I can't get through to him

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by jennd23, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    This morning went beautifully, S woke up on his own (which is always a good thing), was happy to help make his breakfast, got his clothes out. Then it was time to get dressed. Now this is not a sensory problem, its a laziness problem but EVERY frickin day, "dress me" dude, you're 7, dress yourself! (of course I phrase it nicer to him). So the same routine again. Seriously how can we have this fight EVERY day?! EVERY day you have to get dressed. Every day you know I'm not going to do it (its not that I don't want to help and if he has a button problem, etc, I will help) but he's 7, he knows how and is perfectly capable to dress himself. WHY does this happen every day?!

    So during the course of this, I said "I am finishing my breakfast, if you're not dressed by the time I"m done you're going to camp in your pajamas." He tells me to shut up. I turn the TV off and tell him he's lost it for the rest of the day. "shut up" :groan: So I say to him (which I know doesn't work and causes a meltdown but geez...what else do you do) "how would YOU feel if I told YOU to shut up? that's rude and not something we tell the people we love" And the waterworks start. "YOU TOLD ME TO SHUT UP, I HATE YOU! YOU'RE RUDE! YOU DON'T LOVE ME" "I didn't tell you to shut up, I asked how you would feel if I said that to you." blah blah blah....I give up and start going to put our stuff in the car. he races to get dressed and is in the car. We don't speak on the way to camp and he's happy as a clam by the time we get there.

    Give me a frickin break! I know what I said doesn't work but I just don't know what else to do. In the grand scheme shut up isn't THAT bad, you know? But he just gets so mouthy and downright rude and it makes me mad and I don't know what else to do about it. he's only 7. Lord help us when he's older and knows worse words than shut up.

    And I know tonight is going to suck because he's not going to remember this AT ALL after camp and he's still not going to have TV tonight because forgetting does not mean it didn't happen.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Aspie kids often do get mouthy because they don't really understand the idea that parents are kind of "above" them because of their age and experience. They are also sensitive and do have sensory issues. Since your son ALWAYS dresses at the last moment, why not try not telling him to dress? Sounds like if you go to the car, he'll just run and get dressed on his own...? That way all the other fighting would be avoided.
    Is he in any interventions for his Aspergers? Spectrum children need actual textbook help to understand how to best interact with people so that they have a little more of an edge when they do get older. Aspies will struggle with social skills all of their lives so it's good to start very early to teach them. That way they can do their best.
  3. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    I just worry about risking waiting until the last minute because if it does start a fight and I'm ready to walk out the door, we will be late. And I realize that's not the end of the world but I have a job that expects me to be here on time, and he needs to be at school, on time.

    I know that there are sensory issues, and he does not have many, his clothing is definately not one of them. nothing's too tight, scratchy, no buttons to deal with (sometimes on the shirts but I do those for him), this is really just defiance and laziness. He just doesn't WANT to do it. If it were more than that I'd be much more sympathetic to it but if you were there to witness it you'd understand. Its just downright defiance.

    We've started therapy (last week) but our insurance doesn't cover any "autism treatments" so its just regular ol' therapy. No play therapy, no ABA, etc. He hs done social skills groups before with limited success and will be getting direct, individual social skills training at school next year.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Well... By all the time you avoid arguing, you should be able to get to the car earlier - so if he does have a meltdown, there's the time you needed.

    And honestly, some meltdowns are worse than others.

    Next time he says shut up... Try this... It will only work once, but it might get him to think. Look puzzled and say, "you know, I've heard that before, I wonder what "shut up" really means?" (Seriously - shut could be the mouth, but up???)
  5. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    The thing is I'm not just standing there arguing about it. I'm doing other things like getting our lunches together, finishing breakfast, etc, while tell him him to get dressed. I wouldn't stand there and argue with him for 5 minutes about it. I'm willing to try it, but I'm trying it this week because school starts soon and I don't want to be messing around with morning stuff then.

    We have a schedule on the wall (that he picked the order of) but maybe we need to look over it again and let him decide where he'd like to put getting dressed on that schedule. The only way we have avoided the argument this far is if I actually dress him. Like the day he had to have a blood draw, I didn't even ask, I just dressed him so that there wouldn't be a meltdown, we needed calm that day. Well, we need calm every day but I'm sorry I just think its silly to dress a 7 year old every day! Which I know it seems like a weird battle to pick but he's seriously lacking in self help skills because he flat out refuses to do things. I just got him to the point of bathing himself in the tub a week or two ago. I still do the water and have to wash his hair for him (so his face doesn't get wet), etc, and he's only 7 but a lot of 7 yr olds are showring by themselves by now. And I'm not pushing for that since he doesn't like to get his face wet, but there are just some things that he can do on his own that he won't. Like wiping after the restroom. Again, i don't mind helping if he needs help but he's capable. he does it at school and at my parents. he also dresses himself @ my parents with no fights. Why just at home?
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Because he CAN. You have continued to do it, to avoid a meltdown... And he's taking advantage of that. Whether he realizes it or not.

