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SN child ruining family time


Moxie
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If you feel the need to chide me for my language or attitude, go ahead but I'll ignore you.

11DS, middle child, high functioning autism, anxiety, ADD.


He fights with his siblings if he doesn't get his way. He refuses to do any chores and if we force him, they are so badly done that it makes twice as much work (example-leaving his folded laundry in a pile somewhere instead of putting it away). If he does not want to do an activity, he will make sure everyone is so miserable that they don't want to do it either. So, vacations suck. Car trips suck. We never go to a family movie or eat in a restaurant that isn't top of his list. He is a terrible picky eater and makes all meals miserable.

He is 110% what ruined our homeschool. He is great in regular school and teachers love him.

I love him. He can be very funny. One-on-one he is great. But, in the family, he is a horror show.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I wouldn't be surprised if my kids move away someday with very few happy memories. Right at this minute, they are pissed that he isn't doing chores and I don't blame them.

 

 

post edited by moderator to remove questionable language. 

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That really stinks. I gave up on family time when a particular family member made it more stressful than it was worth.

 

About the chores-- what if you paid the dc for doing chores. That way it would reduce the unfairness. I would not normally pay for something that they are supposed to do anyway, but in this case I might.

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Oh man do I sympathize! Holidays are the worst part. I think partly because they upset the routine so make the person with autism even more autism like if that makes sense. I agree that you should go and do things with the other kids and leave the other one at home or with a sitter if need be depending on age. We often do things without my oldest. Are used to feel bad about it but he prefers it that way anyway . I also like the idea of rewarding or paying the kids that are doing chores to make it up to them but the other one isn't. That way yes they are doing more work but they are also getting more reward. mostly, sympathy. It sucks when family life isn't what you wanted.

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I agree about finding someone to stay with him while the rest of the family went out. You can get him a fast food item either before or after you go out.

 

Does he have his own room? I'd let him do whatever he wants in his space and keep his door shut. If he wants his clothes cleaned they must be put into the hamper. I don't pick up clothes off the floor because I don't know what's dirty and what's clean.

 

I'd have him eat a meal by himself in another room instead of with the family. If you can't be nice you can't be with us while we're trying to enjoy ourselves. 

 

My ds has Aspergers and is very rigid in this thinking. He has always had a sense of what he sees as right and wrong. I talked to him about his perceptions and how they were not the same as others. It took a while for it to sink in. It was more difficult before he was a teenager and thinking more maturely.

 

I don't know about chores. We have never had assigned chores. We just ask for help when we need it. 

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Can you get respite for him though CMH or an SED waiver? Seriously, if you can I would start leaving him home with a respite provider.

 

You are right to consider the impact this has on your other kids and family time.

 

What makes school go well for him? Can you duplicate any of that at home? Would he do well with a chore list or picture schedule? Can you use electronics as a motivator? Put his chores on a list and then put 30 minutes of electronics on as the last thing after the other chores are done.

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I'm not exaggerating when I say that I wouldn't be surprised if my kids move away someday with very few happy memories. Right at this minute, they are pissed that he isn't doing chores and I don't blame them.

 

No way I am going to chide you. You have my sympathy from the trenches. Special needs can be extremely hard on siblings. I think that, sometimes, no matter how hard you as a parent try, you can't always fix things so that the sibling relationships are good and you (general you) can end up feeling that you've failed everybody. Hopefully other people will have some practical advice that will help.

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For chores can you give him the option of him doing them well and getting the money or paying a sibling to do the chore. His choice.

I figure in the real world either I can do the chores here and keep my money or I can hire out laundry, housekeeping, lawn care etc. Let him do the same with his chores. This works best if money is a motivator.

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:grouphug:

 

I second the idea of family outings without him, just so the other kids have memories that aren't being ruined by him.

