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what if it's your child that's hurting you

(24 Posts)
OneWaySystemBlues Mon 15-Aug-11 21:51:21

I read this board a lot and I am full of admiration for the brave women on here who are battling with horrible domestic violence situations. But what do you do if it's your teenager that's hurting you? My son is 14 and has high functioning autism spectrum disorder. He's always had problems with aggression and lack of control, which is common to a lot of people with ASD. It got worse at home when he turned 13, although we have seen lots of improvements with him at school (he's at a special provision attached to a mainstream school). If my husband treated me in the way my son does, you'd be telling me to leave him - and I would want to. But I can't leave my son. Tonight, he was shouting at me because his oven chips were not done "right". I said I'd put some more on, and then I left the room as I couldn't eat my food any more and I didn't want to escalate the situation with him by arguing. He didn't like this and came into the room I was in, and while my back was turned, punched me in the back of the head. I told him that I was not going to cook for someone who hits me and if he wanted some more, he could cook them himself. He carried on shouting at me to cook his chips "now" and that it was all my fault for not cooking his chips right in the first place and I refused. I wasn't hurting him or retaliating, but he continued to shout and pushed me into a corner whilst trying to hit me. I kept my guard up, but eventually he hit me in the face. I don't think he actually meant to make contact with my face, but he did. It didn't do me any physical harm, but it left me shocked, crying and shaking. I stuck to my guns and continued to refuse to cook for him - I want him to learn that there are consequences to his actions. He did cook them himself in the end. I dont' know where to turn to for help. CAMHS aren't much good - we've been referred to an OT who deals with anger management for ASD youngsters, but there's a massive waiting list. We've been waiting since April. Social Services don't seem to be able to help with how to deal with his anger - they just keep telling us to go back to CAMHS. And I'm ashamed and frightened of telling them what has happened today - but I also have a daughter who is 2 years younger and she has to put up with seeing this sort of stuff, not everyday, but on a regular basis. I feel like the crappest parent out, I feel like I want to leave (my son, not my husband), but I can't. My husband feels the same. We are both fed up, worn down, despairing and feel like there's nothing good to look forward to, just more of the same.

GypsyMoth Mon 15-Aug-11 21:55:40

when mmy 14 yr old dd went through a violence phase i called police. 3 occasions,3 nights in the cells....oh yes,i was nipping it in the bud.

she's 15 now and gone through it and come out the other side. ss were rubbish,school tried,CAMHS were useless.....youth offending team were the people who saved us!

dont know if thats an option for you,but dd had siblings who were getting hit,so really,it had to stop there and then

FabbyChic Mon 15-Aug-11 22:00:24

I'd call the police too. He has to learn actions have consequences.

tb Mon 15-Aug-11 22:04:05

Hi Oneway,

You're not alone - in April my dd, aged 13, decided to have the upper hand and pushed me to the floor. Fortunately, I hit my head on a door as I fell, and not on a solid internal wall. I fractured my right tibia, tore the cartilidges on the inside edge of my knee, and sprained my knee. They didn't check the left knee at a+e, as, because I had banged my head I couldn't remember that I'd felt that one give way, too.

Cahms where we used to live in the UK were useless, the equivalent here aren't any better. We had police/fire brigade tearing round the village after she attacked her father with a felt pen after threatening to kill him, and it took 3 circuits for them to find the house. All he had done was to tell her not to call me a 'fucking bitch' and to f-off.

My dh is 62, and I'm 7 years younger. 2 years ago she spent 2 weeks in hospital due to very high levels of anxiety, and then several weeks later, she spent 6 weeks in temporary foster care to give us a break.

On a self-evaluation scale she is autistic, seems very likely to have PDA (pathological demand avoidance), and serious 'pervasive development disorders' but after 8-9 years of verbal and physical violence, the official verdict is that we're bad parents. PDA is unknown in France, where we live.

If we can get our gp to refer us to Nottingham, we could have her evaluated there - only problem is that is costs about €3000, and we're not entitled to NHS treatment. We could always argue that Camhs should have carried out some evaluations, and that the PCT should pay for it, but as George Osborne is our MP, don't think that there's much chance.

