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.
Hi Song, It is the violence, hitting, trying to strangle me, throwing objects etc, swearing, refusal to do tasks and disrespectful behaviour that is causing problems. He behaves like this whenever things don't go to the personal plan in his head, despite us setting out quite clearly what the routine (eg screen time, going out, dinnertime etc) is. If he doesn't agree with the plan there is trouble and he finds it very difficult to accept household rules in the way he accepts school rules. There is an element of separating the autistic traits, for which we cannot punish him, from the behavioural traits, which need to be controlled. He wouldn't behave like this at school and he does have to learn that it is not acceptable at home either. He is very high functioning and does not qualify for any additional help, which means he has to learn to manage in a society which won't make any excuses for him. I know that is difficult and we are trying to help him by setting the boundaries at home and giving him the tools he needs to regulate his anger and anxiety. But we also have an NT 11 year old daughter who needs protecting from his violent outbursts as he gets older and stronger.
Hallo, What we've found sometimes works with tasks like laundry, teeth, homework etc is to make a checklist so it is a written reminder of things that need doing. Sometimes my son can relate more to something on paper than verbal instructions and can quite like the idea of ticking them off when he's done. (Other times however he will rip up the list and throw it at me, so make sure you save a copy for re-printing!) We did have a laminated check list that said: homework, trumpet practice; room tidy?; Ask if there's any jobs you can help with?...All done then you can use your time as you wish - eg read, trampoline, iPad, TV. He needed the suggestions. It did work most of the time with his organisation after school and only fell down when some other anxiety was taking over.Can you try to move her off the eating snacks, for which she feels like she needs money, to something else that will comfort her? Quite often with Asperger's they get fixated on something for a while and then move on to something else. If she's not passionate about anything else it might be difficult, but if you had a puzzle game or something, perhaps she could be persuaded to try and complete that every time she felt like eating? Or listen to music? Go for a walk? There may be an app she could play for five minutes?I'm not sure about the sanctions. My instinct would be to warn her of the consequences about taking money, which I'm sure you will have done. I've a friend whose child stole their credit card details and they got the police involved to show how serious it was. I'm not saying you should do that at this stage, but she will need to be aware.It is hard to explain that rules need to be different, when you have an NT child also and that is something we find tricky. We've been open with our daughter and explained all about Asperger's. She is very understanding of the condition and even without thinking can provide strategies to help and diffuse meltdowns with other people's children, less so for her own brother! I think your 11 year old will be old enough to reason with and if you can try and get him/her involved with thinking of ways to help and understand your older daughter that might give him/her a role in it all.Good luck!
The funny(?) thing is that I forget/ forgive the kickng and hitting - it's only ever me that she hits. Just once it has reduced me to tears for the whole evening.
Because we are trying to lay off thecsanctiobs, I don't know how to deal - I can't be true to myself and reward a lack of violence.
It would be helpful if you keep me updated as to your progress - perhaps show there is hope.
I am persuading her back to psychologist - in my head I know she must be unhappy and confused. But it's a hard thing to deal with.
Thanks so much for the support. The over eating is nostly out of the house. At home she has her own snack box which limits the otjer things she takes a bit. The shop by the school bus stop (and i want her to have the independence of walking home) and the school tuck shop. Have spoken to tje SENCO and explained to him (see my otjer thread of today for opinion about him!) He is (still) looling at ways to keep an eye on her. I have sent him screenshots of what she is buying in one day and thats in addition to the sweets (and we are a non- gelatine eating house so its a double bliw for me when she brings those in).
Have at least got school to agree no need for pupils to have a £5 overdraft facility- that took me 2 years!!
You're right about involvingv11 year old. Rightly or wrongly and in order to let daughter own her diagnosis I have let her lead on when to tell people and she says she's not ready quite. Diagnosed in Jan - she hates the word Aspergers , let alone anything autism ......
And then when I'm despairing I think about how the world looks to her and feel bad for my attitude.
Thanks though - it's so good to share.
If violence is a problem why can't a lack of violence be rewarded.
if it were to get through that when the child doesn't react violently things are nicer for them then it is possible that they will be less violent in the future.
so instead of a sanction for bad behaviour you get reward for good behaviour.
it seems that just doing things right even if they cause you great mental pain has no reward at all. You have to go above and beyond for reward which is fine if you can cope with normal but if you are struggling which both of your children are then even just being good is painfully in itself.
Because I am the classic combination of new and not good at this, I haven't worked out how to reply directly to your msg. But thank you! I understand and really appreciate your information.
I will master the system and respond directly.