Step parent, autism, behaviour, HELP!

(48 Posts)
Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 13:42:44

I have a step son who is 9. At first we got on amazingly and then about 6 months in the problems started. We are currently getting answers for autism but he is horrible (I know not something you want to ever say about a child)
On a daily basis I get screamed at telling me he is going to kill me, force me out of my home, he will push me down the stairs, I should go kill myself, he has been violent towards me normally hitting, punching, kicking and throwing things the most recent is he bite me. He has also been aggressive to our pet and now she stays away from him. I have been signed off work for 8 months now with depression and anxiety. We have a family support worker and a social worker after I was falsely accused of abuse which I was completely cleared of and neither of them know what to do with him and our family. Me and his dad are at breaking point because neither of us can cope with his behaviour anymore but we don't know what to do. We have tried and are trying many things for autism but nothing seems to work or make the slightest bit of difference. A similar thing happened to his dad previous partner but he was alot younger so we are pretty sure it cant just be me. The majority of his family are not helpful and ignore what we say most of the time and have only just started to listen to what it is really like but still not much support and actually only cause more stress and problems. This is not bashing anyone just a realistic view on what our situation is actually like and no point asking for help if you sugar coat everything.
Please does anyone have any advice or has dealt with something like this.

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Mintjulia Thu 09-Jan-20 13:51:54

Are you his step mum? Where is his real mum? Could it be that he is missing her? Does he not see her regularly? Is that why he’s angry?

At 9 he should be able to tell you what he wants? Would having a regular time where he gets his dad’s undivided attention work? Maybe a “boys night” swimming or pizza where he gets his dad to himself.

Your partner should be dealing with this. Does dss shout at you, so his dad gets involved? I’d leave it to your partner to take the lead. Dss is his son.

Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 14:00:29

No he does not know his real mum she has never had any involvement, his dad spends 1 on 1 time. He will not tell anyone (social or family) what he actually wants the only thing we get is either nothing or I don't know he lies about everything and this is why it has come to a head now because he made another lie about me yesterday me and his dad are dealing with this together and neither of us know what to do. He will rarely do it when his dad is there and when he is there he will turn on him instead of me.

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Mintjulia Thu 09-Jan-20 14:10:24

So at least it’s not personal and not only directed at you.

Does he have siblings or a friend he will talk to? Is there anything he really likes that you could use to create a “peaceful patch” in your day.
I’m on the spectrum, my dm said I was the child from hell -hmm - and all I remember about that period, is thinking everyone was on my case and I just wanted to be left in peace.

HollowTalk Thu 09-Jan-20 14:15:54

What would he be like if you went away for a weekend? Would he be OK with his dad or just the same? And what would he be like when you returned?

Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 14:16:18

No he did the exact same thing to his dad previous partner but he was alot younger just I am getting the brunt of it now, he has 1 sibling but cant see hi, very often as his mum moved to a different part of the country, he has a quiet space in his bedroom which we made where he has somewhere comfy and quiet where he can read. He doesn't have many friends at school if any, he doesn't like talking to kids he much prefers older adults 40+. This is something we struggle with he won't talk to anyone never tells anyone how he feels he will just lock himself in his bedroom and not eat he's gone a week with out eating properly before. I was a awful kid I'm not on the spectrum but it was nothing like this and jve never known anything like it

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SuperLoudPoppingAction Thu 09-Jan-20 14:24:14

He sounds like he's having such a tough time. His mum and sibling have moved where he can hardly see them. He's had to get used to at least 2 new partners of his dad.
And he's only 9.

Is there anyone who uses the Relax Kids programme near you?
Someone who can work with trauma and possible neuro diversity might really help all of you.

I found my youngest was very hard at that age. I think there's some kind of testosterone surge at various points of a boy's development that can exacerbate any aggression.

What might help as well is if you know any autistic adults who are able to articulate why life can be hard for autistic people.
My youngest took until about age 11 to be able to say what was bothering him rather than just melting down.
Being aware of sensory issues and improving the environment can help.

It sounds like you're at the end of your tether and like everything is taking its toll on you.
Have a think about whether you're able and willing to work to improve this wee boy's life or whether you lack the resources.
I don't think it's going to be a quick fix.
He will need to sense that you and his dad actually like him and from what you've written that sounds like a real challenge just now.


Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 14:27:56

We recently did this in November he was difficult for his dad but he is never half as bad and 80% of the time he is fine with him, when I returned nothing changed he was exactly the same with me maybe nice for an hour the next day. He has sad (server attachment disorder) so that is why he is good for his dad more. He can be nice he can be okay we had 1 good month about 2/3 months ago and it was amazing completely different child and then one day he switched and it's worse then it was before

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SquashedFlyBiscuit Thu 09-Jan-20 14:29:44

Remember its not his fault.

Id imagine at 9 with autism and already on his 3rd "mum" its a lot of change and incredibly unsettling. He cant self regulate his emotions at this stage which is why it is coming our like this.

You definitely need help, have you looked st the autism charities. Also is the lcoal autism service running a parenting course foe those who are parenting autistic children. I think its completely different strategues when your child is on the spectrum.

How about at school? Sometimes a clued up SENDCO or pastoral worker can have ideas or links to support if not.

Certainly access all the help you can.

I found it helpful (my child isnt as violent but is autistic) to learn that meltdowns arent intentiinal. When the child is "losing it" its because they feel out of control, and by that stage its too late. They are often exhausted afterwards and worn out and need looking after not telling off.

Have you looked for triggers? You can use an Abc sheet to see if you can spot any patterns. Sometimes you can't, but it maybe they cant cope with certain clothes, too many instructions or busy crowds or shopping and noticing it helps. Sorry if you've already done this.

Do you keept hings simple at home. Have a routine. Keep bedtimes similar. Do you have a visual timetable? That was v v helpful to my child. Shes ever so bright but couldnt sequence in order and found she got overwhelmed v quickly and that helped

Have you seen the coke can analogy? Google coke can analigy and autism - it can show you all the little triggers that can overwhelm a child wih autism before they explode at the end of the day.

I think it can be incredibly hard work. Are there any sen support groups near you? Theres a youth club here which is aimed at those with sen and seems fab.

Sorry if its all obvious or unhelpful. Each child is v different but Im aware of the overwhelming feeling that its too hard. These are things weve found helped.

Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 14:42:15


We have had multiple test, theropy sessions he was referred to cahms and everyone has discharged him saying there is nothing they can do.
He has had a very difficult life for sure and we know that he has started video calling his brother but he just says he doesn't want to. His thought process is out of sight out of mind and if you don't bring anything to the table he isn't interested and he just doesn't want to see you.
I know a few autistic adults both on different parts o the spectrum and we talk to their parents and they recognize a few things in him and have given us help with that but the violence and the words he chooses to use at a young age and how uncontrollable he is nearly all the time they say is not like what they have seen.
It hasn't been a quick fix we are 14months into this process and are actually worse then when we started. We both know it's not easy but there doesn't seem to be any support or anyone who knows anything about how to start addressing the problem. He will tell social workers and therapists what they want to hear rather than what any problems are.
One thing we have massively made a change is to try and show him that we are okay as a couple and we are okay with him and no matter what we are always here and love him. At 3/4 years old he basically said to the previous partner he would get his dad to get rid of her and our fear is that part of this is learnt behaviour as she left not long after because of the exact same thing we are going through

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Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 14:49:15

We are looking into the autism one doctor has already said a definite no but many other have said he does so we are just waiting another assesment to get a final answer if not then we don't know.
Other parents have been through many different strategies but nothing seems to even have the slightest bit of effect. We do have a strict routine, nearly all the time sometimes life gets in the way. We have a chart so he can see what he is doing for the day. We having given up on telling him off because he doesn't listen anyway and these tantrums will last a day and there is no calming him down.

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Annaminna Thu 09-Jan-20 15:02:49

I can not get out of my head that line you wrote in your first post:
"At first we got on amazingly and then about 6 months in the problems started. "
I think the key for the problem root must be here.
How long did you know that boy before problems started?
What kind of changes you made with your living arrangements/habits/ everyday routine/ over the last 9-10 months (maybe a year) ?
I am an autism specialist and I am working with children with ASD. I would like to try to guess what could be the reason or factor here.

blackcat86 Thu 09-Jan-20 15:04:12

Are SS still involved? I work for an SS team and you sound in desperate need of an assessment for family support like respite. You need to be clear with the services around you exactly what is happening, particularly with the violence. This child may have additional needs but he is also reaching the age of criminal responsibility and you have the right to be safe in your own home. Are you able to access any support for you and your partner or DSS? Is he in mainstream school? Schools can often try and suggest strategies that can work at home like the use of social stories etc. GPs can also be a great resource as medication can help with behavioural issues. I appreciate it's often fround upon but given CAMHS has been used already it's worth an appointment.

Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 15:48:05

So it was about 4 months as daddy's friend the 6 months as girlfriend and then the problems started. We have just made improvements ie schedule so he knows what he is doing when and trying to keep it on time unless life gets in the way. The only thing that's changed is I was signed off work sick but we still kept the same routine of when I would pick him up so to him there wasn't much difference. Autism is something we are waiting for and will know by end of january as a doctor said h didn't

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Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 15:51:11

Social services are still involved and are not really bothered about what happens to me along as he doesn't get hurt or upset. We meet with them every week and they brush it off and it never gets brought up again. School are not useful because he is quiet there so they do not help and have been a nightmare with the whole autism situation. We have been back to the gp several times and they will not refer us back to cahms because he is just "One of those kids" bo one takes anything we say seriously and this has been a battle for someone to listen for 7 years in total

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ApplePie99 Thu 09-Jan-20 16:41:30

OP is he not like this at school? My daughter has recently been diagnosed with ASD and I was told that her behaviour needed to be the same in all settings, not just one (which it is)

aSofaNearYou Thu 09-Jan-20 16:48:48

In all honesty if it's really bad and his dad has him full time so it's all the time then I would leave. It's not a good relationship for you if it's giving you mental health issues and it doesn't need to be your problem at all.

CatalogueUniverse Thu 09-Jan-20 16:51:04

ASD can be very different in different settings. One place might be much more supporting and one much more disabling.

Whether ASD is in the mix or not, he sounds like he needs help. He’s had a huge amount of significant change in a short time.

You mentioned severe attachment disorder, is that diagnosed?

LeekMunchingSheepShagger Thu 09-Jan-20 16:58:25

How much down time does he get op? Is he in wraparound care? Does he do extra curricular activities?

HotPenguin Thu 09-Jan-20 17:00:05

You say the problems started 6 months ago, would that have been at the start of the school holidays? The transition from term time to holiday and back can difficult for children on the spectrum, and I am guessing he may have started spending a lot more time with you at that point?

Are you trying any of the standard techniques for dealing with autism - zones of regulation to help him identify and manage his emotions? Social stories? Now and next? I would suggest looking into these if you haven't already, plus trying to lower stress levels and make his day as predictable as possible. Use pictures and writing to communicate as much as possible rather than just verbal.

Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 17:25:06

@ApplePie99 did your daughter bot get diagnosed because of that, he isn't like it at school at all he is obsessed with school and everything about it.

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Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 17:27:19

He is diagnosed with severe detachment disorder from his dad because of things that happened with his birth mum many years ago hence why she is not involved. None of is his dads fault. Half the problem is people don't listen and we are trying give him a very stable and safe environment

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Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 17:29:44

@LeekMunchingSheepShagger by down time I don't know if you mean sleep or chill but he gets about 11/12 hours sleep any less he cannot manage, yes he always has someone looking after him at the moment it's just me his dad and his grandad when he can and he does table tennis every week he isn't interested in anything else

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Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 17:33:59

@HotPenguin No it was 6 months after I was fully involved in his life which was around October time I think, we have charts / schedule to try and help him manage his day and he doesn't seem to respond well to it and doesn't take much notice. We have a feeling chart so he can tell us how he is feeling without actually saying it but he will say he is happy whilst crying. We have reorganised his bedroom with him and everything is labelled in sections and many other things. We are finding other things and trying to work them into our lives

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Dis19 Thu 09-Jan-20 17:37:40

@aSofaNearYou me just leaving wouldn't solve anything and infect causes lot more problems for everyone, I wanted advice and ideas not to abandon ship because it's hard. Yes he is horrible to me but what if I can get him serious help and work with him and maybe by the time he is 18 he won't hate everyone around him and he won't hurt other people. I love his father alot and if I was going to leave him I would have done so along time ago!

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