Hello, all - new here ... looking for help ...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by brandy514, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. brandy514

    brandy514 New Member

    Hello! I am new to the board - I found it while searching for information on how to handle my teen, and reading more and more about ODD. It sure sounds like what we are going through. I am at my wits end - my son is 14 and constantly trying to start fights with us, is getting abusive with my 3 year old son and last night was cussing at my husband. We are at our wits end ... not even sure what else we can do. It seems like when we follow the "positive parenting techniques" he gets worse, he is manipulative and takes advantage of us ... when we mess up and yell back, he gets mad - whatever happens, it's never his fault. My 3 year old was play fighting and tried to kick him - we intervene as always, but my 14 year old felt justified in kicking him hard enough to send him across the room - and said as much. When we try to explain things to him, he's defiant and blames us for being "bad parents" - that he's not the parent and he should be able to do whatever to the other kids. He feels that it's their fault. We have other children and he's of the same opinion with them too, but it's more emotional with them as they are closer to his age. That's just one example. Thanksgiving was a nightmare! I am actually glad for the week to be over, and sad that it was such a bad experience for everyone. I am not sure what to do, part of me wants to send him to live with his mom, but I know he would hate us for it. The problem is that his relationship with my husband and I is degrading so rapidly, that there's not much else we can do - he incites us, intentionally and then feels justrified when he finally wears us down. It's exhausting. I would have NEVER spoken to my parents the way he talks to us - I would have had my face slapped off. Whenever things get heated, he gets mean and spiteful and just argues and argues - he says things like we can't touch him or we'll go to jail, and then he taunts and taunts. My husband is taking an anger management class to help him cope with this stuff, but it's really hard to do the right thing all the time when you're constantly being attacked. Sorry for the long winded post - I'd love to chat with someone with similar experiences ...
  2. RachaelandBill

    RachaelandBill New Member

    I can only tell you that you are not alone. My son is only 6 but trust me I know what you are going through. My son is very violent and defiant and he make it hard at times to not have disasterous holdays as well. I really don't have any advice because I am new to this as well but I know it helps sometimes just to know that your child is not the only one in the world that acts this way.
  3. Jeppy

    Jeppy New Member

    Welcome. I really sympathize with your need for some respite, and I would't rule out him spending more time with his mom. Have you ever said to him words to the effect that you don't seem happy in our home, you are threatening to report us to social services, you say we are bad parents, and you are behaving unacceptably with your siblings - do you want to live somewhere else? Because we can try to arrange that if that is what you want.
  4. brandy514

    brandy514 New Member

    Thanks for the reply - I have, sort of ... I can't - he has had a lot of problems in the past. His mom sent him to live with us about 5 years ago because she couldn't handle him anymore. He was punching her and abusive and threatening. We made some major progress, but now, it seems like the past year or so it has all been for naught. My husband has anger issues - I will admit that we've had some rocky times - he's been very angry at some of the things that our son has done. He's started an anger management program, actually they call it a violence provention program, and it's helping him cope a lot more - but he's not perfect, he still will get to the point where he gets pushed over the edge and will yell back. Often times I am in the middle of it ... trying to keep the peace. Last night was the worst of all behavior and my husband handled it really well - he grabbed our son, and put him back into the seat.
    I don't want him to hate us, but ... I am starting to wonder if it matters. He openly admits he doesn't respect his mom, he says he only respects me ... I think I am going to ask him tonight what he wants ... do you want to live here? why? etc.

    He scares me sometimes ... he's very vindictive.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.

    If this were my child, I would wonder if he was dabbling in drugs. My daughter did by age twelve and I didn't even think kids ever did drugs that young.

    Other than that, if his father has outbursts of violence, my guess is your hub has some disorder...maybe bipolar???? Does he drink? The child sounds like he inherited something from his father. It sounds more than ODD...ODD is more appropriate for young kids and rarely stands alone in being the soul diagnosis. Do you know anything about this child's early development? Was he ever in foster care? He sounds like he could have attachment issues too, which can be very serious. Does he hurt animals? Does he play with fire or wet his pants too? Was he nurtured adequately as a young infant and child or tossed from parent-to-parent or to other relatives and back?

