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How do you deal with this?(51 Posts)
DD2 (no diagnosis - school convinced NT. I'm certain she's not) is now 6.
She went to Nanny and Grandad's yesterday, did cooking with Grandad. We all came to eat her cooking for tea. She wanted a sleepover and was granted one. She had a lovely time. Slept well, watched telly in bed with Nanny and Grandad, helped Grandad make breakfast. Nanny took her to the swings, etc.
I was cooking a Sunday Roast for us all at our house. They arrived and DD2 was very happy. Her mood in general deteriorated and she was starting to be quite stroppy.
Then, she got really tearful. DH had set the dinner table and placed DD2 next to Nanny. She didn't want to be next to Nanny. Once she starts, she can't let it go. DH is also not great at flexibility. She got really upset and insistent that she couldn't possibly sit next to Nanny. I was in the kitchen so unaware of it.
She tried to rein it in, but when I asked her what the problem was she started crying and said 'I can't tell you.' I said that she must tell me. She then said 'But it's about your parents and I don't want you to be cross.' We talked and I pointed out all the lovely things Nanny had done with her.
Nanny was upset, although being very understanding, but I was cross.
At the dinner table DD2 got really loud about no-one sitting next to her. I had moved DM from next to her, to next to me. I explained that as she had made a fuss, I'd moved Nanny, so that's why no-one was sitting next to her.
She started yelling that no-one loved her. I said 'I love you, but you've hurt Nanny and I think you need to do something.' She said 'Sorry? I need to say sorry? But that won't make it ok .'
She's right. But she can't see that it would be a start.
How do you explain that sometimes you just do something because it's the right thing to do?
I dunno Lougle I think my priority would be figuring out what on earth it was she couldn't tell me about Nanny, rather than having to say sorry because it is the right thing to do.
Just consider this (I have no idea if it is what happened but want to give you a flavour of why it might be complex):
She spent the time with Nanny, and, given your fairly large family got loads of 1:1 ore even 2:1 attention and was really spoiled. This is a perfectly okay thing to happen btw. Then when she returned home she had difficulty having to share Nanny, and also being one of many, and not having anyone's exclusive attention. She got upset with the situation, and on top of it felt guilty about having had such a great time with Nanny and her feelings that she might want that to continue triggering guilt because she doesn't think she should be disloyal to you. This made her distressed for two reasons, one the inner-struggle with her feelings and two, her difficulties making it all the harder for her to be able to articulate what was going on to herself, let alone you.
Now I'm not saying that any of the above is what has happened. It would be impossible to say. But I would want to try and unpick the reasons for her behaviour before I began to address it iyswim.
I think starlight has a good angle on it.
Just wanted to add, that my DD1 (who is also undiagnosed) would behave in a similarly, seemingly illogical way.
I find 'How to talk so Kids will listen' a good approach with my DD.
It's as if she has to be coached to understand the feelings inside herself, and I find that the book helped me do that.
God I'm not explaining myself well.....
If that happened with me, my thoughts would be that DD had a lovely time with GP, but perhaps a background feeling of loneliness for home that she couldnt articulate.
And when she got home, the feeling just burst out, mixed with the feelings described by StarL.
And the confusion would lead my DD to seem ungrateful and spoilt whereas she is anything but, and would just be overwhelmed by it all.
Not saying it's the same for your DD....
That's so very helpful, Star.
I think she side-blinded us a bit, because Mum and Dad were signing her praises about how wonderful she'd been.
Then, she came in and within 5 minutes she had pulled DD1's hair for not immediately relinquishing her IPad. She was affronted that I sent her to the naughty step because 'she didn't pull it that hard'
She got upset that the next door neighbour's children had been in to play in the garden while she was away.
She then made a big deal of having gone to the swings with Nanny. Nanny told her that she shouldn't have done that.
Then she generally stropped around like a mini teenager.
She genuinely couldn't tell me why she didn't want to sit next to Nanny, so you're right. I don't think she knew herself. It's like she gets an idea and has to run it to its conclusion whatever the cost.
It's the same as when my brother came for a meal and Mum and Dad's last year and she hid in the dining room and refused to come out, then would only sit at the table if we made sure he was well away from her.
x-posted with you Porridge lover, that's also really helpful.
