I'm dreading my son coming home tonight.

(21 Posts)
BeautifulLiar Tue 08-Aug-17 14:47:30

Please be gentle - I do feel very guilty!

Backstory: he's almost 9, has ASD, and is moody, miserable, negative, argumentative, aggressive to his sisters and finds fault in everything. He can moan about anything. He barely eats anything. I obviously try to impose time limits etc with his gaming time but he is foul if he's not in front of a screen.

He's been at his grandparents' for a week. I thought I'd miss him but I don't at all sad the girls have played beautifully together, aren't bothered about screens and are generally very happy and positive people. They haven't been shouted at or pushed or pinched. I haven't had to referee 1000 arguments a day. I haven't found my son awake watching TV at 4am meaning he is shattered and in a horrible mood the next day.

I'm a single mum and their father isn't bothered. He hasn't seen the DC for two months, doesn't pay for them. So I don't really get a break.

How can I prepare for him coming back and make things run more smoothly?

OP’s posts: |
mummytime Tue 08-Aug-17 15:14:30

I think you need to ask for help - and try to get some regular respite if you can arrange it/afford it.
How have his Grandparents coped with him? Do they do anything different or that you can adopt.
I also think you need to prioritise, lots of people with DC with ASD can't have the same standards for: food, screen time, activities etc. that other parents do. It really is about stop trying to force your square peg through a round hole. So he may need more screen time, more time alone, a more rigid routine. He may not eat the same as the rest of you, may need food of one colour, not "mixed up stuff" eg. spaghetti bolognaise.

Do you get DLA? Have you been referred to a dietician? Does your son want to interact with his sisters?

But yes it is understandable that you have enjoyed this break.

BeautifulLiar Tue 08-Aug-17 15:36:30

Thank you mummytime

I do get DLA for him but at the minute I'm trying to save every penny to move out of this area. Its harder to spend the DLA specifically on him now my child maintenance has stopped.

Grandparents are probably a lot more laid-back than me sad they let him eat beige foods. They let him have an iPad, 3DS AND Wii time rather than just one. They have a bigger house than me and instead of being lumbered with three loud sisters he as one male cousin who he gets on brilliantly with.

You're exactly right though. I do try to force a round peg into a square hole. My parents are controlling and abusive but unfortunately I've sort of inherited some of their ways ie not pandering to/fussing around the children. What if the girls find it unfair that he gets 'special' treatment? How do I explain his autism to them? What if I give him an inch and he takes a mile?

He doesn't really want to interact with them, no. He adores the baby and regularly plays with her but very, very rarely with the older girls (4 and 6). So should I just let him have more screen time? I just find the more he is on it, the worst his attitude is when he's forced to switch it off.

No dietician, and I've always sort of said I'm not making multiple meals. But he hates pretty much everything! And the food he does eat has to be the right brand/shape/amount etc.

OP’s posts: |
mummytime Tue 08-Aug-17 16:14:31

Mealtimes in my house - sometimes I feel like a short order cook. One child won't eat mashed vegetables and isn't keen on cheese. Another has always been fussy - but could possibly have coeliacs - and certainly trying to "get her to eat" has resulted in real issues around food - I'm extremely lax, but she actually likes being healthy. The other one doesn't like food much, is now taking an interest in cooking which helps a bit. I try to offer alternatives - so difference sauces or no sauce with pasta; or veg, rice and different choice of protein source. I know some people frown but actually getting people to eat is a major achievement. Oh and most of them take multi-vitamins - which help.
Some of our best times have been when screen time has been banned altogether. But otherwise it is about prioritising. Can you use screen time as a bribe for co-operation earlier?

Maybe your parents controlling ways actually give him structure than he needs? Not all children are the same - I can still remember cousins being praised for enjoying "colouring in quietly" whereas I prefered to be more active, and found colouring in both boring and difficult.

BeautifulLiar Tue 08-Aug-17 16:26:49

Sorry - he's been with paternal grandparents for a week, not my parents. I don't think my parents quite believe he has autism but they also just let him play on games for hours.

I do have to bribe with game time quite a lot! Thanks for trying to help. I really hope he isn't worse after being with them for a week sad he's so very controlling - the girls will not get much choice in anything once he's back!

OP’s posts: |
Ceto Tue 08-Aug-17 17:06:16

If I were you, I'd let him eat beige food. For some people with autism, the whole issue of food causes major anxiety and stress and it can't help if you contribute to that stress.

BeautifulLiar Tue 08-Aug-17 17:14:06

But it's just so unhealthy sad
Beige food every night almost? Would that be acceptable? Genuine question. He quite likes roast dinner (as long as he has a chicken leg, yuk!) so that's something. But he doesn't eat any fruit apart from occasional raspberries. He will eat sweetcorn and carrots, as long as they're circular! But apart from that, the only things he'd reliable eat are:

Jacket potatoes with butter, nothing else
Chicken nuggets
Breaded fish (maybe)
Burgers
Crisps
Porridge
Cereal
Pesto pasta

He hates cheese, yogurt, anything creamy, most meats, pastry... The list goes on!

OP’s posts: |
BeautifulLiar Tue 08-Aug-17 17:14:48

Reliably*

OP’s posts: |
Ceto Tue 08-Aug-17 17:30:59

This is a really useful article about what it is like to be a child with autism who has difficulties around food - autismawareness.com/the-reason-i-dont-like-to-eat/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialWarfare

You may also find this useful - www.autism.org.uk/about/health/eating.aspx

BeautifulLiar Tue 08-Aug-17 20:34:04

Thanks so much smile

OP’s posts: |
mummytime Tue 08-Aug-17 22:58:41

Maybe hang out here, that really isn't as bad as some children with ASD's diets. A multivitamin if you bean get one he will take does help.

