Hi all. I've been a member for ages, but rarely post. Normally I don't even need to - I can read and search and find tons of advice that is super helpful and don't need to bother anyone. But title says it all - I'm at my wit's end. Please be kind (though I've always known everyone here to be, I'm honestly so tired of being blamed and so tired...just tired.) I apologize this is long. I have written it and rewritten so many times...
My son has challenges that seem to be really cropping up more with hormones. He turned 13 in May. I'm not going into the whole saga because I'll get angry all over again and end up crying and typing, but getting any help has been hard. My husband was diagnosed as an adult with Asperger's, though of course they don't call it that now, and it was only after that anyone took us seriously about our son. Hubby is on the spectrum, has ADD, bad anxiety, and dyslexia.
Our son has dyspraxia. Between them, his ped, OT, ST, and PT said "dyspraxia and it affects everything - for school purposes you would say apraxia of speech, dyscalculia, and maybe a bit of dyslexia. However, we see autistic traits as well and would classify him high functioning and needing support. Not as high as his father." He's also quite anxious. If we approach things best we know how from the way they did it - which is as if he were ASD - things work.
While it was heartbreaking, it was also freeing - we had names! Researching it all explained sooo much!
Fast forward to now. We're at this weird in between place. He's aged out of anything offered from the therapists. They don't know what to do. Driving hours is not an option - only one of us can drive, and that is hubby. And even that he's highly anxious and freaks when it's the city. At the time son was having therapy, we sometimes used Medicaid transport because hubby was at work. That was a nightmare, and son has now associated OT and such with pain, boredom, being forgotten and left someplace, waiting for hours (5 hour round trip) and I'm not sure I'd get him in the car.
His attitude is awful. In 2018, we lost three people - both my grandparents he was very close to, and his little brother who wasn't quite four months. A whole lot went on and it was over two years of utter chaos and misery. Our routines went out the window. I can't seem to get them back. It was really really bad and we're all suffering from ptsd I think.
Some of it I know is hormones. But he went from sweet and generally compliant and helpful to eye rolling, heavy sighing, stomping his feet, complaining. Everything revolved around four particular games. His dad and I are gamers, though we do not play a lot, and for a while it worked - we'd play with him an hour or two and get him outside after that. I work from home, but make sure to be up and moving. His dad's classes were online but again, he limited his gaming and was up and moving. Son could not - his life started to be only those games, and he was incredibly rude, angry, and downright hateful when asked to do anything else. Schoolwork was a nightmare. Chores the same.
He was reminded that he could play as long as the things needing done were done first and he was respectful if he was needed after that. He was welcome to say that he was in a spot he couldn't pause, as long as he was nice, paused when he could, and came to help. But he stopped doing that and was just plain ugly.
So hubby put in the rule that you can have playtime on the computer one hour on school days and two on non-school days. As much time as you want if it's something educational, or working on art or trying your hand at game programming. Otherwise there is plenty to do (he has clay, science kits, books galore, games, there's woods around us, art supplies).
So he's now gone to the extreme. The computer is his "disappointment" and he says he feels he's not even allowed to look at it. He refuses to touch it for any reason unless required for schoolwork. He's decided this "ban" has extended to music and all but a few channels on Youtube and streaming. He refuses to use his swing set, soccer goal, punching bag, art stuff, or anything else unless required. Won't touch a book unless required. Chores are immediately met with a rude "I'm sorry" when reminded (no matter how it's done, even if it's a text or a note). He likes a checklist but if looks could kill it'd turn to ash. Anything he is interested in if he even thinks it might be school related it suddenly is horrible. And so are we for ruining it. (This is true even if it's just a cool video we found about the ocean and we just happen to have it playing for our own sake when he walks in the room.)
He loves to spend as much time as he can telling me how angry he is (especially at his dad) and how he wants to strangle him. How he feels like a slave. How he feels like he's not allowed to breathe. Then he'll go have movie night with his dad (at his request, not dad's) and come back later and repeat himself.
We had diet changes that were necessary and he resents that. The computer thing on playtime he resents. He understands the reasons and when he's in a good mood and mindset he even agrees. (We focus on health in all forms, and explain everything because he always needs that. But it's still a fight.) He has now admitted that yes, he enjoys when we make him go for walks, yoga, and the martial arts lessons his dad gives him. And that he does recognize that we are not always on the computer but do other things. But I'm getting worn out listening to complaining all the time then being accused of not caring when I so much as yawn (because it's past midnight, for example.)
We had a child therapist see him when we lost everyone but she said he was fine. State community care has a loooong list. No child psychs nearby and his ped recommended the state (and to be honest, I despise them for many reasons.) Hubby has a mild heart attack whenever we must drive to the city, and it's a loong list for anything. I don't know how much is just hormones, how much might be related to trauma, to his challenges, or what. I thought maybe the school might help in some way, but at best they said 15 min a week of group speech, and to come back later when he's older basically for any evals due to time, money, and "you homeschool; you don't need us."
He refuses all activities outside the house. I do not have money to spend for something I can't get him in the car for. I thought maybe he was worried about money (because he does that) but even the free Lego group he refuses. His dad purposely chose 1 class only this coming semester both for his own challenges sake and to drive us around but we can't get him into anything. He refuses to try. We might be able to get him to a rec day set up for homeschoolers but only if I go with him. And even then, it'll be a fight to get him in and out of the car. Bribes do not work. Part of it is the virus - we haven't been able to get him a shot yet. He's reacted to shots in the past and the ped said not to do Pfizer but wait for the Moderna since neither of us reacted badly. He's our first point of care, but he doesn't seem to know where to steer us. He does at least say our son is much better off at home than in school with the schools here. At leas there's that.
So far we're being told things like "be more strict" and "don't listen to him" and "he'll be fine and you all just need to pray more." That last one sets my husband off every time. I'm not sure if our routine is not as strict as it needs be, if we need to treat him as younger (he does not truly step up to the plate when given responsibility, though he does better lately when I allow him to run out of clothes since he insisted he could do his own laundry without help. He's doing it now. And he's great at taking care of the rescue kitties and the dogs.)
I feel like I'm rambling at this point. I don't quite know what to ask for. I'm not expecting a robot. I don't want a robot. I would like not having to fight at least once a day. I dread this coming school year because he fights our summer routine...then tells me how much he enjoys it. And tells everyone who will listen how much he likes it! He BRAGGED to a neighbor about our geography teatime. But complained the whole time during it. The bragging was not prompted and he didn't know I was there, so it wasn't something he just said. I feel like banging my head on the wall. (I might have done that a few times.)
But my boy is at heart a sweet, caring, kind person. When we were regularly going to the tiny church he likes (build at the end of the Civil War,) he'd help set up dinners and clean up without asking. He carried choir books because older people weren't "allowed" to. He'll give someone the shirt off his back - then come home to accuse me of being a slave driver for asking him to take out the trash. He's great in an emergency. He's just breaking my heart lately and I don't know what to do.
Please don't judge. We're lost. We don't know whether to ride this out and keep doing what we're doing or what.
At least next year's school is taken care of. He helped choose his curriculum, and at least I don't have that worry over as well. (I hope.)