 

I do know what it's like to have that one kid that takes up 90% of your mental energy. The one who makes otherwise peaceful family times filled with stress. It feels very unfair to the other kids, and I have to admit, I've dropped the ball on things Middle Child is up to because Oldest is taking up so much of me as a mother. She doesn't mean to be that way, of course, but she is. I'm a very empathetic, conflict averse person. There's nothing I want more than to have peaceful relationships with everyone in my life, and being around people's bad moods is terribly stressful for me. And I have a depressed, possibly bipolar, incredibly volatile teenager. I realized at Christmas time (my favorite holiday and our family's most important time of the year) that I've gotten much better and having emotional distance from her moods. She was depressed and angry and in the past I would have let that bother me, would have let that poison my own mood which affects everyone else's mood (mom's attitude matters SO much!) But I just expressed my concern, asked if there was anything she needed from me, and went along my merry way, determined not to let her emotions ruin my holiday. It's not that I don't care, I very much do. But at some point I had to stand back and realize that I likely didn't cause these problems and I'm doing everything I can to help her with them, and I can't let her depression rule my life. Easier said than done.

 

So, yeah, a combination of time without him and some much needed emotional boundaries. :) It's SO hard when it's your kid, a person you love from the moment you meet them, someone whose happiness matters more to me than my own, whose life I have so much hope for... If someone else, a brother, a parent, my best friend in the world, had treated me the way my daughter has treated me, I'd have cut them out of my life permanently. But my daughter? Not a chance. The idea of her moving away and not wanting to speak to me literally brings tears to my eyes while I'm typing it.

 

It's tough loving someone so completely who is so difficult to be around.

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I have an autistic 11 year old. She is not that bad, but sometimes in the past she kind of has been. Do you impose discipline? Or has he learned that because his behavior is interpreted through a SN lens, you won't be aggressive about shutting it down? You have to exert the stronger will. You have to impose consequences. Occasionally, you have to sharply yell "STOP!" as loudly as you can. Let him know you mean business. Severe loss of privileges until he gets a clue. If he makes people miserable, he should be sent to his room and excluded from whatever good is coming up (even dinner if necessary). I like the idea of going out without him. There's no way I would let other people's preferences get repeatedly overridden by someone who makes others miserable. To some extent, by giving in, you have taught him that he can get away with it. Great in school, teachers love him is a red flag that he is walking all over you guys, specifically, not just that he can't control himself due to the SN. Get a lot more serious about your boundaries, and *talk* to him. Let him know that it is not acceptable. Don't plead and negotiate. Just make sure he understands. It will take a while and you will get lots of pushback but if you hold your ground, hopefully he will eventually get the picture. Because you don't want to deal with a teenager acting this way.

 

Counseling and medication may also help, but not if it serves to keep things in the mindset of "he has special needs, so..."

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Be an ass back. Call his bluff. He's obviously capable of better behavior and can help. I see this not as a SN issue but as and attitude issue. If he's nice at school but rotten at home then he's obviously thinking you're not in charge or deserving of his respect.

 

If he ruins stuff, leave him home a few times with a sitter. Doesn't help with chores, don't wash his laundry. Won't help out? Then don't do anything for him. Family is a team, if he can't play nice, he's not playing at all.

 

He's not an egg. He won't break. You're clearly fed up.

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I think I started leaving Geezle home alone around 11 or 12 so if you think he'll be okay, I'd do that with no qualms at all. There are things that we all enjoy that stress Geezle out and he prefers to opt out. That's cool with me as long as he's safe alone.

 

I like the idea of paying for chores and not paying if they're not done to your standard. That way it's not on you. He can choose what he prefers and it's fair to siblings either way.

 

If he can't handle family dinners, let him eat alone. You gave it a good shot, it's too hard, so just let it go. It's not ideal but you'll all have less stress.

 

He might still be too young, but once he starts thinking about adult plans, you can start explaining what room mates will expect. Geezle wants to live in apartments in out town for SN adults with his best friend. This is super useful because instead of framing things as my demand I can frame it as, "What would your friend think about that if he was your room mate?" It still takes many reps to get results cemented but it's not as confrontational and it is a real motivator.

 

ETA: Geezle is super well behaved in public too. Not so much at home. We've talked about it and he says he can keep it together at school but it takes all his energy. When he gets home he just can't do it anymore and needs to let his freak flag fly. I explained that he gets on everyone else's nerves with some behaviors and needs to dial it back or we'll just lose it with him. We've got our sensory and emotional limits too. It's a long process. It's gotten better over the years and 16 is much easier than 11, but it's still a work in progress.

