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Really really struggling with behaviour management on 8yr old ASD DS, any help or advice greatly appreciated.

(41 Posts)
overmydeadbody Sat 04-Jun-11 20:08:28

He seems to be going through a new phase, for the last 6 months or so things have deterioated, and I know a lot of it is to do with how much he is struggling at school, but he has now started shouting really loudly at me when he doesn't get his way, and also getting a lot more upset and angry all the time when his plans don't turn out as he expected.

I really don't know how to handle it, I want to have a zero tolerance on the shouting, but sometimes it is easiest just to ignore him and sometimes he is actually so rude that I want him to know his actions have consequences (something he seems to understand) so today when he shouted at me and DP three times because he didn't want what I was making for dinner (he wanted hot dogs, I don't have hot dogs) we sent him to his room to calm down, then 5 minutes later went in there and told him calmly that because he shouted he lost his computer tomorrow (and we took the lead). He was upset and crying saying we were being horrible, he then shouted again so he lost monday's computer privilages too, and then we left him.

He then calmed down and came and helped me cook dinner in the kitchen,, but my god it is so draining.

Sometimes he is so so so difficult. He is very intelligent and sometimes I tihnk that makes his life harder, and mine too.

Any suggestions, advice, similar stories? What can we do differently?

TheCrunchyside Sat 04-Jun-11 20:38:42

Ds is five and prob not so hf but we go thru bouts of bad behaviour. Obviously you do all you can to detect any biological causes - pain, constipation growth spurt.
Is there anything that you can do to reduce stress at school.
For us the first option is ignore as much as we can and also shout and send to corner. Occassionally that actually works!
But once a habit sets in we find that telling ds not to do something doesn't work but praise and reward does so in your case I would wait for a time he wasn,t shouting or rude and say oh well done ds you've been so nice and calm have a crisp sweet or time on pc etc. Then if he shouted once but then reacted well to be asked to stop I would again praise and reward. Hth

TotalChaos Sat 04-Jun-11 20:46:26

it strikes me from your description that one incident (hot dog tantrum) has spiralled into punishments stretching over till Monday, which may end up with a tantrum on Monday....stupid question, but was he given plenty of warning in advance - e.g. if you don't start to be quiet then you will lose computer time? ..To me it seems sensible enough to use computer/wii time as incentive/punishment, but my approach would be more like crunchy's trying to reward the positive/ignore the negative as much as possible.

overmydeadbody Sat 04-Jun-11 20:48:37

Thanks theCrunchySide, yes that helps.

We are going to start a token scheme, where everything he does good he earns a token for his computer on, hopefully that will help.

Must remember to praise the good, praise the good, praise the good.

overmydeadbody Sat 04-Jun-11 20:53:43

TotalChaos, the dinner incident was the final incident in lots of incidents, spanning the whole day, starting this morning, carrying on during a trip to the fair where there was no facepainting (he had been adamant there would be facepainting). We calmed him as best we could but nothing would help, not even saying we would buy some facepaint and paint his face ourselves.

TotalChaos he was given warning. He shouted loudly "I DON'T WANT THAT!" DP responded calmly with "don't shout, that is what we are having", DS then shouted "NO WE'RE NOT, I DON'T WANT THAT" to which DP responded calmly "I've already asked you not to shout, shouting has consequences, don't spoeak to your mum like that" to which DS then just repeated what he had shouted again. He was then sent to his room and once calm we both went in and spoke to him.

I know I have to praise the good, but it's so bloody hard sometimes when he tests and tests and tests.

TotalChaos Sat 04-Jun-11 21:04:11

sorry if I seemed too critical, I do understand that sometimes you have days when you are pushed to the limit by the demands etc.

overmydeadbody Sat 04-Jun-11 21:12:39

No no TotalChaos, you didn't sound critical, it's just so hard sometimes, I know all the right things to do and yet, most days are a bloody hard struggle. Half term in a double edged sword, he really really struggles at school, so at least he has a break from that, but then he's stuck at home with me 24/7 and we don't get a break form each other (not that we get much of a break from each other at school either, what iwth me working there). But my god, it is hard. At least he doesn't have the demands made on him at school at home, but then in some ways the structure of school help, he likes being around his friends, he is a very sociable boy (he likes being around other kids, even though he doesn't always 'play' with them)

TheCrunchyside Sat 04-Jun-11 21:13:20

I feel your pain. Ds is upsetting a boy at school with his habitual behaviour to him. Sad as the mum was kind enough to have my ds round to play sometimes - that has stopped as she has to think of her upset ds. The problem with my ds is that somehow upsetting people and being shouted at is rewarding.

Pour a large glass of wine and go easy on yourself - asd is a bugger for the family and it really is impossible to be calm all the time.
I also agree with total chaos that punishments should be immediate if poss but that is also cos there is no chance I'd remember it!

overmydeadbody Sat 04-Jun-11 21:15:23

Thanks crunchyside, it really is hard sometimes isn't it?

I have run out of punishments that are immediate though, what would you use that is an immediate punishment for an 8yr old at supper time?

overmydeadbody Sat 04-Jun-11 21:20:50

sorry Crunchyside, meant to add that must be very frustrating for you, with your DS upsetting another boy at school, I tihnk you are right, I tihnk sometimes for DS any attention is good attention, whether he is being told off or not. Even more reason to focus on the good stuff I gues, and minimise the bad stuff. I try really hard to choose my battles, so a lot of stuff just gets ignored.

