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please help me not lose my temper with DS

(21 Posts)
hereidrawtheline Fri 30-Jan-09 10:00:21

DS (ASD) has been a fucking nightmare all morning today and I am so fucking fed up I want to scream. He has kicked off over every single thing that has not gone just perfectly all day and been totally and utterly disobedient on everything I have asked him to do. He has broken things, hit me, thrown stuff you name it.

I have taken deep breaths and started over and told him I love him and cuddled and done everything I can but he is just too much today.

I took him outside this morning to play in the garden as he really wanted to play in snow so he had to settle for frost. He was in his little garden car and refuses to pedal himself along he wants to be pushed I couldnt as I was feeding the rabbits. It just spiralled from there. He was screaming at me from across the garden I said I would be right there, just putting rabbit down etc and he has no patience ever so continued screaming the whole time he just wont give me a minute to get to him. He threw a huge fit and screamed at the top of his lungs. I dragged him inside. My neighbour on one side is a total bitch and I know she either thinks he is the devil child (as he always kicks off in the garden) or that I abuse him which devastates me as nothing could be further from the truth.

That is one tiny little example of what he has been like today. And the constant repetition.

"It's (DS's) money" "Its (DS's) money" "Its not Mama's money" "Its not Daddy's money" "Its (DS's) money" and repeat 20 more times.

He is just driving me mad

I know I have to be patient I know he cant help it but I am SO FED UP. I know its not his fault. I would just love to relax just once or not be shouted at or ordered around or screamed at or hit. I would like to just go in the garden and watch my child play while I cuddle a rabbit and then play with my child and then go inside happy. Oh well at least he didnt turn the hose on me this time.

lou031205 Fri 30-Jan-09 10:35:15

hereidrawtheline, it is so tough.

Do you use Makaton at all? I know that your son (I think I remember) is very verbal, but I have found with DD that when she is set on something or in a rage/meltdown, she can't process the words and respond to them as well as a visual cue.

We have just taught her the sign for 'wait', which is linking your two little fingers hooked over each other.

She was having a rage because she wanted something NOW. I couldn't do it, and was asking her to wait, but she just kept ON and ON repeating herself. When I showed her the sign for 'wait', and then used that everytime she repeated herself, she calmed a little, and there was a pause of about 10 secs between demands.

I then just said "DD, what did Mummy say?" Then did the sign without words. Amazingly, although with an extremely grumpy face, DD said "DD wait."

She still doesn't get the idea of waiting, and will say "I did it wait" after about 10-15 secs, but at least she is accepting a little better that if Mummy does the sign for wait it means she doesn't get whatever she has demanded straight away.

hereidrawtheline Fri 30-Jan-09 10:39:11

thank you I didnt know of makaton I will look it up. I am so tired of it.

He had a bowl of fruit flakes and I took one to eat and he smacked my hand and said no, I did the usual "do not hit" etc then got up and got my own bag of fruit flakes. Now he is screaming because I wont give them to him. I can not do even the smallest thing in the day without either the reality or the fear of being emotionally battered.

hereidrawtheline Fri 30-Jan-09 10:53:44

I am sorry I keep telling you everything. I dont have anyone else to talk to.

He was playing on our old phone that he uses to play with & kept pushing it right in my face really aggressively for me to talk on it. I said for the 3rd or 4th time to not push it in my face like that and I was constantly flinching and having to duck my head so he didnt give me a black eye. And it made him angry that I said it in a loud firm annoyed tone of voice so he swung back and tried to hit me across the face with the receiver. I shouted no and shielded my face and took the phone away then just sat there with my head in my hands. Now he has dumped a bowl of food and whole big box of marble run parts & marbles and is crying for me to pick them all up.

notfromaroundhere Fri 30-Jan-09 10:55:31

It is hard when they seem to be in the kind of mood when they are only happy if they are unhappy.

When DS1 gets like this I try and a) pre-empt situations. So pre warn him about anything I am doing e.g.Mummy making a drink.

