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Please help me deal with DS manipulation.(52 Posts)
Hi all, my DS (8.11) is becoming more and more manipulative in his behaviours (for want of a better word). He has been referred to Camhs and it's suspected he has some kind of ASD (AS or HFA).
His behaviour is generally good but he can manipulate things to get what he wants. I first thought this showed he couldn't have ASD but after a quick google see this isn't uncommon in children with this dx. It does say it's because they are anxious and need to control their world - which is DS to a T.
It also says about using direct questions but I have no idea what this means and there appears to be a lack of advice on how to deal with this. He does do the slight change in conversation to lead it towards what he wants - not bad for a child who cannot open or sustain a conversation.
I am using the "when you have (we have) done X, then we/ you can do Y" but then he doesn't want to do Y argggggggggggggg.
At times I feel like I'm living with Sheldon Cooper for those who watch TBBT and the next 6 weeks are gonna be lloooooonnnggggg!
Please help - any advice welcome.
I have one of those. He's 9 and has diagnoses of ASD and ADHD. He often quite forcefully pushes things onto his own agenda because he needs to feel in control.
Google PDA (pathological demand avoidance) for some more useful pointers!
The answer to him not wanting to do something any more is "that's such a shame", accompanied by a nonchalant shrug, btw. It takes away the heat quite quickly and gives him nothing ot argue with.
I agree with ouryve dont let him see that it bothers you because that gives him even more control, iyswim.
I have 2 Dd's like this and they will try pretty much anything to manipulate a situation to their advantage.
Dd1 has no diagnosis but I believe she has aspergers (and probably ADHD).
She was a good teacher for me and by the time Dd3 came along with Asd I had learned how to stay very calm, choose my battles and pretend not to care about lots of things.
It is hard and he will work extremely hard to stay in control but you will hopefully find a way to get him to do what you need him to do without to much trauma!
I use lots of visual for Dd3, she needs to see what is expected of her rather than me issuing instructions verbally. When I do use verbal instructions I keep them very short and too the point. I never ask her to do anything which could be answered with "No", think carefully about how you word things to avoid being told "no".
Agree with the others, stay calm, consider your questions or demands before you speak, reframe demands positively (say what you want not what you don't), reduce/simplify your language and also look at ways to reduce anxiety. I keep recommending it but 'The Explosive Child' is brilliant for children who want control and are demand avoidant. Ds has also responded really well to Huebner's 'What to do when you worry too much' which is a short CBT programme/workbook you can do at home. A piece of advice that has stuck with me is try not to respond to your child by saying 'no' instead try responding with something positive like 'yes, we can do that after you've done...' It's hard and means you have to really stop and think, but it can stop the battles.
Thanks all - great advice.
We do use visual timetables - however atm they aren't working because DS still needs the specifics spelt out to him - eg get dressed still needs to be in clean underwear, in clean clothes with 3-4 get up off the floor and continue getting dressed DS thrown in!
I try to talk to him positively and try to always say things in the "you can...." tense - but totally agree that it takes so much time and energy and sometimes this lapses - especially when he starts talking me in circles. He often starts a sentence with no so I'm very conscious of not doing this as try to model the behaviour - it would be easier if he could read social clues! I'm also getting him to say things correctly - eg he'll say "can you not change the channel over" and I'll repeat do you mean "can we continue to watch this channel". I have no idea why he says things in the negative. I can only guess that because when he doesn't get what he wants that's the way he hears it? So when I'm watching TV and he comes in and picks up the controls to change it I'll say "please leave this channel on DS, I'm watching this programme" but he hears "don't change the channel" as he sees the fact he can't change it as a negative - especially as he knows the TV guide better than the BBC and will know he's missing something!
He actually cried this morning He'd just realised a Top Gear had finished and wanted to put it on Dave deja vu. I wanted him to have a shower as i'd just got out and it was running. Cue me annoying him because I interrupted his plans, I said it started in 5 minutes (was corrected to it being 4 ) and so he could jump in shower quick. When he came out he realised Dave deja vu has gone off of freeview - cue his ordered world collapsing.
It is all bloody hard work, having to think through everything we say, this is the bit the outside world don't see, the relentlessness of planning to the teeniest degree and the constant state of alert, so very exhausting. None of us get it right all the time though, we can only do our best.
That's the thing - to the outside world DS is just a very smart little boy. It's only when you look closely you see just how the smartness is control.
I pride myself on being a consistent parent and not giving in to whinging/ tantrums etc and people think I'm overly strict. But what they don't realise is that I have to be that way - give DS an inch and he expects a mile. He needs such closed boundaries to cope despite the fact he's always trying to manipulate the order of the day
If I allowed negotiation with DS we'd never get anything done and he'd spend morning til night on minecraft with headphones on ignoring the world.
Yes we have alot of issues with repeats on tv and showers. We always give Dd3 plenty of notice about going in the shower, she struggles with the sensoryness of getting clean!!