BTW I'm not suggesting you make excuses for her behaviour. She ALSO has to learn appropriate and acceptable responses 'despite' her inner feelings, as that affects how people around her will feel about her and treat her. But I'd still want to get to the bottom of her distress iyswim.
I agree totally, Star.
My worry is that if she doesn't have her behaviour checked and learn to adjust her tone/facial expressions, she's going to be thumped a few times when she's older
I often model more positive responses, which she can follow, but not when she's in the sort of mood she was in today.
Yes I agree with star that it doesnt excuse the behaviour, but (again, IME with my own DD) once the feelings were 'named' or acknowledged, she seems able to get over it more easily IYSWIM?
(hope I'm not projecting too much what I've seen works with my own DD)
I think she was probably just overwhelmed and tired from having such a good time and may have benefited from some quiet downtime.
We've often had this kind of incident when spending a chunk of time with family. If the above scenario had happened in dd2's case, it would be to do with the demands of sleeping elsewhere (however much enjoyed) and of not having enough down-time. dd2 would be overwhelmed by a number of feelings she could simply not verbalise. Any attempts to discuss/explain would simply escalate dd2's emotions. My Dad is completely accepting of dd2's stubborn inflexibility and overly-emotional responses, we would simply have adjusted the seating arrangements and carried on. Your DM was probably disappointed that it all unravelled after such a successful sleepover, I can completely understand that. My own dd2 never managed to say sorry until she was aged 7.5. Situations where the word 'sorry' is required seem to be particularly fraught with difficulty because they involve acknowledging someone else's hurt and separating that from your own experience. Not easy (understatement) for a non-NT child. Your dd2 seems to be aware of this but can't quite untangle it. Your DM may need some explanation and reassurance that it wasn't meant personally. In that situation I would have given clear explanation to dd2 about saying sorry because GM was upset so it's the right thing to do. In my own dd2's case this would send her through the roof, though but would be necessary if your own mother was upset. I would have said it once and kept words to a minimum. Very difficult. Hope everyone has 'recovered'.
disclaimer: I would try and explain 'it's the right thing to do', but would fully expect it to fall on deaf ears!!!!
Agree with all that has been said, plus I have noticed with all my kids/step kids that they are angelically behaved for grandparents, but it is a strain to be on best behaviour, so it all falls apart back home when they relax again. And then of course the grandparents think it is their great skills, rather than just kids behaving differently away from home. I do not think some grandparents have any idea of the little horrors we get back sometimes after an angelic visit!
All my children behave like this when they come back from play dates/visits. They have usually had a lovely time but they are intensely jealous of any "good times" that have happened when they are away and often a bit show offy about what they have experienced. It reached a revolting high at about 7 but still happens just more subtley with the older ones.
I would push a little for what the problem was with Granny, because "I don't want to tell you" is usually red flag "I need to tell you" because I don't understand/am worried about something. This lays the foundations for your role as councillor/support/sounding board in later more troubled years. My guess would be Granny slurps/smells funny/says things suddenly/said something unflattering about Mummy/will make me eat my greens or even sitting next to her means I have to sit opposite XXXX and she eats XXXX with her mouth open. All of which will be perfectly solvable by telling
All very helpful, thank you
I had a heart to heart with DD2 and told her that she could tell me what the problem was, even if it was that nanny had an extra long knitting needle that sticks out of her elbow which annoys her when it pokes her in the ribs (you've got to know DD2 to make this bizarre notion seem sensible).
It turns out that the issue was one of organisational protocol rather than Nanny herself . DD2 is puzzled because the men sit at the end of the table and the head of the table. She feels this is odd because Nanny has never sat at the end of the table. She doesn't like it that Daddy changed the seating order and it all went wrong when DD3 was placed in the wrong seat.
She said she knows how I feel about Nanny (sad) and how I feel about her (cross) She said that she went and hid in her room and used things so that no-one could see where she was. She said that I made her hide for the whole hour that was before the dinner got ready and I did actually make her cry.
I'm a crap parent.
You are so not a crap parent lougle and
This is all learning, she is so different to your dd1 and is approaching that age when there's quite a big developmental shift IME, it's all about recognising behaviour patterns and being able to be pro-active, it gets easier
Sound like a very talented parent to me, to get all of that.