TotalChaos Sat 04-Jun-11 21:20:58

I suppose I would see being made to go to his room to calm down as a punishment/consequence in itself but obv that only works if your kid isn't happily playing his fave dvd/toys in there but is bothered by being sent there.

overmydeadbody Sat 04-Jun-11 21:26:08

Total hw ouwld not view that as a punishment though. He will go there to calm down, but his room is his safe place, it is where he spends most of his time, it is definately not a punishment. Yes I could send him there to calm down every time he shouts, but that won't stop the shouting will it? I need something to train him not to do the negative behaviour in the first place.

The computer is the only thing that is a big deal to him if it is withheld, but I know, for him, unlike some kids, taking it away is more than just a punishment, it is actually removing something that he 'needs' in order to de stress, so him not having it tomorrow or monday will not just be annoying for him, it will be highly stressful. He will need books instead, reading is his only other thing that he uses to control himslef and de stress. I probably shouldn't have taken the computer away, but I don't want him to shout... God it's hard.

TheCrunchyside Sat 04-Jun-11 21:41:30

if you both need the pc then best make it something where extra time is earnt rather than taken away. So you explain he will always get x mins (whatever is minimum to give both a break) and then your token idea for extra up to a certain time might well work. I also find that praise and choc buttons gets good results. We trained ds not to shout go away at people knocking on our door that way.

mumslife Sat 04-Jun-11 21:49:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeninGrad Sat 04-Jun-11 21:54:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LeninGrad Sat 04-Jun-11 21:55:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

asdx2 Sat 04-Jun-11 22:06:20

I'd go with Total too any consequences that aren't immediate aren't really effective. Any consequences that carry over to the next day guarantees a difficult day before you start in my experience.
I don't go with consequences and punishments mostly because mine don't really grasp that what I do in return is linked to what they did in the first place and any bad behaviour is more likely to escalate if they feel hard done by.
I'm more for rewarding all the positives so I'd ask them to stop shouting and if they did they'd get a sticker or token, if they didn't I'd send them to their room and reward them if they calmed themselves before coming back down.
Mine get guaranteed screen time and then extras earned by good behaviour so depending how many stickers I'd be handing out would earn an extra two (if I was rewarding every positive) or maybe five minutes (if I was rewarding any improvements)

Maryz Sat 04-Jun-11 22:08:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

overmydeadbody Sat 04-Jun-11 22:38:59

Thank you everyone for all your contributions and helpful advice, a lot to think about. I have read all the posts out to DP as well and we have spent a long time discussing it all, and we are going to introduce a new system as of tomorrow of earning tokens , for everything he does that is positive (even things that we now don't even comment on) and hopefully re-enforce the good.

We are going to stop giving him any choice in tihngs like what we have for dinner to remove experiences that will lead to disappointment (he had taken part in our discussion over what to have for dinner, he had suggested hot dogs, we didn't have them, if he hadn't had this conversation he wouldn't have shouted when he found out we weren't having them I don't think).

We have to really try hard to remember that he is not like we were as kids, therefore he reacts differently to how we did as kids (we were very compliant good children lol).

We are writing up a 'good behaviour' document for him, listing everything that could earn him computer tokens, and he can start earning him computer time from tomorrow. The document is very thorough and etailed, but he responds best to very clear-cut rules, and he loves reading, he will read and re-read this document we hope, and like it. Hopefully it will emphasise all the positives and help him see that we believe in him. We will include simpl things for easy tokens and things we know he will struggle with for more tokens.

He doesn't seem to get that he has done anything wrong, he is always hard done by, always cross and angry, he really struggles with punishment at school, really really struggles.

overmydeadbody Sat 04-Jun-11 22:42:22

Lenin, asdx2, mumslife, Maryz thank you for letting me know my DS isn't the only one like this, it is reassuring in a way that he is not just being deliberately naughty, he actually can't help it...

Maryz Sat 04-Jun-11 22:58:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

asdx2 Sat 04-Jun-11 22:59:58

Over my ds was initially described as having extreme challenging behaviour (I cried when I read how he was described in the TA recruitment ad) He hasn't been punished or received a consequence for anything in the last twelve years but has been rewarded every step of the way. He is now probably the most well behaved teenager I know far better than his NT siblings were anyway.Positive reinforcement is the way to go if you ask me and I'm sure you'll see results with your new approach too.

streakybacon Sun 05-Jun-11 08:12:08

overmydeadbody - I've pmd you.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 05-Jun-11 08:17:27


Does your son have a Statement?. If he does not I would seriously now consider applying for such a document for him from the LEA and make the application yourself. His problems at home may also be happening because his additional support needs at school are not being met.

Some children do bottle up all their frustrations, anxiety and suchlike re school (lots of social conventions and unwritten rules to follow) and take it out on their parents when they get home. This may well be what is happening here.

leiela Sun 05-Jun-11 08:29:54

I think sometimes people forgert NT children can be just as challenging sometimes. I have an ASD son and a NT son and honestly my NT son causes me more trouble and headaches.

Kids push boundary's it's what they do it's what they are programmed to do regardless.

Now i will admit there are slight variation's in tactic's i use with the two sons but i have to becareful because NT Son get's very upset and angry if i treat ASD son differently to him.

I don't think punishments that span days work for any kids. As someone said what do you do on sunday if he starts being naughtie and you have nothing let to withhold?

We use a token system in our house for both the NT son and the ASD son, good behavour is rewarded, they get something visual that means something. Bad behavour for the most part means removal from the "family area" with PLENTY of explination of why, for both sons ASD son is aspergers so he has a very strong sence of injustice so he needs to understand why it was wrong, and NT child needs it explaining otherwise he tends to sprial digging himself a hole he can't climb out of.

If that doens't work they get a warning about losing computer time (both kids love the computer) and i remove 15 mins at a time. This is removed from the token's they would potentially earn for the days "good behaviour" so it's not really that they are losing something, they are just not earning it.

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