    How are his grades in school?

    Is he in treatment?

    I would take him to a neuropsychologist. In the opinion of many on the board, they are the best diagnosticians. Something is very wrong and, if it isn't drugs (and I think you should surprise him with a drug test, even if he gets angry) then I am assuming he is mentally ill or neurologically impaired. He needs outside help, whatever is wrong. Your other kids need to be safe and this child deserves to have a chance. And hub needs to get good help as well.
  6. brandy514

    brandy514 New Member

    Hi, thank you for the reply.

    Drugs ... interesting, and I am sure you'll laugh, but I am 99% sure he's not doing drugs - the other 1% is because ... I'm not with him all the time, and I can't ever be sure about anything if you know what I mean. I will say this ... we talk very openly about such things in our house, as his mother is a recovered (she still says recovering) addict. That's what actually caused the marital and family strife - she started using, my husband and her divorced after a long hard road and no initial recovery. She disappeared for a while - truth be told, our son has spent more time with me than anyone else. With all the addiction problems she went through, it's again something we talk about. He tells me who of his friends have or do smoke out, do other drugs, drink, etc. and when he's been tempted even, and how he handled the situation. This is not an occassional conversation, but a regular topic (weekly at least). We talk openly about a lot of things: drugs, sex, maturation, responsibility, love, etc. We have a very open, communicative household. I am very fortunate to have a son that will communicate - I would be more concerned when he stopped communicating (as he had in the past) as it always indicates a severe problem. He wears his guilt on his sleeve.

    Along the same lines, we do not condone the use of drugs in our house. Our daughter recently admitted she smoked out with her friend a few times. Not acceptable behavior ... not at all.

    His father does have fits ... I wouldn't say violence. He does not drink in the sense that you implied. We go through maybe a pack of beer (6 pack) every 6 months. I drink a couple of glasses of wine a year ... usually we pour the rest into our cooking. We do not drink to excess (EVER) and we never drink around the children. The only exception is BBQ - he has had beer in front of the kids a couple of times over the past 10 years. We were very cautious about it initially, and spent a lot of time talkking to the kids because of the issues mentioned above. I think I am more paranoid about it than he is, though, I had a friend make some home made coffee liquor last Christmas, and had given me 3 ounces. We did tel the kids what it was and they did see me add it to a drink. I don't know - I don't think it's wrong. I grew up having wine at the dinner table, I think it's natural. I actually DRANK wine when I was a child for special meals - Christmas, Easter, etc. ... But my home life was significantly different, and I understand that. It needs discussion.

    Back to my hubby ... he actually has taken anger management - tried and it didn't fit with him. Our daughter's councellor suggested this other program, it turns out it's actually called a violence recovery program. He's the only person in the class that's not on parole ... but the teacher makes sense to him, and doesn't tell him to surpress his feelings. They are focused on teaching him to identify the feeling and express it - it's wonderful. Instead of being angry - he has been able to admit he was scared, or that his feelings were hurt. Our son, on the other hand, is very sensitive. So, when they get into an altercation, verbal sparring match, he shuts down. My husband gets loud. I have been guilty of the same in the past - it's so hard to control yourself - not an excuse. Something we have been actively working on for a few years.