Edited by chiguirre
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I understand. Mine is not special needs, but a challenge and a big reason I no longer homeschool. The child is pleasant alone or when things are going their way, but extremely difficult otherwise. I've started leaving the child home which makes for more peaceful outings. (((hugs)))

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Great in school, teachers love him is a red flag that he is walking all over you guys, specifically, not just that he can't control himself due to the SN.

 

 

If he's nice at school but rotten at home then he's obviously thinking you're not in charge or deserving of his respect.

 

Maybe, or it could mean that he has to put a lot of effort into being nice at school, and when he's home he's out of spoons. The mental energy bank is overdrawn, and there's none left for his family.

 

Which doesn't mean you have to just let him do whatever. You all have rights too, and feelings, and needs. If he doesn't want to go out to dinner with you, I agree with those who say to leave him home, with or without a sitter. If he doesn't want to put away his laundry, stop doing it. If you trust that he's capable of putting his laundry away once it's folded, he's almost certainly capable of washing it. If he's being a pain at the dinner table, send him to eat in the kitchen, or on the porch.

 

11 is a tough age, no matter what else is going on, but you don't have to put up with it.

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This is why I get so infuriated when people bash Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy. ABA has turned my child with autism from someone who couldn't be in a mainstream setting because her behavior was so out-of-control to someone whose end-of-camp award certificate read "for being sweet".

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No judgement here at all, just complete sympathy! 

 

I like others' ideas of paying the kids who do chores (maybe not even with money, but with privileges like computer time, TV time, later bedtime, etc). That could really reduce their understandable frustration and let you feel like things are more fair. Plus it's a pretty natural consequence for your DS. He may not notice it or may not connect it to his behavior as logically as would be ideal, but at the very least it helps the other kids feel things are more fair. 

 

And yes, I'd totally leave him home with a sitter. We leave DD15 home alone now that she's mature enough if she's in a bad mood. I just tell her flat out "I'm going to run some errands, you can hang out here because frankly I need a break from your sullen glares and back talking". And I leave, with the other kids. I usually unplug (and take with me) the computer cord before I go just to be sure she's not goofing off on the internet while I'm gone. I usually come back feeling MUCH better and it gives me a chance to give 1-on-1 attention to the better behaved kids who demand less of my time but obviously still need it. I don't know if a preteen with autism would clue in this much to it, but DD sometimes feels remorseful and will do the dishes so when I come back the dishes are done AND she usually watches her attitude better for a few days. Again, I wouldn't 'count' on that, but just the time out doing something fun without the kid who is not enjoying it there is so helpful for mental health. If he's too young to stay home alone maybe make finding a summer sitter a priority. Just once or twice a month even for several hours so you can take the other kids to do some planned fun. 

 

I have a friend here whose autistic son hates field trips, events, etc. He's not badly behaved necessarily but just is miserable and obviously makes it known ;) Anyway, she just has him stay home. No big deal. He's happier at home reading or playing on the computer and others can go enjoy the outing. I think sometimes as parents we can get that fear of missing out on behalf of our kids. But, if they don't enjoy it and don't want to go, then they're not missing out on anything in their minds. So no need to feel guilty at all. 

 

((hugs)) it's hard to parent preteens, and preteens with special needs are especially tough. 

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No judgement.   Just some hugs.

 

I think doing things without that child sometimes would be good for everyone.   Do you think that would make a difference in his mind too?  Would he change if he was left out? 

 

Is he going to school this year?   Maybe having that break would be good too. 

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*hug* I have no good advice that hasn't already been said. My guy with ASD is only 6 but I know I could be facing this very soon. My adopted older son had reactive attachment disorder and what you described is what we experienced for years until he moved out. I would often go into the bathroom and break down crying because I didn't know how to keep him from imploding the family. We had to send him to his grandparents one summer for 3 months just to catch our breath and then felt guilty as hell for wishing he didn't have to come back so soon. I get it. We did often leave him out of activities that he was trying to sabotage. We would get a sitter. I would often go out with him one on one to try to create memorable bonds with him so he understood that I did want to have time with him.

 

Funny thing though...I thought my other son would run far from him once they moved out. They are roommates together in their own place and work at the same job. He has become a pretty amazing adult. We have thought for quite a while that he had undiagnosed ASD but RAD can be quite similiar.

 

Hang in their I know it sucks to love someone and just wish things would be different. Try to make special time with your other kids to create those good family memories where you can fit them in.

