wants to help their 14 year old and trust them a bit. Not so for our son.
Same with counsellor. We can't force him.
2. We've tried all sorts. Timers etc. Speakig to him. He just goes off and does the same then bare faced denies being in there more than 10 mins (when we know its longer)
Same with all the other stuff - attitude seems to be I'll do it if I want.
I think our biggest problem is that he seems completely unwilling to help himself, or listen to advice from anyone. He knows it all and he thinks he can do as he pleases. Like I said he just cannot be bothered to take advice from counsellor, so any work given etc?
We've tried to encourage him to go to online groups to get support and talk to people same age as him. Can't be bothered. Its as if he just wants to carry on as he is forever and has no interest in getting better.
At the moment, he lies about everything, we just can't trust him and deliberately defies any house rules he doesnt like. To be honest, hes 14 now, and its scary to think in 4 years he'll be an adult.
I hope you find a solution to your problems before they become terminal.
My 'insane' family behaviours were never solved.
My father's bathroom habits died with him.
My mother just accepted it. And told me that we were lucky that in our present house the toilet was separated from the bathroom.
When they first got married in the 1950s and she moved in with his family, she was shocked that he wasn't allowed to take a bath in the house but was sent to the local 19th century public baths. When they closed down she discovered why. He always took over an hour to have a bath. Locked the door and nobody could use the only toilet in the house, he ran the hot water tap until cold water was coming through it. When the finished, the bathroom was like a steam room. He never opened the window , never let the dirty water out or cleaned the bath. The walls were soaked with condensation.
So we got into a ritual. As soon as he left the bathroom. We opened the window, let the dirty water out, clean the bath, wipe the wet walls down. Fortunately he only bathed once a week.
I would like to respectfully offer you my following thoughts in the simple hope they may provide some form of possible helpful insight...
1.It can be very common for NDs to find it extremely difficult to successfully transition between school and home. Your son may therefore be trying to keep these two parts of his life (school and home) entirely separate by avoiding things which blur those lines, such as homework tasks. Difficulty with transitioning in this way is usually the most common and significant cause of not completing homework tasks. If this is the case your son may find it easier to complete homework while still at school, during his lunch hour perhaps; is there a lunch time study group at school which he could regularly attend which could enable him to do this?
Your son may also live in the ‘present moment’ and when he gets home, he may have entirely lost the thread of what is expected of him with homework tasks and therefore avoids them completely. This 'present momentness' may mean he has genuinely not 'logged' that he has any homework and therefore this does not straight forward constitute lying. He may need more individual steps and clearer written guidance (adjustments) offered to him about his homework than other (NT) kids are routinely getting. So, a good question to ask yourself is, is school actively enabling him to successfully complete his homework tasks by providing additional scaffolding and thus ensuring he is confident he fully understands what each homework task is asking of him when he gets home?
2.Your son likely has communication and information processing difficulties, which will impact negatively on how he interprets and understands himself, others and the world around him. This may directly lead to him appearing to lie and/or be callous when in fact he may be simply offering his genuine (and often well-intentioned) ND understanding of the situation, his comprehension may therefore be ‘skewed’ from an NT perspective. It is therefore not appropriate to assume he doesn’t ‘care’ about his mum’s illness just because he is not responding to it (or her) in ways you would usually expect NTs to respond. He is not NT, he is ND.
His long showers may be because the falling water may be satisfying a sensory need in him. The feel of the water may be very calming for him, for example. Or he may have a very specific routine of washing that he feels compelled to stick to.
3, 4, 5. These are not the behaviours of a wilful teenager ‘wanting his own way...’ These are the behaviours of a child who is suffering, hurting himself via chemical burns, and all three are likely interlinked. He may have a very difficult relationship with toileting/self-care (again not uncommon for NDs) which may be psychological and due to difficulties surrounding themes of loss, compulsions, Mysophobia (fear of germs); or it may stem from physical pain on toileting (BMs) too etc.) The anti-bac dependency is likely the direct result/part of this fixation. These specific issues need unpacking and addressing sensitively and appropriately in decent therapy…
6. Get him a decent therapist. I have some concerns regarding his therapy experience from the information you have offered. If your son has significant difficulty with transitions, which he likely does (see point 1,) he is not going to respond positively to a therapist setting him homework at all as this requires him to transition between his therapy sessions and home, something which young NDs may find extremely hard to do.
In addition, completing ‘therapy homework’ likely requires your son to apply his ‘learning’ in session to other scenarios (at home,) something else which NDs can also notoriously struggle with- i.e. difficulty in applying ‘learnt’ information appropriately to different situations/settings.
Your son may also have difficulty with ‘self-awareness, self-reflection and social-reciprocation (relating with others) abilities; skills which ‘bog standard’ therapy often require and may be required of him to complete his therapy and ‘therapy homework.’ These (self-reflection, self-awareness) may not be skills he actually has or tasks he can actually do on his own at home without direct adult prompting and direct support to do so. So, his ‘therapy/homework’ tasks in themselves may potentially be inappropriate for him on some levels.
These all (above) suggests to me that it may be wise to question his therapists understanding of ASD. It may be because of his therapist’s lack of understanding about autism that he may not appear to be ‘engaging’ when in reality he may not be able to actually access or participate in his therapy at all.
Question hard the therapists training, question their experience and understanding of ASD, and ask what specific adjustments they are making in order to enable your child to participate in therapy. Question their understanding of the points above that I have offered and ask the therapist how they envision that these issues are impacting upon your child’s therapy. If they have no decent and well considered answers to these questions then you have your answer as to whether they are the right therapist for your son and request a different therapist.
Don’t let a therapist blame your ND child for ‘not engaging.’ (Any decent therapist knows that ‘not engaging’ is a form of engaging in its own right.) Instead question harder as to whether the therapist is providing a therapy/therapeutic environment that your ND child is able (being enabled) to participate in.
Best of luck.