    I do have an update. We all (mom, dad, and me) had a long conversation with our son last night. I asked him if he wanted to live with us (to my surprise, he - even as mad as he was - said yes). When I asked why, he had a list of reasons. We finally got to the root of it - he doesn't feel loved he said. He said he knows he is, but he doesn't feel it. So, we all, him included, made a list of things that we need from each other. He's also been getting very agitated with my son, he admitted that it's wrong, but he gets so frustrated he doesn't know how to handle it and when I step it, he feels like I am siding with the toddler (which I am, and admit ... the toddler is small compared to a 5 foot 8 young man). He understands - he said he needs his own space. He would like to have something in his room that he can do away from our other son ... that's fair! I made an agreement that I would get him a TV for his room in a few months if he would agree to make an effort towards resolving the behavior issues we identified. Not perfect - but marked improvement. The TV would also be an item that would be removed for consequences - he was fine with that too. I think we actually made some major progress last night, though, it's early to tell. He has patterns of great for a few weeks and then acts up again in a couple of weeks ... but last night was different - he was nice. He hugged me and let me hug him back. He helped my son clean up some spilled juice without being asked - and he has not offered anything to us in months ... I am relieved ... for now.

    Sorry for the long-winded message to all you folks who don't know me. :) I think I like the anonimity ...
  7. Jeppy

    Jeppy New Member

    I'm glad you were able to talk it out and come up with a plan. Communication is huge.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That conversation you had with him was a very effective and loving thing to do.

    As for why you have these problems with him - it could simply be a combination of typical teen (never underestimate just how turbulent this can be) plus the complex problems he's trying to deal with. Or it could be more. After all, where did his dad's anger problems come from? The way his dad has handled anger could have a genetic link but almost certainly have a learned link. It's great that dad is finally doing a course that helps - but dad is doing the course, not son. And son is still left with all the poor anger management skills taught at his father's knee (however subconsciously).

    So here's a few suggestions. Run them past your son (I get that you consider him your son and not your stepson) and see what he feels.

    1) Get him to a therapist who can help him find appropriate ways to handle his feelings.

    2) Possibly get him into a course like his dad's, to help him formally learn how to recognise and use his feelings more appropriately.

    3) Consider getting him assessed for something like Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (mild Asperger's) or some other problem which could be greatly adding to his frustration while reducing his ability to handle that frustration.

    I know in so many ways he seems "normal" - but a few things you have said about him (actually, good points you've mentioned) "mesh" with possible mild Asperger's.
    Example -
    1) the honesty, the way he talks to you despite the apparent typical teen anger and raging.
    2) your certainty that he isn't doing drugs - few parents can be that certain of their typical teen kids.
    3) his ability to negotiate fairly when calm - again, a lot of brighter TTs can do this but not as many.

    Other less good points which fit - the impulse control problems (worse thna normal for kids his age); the sense of entitlement; the backtalk, "lack of respect" (in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), it looks like lack of respect but is coming form an entirely different place).

    These are things he would have to learn how to handle, but he can do this with help, especially if he can understand that it's not his fault that he has these added difficulties. Also, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) brings gifts, as I already intimated.

    It's funny - today we met with difficult child 3's teachers over the past year, as we were leaving he was talking to his PDHPE teacher about how he feels about himself and his autism. "I look normal," he said, "But my autism means thta sometimes I seem to be very rude to my parents and it makes them look bad, as if they haven't disciplined me properly and I'm simply a badly behaved child. I don't like to think that other people will feel bad about my parents and the way they have raised me, simply because I can't always control my behaviour."
    His teacher (whose subject also involves self-awareness and learning self-control) said to him, "When you get those feelings it is good to be aware of them, but from that poit screw them up and throw them in the bin. Those feelings don't achieve anything. All you can do is be the best you can be. Don't beat yourself up for what you cannot change."

    From my experience with difficult child 1 especially - he always thought he as a bad peson, until he was diagnosed with ADHD (at age 6). It turned out to be a misdx, but at the time it explained to difficult child 1 that it wasn't his fault, that he couldn't stay on task and concentrate. YOu would think that being told oyu have a disorder like tis would be devatating for a child, but when that child already knows there is a problem and (like all children tend to do) takes it all personally as his fault, then a diagnosis of any kind that can help explain things, is a huge relief. Especially if it comes with a management plan.

    There may be nothing wrong at that level, it could (simply?) be a constellation of environmental experiences that have led him to this - but there is still help, and it still is not all his fault.