Honestly, Lougle. You can't read minds. With some of kids your own skill at Theory of Mind is just not gonna cut it either. You can't possibly work it out in the middle of a busy dinner with company. To try to would be insane. You can only deal with a behaviour in how it presents at the time and then make the time to unpick it later, which you have done, and done well.
That's brill, Lougle, that you got to the bottom of it. Your dd2 seems to have a good grasp of the emotions involved here. Glad it's sorted.
"My worry is that if she doesn't have her behaviour checked and learn to adjust her tone/facial expressions, she's going to be thumped a few times when she's older"
Now i feel like a bad parent because I always opt for an easy solution of moving chairs before the 'company' notices a developing situation. Having to do all this theory of mind and checking, controlling, modeling all the correct behaviors is such a stress. I don't even know whether I can execute this to high standard. I know I am just too lazy, I have to raise my standards,.. but my policy so far was based on the idea that at home Aspies can just be themselves.
But now I am thinking did I fail my DS as he can't be bothered to show the 'correct' behaviour consistently at social occasions? Last week with a guest he made a scene because he wanted the piece of cake i served the guest . Nobody would keep DS in employment [in the future] if he doesn't curb this, so how do i start re-educating him?
Lougle, I think you did so well to get all of that from her (dont mean to be patronising).
And now she has had experience of you hearing her out about whats going on for her. Well done.
HisMum, I did a Talkability programme with local SaLT service....her theory was that Theory of Mind is developed by 6 in NT children but much later in ASD children. Note not that it doesn't develop, it just takes much more work, effort, modelling, supporting at ages when we feel that we can step back and let them learn themselves.
I like to think of it as I would with a child who has a physical disability....if I would continue to lift them, dress them, feed them, then of course I can continue to do this social support with my 2 socially delayed children. (and hope that something sticks)
LougleIm impressed that you sorted that one out so well!
HisMum4now I know what you mean me, I am slack Mum At least, I never try and educate my DS on the spot I dunno about your DS but Id rather mine snatched the cake at a social event than that he snatched the cake and then had a huge meltdown at a social event. So Id just get through the cake situation as best as I could! When he was younger Id probably just have cut him his special slice and put it to one side before the guests arrived. But now he's older I can start explaining that bit of manners to him. I wait for a calm time and think through what Im going to say first, I use the social story style because it works well for DS. And I remind him about it just before the next social event, and praise him afterwards if he gets the guests get first choice rule right, but I wouldnt fuss if he got it wrong. My DS gets stressed by food and letting someone else choose first is very hard for him, he just about has the self control to do it now (aged 15!!).
There are so many different situations that my DS cant handle and our home would be unbearable (for me!) if we tried to teach him everything at once. So I only do one or two little things at a time, over a long period of time. And the rest of the time I'm slack Mum!
Lol "our home would be unbearable (for me!) if we tried to teach him everything at once. So I only do one or two little things at a time, over a long period of time. And the rest of the time I'm slack Mum!" yes, that's what I mean.
My DS problem with cake is that it is one of his obsessions, he gets some comfort from getting his preferred piece, or the biggest piece, or just the last piece. It means for him that he is loved and secure, he's validated. blush]
I noticed both my DC have meltdowns at home when friends or family come to visit, fighting over stuff and places, which they don't do when they go to visit them. Might it be that sense of security, that at home they are entitled to be [hesitating to say themselves] autistic? What do you think?
I also noticed that "educating on the spot" indeed makes it to blow out of control and out of proportion for sure. This is the case with 15 yo DS and with the 5 yo. Is it something to do with "mum, don't do it to me"...?
This thread made me think.
Hm, if cake is one of your DS things then maybe its best to start teaching him guests choose first with something that isnt cake? Sandwiches, maybe? Biscuits even?
Your DC could feel very disrupted by the sheer unusualness of having people in a place where they usually arent. And other people dont behave exactly the same way we do in our home. My DS is very bound by routine and familiarity, and if different things are going to happen or different people are going to be around then hes much better if theyre in an unfamiliar place and not at home where he knows how things are supposed to be. Like Lougle's DD having a sense of where people are "supposed" to sit in Lougle's house, which of course Nanny doesn't share.