She basically controls the tv and I must admit I do just leave her to get on with it. Most of the time she is my only one at home now so I just watch something when she has gone to bed.
We use a very precise visual timetable for showering it is broken into tiny steps, it has really helped lately and means that I can stay out of the way and avoid conflict.
Dd3 does quite alot of wailing and lying on the floor but I must admit I do just step over her and carry on. If she misses something nice well so be it. She generally stops if she thinks she is going to miss out on something though. I find that if I say "If you do this you will get ....."she will usually say she doesnt want it anyway but if I say "If you dont do this you wont get......" she usually does it. I know this is the wrong way round really as it is negative but it works for us.
I am also very strict and agree about not being able to give an inch. Dd3 has got easier in the last 12 months since she has begun to understand more about her Asd, she is less frustrated and more able to compromise a tiny bit so long as she is sure she will get what she wants in the end.
I actually find her slightly easier to live with than my NT teen as at least she is predictably obsessive and doesnt keep moving the goalposts.
She is nearly 11 by the way
Thanks for all the advice.
I went for a 2 day - no computer. Simply told DS he can have 1 hour a day and then extra time would be earnt. He persuaded me to let him have the weekends time on Friday as well - I agreed on the understanding that he accepted he wouldn't have it at all over the weekend. He asked but I had a get out clause on the fact we'd discussed it. Also when the computer wasn't there he was able to handle as that wasn't his sole focus. We spent the day yesterday with friends at an open event - he tried go karting, gymnastics, various sports and played on a bouncy slide. He even came second in a rowing machine competition - amazingly as he couldn't do it at first and fell off!
He also made me this morning. He was told he could have computer time today as weather crap and I have housework to do. It needed charging and one of the things we have been working on is the social nicety of asking not assuming before moving/ touching others stuff.
He asked me if he could unplug my laptop as the house laptop needs to be plugged in to move. (btw we only have 2 because I know have a work one
so DS has adopted the other as 'his own' !) I said yes.
Bless him - he then began to explain to me why he'd asked - instead of a simple thankyou. But at least he's beginning to understand and 'get it'
I have learned the hard way about bargaining - DS1 is now constantly doing the "if you do this, then I'll do that...."
Oh gawd I never thought of that
So my allowing him to bargain I'm likely teaching him to do it back <goes to rethink>
Same here, I've worked really hard on negotiation skills with ds, he uses them very well with me
1. Say what I want him to do (not what I don't want)
2. Give him choices, but I control the choices.
3. Ask questions that cannot result in a 'no' ie a choice of two things
4. Positive reinforcement for making the right choice.
5. Rules stuck up on the wall.
6. 5 minute warning for when something is about to happen or come to an end (he has no idea how long 5 minutes is, however he knows it means not long)
7. Markers throughout the day ie AFTER breakfast, AFTER lunch, AFTER dinner as ds has no concept of time
Sadly my DS has too much of a concept of time.
He knows he can't have laptop until 9am - so until then constantly checks the time and cannot do anything else for more than about 10 seconds in case he misses it. Same when there's a TV programme he has to watch
He gets on very well with placid children but those who have the ability to manipulate them selves - you know the ones I mean I hope! - he just gets so frustrated with.
He was sobbing his heart out earlier because his friend who came round wouldn't take his shoes off - we have a no shoes in house rule here. He kept coming to me asking what to say and it took all my resistence not to do it for him - whilst thinking about other DC's I know who would just have shouted - "You are NOT allowed in the house with shoes on and take them off now" to DS if he accidentally took a step too far wearing his. Sometimes I wish DS frustration would mean he gets upset at the child and not in himself iyswim? I think what I'm trying to say is I wish DS had the ability to be forceful not get frustrated as I believe children would treat him better if he could.
Sadly now they are all 8 and 9 they have realised he cannot defend himself verbally and take advantage
claw2 that's very similar to what we use here for the most part. Although some days it all falls spectacularly apart.
That is a great list claw2
1. I do (or try to do!)
2. I do - but he always tries to add his own options! Need to get the bored parrot voice out!
3. as for 2 <sigh>
4. Brilliant - I really think I need to actively do more of this.
5. Love it Need to come up with some now!
6. do this - but need to be more consistent EG if I say 5 minutes left we are going out then he comes off in 5 minutes even if I'm not quite ready to go out!
7. DS is too aware of time so need to be sure something is definatly happening at x time if I give a time!
Triggles I think we all have days like that
2. Let him add his own options (within reason) let him help you draw up 'the rules', then agreed to rules can be stuck up on the wall.
3. I had to get tough, otherwise ds wouldn't do anything. Its 2 choices, there isn't a 3rd option of 'no'. Computer/xbox time for example his 2 choices, after being given his 5 minute warning are do you want to switch it off or shall I!
"He knows he can't have laptop until 9am - so until then constantly checks the time and cannot do anything else for more than about 10 seconds in case he misses it. Same when there's a TV programme he has to watch again!"