    I love the way you were all able to talk. And regarding his little brother - speaking from experience again, but as they get older they are likely to be the best of friends. But your older son is right - he needs his own space. Chances are, baby brother is crowding him too much (which happens when the younger one idolises the older one, wants to be like him) and so having his own space is going to be important.

    It's part of growing up and learning tro be independent.

    Do you remember the story of Christian the lion? Ace & John took him to George Adamson as part of a plan to rehabilitate him back into the wild. At a certain point they knew it was time to increase te distance between them so Christian would be more willing to try tro be independent. Then when they went back for a visit, Christian recognised them and came to them. But after a while, he walked away. There were wild lions with him (lionesses) who also accepted John & Ace, but there was now a distance with Christian.
    At their last visit (a year later I think it was) Christian came to meet them and cuddle with them but after a while he would get up and walk away to sit apart. The men said, "It was as if he was saying, 'I have lion things to do now'."

    Our teenagers are like Christian the lion - we need to give them their space and ensure it is a sanctuary for them even while we try to watch over them and care for them. But the more time goes on, the more we have to let them find their own way and allow them to do so in their own way, as much as we can and as they can handle it. The trouble is, often they are fighting for this very independence but in ways that are NOT good for them or asking too much freedom too fast. Trying to come to some agreement and find balance in this is tricky.

  9. brandy514

    brandy514 New Member


    I loved your reply - and that you heard what I was trying to say. I love my husband and my son dearly ... I just get to the point where I struggle trying to keep them together. Couple of questions (being new here) ... what does typical teen mean? And also PDHPE?

    We have considered the fact that our son might have Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) - he's had severe issues as a younger child, and was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 ... he took various medications until around 11 ... the final was Adderall and the symptoms were worse than the problem so we took him off of it ... he did well (for the most part) and has learned how to cope with a lot of his issues - he was born aggressive, apparently. His mom says he came out kicking and screaming and never really stopped. I didn't get involved in his life until he was in Kindy. I've actually read a lot about Asperger's and have a friends with children with Asperger's (not mild, they have some other issues too) so, I have been able to bounce things/ideas off them since thier kids are actually in therapy. The issue that I do have is that my son doesn't have a problem with the blame - he's great at blaming everyone but himself, actually - when we talk, it's sometimes hours of discussion (exhausing) before I can get him to understand why punching or kicking a 3 year old is not acceptable or how exactly he is disrespectful. It's awful. He's 14, and like I said, it's a backslide. I think with the two of them at each other's throats all the time, I'm just caving, I want to tell them all to go away. I begged him last night, please do not pick another fight. He knows what he does, and he knew I was serious and he was able to control himself. It was the first night in a long night that didn't end with someone completely ****** at the other ... but, it's not better. It's not getting better. I think they might have hit the wall this past week.

    He's grounded right now - he told me last night that I wouldn't be able to keep hom from having a social life, he'll do what he likes. I was appalled. He doesn't typically say things unless he means it. I don't know how to get through to him. I also don't know how to get through to my husband anymore. I'm very frustrated. I'm also very sorry I am using this board/forum as a venting space, but I really ... appreciate the fact that everyone here seems to have similar issues. It's refreshing.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Sorry. By typical teen I mean "typical teen" but not meaning to downrate any problems you may have - in your son's case he's been through a vast amount of nasty stuff, enough to send any normal kid off the rails. There may be an underlying condition adding to things, but given what he's been through, that alone would account for a lot of what you describe.

    PDHPE - it's a school subject here, it stands for "Personal Development, Health and Physical Education". It's a lot more than just sport, they work on a lot of social stuff as well. That teacher this year has done a lot for difficult child 3 with his social interactions and social skills in a broad scale. he had to modify a lot of his lessons for difficult child 3 but yesterday he told difficult child 3 that he (the teacher) has a profoundly handicapped brother. It was in discussion over another child we know who has had to be removed form the home even though his mother is doing the best anyone could. But her son simply needs constant supervision 24/7, and nobody can do that.

