DS: charming but controlling

(75 Posts)
Mummyoftheyear Fri 05-Apr-13 23:50:16

My son is just wonderful (as is everyone's, I'm sure).
He is caring and kind, charming and incredibly articulate. He is particularly interested in electricity: how things work, making circuits (a game called Hot Wires is a sage way to do it). He is 5 years old.
Since he has been at nursery (2 and a quarter), I've heard nothing but complaints about his resistance to go along with instructions - be it signing at singing time, stopping to tidy up, sitting on the carpet, etc.
I'm quite strict at home a d have tried everything. Sticker charts / other positive incentives, consequences, etc.
I've even gone so far as to photograph, laminate and cut up a picture if his favourite toy to give him one if four pieces of it to incentivise good behaviour. Nothing! He loves in the here and now I'll do what if like.
He's not naughty - just determined to follow his own interests, ideas and plans.
I'm despairing as its been complained about at both nurseries and now at school. He's been asked to leave: football, ballet, Zumba, drama, etc.
He doesn't endear himself to have friends although he would love to - because he tries to tell them (nicely but all the same...) exactly what to play with/ how to play with it. He's fantastic at setting up games, activities, etc and wonderful with younger children. I'm at the end of my tether as we have had play dates and mums have said, surprised, "He's fine, isn't he!". They've obviously been told by their children that he doesn't listen and is 'redirected' a billion times a day. His eye contact and interpersonal skills (BAR LISTENING TO OTHERS unless they're telling him about something he would like to know).
Feeling isolated and at the point of getting him assessed. Can anyone relate????

Mummyoftheyear Fri 05-Apr-13 23:52:30

Please excuse word omissions and autocorrections. Drives me mad and I'm too tired to edit!

What do nursery say exactly? Have they suggested getting him assessed? Do they have any strategies in place to help him?
Is he happy at nursery? (why is he in nursery at 5 btw?)

Mummyoftheyear Fri 05-Apr-13 23:57:47

Thank you for responding so quickly. He is now in Reception. He went to one nursery from the age of 2 and a quarter until he was almost four. Then he went to another nursery in a primary school until September when he started Reception. He's been observed a couple if times (Health Visitors and SENCOs. They couldn't put their fingers on it and said he was clearly bright but unusual n could t put their finger on it. I know myself that it's like pushing a lead ball up hill trying to get him to do something he doesn't want to. And he doesn't want to follow other people's instructions - especially if not interested. Even on things he's interested in, he likes to decide how to go about it.
Exhausting and unmanageable in a class setting. No positive incentives have had effect. sad

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Fri 05-Apr-13 23:58:57

Hi smile

I have a nephew a little like this. He isn't really interested in anything you have to say as he's too wrapped up in his own world. He can talk the hind legs off a donkey but only about the topics that he finds interesting. It can be very draining, my sister finds it tough. My nephew has aspergers. I'm not saying that your son has this, it's something that you should consider though. There's a lot of wise and knowledgeable parents in the SN section so it may be wise for you to post in there as well. Just write a little about what he's like. Any sensory problems? Will he only wear certain clothes, eat certain foods? Won't hug? You mentioned something about eye contact and interpersonal skills in your post but you didn't finish the sentence.

Mummyoftheyear Sat 06-Apr-13 00:04:41

I know ... so tired and typing on my phone, so I didn't realise ;)
His first cousin has asperges. I've always thought that a child who sought out conversation and eye contact probably wasn't asperges. Maybe I'm
Wrong? I'm exhausted! I'm also upset ;(
He's so bright but just wants to control and isn't endearing himself, as I said, to peers or teaching staff.
I question myself all the time:
Am I too strict?
Too lax?
Don't stick to the boundaries?
Is my house too chaotic? - that's my latest theory of self-blame... My house is so messy that he's trying to exert some control over his environment.
Has he got my 'busy brain'?
...

He is fine with all food. He has slight and occasional sensitivity to loud noises (but loves a loud disco). He loves cuddles. Hands up. I give up!

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 06-Apr-13 00:13:54

I was told that a child with autism doesn't want friends, a child with aspergers wants friends but doesn't know how. sad I've no idea if it's accurate or not but I can see why. I do think that we all have a trait or two if we look hard enough.