HisMum can I join you in the slackers corner? (except it really isn't slacking) I'm another who has found, through experience, that I often take the easy short term solution to prevent meltdowns, mostly because my ds is prone to anxiety and suicidal thoughts. So, my number one goal is always to keep him as anxiety-free as possible, which to outsiders may look like I'm ignoring bad behaviour or even encouraging it, when actually I have to pick the appropriate moments, both in terms of his developmental ability to learn that particular lesson and also depending on priority, because we have to sequence new learning carefully. It's only when I look back that I see how far my ds has really come
No answers, but just a few thoughts about our experiences with DS1 and family, which might help to give some perspective.
He gets on great with my sister's DCs. Individually. We all met in a big crowd, today, and he barely acknowledged them. DS2 hogged them and DS1 is fine with that.
Coming home from my parents has always been a flashpoint. Until about a year ago, there was always a massive meltdown when we got home. He's enjoyed himself and can't transition to his home life easily. For the past year, he's been calm enough to stay with them by himself at half term. He has learnt to control his disappointment at coming home and how he expresses it knowing that his ability to go there and stay without us is dependent on demonstrating that he can manage that transition.
Both boys have a certain relationship with people in one setting but a completely different one, often to the point of not even acknowledging them, in others. My parents managed to visit, last summer (they live 100 miles away) and DS1 turned his back on them for at least an hour, when they arrived.
Context is probably a big deal for your DD. Granny is granny at granny's house. Your DD might not have been able to work out a role for her at her own house.
boys have a certain relationship with people in one setting but a completely different one, often to the point of not even acknowledging them, in others yes, I 've seen this too.
I also experience that DSs adapt better to changes outside the home, where changes could be greater and come in loads, but do not tolerate this at home. Different context...
Another slacker here! When dd2 is calm I tend to think 'hooray' and forget to teach her. When feelings run high I deffo take the path of least resistance.
Though I have often tried to get to the bottom of things after the dust has settled, which seems to cause dd2 simply to 'relive' it and repeat, ad nauseam "but X was so rude to me..." (original response) as per the original scenario. Round and round in circles we go, until my heart sinks. In fact I don't think I've ever been able to 'unpick' anything after the event
'does not reach the severity threshold for a formal diagnosis' my foot
Polter, we are prioritising
I noticed that this regression to cake snatching happens when DS is more tired, more stimulated than usual. Last time it was at the end of a very eventful play date with 2 friends. [THE WHOLE TWO FRIENDS for the first time!] So I suppose it's a reversal to safety and routine.
OP, were there many guests that day? Maybe your DD was overstimulated ...
I think what I struggle with most, is that she's so flat and emotionless when other people are hurt.
She sees everything so...left-field.
She kicked DD3 directly in the sternum with her foot sideways. When I talked to her about it she said 'but I'm the Karate kid KickButowskiiiiiiii.....' She could see her sister crying and cradling her chest, but didn't see the problem.
She pulled DD1's hair and DD1 cried. I talked to her and asked if she pulled her hair. She said 'yes, but not that hard .' Then she was furious that I was sending her to the naughty step when it 'wasn't even that bad.'
She says very
unkind direct critical comments to people, then when they are upset she looks at them blankly as if they are some curious other species
I don't know what's going on. I can't understand how school don't see any real issues, yet at home she's clearly not 'typical'.
I thought SENCO at new school was on board, Lougle?
lougle so much of how you have described your dd2 is reminiscent of my ds who has Aspergers... If, and it's a big tentative if, your dd has an ASD then the behaviour you describe makes absolute perfect sense to me. And the ability to present as 'NT' in school and other out of home settings is typical of many children with such dx's. Girls especially will mimic social behaviours and do a good job of appearing NT, but it is just not sustainable all the time, because it is extremely hard work maintaining a facade of 'normal'. Even if dd2 doesn't present enough for a formal dx I do think there's enough in common for you to perhaps interpret some of her behaviours through that lens.
Even if dd2 doesn't present enough for a formal dx I do think there's enough in common for you to perhaps interpret some of her behaviours through that lens.
This is exactly where we are at. Still waiting for NHS assessment, but not holding breath for a dx. School think dd2 simply "a one off".
I forgot my manners. Thank you all
Handywoman, SENCO is on board in the sense that she can see what I'm saying about DD2's ways, but I doubt she's met her to form her own opinion. Her suggestions re. ELSA are all in response to our description of her behaviours at home. Teacher said at the end of term that she'd noticed DD2 had misinterpreted some instructions, but otherwise the process will be very slow, I think.
