Ds and force feeding(16 Posts)
Ok. So, my ds, aged 13 has autism. Also a diagnosis a OCD and has had to take Prozac fro ages 9. He's bright in lots of ways and articulate. EOW he goes to his dad and his partner of 3 yrs. I pride myself on getting on well enough to make life ok for all of us. I am polite and behave well with his girlfriend because she has a role in my son's life. I'm grateful for that.
This is what happened this weekend. Ds loves The Simpsons, MarioKart and Karl Pilkington. Dad hates all that so, EOW ds leaves his "self" at home and goes to dad & partner. I asked my ex if he'd try to make an allowance and let ds watch a bit of Simpsons (his new Xmas Box Set) with dad. He agreed.
Yesterday, ds comes home. His Simpsons disc not watched. Why? Ex's partner said ds had to eat his salmon steak or no Simpsons ^ for the weekend^. So, ds starts to chomp through said fish but couldn't eat it all. No Simpsons. At all. All weekend. I am livid as a) ds is trying ever so hard to develop an appetite and he finds eating very hard b) the watching of the Simpsons DVD with dad was agreed by ME and HIM. It was not conditional on food consumption.
What would you do? Ds was kind of resigned to the fact that "his thing" isn't welcome at dad's. He no longer takes anything with him except his NintendoDS3 and one game. He's not allowed to take his iPad nor films.
It's not "force feeding" to bribe a child to eat their dinner.
Perhaps they have lots or problems whereby he doesn't eat much whilst he is there. I'm sure the SM isn't doing it to be horrible to him. Some people just have different methods of encouragement/rewards/punishments.
I don't think the fact that Simpsons watching was agreed between you and ex is relevant really. She obviously just picked something he wanted to do as something that would be an incentive to eat and disappointing if he had taken away.
I don't understand why his Father isn't the person deciding in boundaries and discipline for his son. Without being rude (I am a SM) WTF has it got to do with the GF? I would only have my say if something destructive was going on or my DSD was being directly rude to me. I am not her parent, I don't make these decisions. I'd speak to your ExH and let him know that you expect him to take the parenting role.
No wonder we get a bad name!
Most DCs who split their time between two families have different personas with each.
There may be a part of your DS that he leaves at his Dads because he isn't comfortable/permitted to express it at your home.
Although you have mentioned your DS's autism, your description sounds as if he has adapted to life in two homes. Unless he is being abused/neglected, or there are specific issues relating to his SN, then I think you'll have to stay out of it.
I don't think the SM did anything wrong really. In many homes it's not practical to only ever have the biological parent make decisions regarding discipline etc.
Having two children with autism I really feel for your ds. My two find eating difficult too and any ultimatum would have ensured they didn't eat as the stress would have been too much. That added to the withdrawal of an activity that had already been agreed show a complete lack of understanding of your dc's diagnosis and needs and so I would be having words tbh. Is his df generally unaware of ds's difficulties? Would he be amenable to hearing how better to accommodate the autism do you think?
I have spoken to exH. I kept calm and said that punishing a child who has major food issues relating to his condition is not done. That we had an agreement and that in future, I'd be grateful if his partner would not create stress where ds doesn't need it. Tonight, ds sat staring, hollow eyed at his food (a favourite dish) and said "I don't want to watch anything tonight and I can't eat all of my potato". DS has only just mastered using a knife and fork again, after his OCD wouldn't let him touch "weapons" .... I don't need him being punished .... His self-harm issues take care of that one, nicely.
Why do some parents have to make a thing out of everything?
Your DS's sm made a decision you didn't agree with. That's all. It's her house too, and providing she wasn't actually being unpleasant or neglectful towards your son (not commenting on the wisdom of bribery to eat food), then I don't actually see what your problem is. Your son didn't get to watch his DVD. Not the end of the world. You'd be better teaching your son to forget about it, than making it into some grievance.
It's not a question of whether to make an issue of it. My son's psychiatrist and a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist have spent the past two years trying to reduce unnecessary stress. We've tried to make mealtimes as stress-free as possible in order to encourage his appetite. Conditional tactics don't work with a kid who has no real appetite. He's managed a bit of weight gain recently.
InsanityScratching your empathy means a lot. I doubt any other respondent has any idea of OCD, ASD and food/body issues.
I have 3 step kids and under no circumstances would I have done that to them and my current DH would have been very unhappy about it, had I done so.
Eliza, I agree that they shouldn't be making an issue over areas that he is getting to grips with or had problems in. As parents, you know how to handle your child best. I still don't think the SM should be calling him on this. If his father is present then it's his job, not her's. I have (mild now but horrendous in childhood) OCD and anyone messing with it can cause a bit of a setback for me. I've looked after kids with autism. He needs careful handling by someone who knows his needs. Not some gung-ho approach from someone with their own agenda.
It's been an endless battle with my Ex. He left 4 weeks after ds was diagnosed, aged 4. Ex could not accept that ds had anything "wrong " with him. He never attended appointments and it got to be ridiculous in that everything we (me, professionals, school) tried to do, dad undid. Eventually, I had to get a solicitor involved and the consultant psychiatrist wrote to DH to say "please some and see me, in the interests of your son". Why do I allow contact? Because it's his dad and ds loves him.
Is he at least attempting the recommended approaches now? If these visits to Dad's are having a detrimental affect you could maybe go down a supervised route for a while. I understand that you having some time to yourself is important too though. I've heard that from so many parents of kids with additional needs, often there is one that refuses to acknowledge it. It must be so frustrating for you and your boy!
If something would be seriously out of order whoever did it, eg if done by someone you like and respect (your mum, best friend, current partner, yourself, scout leader, form teacher, whatever) then it's probably also wrong when done by a step-parent. Whatever the motives and regardless of any ameliorating circumstances, it needs to not be repeated.
Clumsily handled and unnecessary food battles, in a disabled child who has had disordered eating... falls in the 'wrong' category for me.
Given the autism and food struggles I think what she did was unreasonable (misunderstood?).
Without the autism I think it's perfectly acceptable.
That's my point ... "all things considered" it was not the best way to go and I suppose I feel cross that I'd "won" a battle with the ex and then his partner "had a go". Obviously, if we were talking about an average "normal" 13 yr old" I'd not be having this online conversation.
Join the discussion
Please login first.