Sorry, that this is rather negative, just feeling very very worn down at the moment, and without much hope. Probably 'cos I've been in pain most of the time for over 4 months.

Take care, have a hug and wine or brew


michglas Mon 15-Aug-11 22:10:01

ASD or not, a child has to learn that their actions have consequences and that they will be punished. Stop making excuses, and ring the police.

OneWaySystemBlues Tue 16-Aug-11 06:48:57

Thanks IAmTiffany. We've been referred to a Living with Teenagers course which is run by the Youth Offenders Team, but we're still on the waiting list. Perhaps that will be useful. Involving the police is an option, although when he's kicking off I can't get to the phone. Did you call 999 or did you use the non-emergency number on your daughter?

tb, sorry to hear you are also struggling. Obviously I don't have any useful things to say, but I hope you OK?

michglas, of course I know a child has to learn that actions have consequences. I was not making excuses. Contacting the police is something I am considering and have been for ages, but it would have to be a last resort. Despite what people think, ASD is different to NT, he is much less mature than his age and I have to believe that it will be effective, and that he will learn something, or else it's a waste of time.. That is why I was hoping for more support from SS and CAMHS, because no one wants him to behave like this, not even he does.

Maiavan Tue 16-Aug-11 07:07:31

Im sorry OneWay but unless you call the police and he learns that ASD or no ASD, going around hitting people is NEVER ok. Even screaming at them like that is not ok.

If he doesnt learn this now, he will continue abuse into adulthood and into relationships. I have yet to see a post where people say "I know your DH hits you but its because of his ASD so just help him". Its not ok, no matter the reasons and you are going to need to teach him that or life will (which is always a much harder way to learn).

My thoughts are with you and hope this gets sorted.

Janeymax Tue 16-Aug-11 07:23:06

Without having experience with asd, I'm not sure if my observations will help or not. However, it sounds like there are not necessarily clear consequences for violence at home. His behaviour in asking for more chips was bad and refusing to make more is not really taking something away - he hasn't lost anything for behaving badly. We have just gone through a similar thing with a 2 year old who bashes to get toys. We realized that taking the toy away wasnot enough because she was in a no lose situation - if she bashed and was caught she was no worse off, but if she bashed and wasn't caught there was a reward. I would certainly consider going as far as calling the police if needed. All the very best.

fargate Tue 16-Aug-11 11:19:14

''Contacting the police is something I am considering and have been for ages, ......................................''

Have you an idea of how bad things would have to get before you do this?
What would need to happen before you did so. I don't think it will do DS any favours to let this continue - how upset would he be if he really hurt you?

''ASD is different to NT....................''

The police are aware of this and have specially trained officers to deal with young people with LD/developmental difficulties who are being aggressive/violent.

''That is why I was hoping for more support from SS and CAMHS ........''

SSD and CAMHS just don't have the resources to provide this sort of support any longer. FWIW I think CAMHS would support you in contacting the police and might push DS name up the OT's waiting list if the police have been involved.

SSD are more likely to respond if a child protection referral is made re your DD she's only 10 and quite vulnerable.

Good luck. There is help out there.

GypsyMoth Tue 16-Aug-11 11:23:26

Yes 999. In middle of attack,try to keep a mobile on you.

Tell him his behaviour is not acceptable and that you will walk away, then leave the room

My dd was attacking older sister. I had to separate them, one is now in my old bedroom and I sleep downstairs.

GypsyMoth Tue 16-Aug-11 11:24:18

Police have to refer on, so yes, may speed things up for you. Good luck!

cory Tue 16-Aug-11 11:59:09

Call police and make sure you let CAHMS know that situation has escalated to this point. Very different situation, but I found appointments magically appeared when I was able to show increased seriousness of situation. And definitely get SS involved re your dd.

5littleducks Tue 16-Aug-11 12:46:03

Sorry you are going through this.

Just wanted to agree with other posters that he needs to learn that he cannot behave in that way. What does your DH think about what you should do? Personally the police would probably be the very last resort for me but I can't say it would be wrong to involve them - especially if you warn him that you will do so.

