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I need help I can't cope!(8 Posts)
I have 5 Dc. All very well behaved mild mannered children except DS 8.
Backstory: He has had a severe speech delay, limited conversational ability and processing skills. This alone we struggled with help from school and speech therapists. (Missed appointments, not seeing the processing issues) I ended up learning as much as I could about him and we worked from basics. It has been a long road but he is now considered only slightly below average for most subjects and is gifted in maths. He speech has improved too as has his relationships with children in school. He now has friends and is a model pupil.
The problems with his outbursts started about two years ago. He would show violence to his dad and his siblings and would be hard to calm down. The outbursts would be over the most minute thing. I put it down to him finding it hard to express himself and his age and hoped in time it would improve along with his speech.
However we are now at a stage where he comes in from school every night throwing cushions around, screaming and attacking his brother. It is so constant and regular that it is having a huge impact on my mental health. I feel totally unable to cope and no longer have the emotional ability to cope with him! I have tried everything from hard discipline and tough love to rewards to talking about emotions and anger coping.
I don't want him to feel different to his siblings but I don't know what to do to help him with this anger!
I have spoken to go about going back to our gp! The last visit didn't go well as he is good in school so our parenting was called to question.
I am hoping that I could get advice on how to deal with this. Is there a programme or method that might help? Maybe an alternative? The one thing I know is that he does not process information the way my other children do and his conversation skills are very limited in that his mind wanders and you are unable to bring him back to the subject at hand or he focuses too much and you are unable to move the conversation along. This does not help when he has an outburst as it is hard to distract him out if it!
Sorry for the long thread!
What polt said.
I'd also recommend the big book of feelings. It helps children look at sad,happy, angry etc and what makes them feel that way. Then it looks at little, medium and big feelings and then responses to them.
There is a recording diary at the back after for your child to begin to communicate this for you.
It's also a great way to keep a record of what the triggers are and find ways to avoid them in future.
I would be reducing all demands after school, no chores, make a homework deal with the school (ie no homework) safe space etc. If your son is on the spectrum, which is possible from what you describe (but I am not going to diagnose) he is holding himself together at school, but by the time he comes home he has had enough of other people, sensory overload, and needs to completely recharge.
My son was at his worst at 8 in his "reacting" to sensory challenges (sorry , naff way of saying, noise, touch, discomfort, wrong chair, wrong tv programme, wrong words from adult or child) The best thing is not to train him to accept these things but reduce them. As he grows older you may find he is much better at coping with his siblings and family life. Mine certainly developed far more resilience to these things...from screaming that his brother was annoying him, seemingly every minute, he now seems to get on with him much better and they can actually sit in the same room, aged 14 and 16. Ds2 (14) has ASD. Has your son seen an OT to come up with some strategies - I find this is often something overlooked.
I often think that throwing cushions is a way of warding off rather than attacking; if you think of his attacks as defensive rather than aggressive, and because he is anxious rather than badly behaved.
Thank you for the suggestions. I have spent the weekend reading the website and will be ordering the books on payday.
We have had a terrible weekend but he has vocalised that he just sees anger but has no explanation why. He has a very focused view of the world and is unable to understand why we might not be able to let him do something. He was riding his bike outside while I did some gardening in the afternoon which was lovely. But then he decided as we were winding down for bed that evening that he wanted to go outside again and he had a meltdown when we said no. I explained that if he went to bed then I would be happy for him to play again in the morning. It took us over 3 hours for him to calm down. This morning he wanted to go out so I said no as he had chosen his path the night before and must live with the consequences, cue more screaming and shouting. We are trying to get him to understand that all actions have a consequence but now I think we may have to act differently in showing him this. He has not been given a diagnosis so I don't want to make allowances if this is just bad behaviour! The biggest concern that I have that this might not be all as it seems is the conversations that follow this type of behaviour! Once he has calmed down I will say "do you understand the consequence" and he will say "But mum where do lions live?" This might be avoidance tactics but we have been told and awaiting further assessment that he has social conversation delays and that his conversation does not follow a usual pattern. It just causes a huge problem when we are trying to teach him life lessons if that makes sense at all!
We have had no help from outside the home and I feel like a complete failure asking for some as when we originally expressed concerns we were told we were over reacting by the school as he was such a pleasant child. So great to have MN help
It's not uncommon for children who don't understand emotion and find it hard to label emotion to use avoidance tactics to avoid discussing it.
I'd keep a note of all this. A diary of incidents, how yiu delay with them, what works, DS reactions etc.
Often once you've proof you've tried all the typical routes of dealing with behaviour (eg the ones use with nt children) peads start to take more note.
I may be very slack but I wouldn't have given him a consequence the next day for "bad" behaviour the night before. It is too far away to register properly.
What you could do, instead, is work on the winding down thing, or transitions (ie bedtime when he is enjoying playing and doesnt want to stop)
You could make a transition very pleasurable by making it very familiar (ie something very nice that happens at bedtime, always - his favourite book, a bath, a snack) or you talk through the stages of play pjs bed more bicyling tomorrow (which is what you did, in effect) I suspect that if you had just made sure that the next day he had his bicycling, he would have been just as likely to stop playing the next night, because he would trust that the bicycling was just suspended, and would resume. Whereas a consequence might be more likely to just remind him that he is constantly baffled and angry at adult reasoning..
I don't know....at that age you can be a bit more flexible about bedtimes anyway on a nice summer's evening, it wouldnt do any harm. Sometimes it can help to change the boundary to suit the individual child rather than have very firm ideas about what is acceptable or appropriate. Others may disagree with this approach! I can imagine if you are trying to get five children off to bed, having them all roaming around might be the last straw. Still, I think it is quite a familiar scenario, children refusing to go to bed whilst they are enjoying an activity..my mother certainly said she gave up and let us just run around whilst it was light (she had four) whilst sterner aunts where putting theirs to bed (just remembered that anecdote)
You could also try reading How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Faber and Mazlish. It works on SN children too, it is an approach where you might reflect back what your child is feeling, so they can come to terms with the emotions ..ie: what a lovely time you are having on that bike, it must be such a pity you have to come in to go to bed, you probably wish you could ride that bike round the garden 100 times more. 4 minutes of "pandering" and talking about imaginary bikes that can fly through the window into bed, or letting him know you understand his frustration (but with genuine empathy) might distract/engage him sufficiently to make him calm down and decide to go upstairs after all. It's quite a dense book but don;t be put off.
I'm not like this in real life, I can assure you, I often get extremely cross when my children won't go to bed when I tell them to, but nowadays it is mostly just dithering or washing clothes at 9pm I have to deal with; when they were younger I think the way I describe is the way I established a good routine...habits, empathy and positive reinforcement, with a bit of flexibility thrown in, and hardly any bedtime consequences or even rewards/stickers...none of that worked for me. They essentially liked their bedtime, and associated routines enough to stop doing other activities.
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