I don't think this is anything to do with parenting, it's about his need to control the world around him which is uncontrollable if you think about it. He feels safe when things are his way; everything else upsets the balance so causes him a great deal of stress. I bet you're a fantastic mother, it's just that his need to control what's going on around him is strong. Try to change your perspective and see that you have no control over the world around you. People come and go, things change quickly, routines are a mess, you don't know what's happening next... ARGH!!! Wouldn't it be better if you knew what was coming up? That's (possibly) how his brain is processing information.

He could do with being assessed, it's a gateway to you all getting some answers and some support. smile

Mummyoftheyear, Please don't be upset. He sounds like a bright boy with an awful lot going for him. Just think how successful he is likely to be when he is allowed to chose and follow his own pathway?

School is 'mainstream' and some children just don't fit into the system as it currently stands. Some of these are identified as having special needs because they require 'reasonable adjustments' or adaptations to the school environment or curriculum.

Whatever is going on though it would be sensible to find out as much as you can, because when you have an information void, you fill it with your worst fears. With knowledge can come understanding and strategies, and there is loads of both on the www.mumsnet.com/Talk/special_needs section of the board.

notapizzaeater Sat 06-Apr-13 00:19:22

This sounds a lot like my son, he is very articulate about "his" subjects and has a brilliant imagination and barks orders out at his friends about how to play the games he has made up.

My son is on the spectrum - I feel PDA fits my son better. He genuinely does not believe he has to do anything he doesn't want to do !!! He "thinks" he is an adult so the things we /teachers ask him to do are obviously for the children so don't mean him ....

EggsEggSplat Sat 06-Apr-13 00:29:54

I was thinking PDA too - pathological demand avoidance - it's ASD related.

I don't think it is very ethical to be throwing dx around tbh. The OP has some concerns which are symptoms of a whole range of dx but also within the reals of typical.

And besides, she needs strategies and next step tips, including if appropriate, how to get a proper medical investigation underway, not lay people making dx over the internet.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 06-Apr-13 00:33:49
Mummyoftheyear Sat 06-Apr-13 00:38:06

My son often gets momentarily frustrated (cross and upset) that HE can't be an adult.
I have to say, I am so thankful that you mummies responded tonight as my pseudonym is ironic. I'm an aspiring mummy of the year- but feel I'm a big fake. As a teacher (primary) and assessor (dyslexia), I feel I ought to have been able to 'correct' or avoid those behaviours (strong will that goes against direction at school and at home). However, on the other hand, I'm amazed at his quirkiness - his avid interest in electricity, articulacy, etc.
just wish I could help him to bend to life rather than try to pull the globe in his direction.
Since he was at nursery (2 years old: 2 mornings a week), I've held back the tears as I drove to him. I was always dreading the 'what'll they say today' thing. Never terrible- but always (3 places including his current school) enough for them to complain about...
He would t sit down when asked
Wouldn't sing with the others
Would t tidy up with the others

Purposeful belligerence as wants to so what interests HIM and control OTHERS.
Aaaaargh!

Mummyoftheyear Sat 06-Apr-13 00:42:07

My son often gets momentarily frustrated (cross and upset) that HE can't be an adult.
I have to say, I am so thankful that you mummies responded tonight as my pseudonym is ironic. I'm an aspiring mummy of the year- but feel I'm a big fake. As a teacher (primary) and assessor (dyslexia), I feel I ought to have been able to 'correct' or avoid those behaviours (strong will that goes against direction at school and at home). However, on the other hand, I'm amazed at his quirkiness - his avid interest in electricity, articulacy, etc.
just wish I could help him to bend to life rather than try to pull the globe in his direction.
Since he was at nursery (2 years old: 2 mornings a week), I've held back the tears as I drove to him. I was always dreading the 'what'll they say today' thing. Never terrible- but always (3 places including his current school) enough for them to complain about...
He would t sit down when asked
Wouldn't sing with the others
Would t tidy up with the others

Purposeful belligerence as wants to so what interests HIM and control OTHERS.
Aaaaargh!