DD1's carer says that DD2 is 'really the strangest child....'
My Mum and Dad are wonderful with her and overlook her many comments. She's a lovely girl, she just doesn't understand that she's being unkind.
She is so very lovely.
Handy, I think your DD2 and mine are dopplegangers
lougle, it is a good idea to keep a diary of all these events and get it out when you will discuss with the school. For most the diagnosis is a very long term process.
I wouldn't necessarily assume she is emotionless, she might be extremely upset herself, and shows it this way. I think ASD DC show emotions differently, not in the way other people expect.
You seem to be very switched on on correct behaviour and
showing being kind. If your DD is autistic, she might not understand what you expect from her and feel that she can't do what you want... So she might test this further by being more provocative...
I consulted the Psychologist for DS2 suspecting ASD when he was smearing you know what. She said he might be attention seeking. If i have hot buttons about autistic behaviours, she explained, he might have noticed that and basically pushes them. I am certain there is more to DS2 than that, but there is some
attention seeking communication with me indeed. (I am not saying your DD is attention seeking, I wouldn't know obviously)
That bit resonated with me HisMum when you said of lougle you seem to very switched on correct behaviour and
showing being kind. If your DD is autistic, she might not understand what you expect from her and feel that she can't do what you want...
My 8 year old DD has recently got a HFA diagnosis and I just realised from your post that me being somewhat of a stickler for good manners and treating others kindly, may be totally counter productive in getting the behaviour I'm seeking. I thought that a 'zero tolerance' type approach was best (and that has seemed to work for my NT child) but I can see now that I may be asking something of DD that she can't do - and her confusion makes her more anxious and more prone to meltdown.
This ASD thing is still a learning curve and I have 2 older boys on the spectrum too!
"you seem to very switched on correct behaviour and showing being kind. If your DD is autistic, she might not understand what you expect from her and feel that she can't do what you want..."
I am absolutely switched on to correct behaviour. DD2 is 6 years old now. She absolutely cannot continue to hit, pull, pinch, grab hair, etc., when she doesn't get what she wants. She wouldn't dream of doing it at school so she can control it.
I fully understand that keeping it together in other areas can lead to release at home, but the behaviour is still unacceptable.
I don't expect DD2 not to feel how she feels. I don't expect that to change. But she is going to have to learn that there are somethings that you do just because it's the right thing to do, regardless of how you feel.
Just as I expect DD1 to learn to wait for things, even though she finds it hard, and I expect her to stay out of the swimming pool once I've got her out, regardless of how much she wants to jump back in.
It won't do any good to DD2 to be allowed to behave rudely to her Grandparents. How on earth will she learn to behave kindly to other people if she can't even behave with her family, who she loves?
lougle, all this is good and right and how can one argue with any of that.
I guess my point is really that ASD kids are vulnerable and need understanding and acceptance first and foremost. They might be reasonable to expect that from their mummy. Because if not, from whom else then?
What makes you think that she doesn't get understanding and acceptance from me? I give her stacks of understanding and acceptance.
It's also my job to help her behave appropriately.
I hear you Lougle and I agree completely. The child has to behave in an acceptable way for her own sake, and even if the reasons are not fully understood, it still has to happen for to the best of your and her ability. This is because if she DOES have communication difficulties she'll need MORE practice at social interactions, not less, and you don't want people withdrawing from her.
I know a child with very severe ASD who has had to learn not to masturbate in public. He appears to have no understanding as to why not, but he still has to follow the protocol imposed on him by the adults responsible for him.
Having said all of that though, I do think a couple of things are key to remember. 1) As far as possible you need to find the root cause, because if you understand the reasons for the behaviour you can help to change it causing the least anxiety, and 2) You can't possibly teach all lessons at once otherwise you'll be on the poor girl's case all the time, and whilst she might need MORE teaching than a obviously NT child, you still need to prioritise and get a balance, beginning with a mix of both the easiest lessons, and the most pressing ones.
You also need to make absolutely certain that each lesson/desired behaviour is they are broken down into manageable chunks for her to be successful and encouraged by.
And try as much as you can, to remember to celebrate and reward and go overboard when she achieves even a small step towards the improved behaviour, and as far as possible, if it isn't the current lesson, ignore the mistakes. Also make sure that she has enough down-time if she's tried hard.