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Oh, honey. Margaritas at my place. :cheers2:

 

My Aspie is younger, but I have this niggling fear in the back of my mind that our life could end up the same way. I'm not in those specific trenches yet, but sometimes I wonder if we're headed there.

 

I send kiddo to his room or outside when he can't get along with people. I've tried to make his room a happy place that he can retreat to. Legos, his hamster, lots of audiobooks and comfy pillows. No advice about chores; my kid actually loves to be given odd jobs.

 

I agree with the others about getting a sitter or respite care. A GOOD sitter. I find that young teenage girls have no clue how to properly deal with autism, and then get huffy and judgmental when he doesn't act like the super-sweet phlegmatic girl they normally sit for. :001_rolleyes: I've also been known to threaten him with the drop-in childcare place we use, if he's just going to refuse to have fun with us. That has always knocked him straight, but I'm going to be as good as my word if he ever pushes it.

 

I have 2 or 3 friends with autistic children who leave them home with respite care, or at an understanding friend's house, while they go on vacation. I was awfully surprised to learn this, but it works for them. They do it with a spirit of doing what's best for every member of the family, not as a punishment or anything. I don't think my family will have to go this route, at least with this specific kid, but it was still good to hear exactly how much other families are willing to shake things up and make unusual decisions when they have a SN child.

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Maybe, or it could mean that he has to put a lot of effort into being nice at school, and when he's home he's out of spoons. The mental energy bank is overdrawn, and there's none left for his family.

We had a bit of that when we first put mine in PS. But it's something that needs to be worked on, not just accepted, because "I have no energy left to be good to family, because I've spent it all outside the home, where it really matters" is a crappy attitude and life pattern, one which some adults do fall into. And it doesn't explain why the problem would persist on weekends, holidays, etc., when school is not a factor. And it only underscores the fact that there's something different between school and home that makes it worthwhile to make the effort in one place and not the other.

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 I think sometimes as parents we can get that fear of missing out on behalf of our kids. But, if they don't enjoy it and don't want to go, then they're not missing out on anything in their minds. So no need to feel guilty at all. 

 

 

 

I also think sometimes they NEED that time alone, away from siblings/parents/etc. People on the spectrum seem to need more down time than others. Sometimes they don't know how to ask for it, but they need it. And are more pleasant afterwards. 

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I have an autistic 11 year old. She is not that bad, but sometimes in the past she kind of has been. Do you impose discipline? Or has he learned that because his behavior is interpreted through a SN lens, you won't be aggressive about shutting it down? You have to exert the stronger will. You have to impose consequences. Occasionally, you have to sharply yell "STOP!" as loudly as you can. Let him know you mean business. Severe loss of privileges until he gets a clue. If he makes people miserable, he should be sent to his room and excluded from whatever good is coming up (even dinner if necessary). I like the idea of going out without him. There's no way I would let other people's preferences get repeatedly overridden by someone who makes others miserable. To some extent, by giving in, you have taught him that he can get away with it. Great in school, teachers love him is a red flag that he is walking all over you guys, specifically, not just that he can't control himself due to the SN. Get a lot more serious about your boundaries, and *talk* to him. Let him know that it is not acceptable. Don't plead and negotiate. Just make sure he understands. It will take a while and you will get lots of pushback but if you hold your ground, hopefully he will eventually get the picture. Because you don't want to deal with a teenager acting this way.

 

Counseling and medication may also help, but not if it serves to keep things in the mindset of "he has special needs, so..."

 

 

We had a bit of that when we first put mine in PS. But it's something that needs to be worked on, not just accepted, because "I have no energy left to be good to family, because I've spent it all outside the home, where it really matters" is a crappy attitude and life pattern, one which some adults do fall into. And it doesn't explain why the problem would persist on weekends, holidays, etc., when school is not a factor. And it only underscores the fact that there's something different between school and home that makes it worthwhile to make the effort in one place and not the other.

 

It's tricky to give this kind of advice, though, because all kids are different. My son is better at school than at home, as well, and our psychologist has told us that this is not unusual. It's common.

 

Yes, it's something to work on, but it doesn't mean that the parents are letting it happen. It's not a parenting fault. That's a fine line. Yes, work on it. No, it's not the parents' fault. Both of those are important to say.

