AIBU to dread every weekend now (long, sorry)(17 Posts)
Long time MNer although only recently ventured into posting. NC for this as very aware of my own failings as part of this whole problem. None of this makes me a good example of a parent.
I now dread every weekend as it means a concentration of time with my 10yo who has become increasingly uncontrollable and is quite simply wreaking havoc. Neither DP or me know how to handle it. As I write, he has made a 'weapon' out of Lego inside socks, and is threatening to swing it at the cat to hurt it while DP tries to talk sense into him. His own refusal to go on a (totally children-oriented) family trip today, and our attempts to persuade him, resulted in anything he could pick up being thrown at us, kicking and hitting at us, repeatedly kicking a glass door trying to break it. We actually resorted to taking away all of his shoes, to stop him from kicking at the glass anymore.
If it wasn't the trip today it would have been something else. This kind of thing happens every day now, usually him refusing to get ready for bed, do homework, take a shower, have dinner - basically he seems to deliberately pick an argument. We can't get him to calm down in his room or away from us - he refuses to go there, or if we try to walk away he runs after us hitting and kicking, or uses deliberate and increasingly provocative behaviour (poking us with things, putting toys or other things right in front of our faces, trying to break furniture or fittings). Ignoring the various things he does at these times is impossible because he's so provocatively in our faces. I'm ashamed to say that we do resort to using our physical strength, as sometimes we have to simply hold him for up to an hour for him to calm down enough without continuing to hit, bite or otherwise try to hurt us. And although I never, ever wanted to be this kind of parent, I have also spanked.
All of this only happens with DP and me, which makes me feel that we are not dealing with a particular condition, as he appears to be able to choose when he is like this. If the carrot (benefit to him, nice treat
bribe) is significant enough, he is able to completely refrain for days; conversely, it seems to make no difference when we confiscate things - and we do that by first giving him a warning so he has a chance to stop before he loses out, or a choice that if he continues, a proposed punishment will increase (e.g. He currently has a complete tech ban for four weeks - because of escalating behaviour like this another day). I don't believe in rewarding negative behaviour so he has missed out on good things - as have we - again with warnings first- when he has behaved like this. I try to talk calmly and rationally to him once an incident has passed - he says all the 'right things' but seems to forget it all in a matter of hours when he picks the next fight.
I sought help from the school (some months ago) who referred him to CAHMS suggesting he should be screened for Aspergers, but CAHMS didn't see any behaviour that suggested this. I recently found a counsellor and he has had one session but I'm not yet convinced that this is going to be successful as the counsellor is not asking me enough about what we are experiencing with him, and is focusing too much on a family bereavement - but this all started way before the bereavement. He is otherwise a very articulate boy, friendly and has friends, although not not that motivated academically, but I don't have my joyful boy anymore.
However DP and I are far from blameless. We have our own relationship issues and I suspect we will probably separate: I can't deny that the tension between us does affect the general atmosphere from time to time. I have considerable anxiety and stress (unrelated other issues) and can be very shouty and short tempered. Reading MN also makes me worry that I myself might be an emotional abuser, I am certainly someone that finds it hard not to be in control. I once called a Parenting charity asking for help for me and all they seemed able to do was to be a 'listening ear' on a call. I'm ashamed of my parenting.
Sorry for this long post but even though it's not an AIBU I'm still very scared of being flamed and don't want to be accused of drip feeding. This is the first time I've actually verbalised some of this as I'm so ashamed. But I'm now desperate and have no idea how to help my son anymore.
Shameless bump... Or have I really shocked anyone that's read this?
Please don't take this to heart because I'm no expert and don't have any experience, but it does sound like acting out/ looking for attention. I suspect if you were happier he would be too.
Thank you for replying Apocalypse. I understand what you're saying and don't disagree. It's one of the reasons I've started to talk separation with DP. I've also tried meds (for me) but it didn't make a difference.
Possibly worth adding to the copious info above that I do try very hard to acknowledge and praise him for good behaviour, including getting through even a day without having one of these episodes.
As I write he is refusing to go to sleep. Every time DP leaves his bedroom, he comes out and says he won't go to bed. This happened last week and he continued it even when we went to bed ourselves.
You sound like a lovely Mum.