    The aggression you describe often happens in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), but generally not as a primary factor (although it looks it). It is more likely the child's aggressive response to a world that just won't stay still and behave.

    Blaming is a big problem but if he's Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), he will have picked up this behaviour from his environment. These kids learn, FAST, by modelling their behaviour on those around them they perceive as role models. So if you or his teachers use blame, he will too. And even if you don't always use it, he has seen it used effectively and has got into the habit of it. You need to get him into a new habit (which takes a lot of effort) in order to help him overcome this. But we did it. It can be done.

    as for venting - feel free. It's what we're here for. You need to vent somewhere and it's better for it to be here, than your kids. Or your friends.

    Back to blaming - observe yourself and what you say (to both boys, to your husband, to everyone). We can get into our own habits. I know I did. Part of it also is a reaction to our kids, we are trying to get the point home to them and in doing so, we end up teaching them to blame.

    Example - "Why did you grab that cup without checking to see what was inside it? Now there's cola spilled all over the floor!"
    The instinctive reaction to this, especially in the highly-flammable Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids, is to say, "No I didn't! Besides, I didn't leave the cola in that cup! I didn't grab it hard, anyway." and he continues, trying to wriggle out of it.

    If instead you had said, "Oh dear, you didn't know there was cola there. Oh well, we'd better clean that up quickly before the ants find it. Here's a cloth, you get started mopping it (press down on it here then wring it out), I'll go get the sponge and water and together we'll work on it," then you will find a different response. If he starts to say, "I didn't mean to do it, it's not my fault so I shouldn't have to clean it up," you take the wind out of the blame sails with, "I'm not blaming you, or blaming me. This isn't about blame, it's about things sometimes just happening and we all work as a team to help fix the problem before it becomes a bigger problem. Because a bigger problem WOULD be a matter of blame, if we didn't use the chance we have now."

    Working as a team to get tasks done may grate on you, especially if you privately DO blame him, but it does begin to break the cycle and it also gets him worknig cooperatively, generally in better spirits. Don't force it, never give an ultimatum, just ask for cooperation. Even sing the song from Sesame Street "Cooperation, make it happen, cooperation working together..."

    Help him with a task of his, too. Again, you're setting an example.

    as for him saying he can do what he likes, you can't stop him - I would call that a typical teen response. I don't know any teen who hasn't either said that or muttered it under his breath at some stage. It was said in the heat of the moment and as such I feel should be ignored (but keep an eye on the windows).

    Punishment doesn't work half as well as encouragement and praise. To kids like this punishment generally seems like mean behaviour and bullying, like you're throwing your weight around because you can. They resent it, they feel angry and as a result, there is no positive learning outcome. And for our kids, ALL discipline should bring a positive learning outcome. "Oh, I am being punished because I did X wrong. Next time to avoid being punished I will do X right." It actually works better to both praise the child for doing X right, and also say if they get it wrong, "Let's talk about tihs. How could you have done it better? Now let's work together, let me watch while you do it, I'll see if I can help show you where it starts to go wrong, so you can be able to get it right next time."

    Tha magic of this is, it works. Plus it gets right away from bad cop, good cop. Any of the bad cop good cop stuff remaining generally gets turned onto the non-active parent, the one not teaching coperation and positive reinforcement. Suddenly you will become the good cop and if husband is not on board with this, he will find himself the bad cop (visualise the surprised, "What did I do?" reaction from him).

    Read "Explosive Child". It works. It gets you away from the hours of explanation (and therefore should make your efforts easier as well as more effective).

    THink about what your aims are. Think about how you go about them. Think about what is working and what is not. And if it's not working - give it up. It will be OK, trust me. For whatever reason (nature or nurture) this kid is a difficult child. That means he will benefit from a different approach, lateral thinking.