FWIW, I go absolutely overboard with praise and reinforcement for appropriate behaviour with her. She adores praise and she basks in it, so I make sure that I notice every single bit of generous behaviour on her part.
I make a fuss when she's allowed her sister to have her favourite colour bowl when she was eying it up herself. I praise her when she doesn't fuss if things don't go quite her way. I point out how great she was at negotiating with her sister when she wants to borrow her IPad. I make sure she doesn't give up on her wishes too easily because she's much more willing to concede than her sisters. I praise her for her reading.
I make sure that I praise her effort rather than her ability. I make sure that I point out not only that I'm happy with her, but why I'm happy with her, so that she can repeat her success.
I shouldn't have posted.
Why ever not Lougle?
This thread is a discussion of beliefs and experiences. Some posts you will find helpful, and other's less so, but even the less-so ones are helpful to hear, in the broader scale of 'difficult parenting', because we're all trying to navigate acceptable paths for ourselves and our children.
It was a good OP question.
I absolutely agree that good behaviour STARTS with our nearest and dearest and then is generalised to others.
Oh and in answer to "that wont make it ok" , my feeling would be that it doesn't make it ok but it does make it better. It starts you on the path to ok.
My Aunt came to our house today and brought the children both a lollipop.
After ds had eaten his he said to my Aunt. 'I want another one'.
I didn't know where to start. First I had to explain that it was very rude because he didn't say please'.
Then I had to model 'I really enjoyed that Lollipop, thank you' and then explained that that is what you say if you want said Aunt to bring you another lollipop next time. Then I got in a muddle and said to ds 'erm, but she might not bring you one next time, you're just really showing that you are grateful that she brought it, as that is the right thing to do'.
And then I thought 'actually, DD will have worked out that she increases her chances of a lollipop next time but acting grateful, and isn't JUST being polite in her gratitude'.
And then ds started to get tearful, because he hadn't got a clue what I was telling him to do, or how he was supposed to get another lollipop and couldn't remember the long sentence that I had told him to say to my Aunt and it was all, quite frankly, a disaster.
So, I'm a rubbish parent.....
It's so hard to watch her confusion. She's not trying to be naughty. That much is obvious.
Her latest phrase is 'huh...it's so obvious, really.'
She was upset because DD3 was annoying her and she came to me from her room, crying and whining. I was frustrated and said 'DD2, if she's annoying you, just go somewhere else!'. She cocked her head to the side, laughed and said 'Huh...it's so obvious, really.' Then, with a big grin she trotted down the stairs into the lounge It was at that point I realised that she really didn't know how to get away from her sister and actually needed me to give her a solution.
How can you not know that if someone is annoying you and you can get away, you should get away??
I do love her.
Star I get in that muddle all the time. DD1 needs a totally different explanation to DD2, who in turn needs a totally different explanation to wiseacre DD3.
I end up saying 'erm..well it works like...well not exactly like that DD2, I wasn't being completely literal....well, yes, DD3, you could do that and that might happen and you're right, so and so might then happen and ....oh forget it.'
So this morning DD2 took a bottle of juice without permission (they drink water but have a fruitshoot with sunday dinner).
I explained that we have a budget and if she had the juice now, then one day she may have to have water while her sisters had their fruitshoot.
I said 'Do you understand?'
She said 'yes....erm Mum? Are you actually concerned that you are a budgie?' then she delicately flapped her arms.
I won't win
How's the Language for Thinking going?
One thing I like about my DSs social skills teacher is that she never said that my DS had to learn to do this or that. Instead she looks at what he can do now, and she looks at what is the next step in development or understanding from there, and she helps him to take that next small step in the right direction. It might not be the whole thing, it might not be the fully appropriate behaviour, but it is the next step along the way.
I can even remember celebrating myself the first time I caught my DS telling a fib because telling a fib to get out of trouble is the first step towards telling a fib out of kindness. (Of course he didnt get away with it )
Little steps. With your help lougle your DD will go a long way!
We've put LfT on hold for the summer so that she can focus on getting some physical confidence - Gymnastics summer club and some swimming sessions. She was reluctant to do anything 'schooly' so I felt a break was best.
Thanks for that, Kleinzeit.
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