    Meltdowns are stressful, but if you don't react to them - negative attention, to many of our kids, is better than no attention... If you ignore his yelling/crying...? If he has to go in his PJs, let him.

    And if he can wipe his rear at school and other places, you need to STOP. Have him hand wash his own underwear for a while - this worked with J.
  7. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    Aside from the wiping, I DON'T, which is what is so frustrating. I never give in and just "do it" after these meltdowns. At the end of it, he always does dress himself...that's what I don't get. If i provided inconsistent reactions, i can understand how that would be confusing for him and he would tantrum in an effort to get me to do it, but I never give in. How long will it take him to learn that tantrum does not equal mom dresses me?

    The wiping, it annoys me but I don't mind helping because he gets a rash on his booty if he doesn't wipe well, not like diaper rash, but anywy, its gross, and I know that itches and bothers him later so I want it to be all clean to avoid the rash.....its just another one of those "things"...and I know when he wipes other places he's not getting it clean.....I'll spare the how I know... :-S
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    OK, here's me and my "out on a limb" theories again, but... maybe??

    Anything on the Autism spectrum covers a broad range of developmental disorders. That includes Developmental Dyspraxia or Developmental Coordination Disorder. Think "motor skills" - which split into fine, and gross. Now, some of these kids (with or without Autism, but having the motor skills issues) are obviously having problems with motor skills. They just can't do it. THIS, most of us relate to (parents, teachers, doctors).

    BUT new evidence is growing that some of these kids "can" do it... but it comes at such an expense of mental effort that they take any chance they can to avoid it. At home = automatically seek help, avoid spending that energy. Elsewhere = the need to "save face" is greater than the need to "conserve energy", so they put the effort in when not at home. And/or, they put in so much effort doing this stuff when not at home that when they get back home, WE get stuck with the rages etc. from the burnout, even if we don't know what causes the burnout in the first place.

    In other words, he may in fact have problems dressing, but its subtle.

    What are you expecting him to wear? buttons, zippers, fairly-snug t-shirts, socks, tie-up shoes? Any of those are major coordination challenges.
    Let me know what he's using for a wardrobe, and I can give you some ideas of ways to adjust to make it easier for him.
    Might be worth a try.
  9. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    He wears loose t-shirts, shorts/pants with elastic waistbands, socks and velcro shoes. I have eliminated all buttons (except for polo-shirts that he chooses) but I button those because he does struggle with fine motor skills. But when this all started, I removed anything "difficult" to put on from his wardrobe.

    I've tried letting him pick them out, me picking them out, ironing them (so they're hot) right before he puts them on worked for a while but it doesn't anymore, our token economy - he was earning tokens for getting dressed, which also worked for a while but he got bored of the system for that and doesn't care about tokens anymore. I tried switching up what they can be spent on, they used to be for TV/wii/DS time. I tried making them worth $, getting X you can get Y, swimming time, he's just not incented to earn them anymore for getting dressed. He'll earn them for other things. And taking away the tokens is not a reasonable consequence for not getting dressed and is not an option I'm willing to revisit. That does NOT work for him and causes even more issues.

    At one point when he was waking up at the crack of dawn, we had a rule that if he got dressed first he could play wii until breakfast time. He stopped waking up so early (which is a good thing) and we have a no wii in the morning rule now. (and this has been in place for at least a year) One day a few weeks ago he came in fully dressed and said he was ready to play wii. Now I was thrilled that he was already dressed but....it was time for his breakfast, time to start getting out of the house so he couldn't play, and we have the no wii-rule now just to avoid this kind of thing. Of course then THAT was a meltdown.

    I have tried letting him sleep in, giving him a 5 minute "wake up" warning, waking up gently (patting his arm, soft voice, etc), using an alarm, getting him up early so he has time to wake up before having to do anything. The best days are when he wakes himself up, but unfortunately that's not always an option. And even those can turn from great to difficult child in a heartbeat.

    I like your thoughts about the ability but lack of mental effort-ability thinking. I can see how that can be true.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    OK - you're on the right track with clothes.

    Next issue... sleep.
    How long does it take him to get to sleep at night?
    Does he thrash around alot? fall out of bed? tear the covers off?
    What is his normal routine... what time is bedtime, what time does the day start, how much does it vary on weekends etc?
    Does he get racoon eyes? (really dark circles under his eyes?)

    Sleep has two parts... quantity, and quality.
    These kids need MUCH more of both than you might expect, and while we can make allowances for quantity, quality is a whole different issue.

