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Struggling with behaviour issues(9 Posts)
Hi, I've name changed as some details could be outing.
I have a 6 year old girl who has high functioning autism (yet to be officially diagnosed). She has been under assessment since she was 2 and presented with a slight speech delay. The doctor has been reluctant to officially diagnose because the main traits she displays can also be personality traits. It has become clear since starting school in september though that she definitely has autism and we are on a waiting list to have a test done which will formally diagnose her.
So to my question. I am finding it increasingly difficult to parent her effectively. Meltdowns are happening almost daily now. I understand she is out of her routine and I am more stressed and it's a double effect but I find her very difficult at times.
She is very smart and articulate and has an answer for everything, she never stops talking (or making noise of any sort), she thinks she has the answer for everything and cannot ever just do something without arguing or making me get annoyed. One example is getting dressed in the mornings. I will leave clothes out for her and tell her to get dressed. I will have to tell her numerous times until I end up shouting. This morning for example it took me 90 mins to finally get her to get dressed after she had a meltdown.
Same happens every night at bedtime. There is always something way more important to do than to put on her pyjamas. Getting her to leave the house is another issue. Everything is "in a minute, in a minute" . I literally always get pushed to the point where I shout and she cries and I feel absolutely shit about it.
Asking her to tidy up her mess also causes meltdowns and I am worn out. I feel like I have no energy to give her where we can enjoy spending time together and its breaking my heart. The place has been an absolute mess since school shut down and everything she wants to do together is something that will cause even more mess and I say no or that if we tidy up other stuff first we can do it but both just end up with more meltdowns.
I need advice if anyone has any. I've tried reward charts, I've tried getting down to her level and talking to her but none of it works.
She definitely isn't getting enough sleep lately and I cannot fix it. Shes averaging about 9 hours a night.
Hi, sorry I do not have much of an advice but would any of the following work:
- get dressed together (so you both do the same thing in the same room)
- if she does not want to put on pyjamas can it be something of a sensory issue (same as above basically); either do that together too but maybe ask her if there is anything she dislikes about the pyjamas/clothes.
As for messy play, I am not sure what storage system you have in place but (and please bear in mind I have a baby only) how about simple IKEA boxes you toss things into. Not really much to clean then, just pick off the floor, toss in a box, done.
I am sorry, this is probably completely useless. I remember when we were little and did not want to get dressed/put up something completely inappropriate my mum made us wear it all day out to school. She did it a few times and then we stopped messing as we realised it's not in our interest to disobey.
Sorry to hear of how this is all making you feel.
I also don't have any advice but I can relate to you on a lot.
Ot sounds easier said than done, but if you shout / show signs of stress, she will pick up on that. I find that if I hold my daughters hand (or try to), kneel down to her and softly ask her what's making her upset or why she doesn't do something, she will calm a little bit and try to explain (she's only 3 so isn't as easy to understand). I try the 'first' 'then' approach. It doesn't always work and isn't the answer to everything but worth a try. Also if I'm at breaking point I literally just leave the room for a few minutes to get myself together.
Do you have any support around you? X
Thank you both for the replies.
@ZooKeeper19 the pjs isn't a sensory thing it's just she always has to finish what she's doing before she will put them on. This could be some imaginary game she's playing or a drawing or a book she's reading. She just has to do everything in her own time. We have two large ikea units in her room but the place is just always messy. I am so fed up cleaning it. She pulls everything onto the floor to play but will not put anything back. The same happens in the living room and our kitchen table. I don't want to banish her to her bedroom but I'm sick of looking at crap everywhere.
@AmyG87 my husband is here in the evenings but I feel like I cant get a minute. I have to do dinner, get her ready for bed, read stories. Sone evenings I need to do some shopping as I don't like bringing her during the day.
Its just so exhausting going all day with ko time to just be by myself. I feel like the shittiest parent for her at the moment. Just snappy and clearly unhappy.
@Hfa6yrold She just has to do everything in her own time I know the feeling as I was that child. Perhaps not messy as that would not be tolerated at my times but certainly to this day any change in the routine planned out in my head results in what I could describe as internal anxiety attack.
I am sorry it's not easy, and again I do not have any experience that I could advise out of. Is she told in advance of what the plan is (reasonably in advance), like "we will go to the park at 11am so I would like you to get dressed at 10am. It is 8am now, do you think you can get dressed by 10am please"? Sometimes things just happen without preparation which is unfortunate, but many times we can organise in advance, if she is a bit on the spectrum (and again, there are more of us and hey, we live a happy life ) it may give her some structure she may be missing.
Thanks @ZooKeeper19 thanks for the advice. I'm trying to teach her how to tell time. I try giving her ample notice. She knows she is expected to tidy her room etc but she moans and cries and goes on like we treat her like a slave!!
Getting ready for school was often a battle in the morning too even though she knew the routine.
She now screams if I try doing a countdown. So if I say she has 10 mins... 9 mins she will scream the house down and beg me not to count.
I did up a reward chart this week with time to be ready in the mornings and in the evenings and so far so good but usually when the chart is up she reverts back to how she normally is.
I feel like a shitty parent because I've gotten shoutier since lockdown
This probably won't help you but I heard of someone solving the issue of their child refusing to get out of bed, get dressed etc on a school morning, was she gave him reminders every five or ten minutes, then when it was time to go, packed his school uniform in a bag, pulled him out of bed and into the car, and then left him in the playground in his pyjamas with his uniform in a bag and it was up to him to try to get to the bathrooms without being seen by too many people and get changed. Apparently he always got up on time after that!
Oh @TigerQuoll that sounds traumatic to a child! I couldn't do that!!
I've decided to start using a timer. I'm going to buy a little one and see if that works.