BeautifulLiar Wed 09-Aug-17 14:11:53

Really? I thought he must be one of the worst! Glad to hear I'm not the only one. I've just done the Asda shop. Bought three meals I know he'll eat and then for the other nights we have things like stir fry I've got him chicken nuggets and peas/sweetcorn/carrots.

He's back now and has been much quieter than I was expecting!

OP’s posts: |
Polter Wed 09-Aug-17 14:55:58

"as long as he has a chicken leg, yuk!"

Err, can you see what you've done there?

Imagine being expected to eat a food you think is yuk and magnify it. That's what it is like to have aversions to food.

If you're worried request a paediatric dietician assessment.

My ds is 14 and has survived and thrived on a basic diet of marmite sandwiches, yoghurts and smoothies for a decade. He will eat cake and chocolate, bacon, fig rolls and a few other picky bits. He has a decent supplement and I buy the most nutrient dense versions of products I can. He does not eat a single hot meal or even a part of a meal. It is not worth the anxiety.

BeautifulLiar Wed 09-Aug-17 15:50:21

I know Polter. I was exactly like him as a child. So I do get it. And I was forced to eat things every day. I did used to give them multivitamins, haven't done for a while actually.

OP’s posts: |
Polter Wed 09-Aug-17 15:54:06

I think food is one thing as a parent we get massively overinvested in and can easily blow it out of proportion (been there done that!), but as long as he's growing, learning and alert there's unlikely to be anything to worry about. I found the dietician assessment incredibly helpful as it showed how he was actually covering almost all his nutritional requirements, despite eating such a limited range.

BeautifulLiar Wed 09-Aug-17 17:55:53

Well... Dinner was a success!
We had sausages, beans and crispy potato slices, which I thought would be fine.
But he doesn't like beans now, couldn't eat the "edges" of the potato slices and apparently he only likes "fat" sausages and these were too thin...

However! I actually asked if he wanted beans rather than putting them on his plate and expecting him to eat them. I didn't say anything when he picked around the potatoes and I let him have pudding. It was was so much better!! It was like having a different person at the table.

He IS learning and thriving, so that really made me think. Thank you x

OP’s posts: |
Polter Wed 09-Aug-17 18:05:30

That sounds much better, well done, I know it's hard to hold back sometimes!

There is just no point making something stressful that doesn't need to be. Save up your parenty veto power for things that really matter.

mummytime Wed 09-Aug-17 18:18:17

I think multivitamins are often for my benefit more than the DC (although now they are bigger - they actually feel better on them). Well done!
It can also be a pain as they do get favourite food and then suddenly decide they don't like it. But I also have clear memories of one summer as a child when foods suddenly tasted "rancid" to me, it was probably a virus, but it did make some of my favourite foods unpalatable for a while.
If you can make sure that pudding has some nutritional value (milk, fruit, extra carbs) then it helps you feel better. Using any food as a reward isn't really healthy anyway.

flowers you are doing well.

Justdontknow4321 Thu 10-Aug-17 08:58:50

Hey,
Reading that list of foods and I don't think it's to bad actually! One of my friends little boys will only eat Bourbon biscuits and yogurt! That is it.
He seen a dietitian and the bloke basically said aslong as he's eating give him what he wants, it's all caloriesgrin

I also give in a lot more to my son then my daughter who is NT, I try to explain to her that her brother doesn't fully understand and needs more help to be calm and stay relaxed and they don't.. seems to have worked so farblush

Hope it's still calm in your house!

BeautifulLiar Sun 13-Aug-17 08:10:12

Thanks Just. Wow, that is an extreme diet!! I have definitely changed my attitude to his eating now because I can see where I was going wrong, and he is VERY small. Really skinny and about the height of a five/six year old (he's 9 this month). I'm small too, but I do worry about a boy not being able to get away with it as much!

He has gradually gone back to how he was tbh. I put the Wii console back out yesterday (it's been in storage since January!!) and when it was time to come off he had a huge meltdown; kicking doors and screaming at us all. He also had a meltdown on Friday when he lost £1. But I think I handled it a bit better and he did actually calm down quite quickly.

OP’s posts: |
Ellie56 Mon 14-Aug-17 17:54:58

I think the thing about food is to accept that the sensory issues that go hand in hand with autism sometimes affect what they will eat.

As a child our son ate a very boring and bland diet. He would eat fish, sausages, chicken, grated cheese and pizza. He would eat spaghetti but no other type of pasta. He would eat jacket potatoes and mashed potatoes. The only vegetable he would eat was carrots He would eat baked beans so he had them quite freqently instead of vegetables. The only fruit he would eat was bananas.

So every day he had carrots with his main meal, even with pizza or jacket potato, and he had a banana every day.

I cooked different meals for everyone else and if it was something he liked he would have it, if not, he would have his jacket potato with cheese and carrots. Sometimes this might have been two or three times in the same week. It didn't matter. He thrived and was quite happy eating the same thing, and it made life easier for me.

As he's got older, he's gradually tried and introduced more foods into his diet and now an adult, eats a range of vegetables although we still haven't cracked fruit.

With regard to the ipad/computer/whatever, I used to set the cooker timer and say he could have x amount of time on the computer but when the "beeper" went he had to finish. It worked.

It also helped to tell him in advance what was going to happen each day, eg going to the shops (including telling him what we were going to buy) then going to the park, then coming back home to eat lunch etc.

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