    On the one hand he sounds like if he had two heads, you've be wanting to bang them together. But other things you've said tell me, he is not a lost cause. far from it. Underneath it all is a decent kid who is very frustrated, vey angry and doesn't know how to express this properly.

    Keep us posted on how you go.

  11. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You say he was diagnosis with ADHD at 5. Has he seen a doctor since? Therapist or phsychologist?
  12. brandy514

    brandy514 New Member


    Thanks so much, a lot of what you said does hit home with me. I don't think he's "too far gone" ... I have read a few posts talking about the Explosive Child book - I think I will see if I can check it out at the library or pick up a copy.

    I have been trying to find a way to use positive discipline - it seems so hard sometimes! Waiting and waiting for him to do something right, and hope I don't miss the moment. I love him, dearly. I know he loves me. I toldd him again last night, I don't want any fights tonight. No fights. He agreed and said that he could be agreeable and would try to not have a negative attitude and respond with respect. And, for the most part, he did ... although it helps that my husband and him laid off each other a little and he was able to spend time on the computer - he feels as though it's his right, I guess, even though it's not his computer. He's so angry when his father's home, on the computer working or otherwise - he gets frustrated - I don't know how to get through to him that it's not a good feeling and it's not one that he should dwell on, but ... to think of the positives. He just would rather be angry. Okay.

    Last night, we talked to him - he was grounded for low grades. Now, I have been thinking - good kid, he rarely disobeys his consequences - he also communicates regularly and freely with me and he's indicated several times that he's not going to be prevented from having a social life - a mini-threat perhaps. I decided that it would make more sense to let him have his freedoms during the week (2 hours of play time with his friends after school) as he did before - we aren't home for a couple of hours after he's home anyhow, usually, so ... we can't really enforce - it leaves a lot of room for failure. Instead, he needs to ddo things to earn the time on the weekends - perhaps dishes, his homework, vacuum the rugs, etc. Nothing major, or that would take more than 10-15 from a chore perspective. He agreed that sounded like a good idea - that being cooped up has him even more angry. I think that puts the ownership on him to do the right thing - earning his freedom. I am worried that he might perceive it as his threats worked and we backed down. I don't know ... time will tell.

    Thanks again, so much though, Marg, I appreciate your insight. I'm sure I will have more to tell within the week, if this is working or not.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's not that he would rather be angry, it's becuse he simply can't sawitch off his frustration. These kids are incredibly self-focussed and although WE know this is not "good manners" it is, for these kids, the two-year-old inside them that has not yet learned self-control. They do get there, but it takes years longer.

    A couple of things to add to what you said - you asked him for a good night. You couped that with "I love you" which risks implying to him that you only love hi when he's good. These kids do need an incentive to try to hold it together, but they do need to know (and be told) that they are loved unconditionally. Otherwise at some level, they will test it.

    Also, when you have a good night (even if it's not perfect) simply say so. "Thank you, darlnig, for making an effort to not argue tonight. I could see you were struggling, but you did a good job. Even if you weren't perfect at it - you tried, and I really value that."

    Also say the same thing to his dad, if it's appropriate.

    Another thing to always remember - treat him as you treat your husband or any other adult in the same situation. These kids don't understand the different way we treat our children. And when he's an adult he will need to understand the right way to treat people. So begin now, with the "he is an adult in miniature" attitude to him. It sets the example for how he should treat you, too.
    Think - if this were an adult close friend who was being forced to live with you (perhaps otherwise on the streets due to poverty) then how would you negotiate the house rules? How would you talk to your friend, even if your friend was being very annoying (but maybe not realising it)?

    We have similar problems with the family computer. difficult child 3 has even gone to the lengths of scavenging the street clean-ups for discarded computers, then fixing up what he finds for his own use. We let him because it is good training for him. And we really can't argue against it because his first ever computer when he was a baby, was one we ourselves scavenged.