    Might be another factor?
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    One of the easiest and most effective changes I made in parenting my AS difficult child was making sure that the clothes he wanted to wear were all laid out before bedtime. Give it a try and see if the two of you can give it a fresh start. Regarding booty wipes, last year my husband started buying moist wipes that are flushable for adults. I'm not sure why he first purchased them...maybe he had a coupon, lol. Anyway none of us had any problems but now all three of us use them regularly. It's amazing how much residue there is. Who would have thunk? Perhaps you could purchase a pack and tell difficult child happily "Guess what I found. These are made for adults but I think it will make it possible for you to feel really clean all by yourself." If you use them too on occasion he'll feel grown up and independent. Fingers crossed. DDD
  12. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    It does not take him long to fall asleep, anymore. It used to take hours. he'd be up and down until all hours of the night but since starting abilify that has drastically improved and it takes about 5-10 minutes.

    He's a pretty "still" sleeper. I made a weighted blanket for him (for general use) and he likes to sleep with it on and I'd say he moves about normal in his sleep.

    Bedtime 8:30 in the summer, 8 school nights. About an hour before bed we turn the TV off, he takes a bath, teeth, etc, we play a board or card game (or two depending on time), then we read under his bed (its a mini-loft type with a reading area underneath), then he goes bed. Most nights he's out with-in 10 minutes. Then he's up around 7 most days. Give or take a few minutes depending on if he wakes himself up or if I wake him up.
  13. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    DDD, we have tried those but he's hesitant to use things like that, I guess one medicine I'd put on (prescription, I don't just put random cream on his booty) burned so now he assumes everything will. He will get the TP wet to wipe though. I had those kandoo wipes for a long time, I think I used them more than him though :p
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Try moving his bedtime just a little earlier. Try 5 minutes earlier... and adjust once a week.
    If he wants to know why, tell him that you're noticing he sometimes has trouble getting out of bed "ready for the day", and you're trying to see if he's getting enough sleep.

    You might be catching him in a deep-sleep cycle, which is hard to transition from.
    Its also not unusual for these kids to need 12 or 13 or more hours of sleep - but, given that he's taking 5-10 mins to fall asleep, I don't think you're that far off. (asleep before head hits pillow = needs LOTS more sleep!)
  15. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    I was keeping his bedtime @ 8 in the beginning of the summer but its just SO bright out that he felt it was "unfair" to go to bed during the "day". Next week it will be going back to 8:00 either way to get back into the school sleep/get up time since school starts in 2 weeks.
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Next thing to try is to keep a daily log - what his day was like, and then how he slept that night.
    You may find that particular activities during the day will make him overtired that night... for example, an art project or dodge-ball or whatever.
    If he's overtired "today" and you don't see anything unusual yesterday, ask him about yesterday.

    Between you, it should be possible to come up with some idea of which activities are "more tiring", and...
    - fight for accomodations in those areas to reduce the fatigue
    - help him learn to recognize that 'over-tired' feeling and go to bed earlier that night (but still participate if its important to him)
  17. keista

    keista New Member

    Since he seems to eventually always dress himself, I think this is your best plan of attack. He may feel (in his own Aspie logic) that there really is no reason to get dressed until right before leaving the house. You might even want to change the house rule to no breakfast until you are fully dressed which can apply to everyone in the family. When we're rushed for time there are usually 2 things that need to get done. Brush hair (I still have to do this for my 10 y/o because she gets wicked tangles) and eat. Of course, the girls want to eat first, but I insist we do hair first because 1 It MUST be done, and 2 I can't do that while I'm driving, BUT if absolutely necessary, food can be taken and eaten in the car.

    Following the same concept, I had to redefine what "done" meant for son as far as homework goes. His logic was if he finished the work, he was done. He could always print it out and pack it in his backpack the next morning - makes sense this didn't HAVE to get done until right before leaving the house. Well, Aspie brain would always forget to print out and pack the homework. So, now homework isn't done until the work is finished AND it is printed out AND it is in the backpack. Then it is done and he can resume his activities.

    in my opinion he needs an "Aspie logical" reason to get dressed when you want him to.
  18. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Have you thought of putting him to bed in his clothes for the next day?

    Also, last September difficult child 2 cried before school every day. I was concerned. The school was saying he loved school. The bus driver was saying he loved the bus. Turned out it was part of his morning routine. I changed the routine and he didn't know where in the routine to start crying. So he didn't.
  19. keista

    keista New Member

    omg!!!!! Love it!
  20. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    We worked to update the schedule last night. He is upset because he wants to watch TV/play wii first but I said he has to get all the other things done first. So I made him tell me how long each task takes and then however much is leftover is how much time he has to watch TV. I wrote "If 1-4 are not complete, I may not play wii or watch TV before school." and made him sign the back LOL Oh, and I let him assign the times, that way in a few days I can say "hmm, seems like X is taking longer than 5 minutes, lets fix that one"

    This morning was still pretty rough but he kept checking the schedule to see what to do next. He finished @ 7:29. So by the time he turned the TV on and picked a show it was time to go. He was pretty mad but I reminded him that he didn't finish the other tasks in enough time. He still had some serious sassiness/yelling/telling me to shut up but we talked about a behavior/consequence chart and I'm going to print one out today to work on those.

    I tried to attach a picture of the schedule but I don't know if I did it right.