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I don't blame you at all. You have gotten some advice and a lot of it is good. You can have family time without one child. In fact sometimes it's nice for one on one time or just the older kids or just he younger. You should be able to give some good memories to the other kids. I don't know if you can afford the sitter or if he is old enough to be on his own but if not look into getting a respite worker. It is usually free. State programs vary so I'm not sure of your state but really somehow you can't allow him to control your whole family. (((hugs))) If he is bothersome at the table, he can go to his room. I don't pay for chores but if you could attach completion of chores to computer privileges or something else he likes to spend time on that might help. It takes less energy if you don't have to think about it. Oh your chores aren't done then I won't type in the log in password. No thinking about it and no arguments. Then you can go about your business. Something along that line although specific to your child.

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But it's something that needs to be worked on, not just accepted

 

I absolutely agree, 100%. As I said, everybody in that family has rights, and needs, and feelings. But I prefer not to frame it as "my preteen child doesn't care about our feelings or respect us as people, much less authority figures" if at all possible. Even if that's true, it doesn't help. I think you'll make more progress with this if you look it like "my kid has a problem" instead of "my kid is the problem". (Edit: This isn't even a judgmental thing. I don't think you're a bad parent or something. It's a stressful situation! I just think that it's easier and more effective to work with this framing instead of that one.)

 

(It might help in other situations, say, when you're dealing with adults who act like this. In that case, this framing might help you limit or cut off contact.)

Edited by Tanaqui
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I've only read the first post. 

 

People can think I'm awful, but honestly, I waited far too long to give up on family time with the whole family. Prior to giving up everything we did was planned around what we could predict about what He would like. During family activities we mostly did what he wanted. Doing otherwise would make a hellish experience for everyone else. 

 

I finally started taking the other dc on trips with me while dh stayed home with him. Mostly what we've done is camped a few days a year at the beach because we like the beach and He hates the beach. The other trips we've taken have been to a relative with side trips from there. Obviously, not major expenses. Getting away gave the other kids and I a short break. Getting away gave the other kids fun memories of activities/adventures they would not have had otherwise. Getting away gave my dd a chance to experience "normal" family time. 

 

Additionally, my dc went to summer camp. It was great when oldest was away. When he was in high school he requested to attend a 5 week JROTC program. That was expensive and worth all the peace it brought that summer. 

 

He still has issues as a young adult. He has a lot of problems with holidays, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, we don't do much anymore on Thanksgiving. We don't spend time with my parents. My dad was a real trigger point for Him. My dad was his hero when He was very young and when He was in high school my dad did some really mean stuff. So, we've had to limit contact, even though He still wants to hang with my dad. Those two together becomes an unpredictable situation. And on Christmas he's just evil to me. On Dec 26 it's like a switch went off and he's ok, but the rest of us need recovery time. So this past Christmas I took the younger dc to a hotel/waterpark (not GWL)--leaving early am 12/24 and returning 12/25 afternoon. it was good. Made me a bit sad, but no recovery period necessary. My dd had already been told me she doesn't expect to visit us on holidays when she moves out because her sibling makes holidays so unpleasant. The message to me from that is I tried too long to do "whole family" and should have just worked on separate activities for various groups within the family. Well, we have a couple more years of holidays and short no frills trips. maybe she will change her mind. 

 

Anyway, as someone who has BTDT, protect the relationships with you have with all your dc. Go out separately,  Build family memories. Accept that family activity for your family doesn't look like some ideal. Do take your ds out on his own. Do have fun with him. Do not let him control everything the family does as a whole. 

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It's tricky to give this kind of advice, though, because all kids are different. My son is better at school than at home, as well, and our psychologist has told us that this is not unusual. It's common.

 

Yes, it's something to work on, but it doesn't mean that the parents are letting it happen. It's not a parenting fault. That's a fine line. Yes, work on it. No, it's not the parents' fault. Both of those are important to say.

I don't think it's a parenting fault, I just think it's a pattern that many people (including me) can fall into. At some point there has to be some degree of transition to cultivating conscious responsibility for actions in the child rather than everything being attributed to special needs. You're right, that is very tricky. Only the parent can judge this. I was not trying to judge, more like trying to model the toughness it requires.

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If you feel the need to chide me for my language or attitude, go ahead but I'll ignore you.