If he starts protesting I just keep repeating "first mummy drink, then play with DS1"

He doesn't altogether like it but by sticking to it it gives me a plan so I feel calmer and him clear instructions that debating doesn't get him what he wants any faster..

hereidrawtheline Fri 30-Jan-09 10:58:12

I was telling him to pick them all up and he wouldnt and threw a toy in anger. It broke. I put him in his room alone with the stair gate on it. I never do that as I dont want him bedroom to be a place he isnt happy in. But I cant get through to him and he is so violent today. How on earth do you do this??? Unless I do every single thing he wants and cater to his every wish I have to get to this point as he doesnt accept forms of gentle encouragement when he is in this mood. Sometimes he does but not times like today. I am so fucking stressed.

notfromaroundhere Fri 30-Jan-09 11:05:41

This is what works for DS1 it may not be your cup of tea or work for your son but FWIW....

If my DS1 hurts me I put him on the step. its known as the step not the naughty step. (I used to just walk away from him but he started following me about so that's how we we ended up with the step). I leave him for less than a minute, then go and say "DS1 will you kiss mummy better?". If he does then I say "DS1 are you sorry for hurting mummy?". He normally says yes then we cuddle. I will ask him to say sorry but if he doesn't I don't make a big deal of it. I've found that after he's calmed down and peace is restored he will apologise for whatever he did on his own steam.

silverfrog Fri 30-Jan-09 11:14:10

I really feel for you.

dd1 has had her moments of being an absolute tyrant. It does get easier - whether because dd1 has learnt to behave a bit better hmm or because I have learnt to handle her better (more likely).

When dd1 was like that, i found the easiest thing was to give in to her demands (mind you, her demands were less than your ds' as she was not as verbal)

Pre-empting is a huge thing. When dd1 is in one of these phases, telling her absolutely everyhting is vital. She doesn't like it, but it gives me something to say other than shouting at her.

So, in your garden scenario, I would have just get repeating (in a falsely happy voice) "mummy is just putting the rabbit down. Just putting it down. There we go. Now I'm coming to help. On my way, here I am. What do you want? Oh, a push? Well, you just need to ask, I'm not a million miles away. I can hear you easily"

I know how hard it is. dd1 is on constant repeat at the moment, and has little patience either when she gets into a loop. But if he can see a reaction, he will continue to push buttons. God knows there are times when i have shouted at dd1 (usually something really inappropriate like "I AM NOT YOUR SERVANT" or "I HAVE MY OWN LIFE TOO") but, satisfying though it is to release the tension, it usually ends up escalating the situation. If your ds is finding it hard to understand emotions, he could eb using you as a case study - trying to work out what is the ultimate limit which will make you explode, and he will keep picking until he gets you there.

dd1 is so much better at waiting/asking nicely/behaving well than she used to be. Sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but if I make the efffort to compare to a couple of years ago, then it shows. it is still only little gains, but it si gains nonetheless.

hereidrawtheline Fri 30-Jan-09 11:15:19

nfah - I will think about that and talk to DH about it. I am afraid to do it because when he was much younger and started having a lot of behavioural problems (didnt know it was ASD though I felt something was wrong) I used time out on him - just a minute. Everyone told me to do it, HV, friends, everyone. And we tried it for several months. But he was in such agony. The punishment was way too big for the crime, IYSWIM. He sobbed and sobbed. So one day I finally got the courage to drop it on my own intuition and basically told everyone to mind their own business so I swore to him I would never put him in TO again. I said we will find other ways of coping. I promised him.

Its not that I think forms of TO are bad at all they seem to work brilliantly for most children but for him he got way too upset and would sob "talk to me, mama talk to me" and I couldnt bear it. And he spoke of it for hours afterwards, even days. And he asked not to go in TO all the time. And sometimes he asked to go in TO in a sort of weird way he has of wanting to upset himself or hurt himself.