Ds was exactly the same, its not that he doesn't know when 9am is, I could tell him when little hand is on 9 etc, however he doesn't know how long he has to wait iyswim?
So if I say at 7.30am, you can do it at 9am, how long is 9am? is it 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes etc, etc. So he will ask every few minutes.
We have used timers in the past, so he can see the time passing (for babies now according to ds, now he is the grand old age of 9!) , now we have our AFTER rule, so 9am would be AFTER breakfast.
Ah that makes sense - the after rule thingy.
I have suggested timers at school as DS asks exactly how much he has to write and how many questions he has to answer. I reckon this is a timing issue iyswim? I said telling him means he won't ever do more than expected so tell him as much as he can in x amount of time - eg timer. I've then said if he does what you'd expect for his ability to reward him. But to keep expecting more. And to add reward for neat handwriting, good spelling, using punctuation etc. They do a raffle ticket system do easy to reward instantly in his new class.
I'm not sure if DS understands how ling he'd have to wait? He will ask me what time x starts, I'll tell him, he'll say how long is that, if I say quarter of an hour he'll correct me to the fact its 19 minutes to so in 4 minutes he'll have to wait quarter of an hour.
Ds is very good at mental maths and would have no problem knowing 30 mins take away 5 mins leaves 25 minutes etc. He knows that 60 seconds make a minute and if I ever say 'hold on a minute' he will sit and literally count to 60 in his head and then say minute is up! However ds just has no idea how long 30 mins or 25 mins or 5 mins actually takes. Its more time elapsing, he has difficulties with (not the actually numbers, just the concept).
Ds worries about not having time to finish what he has started. Ds also needs a beginning and an end, especially if its something he finds difficulty. Ds likes to know exactly what is expected of him. He likes order. Do you think your ds might be similar?
claw2 what your saying makes absolute sense and is helping me understand my DS more. He is another who literally counts the time and then says a minute is up. Or if I say a few needs to clarify I mean 3 (usually when talking biscuits ). His teacher even moaned about about the minute thing. I told her be glad at least one student listens to her every word
I have NOT liked this years teacher
His teacher doesn't sound very helpful! At least your ds is telling you what the problem is and has even given his own solution to what would make him feel better ie he wants to know how long he has and how much he has to write!
These are good, they actually show time elapsing and time remaining. We used one and it really helped. So ds didn't have to keep asking is it time yet, he could literally see when it was time.
I don't see why his teacher cannot show him (not tell him) how long he has and how much he has to write. She/he could start off with a small amount, which is really easy to achieve, so he is successful, then increase it gradually.
We have also used visuals timetables, planners, checklists and sequencing charts. Really helped to give ds more structure and not feel so out of control.
The word a 'few' is similar to the word 'later', ds struggles with 'later', when is later exactly, what is a few exactly!
I have to use concrete language with ds. You try picturing the words cat, house, biscuit for example, its easy. Then try picturing the words, later, few, when etc. These words are harder to understand as there is no hook or link to picture.
She was less than helpful!
I suggested visual timetable over conversations about him saying he needs to go to violin now, her telling him to wait and then him needing the toilet. I told her it was his 'escape' because he was anxious because he thought he'd be late - in fact he was late every week until I asked the violin teacher to tell the teacher his lesson was 9.30am, I paid for a lesson from 9.30am so to make sure he got there at 9.30am instead of playing control games with an 8yo.
When meeting with HT one day I asked her how visual time table was working - apparently it wasn't needed so she never set one up . Of course his problems disappeared over night after them pissing her off for the previous 2 terms.
I'm hanging off your every word here claw2 Its helping me make so much more sense of DS and the things he says and does. and why.
Glad im being helpful and not sounding like a know it all
Visuals cost nothing and are really easy for any school to use, I despair, I really do! No wonder your ds feels so out of control, he has no structure in school. The less structure he has the more he will try to get some control back.
Ds's first school I found out what worked well for ds at home and made my own and took them into school. Bought a cheap laminator and even laminated them myself.
Ds had sequencing charts to help him get dressed, as you said earlier lots of rolling on the floor (for ds that's a sensory/anxiety thing the rolling on the floor)
I used to roll him up in the quilt BEFORE getting dressed (quite roughly) to provide some feedback before attempting to get dressed. Then sequencing chart, as when faced with too many choices ds would get confused as to what to put on first, then next etc. Its weird as ds likes choices to feel in control, but when faced with too many, it really confuses him!
He struggled with getting dressed/undressed for PE, so I made one for school too.
You could even ask school for a copy of his daily lessons ie what happens first, then next in school and make your own visual timetable or checklist.
Try things out at home first, such as the timer, if it works, then send into school.
This might be helpful. You can also book 20 minute telephone appointments with the NAS behaviour specialist. They then send you their advice in writing via email, with targets, strategies, plans etc, which you could print off and show their recommendations to school. Might carry a bit more weight, coming from an ASD 'expert'.
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