 

11DS, middle child, high functioning autism, anxiety, ADD.

He fights with his siblings if he doesn't get his way. He refuses to do any chores and if we force him, they are so badly done that it makes twice as much work (example-leaving his folded laundry in a pile somewhere instead of putting it away). If he does not want to do an activity, he will make sure everyone is so miserable that they don't want to do it either. So, vacations suck. Car trips suck. We never go to a family movie or eat in a restaurant that isn't top of his list. He is a terrible picky eater and makes all meals miserable.

 

He is 110% what ruined our homeschool. He is great in regular school and teachers love him.

 

I love him. He can be very funny. One-on-one he is great. But, in the family, he is a horror show.

 

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I wouldn't be surprised if my kids move away someday with very few happy memories. Right at this minute, they are pissed that he isn't doing chores and I don't blame them.

 

 

post edited by moderator to remove questionable language. 

 

 

Oh, the many, many years we went through this.  And more.  He wasn't good in regular school either, or church, or anywhere.  

 

Hugs.

Edited by DawnM
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I don't think it's a parenting fault, I just think it's a pattern that many people (including me) can fall into. At some point there has to be some degree of transition to cultivating conscious responsibility for actions in the child rather than everything being attributed to special needs. You're right, that is very tricky. Only the parent can judge this. I was not trying to judge, more like trying to model the toughness it requires.

 

Your first post gave a lot of parenting advice, though, and suggested the OP needs to do better.

 

I'm not the OP, but things can be rough at my house, and it's definitely not because DH and I are allowing it in some way. We've never overlooked or excused any behavior due to SN; we address it and deal with it. Every time.

 

I think it's not fair to the OP to assume that she is in some way allowing or failing to address these behaviors at home.

 

The idea in your previous post that better behavior at school means there is something lax at home, and that it's some kind of "red flag" that parents are not doing as well as the school.....I'm sorry, but it's just not right.

 

The school and home environments are entirely different. Different relationships, interactions, activities, schedules, demands. Different social and cognitive requirements. Different time of day. Different triggers for oppositional behavior. Better behavior at school does not mean that something is wrong or worse with the home environment in comparison with what is happening at school. There are many aspects of school that would never be able to be replicated at home.

 

Parents might be able to add structure at home and can learn new techniques for managing behavior, sure! And it's good to do so.

 

But parents can do everything right and still end up with oppositional behavior from their kids.

 

I could go on about DS and how his behavior at school is different than his behavior at home. I could list ways that he has ruined family fun times (very recently) and how that hurts his siblings and breaks my heart and my husband's. I could tell you the professional help he's received. And I could show you how consequences don't change the behavior, so that we have to address the same issues ad nauseum for years. 

 

It's exhausting and frustrating and heartbreaking. And you could not convince me that I am in any way to blame for his behavior or am letting him run over us, because he has SN.

 

So I don't think it's fair to insinuate that the OP is.

 

There are always new things to learn about parenting better. But I've also found that I can parent better and still end up with the same discouraging responses from my kid. In our case, we have a lot of issues, including oppositional behavior, impulsivity, and lack of theory of mind. Those things often prevent him from cooperating with us. That's not an excuse. It's a fact. He's not given a pass on his behavior due to those things, but those things prevent his behavior from improving the way that one might expect, or hope, despite intervention.

 

We press on. We are discouraged, but we press on.

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Also, family time requires a very different kind of interaction compared to sitting in a classroom. My son was able to tolerate a classroom because he could sit and not participate, and be shut down, and they called that "good behavior". Well, the same kid refusing to speak and looking sullen and shut down on Christmas morning gets labeled as spoiled, ungrateful, etc. Same behavior, different environment. 

 

Also, the expectation to "have a good time" seems to make him anxious and his behavior worse, versus school where he doesn't care. 

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Random idea . . . Assuming you don't do so already, can you start paying generously for chores?

 

If the kids who ARE doing the chores are getting $$$ towards their pocket/fun/video game/whatever funds . . . they might not be as resentful as if they are doing it "for free" while their sibling does nothing . . .

 

 

Even if you don't have "more" money to give . . . You can cut back on parental payments for some routine things (gas money, out-with-buddies money, make up, whatever) . . . and pay the kids for more chores . . . so your total outlay might not be much different. 