You do need to think about your DD - not just because your DS might turn on her - but also because you don't want that kind of behaviour to be at all normalised. Maybe you should sit down and talk to her about what is happening.

fargate Tue 16-Aug-11 12:56:04

''...and while my back was turned, punched me in the back of the head ........ but he continued to shout and pushed me into a corner whilst trying to hit me. I kept my guard up, but eventually he hit me in the face. I don't think he actually meant to ......''

My italics.

deepheat Tue 16-Aug-11 13:23:23

Really sorry to say this OP, but the consensus in the posts above is quite correct. By contacting the police now, you are taking a preventative action as well as a reponsive one. You would be clearly drawing a line for your DS abuot what is acceptable, what you will tolerate and what the consequences of stepping over that line will be.

Comments about the Police having specially trained officers may sound fanciful, but it is true. The fact is that a significant amount of crime is committed by people with ASDs, mental health diagnosis etc. and so they are one of the best equipped of state agencies to assist in addressing issues like this. They can be so much more sensitive than their reputation might suggest and the same goes for the YOTs. They will also ensure that whilst you are the victim of the crime, you are still able to act as DS' mother.

Please disabuse yourself of the notion that you can only call the Police when it is happening. Quite understandably, you are finding reasons not to call the Police. It is hard, once an episode has died down to justify making that call. Could be that everything in the house has become peaceful again and it just feels silly. And that is why it happens again.

Go to your husband first. Speak to him and discuss this in depth. Crucial to whatever you do from here is to ensure that you and your DH are 100% on the same wavelength and committed to the same course of action. You will need to support each other and you will need to be united in front of your children, even at times where it might be easier not to. Agree with him that the next time it happens you will sit at the phone - together if possible - and make that call. If it needs to be after you DS has calmed down then so be it. If you found someone mugged on the street, you wouldn't not call the police because the crime had already happened would you?

I've never been through this, so I'm aware that this could all be a bit rich but just want to wish you all the best in whatever course of action you choose to take.

Onemorning Tue 16-Aug-11 18:35:08

What a horrible situation. Big hugs.

I've just googled on the National Autistic Society website and found that they offer a couple of helplines, links are below.

One is run by parents of people with ASD, which might be useful for practical advice and support.

Good luck, I hope things start to improve soon.

Onemorning Tue 16-Aug-11 18:36:42

Whoops, here are the links again.



MadamDeathstare Tue 16-Aug-11 18:41:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OneWaySystemBlues Wed 17-Aug-11 09:16:20

Thanks for the links and the suggestions, and for taking the time to find them. We have made another appointment with CAMHS, but they are booked up for a fair few weeks. School starts again in 2 weeks, so I'll go in a speak to the head of support as she has had the police in to speak to the ASD youngsters in the past and I want to see if I can speak to the same officer. The idea of speaking to the police before something happens, as MadamDeathstare suggests is one I'd like to do, but I think I'll start with the officer who went into school if I can.

My son and I have had a good talk. He doesn't want to be like this either. So far he's been very resistant to the idea of medication for his ASD anxiety, but he is trying hard to overcome this and is considering trying it. I have told him that I have a duty of care to my daughter and that if he ever hits her then I will have no choice but to call the police on him. And that if he had actually hurt me the other day, the police could have pressed charges. He is deeply frightened of this.

This isn't something that is going to change overnight, but there is a real gap in the market for support for parents dealing with violent children - that much is obvious from my experience.

Lazydaisy55 Fri 19-Aug-11 22:02:10

I am sorry that you are in this awful situation. Have you enquired if you can have some overnight stays for your son to give you, husband and daughter a break? I know such facilities are being cut, but there may be some help for you to have a break. I have taught ASD pupils, and some families have locks on siblings bedroom doors, so they have peace of mind and security in their own rooms.

I hope you get the help you need.