I know that these traits will please gd make him successful and talented as an adult.
But he is 5.
And at 5 they are proving to make him unpopular (play dates aren't repeated), and out of favour with teachers who find him almost purposely obstinate as he tries to show them that he will not be controlled. I actually understand and empathise with them. I practice clear boundary setting with tolerance. It's like bring wound up continually throughout the day!!!

Mummyoftheyear Sat 06-Apr-13 00:47:08

I welcome advice and shared experiences, StarlightMcKenzie. I'm sensible enough not to assume a label will fit if given on the net. But it's a good place to share honestly and feel less alone. Impossible to do at the school gates/ with friends I don't want to discourage from making more play dates with. I'm thinking of getting an assessment and am hoping others will have valuable experiences / children with similar characteristics to share. This in itself may help me to feel more secure about my decision to go for an assessment as the NHS said he wasn't bad enough to warrant it!

Mummyoftheyear Sat 06-Apr-13 00:49:59

Any label with the Wird 'pathological' is waaaay too scary, though! Lol

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 06-Apr-13 00:50:24

I know it's stressful, we went through 5 schools before we found one which understood (ds has traits of aspergers, hypotonia and a sensory processing disorder). I knew he wasn't 'naughty', he just wasn't singing from the same sheet as the other children. The parents in the special needs section will know of strategies that you can try but they may not be around tonight. smile

Mummyoftheyear Sat 06-Apr-13 07:03:51

LadyMaryQuiteContrary, why? Do I get a night off if I join that gang, too? Joining! Lol
Or, like me, are they all exhausted from pushing lead weights up hill (much as we love our children)?
Really useful info., ladies! I'm hesitating over getting a referral as after a horrible experience at a state school he is now in a private svhool. It's killing us financially and so I'm not keen to jump to pay for an assessment if it isn't the right time. We shall see. Half of me think sits be useful to know (ie have a label), the other half of me thinks it may make the parents of his peers alienate him further out of ignorance and view him negatively, rather than with a question mark.

Branleuse Sat 06-Apr-13 07:39:19

my two boys are HFA/AS and they are both talkative and friendly but its always entirely on their terms and about their subjects

Mummyoftheyear Sat 06-Apr-13 08:37:55

Branleuse, please excuse my ignorance on this matter but I've no idea what those letters stand for - I'd love to know!

Mummyoftheyear Sat 06-Apr-13 08:41:57

Do you or anyone else have links to characteristics / traits that'll make identification easy? Can't find any easy ones.

xyla Sat 06-Apr-13 11:15:12

regarding how you can help: maybe you could give him a particular responsibility/activity of which he has full control and can make all of the decisions. perhaps feeling in control of something will help him relax a bit about things he has to do in other areas of his life?

HFA = High Function Autism
AS = Aspergers Syndrome
PDA = Pathilogical Demand Avoidance

However, from April no-one is differentiating when diagnosing. Dx will be ASD with specific characteristics.

I think people like to differentiate because ASD is a massive spectrum and it can feel unfair to be given generic strategies, or have assumptions made about your capabilities based on someones preconceived ideas about how you might be or react.

I don't like the above terms however and agree with the new format for dx. The above are kind of 'symptoms' of ASD iyswim.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sat 06-Apr-13 11:36:12

You can go through your GP for an assessment, they will refer to the community paediatrician/OT. It won't cost you if you go down this route.

I know it sounds silly, but have you given him a time limit for his activities? 'You can do X for 10 minutes, then we need to do Y' and use a timer? Sounds like you need saint like patience but it's important for him to learn that even adults have to do things they don't want to do. If he wants an easier life he has to do as people have asked. I have a child who thinks he's an adult. He's very, very bright and would rather spend time with adults as they are more on his wave length. He's compliant and not particularly obsessive. It's incredibly difficult to parent a child with an old head on their shoulders, you're doing a great job and this has nothing to do with your parenting. thanks

Mummyoftheyear Sat 06-Apr-13 17:54:22

You're so kind. Yup. Done timers: coloured sand timers, barking phone timer, flashing timer for SEN kids, etc. '5 min to go' warnings, eye contact with unobtrusive tap on shoulder, etc. Each one I tried with consistency. Hard work!
Lol

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