What do you need to be happier? What one thing can you do before bed tonight and what can you do tomorrow?
At my lowest ebb it would have been not having that last glass of wine and 'mindfully' getting up and out not like a banshee!
Can you go in, say you love him and do something different tomorrow? Park and an ice cream after school or home via a newsagents for a magazine? And back to the GP to review your meds/ IAPT/ a good sob?
10 seems really old to be acting out like this. Maybe this is his way of gaining control of a situation. Have you talked to him about how he is feeling? Maybe he is reacting to the tension? I read a thing somewhere (helpful I know) about a mummy and me diary. The kid writes down worries and things they feel they can't say out loud and the parent responds. It's a more considered way of communicating. It's tough. Don't beat yourself up. There is no manual x
Did CAMHS at least make reference to your son's anxiety? That could be at the root of this, and whether he has ASD or not the presenting anxiety and how you learn to manage it (and prevent it) is key.
I know it's incredibly tough.
please go back to GP and try and get some help.
It does seem to me as if he is acting out, which is usually based in anger at someone or something.
You sound as if you are a very caring mum, and there is no point in heaping blame here, just try and get some help.
Thanks for these replies. Yes, we do need to get CAHMS back in the loop, I'll try to call there today. They didn't see any anxiety in him before, they were focusing on whether he might have Aspergers because that was what the school had suggested. I fear that one or both of us (me/DP) is the root of the anger, we desperately need to break this cycle.
It sounds like such an exhausting situation for all of you OP.
Have you heard of love bombing? I've never actually tried it but think it looks like an interesting idea and possibly worth thinking about it your situation. I know you said that your DS doesn't want to do even nice activities with you; would this be true even if he was choosing the activity?
OP, I don't think anyone will be wanting to flame you. It sounds an incredibly painful and difficult situation. I suspect people might feel like me: sympathetic but Ill equipped to help.
Am I right in thinking that he maintains less violent / oppositional behaviour at school?
I would go back to your GP, continue with CAHMS and see whether anyone will help with something like family therapy.
Being open to the fact that it is not 'him' but may well be all of you in some respect is showing you to be a good parent, and in a strong position to help turn this around. Don't be so hard on yourself.
WhentheWind I thought of love bombing too!
How's this morning going OI?
OP dont worry/ feel embarrased about yr post. Im sure you'll find plenty of ppl going through the same thing. Is your child anle to explain verbally, or through pictures (eg, an emotion thermometer where 1 = calm and 5 = anger) what he is feeling? What do school say? Could it be hormones/ bullying/ teenage confusion re my body is changing and its unsettling me?
Go back to CAHMs or if you can afford it, go private. This all sounds very familiar.
I'd be looking at ADHD primarily...the impulsive behaviour, the inability to reason, the meltdowns, the violence etc.
For us, it was primarily happening only at home. I use a Coke bottle analogy. All day long, things build up inside them...it could be frustration, anger, sensory stuff...like a coke bottle being shaken steadily throughout the day. As soon as they gets home and can relax, that Coke bottle lid gets undone and whoosh, it's messy.
Thank you so much for these kind replies. Sorry not to get a chance to be on earlier. He has been lovely today, my kind and sweet boy. And I have also tried hard to make sure he was able to consider today a day with no 'baggage' from the moment he woke up. I bought him a silly wee present just to try to mark a fresh start too.
I've never heard of Lovebombing - and have just bought the book on kindle. The hurdle may be consistency with me and DP in the bombing but I'm very interested in the concept and so happy to be recommended it. Not yet made contact with CAHMS but I definitely will do. I am so grateful for your empathetic remarks, thank you.
Sorry, I posted the previous response too quickly. Wizzywig and Ningnang - I love these ideas but he's not great with writing things or expressing emotion unfortunately - he thinks of writing as a chore and I've tried different tactics to try to encourage him to verbalise but he loses attention or else kind of goes through the motions. I am definitely trying to find ways to encourage him to speak to me - or someone - about how he feels. I know this might shock people but I have even told him about Childline and tried to get him to speak to them if he wanted.
Thank you for the Coke analogy iKnackered and for an insight into your own experience. Interesting that this is an explanation for it happening mainly at home. I can't rule anything out at this stage I guess.
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