So I guess I am just waffling but I am afraid of doing anything that will remind him of TO. And it goes without saying (I hope!) that I would never smack him or anything. So I try to reason with him. Which we all know you can not do with an ASD child. Now the most punishment I can seem to do is say "I will not talk to you while you are behaving like this" but even that doesnt sit well on my conscience sometimes at it makes me worry he thinks I will withdraw my love if he misbehaves and I want him to know it is unconditional.

You see my dilemma. I dont know how to effectively and compassionately discipline him. But I cant let him do whatever he wants or hurt me or himself or other people.

hereidrawtheline Fri 30-Jan-09 11:18:46

x post silverfrog. I say the I am not your servant/slave comment too. He doesnt get it at all. I know I shouldnt say it.

I am so afraid that my temper & annoyance is some form of abuse. I know that is absurd I love him up down left and right and try constantly to better myself so I am better for him. But I feel so guilty he is so violent towards me what if its my fault and I have upset him and this is how he reacts? By the end of the day the repetition is so wearing I just cant bear it sometimes. I have got to improve. I have to be better at this.

5inthebed Fri 30-Jan-09 11:35:17

HIDTL, I can sympathis with you. My ds2 can be equally as challenging, he has been like this all week if I'm being honest, and I'm an inch away from sending him away (not that I would)

I find that using "first/then" works very well for us, especially if he is having a huge meltdown. For example, ds2 is a nightmare taking food shopping and wont sit in a trolley, but he loves those stupid rides they have outside the supermarkets. So what we say to him is "ds2 trolley first, then ride (or Pat as he calls it). It might take some repeating and reassurance, but it works relaly well for us. We got taught the first/then at an autism group and on the "Early Bird" course.

Hope your day gets a little better. How old is your ds?

lou031205 Fri 30-Jan-09 11:37:16

I think it is worth trying to separate how you feel about his behaviour from whether his behaviour is acceptable, if you can.

It sounds like (I have been here lots) you are struggling with the enormity of the ASD thing, and that you are seeing his behaviours as a kind of personal attack. Although you know it really isn't, it can be so hard to see that when you have the bruises (physical or emotional) to show.

The trouble is, it can send a confusing message. Do you want your DS to feel regret and sadness for his actions? Because that is a tall order for any 2.6 year old, let alone your DS who also has ASD.

Also, it is crucial for you to avoid the 'battles' of wills, because they will just make you feel like a failure.

So, focus on his behaviour, rather than how it makes you feel. It is not acceptable to hit people, either with things or our hands. Full stop. Doesn't matter how much it hurt mummy, or whether it made her sad. Too much to process. It is just not acceptable to do it.

WRT the fruit flakes, did you just take one, or did you ask him if you could have one? Perhaps better to ask for one, and then reinforce with "must share", or similar.

Again with the phone thing, rather than "DON'T do x", perhaps instead block his thrust of the phone at you, and say "gentle, DS. Is it my turn?" Positive modelling rather than negative. Because he was taking turns, which is positive. But he needs to learn that he can't dominate and control.

Please feel free to discard any or all of my observations smile - I am also just muddling through. But I know that sometimes it helps me just to look back and work out how the day got so bad, and I realise that I had allowed a battle to go on, when in fact I need to get strategies in place to prevent it.

hereidrawtheline Fri 30-Jan-09 11:37:31

He is 2.6. We do the first/then thing too. Sorry not at all trying to sound like "I've tried it all" as honestly I havent just a few things. The first/then thing usually works pretty well - we do exactly the same bargaining re: trolleys/rides!! grin I just put him down for a nap pray he sleeps a good long time and I can get some rest & refreshment.

notfromaroundhere Fri 30-Jan-09 11:41:06

Totally see how you don't want to get into another TO situation.