 

 

I've personally found that my kids are much less resentful/resistant to chores in general when they are paid for them. My kids are only paid for certain chores . . . others are just family duties . . . but for some reason, once we started paying $$$ (aiming for $10/hr+), they've become more cooperative on ALL chores, even the freebies/family duties. For us, the key was, I think, cutting back on all the stuff we routinely just pay for . . . to increase their incentive/appreciation for the cash. (I.e., stopped just giving gas money to teens . . . stopped just paying 100% of all "fun" kid activities . . . made them contribute some earned/own money to those sorts of things . . . )

 

 

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FWIW -- DS18 (ASD-1, GAD) has always been very easy to live with--on the whole much easier than his NT older brother. But around 11 was when we noticed an increasing need for him to have LOTS of alone time. Not because he was being difficult (he never has been) but because he needed an enormous amount of quiet, alone time to recharge his internal batteries or recuperate or whatever you want to label it. I suspect it has to do with the increasing social demands that start in the pre-teen years.

 

ETA: I say he's never been hard to live with but I think that's because DH and I are introverts, and it seems to me that introverts and Aspies/HFAs have a bit in common. We were perfectly fine with him needing a lot of alone time because we do, too. I can see in an extroverted family he would likely have been perceived as much more difficult. And I think that's exactly why I perceive NT oldest DS as being more difficult--he is an extrovert and that causes some friction with the rest of us.

Edited by Pawz4me
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Be an ass back. Call his bluff. He's obviously capable of better behavior and can help. I see this not as a SN issue but as and attitude issue. If he's nice at school but rotten at home then he's obviously thinking you're not in charge or deserving of his respect.

 

If he ruins stuff, leave him home a few times with a sitter. Doesn't help with chores, don't wash his laundry. Won't help out? Then don't do anything for him. Family is a team, if he can't play nice, he's not playing at all.

 

He's not an egg. He won't break. You're clearly fed up.

 

This would have just set my Aspie off even more. 

 

Aspies have depression.  What you do in their early years to "be an ass to them" will come back to bite you.  I promise.

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I've only read the first post. 

 

People can think I'm awful, but honestly, I waited far too long to give up on family time with the whole family. Prior to giving up everything we did was planned around what we could predict about what He would like. During family activities we mostly did what he wanted. Doing otherwise would make a hellish experience for everyone else. 

 

I finally started taking the other dc on trips with me while dh stayed home with him. Mostly what we've done is camped a few days a year at the beach because we like the beach and He hates the beach. The other trips we've taken have been to a relative with side trips from there. Obviously, not major expenses. Getting away gave the other kids and I a short break. Getting away gave the other kids fun memories of activities/adventures they would not have had otherwise. Getting away gave my dd a chance to experience "normal" family time. 

 

Additionally, my dc went to summer camp. It was great when oldest was away. When he was in high school he requested to attend a 5 week JROTC program. That was expensive and worth all the peace it brought that summer. 

 

He still has issues as a young adult. He has a lot of problems with holidays, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, we don't do much anymore on Thanksgiving. We don't spend time with my parents. My dad was a real trigger point for Him. My dad was his hero when He was very young and when He was in high school my dad did some really mean stuff. So, we've had to limit contact, even though He still wants to hang with my dad. Those two together becomes an unpredictable situation. And on Christmas he's just evil to me. On Dec 26 it's like a switch went off and he's ok, but the rest of us need recovery time. So this past Christmas I took the younger dc to a hotel/waterpark (not GWL)--leaving early am 12/24 and returning 12/25 afternoon. it was good. Made me a bit sad, but no recovery period necessary. My dd had already been told me she doesn't expect to visit us on holidays when she moves out because her sibling makes holidays so unpleasant. The message to me from that is I tried too long to do "whole family" and should have just worked on separate activities for various groups within the family. Well, we have a couple more years of holidays and short no frills trips. maybe she will change her mind. 

 

Anyway, as someone who has BTDT, protect the relationships with you have with all your dc. Go out separately,  Build family memories. Accept that family activity for your family doesn't look like some ideal. Do take your ds out on his own. Do have fun with him. Do not let him control everything the family does as a whole. 

