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Anyone with a very controlling child?(9 Posts)
I am hoping someone would have some knowledge about what this issue could be about so I can begin to tackle it:
My 8yo son is very controlling of me, worse when he is angry, tired, hungry. He will have an enormous tantrum if I do not do as he demands (usually come here, sit down, look at me or don't look at me). Most of the time I can see this episode coming on and just do the thing he asks (another good example is I have to say sorry or say yes) but yesterday I was so tired I just said no sorry I can't come to you right now, as you are in the next room, you can come to me. He shouted at me for nearly an hour.
I feel broken by this behaviour and don't know how to change it. He refuses to discuss after the event even the next day.
Anyone had similar experience or who could share tips? He has asd and dcd
Have you read about PDA? I wonder if PDA strategies might help? It sounds like an anxiety thing ... I wonder if there are other ways to put structure or other types of control in his hands so he can get this comfort without being so controlling of you?
DD can be a bit like this but she's only 5 and we can usually either distract her out of it, or wait for her to calm down and then have a conversation. I can totally see that it could get worse as the demands on her from school etc. intensify though (and how discussing it could become too big a source of anxiety: DD gets very upset if we do anything - like telling her off - that makes her feel "ashamed," so it can become a bit of a vicious cycle and feed her anxiety and need for control more. We talk a lot about mistakes being OK and everybody behaves in ways they aren't very proud of sometimes when they're tired - but it doesn't always take you very far in the heat of the moment).
DD1 is like this - it’s anxiety driven in her case - if stuff’s looming (we’ve got a school transition point coming so it’s batten down the hatches time at the moment) that she can’t control she goes into overdrive trying to control absolutely everything else. Also goes into full-on Vicky Pollard mode trying to hide it all with tweenage bravado and a wise-guy mouth which does her absolutely no favours whatsoever.
Yes I have tried some pda tactics and choice helps on some occasions and I do already pick my battles. It's upsetting DP quite a lot now, he says it's like watching an abusive relationship.
DS does things like fall over in front of me and say it was my fault as I was too close or touched his foot and then starts shouting demanding I apologise to him
It's really hard in these scenarios to distract but I always manage to remain calm.
He's been like it since he was a toddler, he used to wake me up by punching me in the face (thankfully he doesn't do that any more).
It sounds exhausting OP, and not a way of dealing with his anxiety that you want him to have when he grows up. Is your local CAMHS any good? It sounds like an outside perspective could be helpful. Otherwise if you can afford it it could be worth finding some kind of counsellor with knowledge of ASC. For example, we've previously used Beam ABA, and although they say they are ABA in our experience they are actually more like parenting advisors with knowledge of ASC: I know ABA has a (deservedly) bad reputation, but we've found them very helpful for advice on dealing with DD's anxiety and helping her work through it (mindfulness techniques, diaries, books about feelings, etc.) so it could be worth a try. Or maybe some kind of OT with sensory experience might be able to suggest some useful stims that would help him manage his anxiety?
Is DS stressed at school? I know a lot of kids hold it together at school but explode at home. If so, putting better accommodations in place at school could really help. What is the school like - are they flexible with him? Is the SENCo good/understanding? It could also be worth exploring your DS's relationship with your DP: do they get on? I imagine it could be a bit of a vicious cycle if your DP sees him abusing you - it's bound to bring up a lot of feelings which will put a wedge between your DP and DS which could feed into the anxiety and need for control even more...
It's so hard to know, but it does sound like things can't carry on this way . I think you are very right to continue to explore it and not leave things as they are, but I know finding the energy to continually do that must be very hard. Maybe your DP could help explore options (e.g. local OTs or therapists/counselors with ASC experience) - that might make him feel better/less powerless in the situation and also take the pressure off you a bit?
Yes, everything is my fault. Currently refusing to wear underwear I’ve washed as I d ruined it but melting down because she needs underwear.
She’s 11 now and in a much sadder note, she hates autism as she knows it is what makes her feel this way compared with two sisters that are NT.
@LightTripper thank you some really helpful suggestions there, we are visiting a therapist today who says they have adhd and anger management experience but need to find out whether they can apply this to DS. He has had a lot going on this year, we moved at half term to a state school from a prep as he wasn't coping but at the new school there are others with more complex needs so DS has just been getting on with it. Will have a meeting in September hopefully with the senco to see what they can advise. I know he was really upset on the last day of school when another child was "crying in the toilets and a teacher went and shouted at him", we had a very big and horrible emotional time after that!
Thank you to everyone else who has contributed and made me feel less alone, in solidarity with you.
I just tried to post at the same time as you and my post wiped! Grrrr!
Your DS sounds very like mine (also 8). When he was younger he would freak out if you said "good boy" after he had done something good. We would have scripted conversations where he had decided what I was going to say. I would be made to recite books, songs etc and if I got a word wrong he would be very angry. Any form of reward or positive parenting seemed to make him more anxious/angry.
I was going to ask about school, too. You mention your DS falling over and then saying it was your fault, this sounds to me like he is trying to process something that he has experienced at school. I have no great tips, but I indulge my DS's whims in many ways, I tend to draw the line at the "now you say this", "I want it 1cm to the right", "breathe differently" type stuff because it is unsustainable and because I would rather get the inevitable tantrum over with. In many ways I find even a violent outburst easier to cope with than being micro-managed by my son. I try to reward calm negotiation (by giving a bit more ground) and use humour when I can.
On a more humorous note, DS wants to control the way we deal with the dog. So if we tell the dog off for, say, puppy biting, DS will praise him. If we put the dog in his crate to calm down (dogs are so much simpler!), DS will fight you to let him out. So it looks like we will have an unruly dog too!
I meant to put "while I indulge my son's whims in many ways".
That sounds really difficult for you all, but it is still early days in the new school. Our DS is in state school, but we agonised about whether to send him to private school (which we could probably afford if I worked more) as we thought he would benefit from the smaller class sizes etc. I was advised to start him in state school in case he needed additional help. However, school see him as a bright and well behaved child, they don't see the anxiety, and they are extremely reluctant to discuss the matter (their "open door policy" doesn't extend to actually opening the door wide enough for a parent to get in!). Your DS's existing diagnoses should put you in a stronger position. My DS does not have a diagnosis, but that is a long story!