How about getting a beanbag for him and referring to it as his comfort corner or something? So when he hits out you say "DS1 go to your cushion" so it feels less punishy but puts a physical stop the hitting and gives you a bit of authority over him. When I say less than a minute of leaving DS1 it probably started as 10 seconds - when he frist cried for me I would go and ask if he would kiss me better. He now will sometimes take himself off to the step when he is getting grumpy!

I hear you on the unconditional love and being worried he may feel pushed out. My view is I need to prepare him for the big world and to do that he needs to know certain things aren't negotioable and it will take a long time to get the message through I have to start with it now. Also try and remember NT 2/3 year olds do not take happily to not getting what they want its just the ASD can vastly exacerbate the reaction to it

amber32002 Fri 30-Jan-09 11:48:09

Blimey, you need a bit of rest and refreshment, that's for sure.

Many good ideas from people here.

We can be absolute little s*ds when young (or that's certainly what it feels like) but the only consolation is that we can and do grow up and change to be easier. Not always, I won't promise every child does, but usually.

The picture thing can work well if you can plan what will happen that day and do a story line of pictures to say what will happen.

We often get worse with more talking to us, more looking at us, and more unexpected holding of us. The strangest things can be really scary for us and we overreact far too much. Explaining any of this even at my age is a problem, and at his I guess it's nearly impossible using words, so pictures or actions may help.

Is there a favourite activity he does that he really likes to do and will settle to do for a few minutes? Even a short break here and there can make a big difference for you, I'm thinking. So can play sessions with other parents with similar situations if the local autism group runs any?

He has to learn that it's never ok to hit. That's absolutely the first priority. Well worth taking an expert opinion if the autism charity has someone who can help with this by seeing him first-hand?

Have you looked at what he's eating or drinking - colourings etc? And what he's wearing - is it very soft clothing with no scratchy labels or tight bits? The smallest change in additives or the feel of clothing can be a nightmare that turns a child from calm to a raging monster if they can't work out what's wrong?

hereidrawtheline Fri 30-Jan-09 12:04:18

thanks again and thanks for your perspective amber.

He is napping now so I can be a bit calmer and reflect.

I just feel so abused. I know I shouldnt. But when you get shouted at and hit and cried at a lot in nearly all your waking hours it is so hard to retain a sense of secure self. However I know he is just a baby really and also one with ASD so I dont blame him I just more than anything else feel like a failure.

Usually I have to say in my own credit I am very good with him. I am often a source of calm and patience. Sometimes I get to the point where I have been today where I lose my own inner reserve to draw on so that is one thing I need to improve with myself.

I dont know of autism support groups around here I am going to try to find some ASAP. But I dont drive and I cant take public transport because he has to nap midday and as we are in a village with only 1 bus an hour and we have at least one or two connections to get anywhere there is neither time in the morning to get anywhere and back nor in the afternoon. So I am always very limited on what I can do. It is out of the question to make him skip his nap its like sleep deprivation torture to him. I have been slated relentlessly from well meaning or not so well meaning Mums (not of SN children) for not "doing" more and taking him on the bus to our next biggest town and making him miss his nap. I wont do it. However I will look into ASD support groups perhaps there is something that can be arranged.

His diet is totally free from sweeteners, probably has got colourings in it though. Not much MSG at all. A lot of milk. No meat or fish as we are veggie. He is wearing nice soft things now but I am planning on buying him more clothes as he hates anything tight or rough and he is growing out of a lot of his favourite stuff.

I really like the beanbag idea and even have a nice corner for it in the living room! Will start finding a nice one ASAP!

lou thank you also for the reality check. I appreciate your candidness. You are right I need to take my own emotional hurt out of his realm of responsibility. I usually do this but I admit I have not today so I have more than likely made everything worse. Today I woke up so sleepy and just wanted a nice easy day which is silly isnt it. I didnt ask for the fruit flake - again I normally probably would do but we were relaxed on the floor together and it just seemed nice & casual to just pick one off the plate so I did.