 

I remember your thread at Christmas time about the water park. Perhaps when all your children are adults, only the ones who can handle Christmas happily can get together on Christmas and you can make Dec 26 plans with your oldest.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug:

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Your first post gave a lot of parenting advice, though, and suggested the OP needs to do better.

I was going off the statement that they never do an outing that isn't top of his list. That suggests he is being allowed to dictate. I'm sorry if that inference was off-base. I was also going by the kind of language being used about a child, the condition was set not to question it, OK whatever but I will question what's going on around it. People who are sure of their own authority don't generally resort to vulgar insults.

 

I am speaking from my own experience. What I described is something I have had to learn and am still highly imperfect at. If it doesn't work, that's extremely tough and that would be where professional intervention comes in as I also mentioned.

 

One thing about the school environment that can be somewhat imitated at home is its uncompromisingness. Not specific techniques or structures, because it's a home not a school, but the general sense that this is serious and you won't get away with things. We are laid back casual people and this has been a huge, huge stretch for us, but even the tiny amount we have managed has paid off a lot.

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If he is in public school -- ask about how he can qualify for ESY for next year when he goes back to school. If you can document regression this summer (in his behavaior at least) maybe it can help to qualify.

 

I don't know if he is near the line for that or if he would just never qualify, but I send my son to ESY.

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I've been thinking about this thread since yesterday. We deal with some of the same issues as Moxie. I've read that kids with ADHD often need about twice the amount of downtime that NT kids do because their brains are working so hard to manage things. I've noticed our kiddo definitely prioritizes his personal downtime/alone time and suffers (which means we do, too) when he doesn't get it. So I'd make sure the SN kid had plenty of that if he isn't already getting it. The other thing I'd do is speak to his doctor. As with most people, I'm not a fan of medicating without a good reason. But several months ago, the doctor added a mood stabilizer to DS's medication regime given his symptoms and the fact that it apparently has been shown to be helpful to some kids with Asperger's. IT HAS MADE A MAJOR DIFFERENCE in his ability to cooperate and deal with challenging and frustrating situations. It hasn't been a cure-all by any means. But the improvement is significant. Now that's our case. Might not be yours. But it might be worth another conversation with the doctor since you're struggling.

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Yep, right there with you.

 

DD10 is the reason we have two Christmas trees. We all decorate one together and deal with her attitude.  And then on a day when she is not around, we decorate a second tree without her.  

 

For events like Mother's day/birthdays/graduations/congratuation dinners, we will have a small dinner at home on the day, without much fanfare .  Then on a day when she is not home, we go out for a nice dinner or sometimes a lunch when she is at school.

 

We include her in all the low key events but anything nice that is actually a celebration, we make other arrangements for her. 

 

One year, dd18 opened almost all of her Christmas presents on Christmas eve after dd10 went to bed.  Just to decrease the drama on Christmas morning.  DD10 is hugely jealous over dd18 and anything she gets as gifts. 

 

I hate living life this way.  It sucks. I hate the deception. I hate leaving her out.  But even more, I hate that she can whine, moan, throw a fit and absolutely ruin my older kids lives if we don't exclude her.  

 

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I agree with others that this age is really difficult. 12 and even 13 have been SO MUCH BETTER here. 

 

I can relate to both the "eggshell" end and the "uncompromising" end of things. Sometimes the same child needs one approach and then the other for the exact same thing on consecutive days. 

 

OP, if you can do some things to sequester your child's influence on the whole family, do not feel bad about doing so. I hope that he is able to participate again in the future. We have a lot of things we work around in my house too, but it's not just ASD--food allergies, etc. It's annoying and difficult, but at least those things are not personal and in your face (though there are always a few people seem to think they are, lol!). 

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To the person that said they are not an egg and won't break - I suggest you look up suicide rates in people with high functioning autism. Many do indeed break.

 

It depends on what approach is actually being recommended by saying "they're not an egg" - laying down the law and protecting others? Or "being an ass back"? I got push back for the "uncompromising" view but it's actually gentler than some alternatives. The scene around a fifteen or twenty year old who continues to act this way is not going to be eggshell gentle for anyone. It's one thing if the kid really has no hope of meeting behavioral goals but kids who have the potential to do so need to be encouraged toward it for their own sake as much as anyone else's. Only the parent can decide how far to push but no, having a limit on how you will allow family members to be treated will not drive anyone to suicide.

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