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Concerned about 9yr old DS(5 Posts)
I am finding parenting my DS2 increasingly difficult and depressing. I would really appreciate any insights from others who have similar experiences. We have an older DS (11) who is autistic - Aspergers if the diagnosis was still made. He can be very introverted and anxious which DS2 homes in on and he can be can be very angry and violent towards him. This creates a horrible atmosphere in the family as we are always walking on eggshells waiting for the next explosion from DS2. To be fair DS1 does sometimes wind DS2 up but the reaction he gets is way out of proportion. School runs are a particular nightmare which often degenerate into violence at the school gate which is humiliating for me and damaging for both boys.
In his relationship with me he is either very babyish - calling me mumma and talking in a baby voice, or angry. This evening he yelled at me because his dinner was taking too long to be prepared. I was a "bad mumma" who "never does anything". Once he snaps out of it he will sing "I love mumma she's the best" on repeat for ages. I really try to engage with him but, to be honest, he is very difficult to like at the moment.
I feel like a terrible mother but also so defeated. Neither of them want to do family activities, we missed the end of term celebrations and often have to leave things early because tempers are rising.
We are waiting for a stage one assessment but he is so different from his brother I doubt a diagnosis of autism will be the result. I suspect some of his anger may be hunger related, he usually calms after eating.
He was such a loving happy child until about four years ago, I hate to let him down but I don't know what to do.
Thanks for reading if you made it this far
Just wanted to say, don't despair of getting an autism diagnosis for your second son. Children with autism can be very different from each other. My DS (Asperger's diagnosis) has met a lot of kids with ASCs at different groups, and he even commented to me that another boys was his exact opposite though they had the same diagnosis! The odd way that your younger son communicates with you could possibly be a sign of autism. And it's a bit unusual to be waiting for the explosion from the child who doesn't have autism.
You are not a terrible mother at all. In fact you're being a very good mother! It's upsetting for you to have to do these things but you are adapting to both your DS's needs by not doing family activities that they can't cope with, and by leaving early or avoiding celebrations to keep things calm. And getting assessments is a step on the way to getting whatever help and support your younger DS needs, whether it turns out to be an ASC or not.
Thank you. DS1 is way easier to handle than DS2 and a joy to be with away from his brother. I think you're right about how differently ASC can present and I need to parent DS2 more calmly and with more empathy. This is so hard though - when a child is so angry, rude and obstinate gut reaction kicks in. I need to work on this because this behaviour is probably a cry for help. Going to be a while before any professional help comes our way though; waiting lists of 18 months here.
Angry, rude and obstinate are often the result of anxiety and as you know from DS1 a lot of kids with ASCs are very anxious. The black-and-white thinking - you're either the best mumma in the world or the worst - sounds quite ASC-ish. Don't take his criticisms too literally, he's probably just venting because something isn't exactly the way he thinks it should be. And it's OK for him to do baby talk if that's his "safe" way of talking.
I found Explosive Child was very helpful for keeping my DS calmer and more on track, especially while we were waiting for diagnoses, and it helped me feel more positive about him. Though of course there were plenty of times when nothing at all was going to work and we just had to hunker down and wait for the storm to pass.
Your advice is making me feel more hopeful, thank you. I'm off on holiday tomorrow - the Explosive Child we be on my reading list
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