    Having your son earn computer time is a good carrot. If you can, try to find a game you can play with him (one of our family favourites is a computer-based board game, similar to Mario Party which is another good option) then make time to play this with him as reward for tantrum-free days.

    as for "his treats worked and we backed down" - this puts your interactions on the level of competition, and once you feel you are competing with your child, you will lose. So avoid any sense of competition, and if you find yourself resisting because you think "he will feel he has won" then recognise, you have probably already lost, and so has he.

    These kids are very, very good at logic, at reasoning and at 'rules' as they interpret them to be. So if by the rules they have observed, they feel you are being unfair, they won't let you forget it. So you need to really work hard to be fair. And let him see that you are working hard at it.

    Our own rule concerning the family computer - difficult child 3 can have moderately free access to it during the day for schoolwork. In the evenings we also let him have access, but only if we don't need it ourselves. If we do, we ask him to get himself off our computer as soon as he can/ We don't insist on immediate vacation of it, because if he's in the middle of something he needs time to get to a point wherehe won't lose data or similar.

    An example from my own game play - there is a word game I play (actually trying to gain points on difficult child 3's behalf) and if I'm in the middle of a round, I cannot pause it, I have to keep playing. But I can complete a round in a few minutes. At that point I can leave the game idle indefinitely. If someone came to me and said to me, "Quick! Get off tat computer now! I have to send an email!" I would feel very resentful and angry, even if there wasn't a level of rage already simmering.

    Over time, the child learns that you are respecting his time and game play but also requiring a certain amount of responsibility in return. The child begins to be less reactive when you say, "I need you to leave that as soon as you can do so reasonably, to eat your dinner/have your bath/go to bed/do your homework."
    If you need extra help, do what we did - stick a Post-It note on the computer screen with your request and when you asked. For example, "6.10 pm - dinner will be ready by 6.20 pm."
    That way he can't say, "You never told me!"
    Because if you try to tell them sometimes when they are concentrating on something else and answer distractedly, "yeah, sure, uh-huh, ok," without taking their eyes off the screen, they really will not remember being told.

    If he's home alone for so long, then assume he will be on the computer. Let him know that you are counting that time towards his fair share. You and husband don't get as long at it and also deserve your fair share, but you are all housemates and need to negotiate with one another. To negotiate respectfully is the social lesson he needs to learn. So you need to set the example for him and negotiate with him. I know it's for you to have access to your own computer, but that is part odf the argument you use - "Daddy & I need to do our own stuff on this computer because we need it for work and we need to do banking, purchasing online etc which is necessary to keep the household funcrtioning. While we do like gaming too, we don't get the same opportunity because we also have to meet the responsibilities on behalf of the family. Any help you can give us will increase the computer time for all of us, which of course will be a lovely thing."

    We use a token system of rewards, mostly for schoolwork completed. We have a time factor in it as well - if he competes what I consider to be a fair day's worth (previously negotiated as such and defined) then he earns a credit 9as long as he completes it within one day). If he does any work on a non-school day (also carefully defined - a half-day is counted as a non-school day for tis purpose) then he can credit that work to the adjacent school day of his choice. So if he does a lot of work over the school holidays, then he can credit it all to the next school day (first full day of term) and earn a stackload of credits from me. It's as complex as it is, because it is what difficult child 3 & I have worked out together as being fairest.

    SO whatever you and difficult child work out between you, let him know that it is still able to be tweaked if he feels it isn't quite right yet. And you also can suggest changes to him. But you must both agree on how to do it, he needs to feel he has some control over the process.

    If he truly is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), he will learn to not use this to manipulate too much, he will actually be honest and fair about it, mostly. He may at times try to slide by and pretend he did his work properly, but in general Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids are honest about this sort odf thing, more so than the average kid. It's another good facet of this. And frankly, the more dishonest he is capable of being, the better his long-term prognosis! He'll cope better in society if he is able to tell white lies. Sad, really, but true.

    Fingers crossed for you, that your new system won't need too much tweaking.