LaydeeC Fri 19-Aug-11 23:44:28

I am in a very similar situation with my 13yo AS son. We have lived with his very aggressive behaviour for a number of years and, obviously, this does present CP issues for my daughter who is 2 years younger.
Unlike you, we received excellent support from CAMHS, who supported us whilst trying to obtain an SEN statement and support from SS.
My son is now attending a residential school (home at weekends and hols). Despite this being the least worst of the options that were available, I still feel hugely guilty about agreeing for my son to attend. But my daughter was entitled to some sort of 'normal' family life.
My son is still aggressive and issues all sorts of threats in scenarios similiar to the chips one.
I don't really know what to say to you other than it is comforting to know that there are other families out there like ours! Friends have simply no idea of how stressful/difficult it is to live like this.
We were once told that to call the police will become the only option we have at some point. But the look of utter fear that this produces on my son's face when it is threatened is heartbreaking. Despite everything, it will be a cold day in hell before I call the police - I would also be too scared of the future repercussions for him - lord knows it will be difficult enough for him to get a job without a criminal record attached to him.
It is indeed a very sad situation to be in - hugs to you even if it is very un-mumsnett-y

mumblejumble Sat 20-Aug-11 04:18:18

I have an 8 year old with asd, and I see this happening with him aswell. He is already aggressive but not too hard to controll because I am physically bigger than him. He has anxiety issues. He clashes with his 4 year old brother all the time and I worry about the amount of hatred he seems to have for him.
I am about to start him on meds, and I feel so guilty about it. But I don't want him to end up with a criminal record one day, he is extremely bright and could have a great future if he could only learn to control his impulses and moderate his emotions.
Just want you to know op, you are not alone..

Rosie61 Fri 02-Sep-11 20:56:57

This is facinating - to find out that the police have specially trained officers! I have been telephoning the police - 999 and general local line for nearly 18 months now. Sometimes I get good, sympathetic officers, and my 15 year old son has now been arrested twice for domestic violence (first property damage and then physical violence against me) and once he was removed for breach of the peace. however, I have also seen a female (sorry but true) officer who fell 'under his spell' and removed him for 'his safety' from me!!!!!!!!!! CAMHS discharged him once they heard of his first arrest - how helpful was that - they felt that there was little they could do for him other than 'talking therapies'. Frankly, I suspect my son is a psychopath and it is a really terrible thing to say, or suspect. I've done lots of research but I'm frightened to live with him. I frequently come downstairs to find he's lit fires either outside in the garden or in the kitchen - nothing devastating but very odd - burnt egg boxes and the likes. He lies to everyone about everything - I mean everything - little and large. I keep a written/typed diary now just to maintain my sanity. SS have been a dead loss. I asked for help over a year ago and have only just had a social worker assigned and that was on the basis of my son having told school that he was being denied food at home! Unreal given that he refuses to go to school - attendance is about 36% and I frequently come home from a long day at work to find that he's eaten the meal I've prepared for dinner for lunch so I end up with nothing while he munches away on whatever is left. I cook every night and we sit down (when he feels like it) to a home cooked fresh meal at the table although frequently he tells me to 'shut up' that he doesn't want to hear from me and that I'm a bad mother and need to learn how to be good. I dispair. I have to confirm that the only really supportive agency is the police (the good ones) who do post messages to SS (who seem to ignore those messages). The GP helps too. The police are very clear: I am not a threat to my son but he is a threat to me. this message has gone to SS several times and what are they doing about it - talking th CAMHS! I have been informed that once he turns 16 years old, the police will have more options. The last time they took the case all the way through to the CPS but, because my son lied and denied his physical violence towards me, the CPS said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute and support a defended case, they had to drop it. Local police were very unhappy about that and I'm worried that this is how society ends up with some very violent men indeed. Why can we not do more early on?

greatescape Fri 02-Sep-11 21:35:28

I have a 13 year old DS he has Autism and ADHD. He can be violent pushing and hitting over simmple things. I usually will restrain him myself to make sure
no one gets hurt. I hold him in a safe hold that doesnt hurt him until he is back in control. We then talk about what went wrong and any consquences that need to happen. I wouldnt call the police on him because it wouldnt help he would see it as we cant handle him so as soon as the police are gone he would start again. Our way we stay in control and parent him like we should.

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