I really wouldnt be getting through this even as well as I am without your support thank you. I really hope I can return the favour in some way. I love throwing parties, everyone want to come round mine? grin

hereidrawtheline Fri 30-Jan-09 12:22:17

he is sitting up in his bed singing. this is a very very very bad sign. He only does that when for some reason he cant fall asleep. Then after however long he insists on getting up again, unrested, I have had no break and the afternoon is horrific. I am actually afraid of this. I dont know what to do this is so stupid to be so tense and afraid when your child wont nap.

magso Fri 30-Jan-09 13:12:06

Hi. I recognise that fear (Ds and missed nap was torture too!!) and the other feelings - of feeling abused by the aggression and demands! Ds was very similar at 2-3(except he developed words later). I am posting to say things will change. Ds now has learnt some kindness, empathy, waiting skills and he can even play on his own now - so life will improove. He is still learning and I am still teaching him!!
I did find a timer helpful to try and teach him waiting and turn taking.(still use it), although he was a little older before he 'got it'. 5/10 minutes on the clock for ds play with mummy, followed by 5/10 minutes mummy kitchen time. He was allowed to join me but not stop me. I too avoided TO in his bedroom, (I used to put him in his bed if he was distressed) but used 'timein' (sat on the sofa, or on my knee face out)If he hurt me , I plonked him immediatly on the sofa/floor and froze him out whilst I ignored ds and later (once I was sure he wasnt hurting me for theatricals) 'fussed over' my hurt ie ran a bite under the cold tap! I encouraged DH if around to 'comfort me' and 'ignore' DS to make it easier for ds to realise!! NB sometimes ds did hit out for the reaction the skill is in knowing)
Take care - Magso

hungryhippo21 Fri 30-Jan-09 13:30:56

hi,hereidrawtheline my ds1 is 2.5 we are waiting for dx of asd he is non verbal. He has bad days as well sometimes it is just getting through the next 5 minutes probably get shot for this we stick the telly on he will sometimes come and sit with me for a cuddle or we turn the music on and i chase round the front room after him. He has a step to sit on but it is just his space to calm down as he has all these emotions but doesnt know what to do if he is not on it he throughs things, know that is wrong and gets himself more wound up. At the moment we are trying cows milk and he does seem a bit calmer(he will probably go nuts now I have said that) also when he is particularly bad he is usually coming down with something or he takes a new step - eg he recently started pointing at things after an awfull few days before.
Yesterday he was in complete meltdown cos he woke up from his nap and the boiler man was here. But today I am so proud of him as he tried to kiss his brother 7 months when I asked and fed him a bit of his dinner - for months he would not even look at him. Anyway what I am trying to say is each day is different and you have to take them as they come and get through the shitty ones whatever way you can.

amber32002 Fri 30-Jan-09 14:14:02

I think it's an idea to tell the GP how much of a drain this is on you, perhaps, or the health visitor, and see if they have some ideas about services that could help you in ways you can access. Coping alone with a youngster who needs this much 1:1 attention in such a high -stress way is bound to be knackering (pardon my expression blush) so I'd say it's worth a try if you haven't already?

I found mine calmed down a lot when able to watch something spinning/the Thomas tapes. He'd sit in front of the washing machine for an hour, waving a cloth at it. It gave me a bit of a break here and there (and boy, did I need it!). Any chance he has something like that to amuse himself with??

lou031205 Fri 30-Jan-09 15:34:11

Nice and casual, lol. Yes, I too have made that mistake. I vividly remember taking Millie to a birthday party in November, where one of the 'activities' was decorating your own party gift box with foam stickers.

DD had not joined in anything successfully except eating time, and I so didn't want her to miss out. So while DH took DD outside to play for a few minutes, I painstakingly decorated her box as I thought she would like. I agonised over where to put each sticker to make it just lovely for her.

Imagine my excitement when I presented my box to her - I burst into tears when she went into meltdown because she wanted to open it NOW, and wasn't at all bothered by how it looked.

These things can take us by surprise, can't they?

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