New member - Having a bad morning

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Truthsong, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. Truthsong

    Truthsong Guest

    Greetings, all

    I got up this morning to talk to my 15yo Aspie son who was getting ready for school. We ended the evening on a bad note last night because of some poor choice he had made and I didn't sleep well because of it. I just wanted to tell him I loved him and hoped that he had a good day at school. But I never got the chance. I started out telling him something about the toothpaste I set out for him but it didn't take long for the conversation to deteriorate. I can't even really remember what happened. All I know is that he started talking to me with disrespect and a tone of rudeness that I will not abide. So rather than keep fighting, I just said goodbye and went back to my room, disheartened. I know I had as much to do with the deterioration as he did. And this morning, that brought back into sharp relief how unhealthy our relationship's patterns are.

    I'm just so exhausted and not sure what to do. The battles over stupid little things are just really taking their toll and I love the boy. My husband is not his father and though he's tried so hard over the years to be a good parent, he is even more fed up because there is no bond between them.

    Anyway, I started looking for alternative boarding schools for my son and in my Google search, this forum came up. So I thought I would sign up so that I could talk to others who have the same or similar issues. I have a lot of support in other areas of my life, but I don't know anyone else dealing with this sort of thing. I'm hoping I can get a little relief here.

    Thanks for reading. I look forward to getting to know people here and to helping wherever I can as well.

    Peace to all
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a son with high functioning autism.
    What kind of boarding school would you be sending him to? My son would be very upset (maybe even traumatized) to be forced to go away from home. Is your son violent or just disrespectful?
    You say you husband has NO bond with him? Yet he married you? I find that odd...and sad. What about your son's biological father? Can he help?
    Welcome to the board :) Others will come along.
  3. Truthsong

    Truthsong Guest

    Thanks for the welcome, MidwestMom.

    I don't know that I would actually send my son anywhere. I just feel like he could really benefit from a place where they could help him learn to respect people and the rules. He's not violent, but also not just disrespectful. He doesn't care about anyone but himself. He says he's sorry about a lot of things, but they are just words. He is still doing the same things he's been asked to correct after *years*! And now that he's a teen, he's talking back and acting even more entitled and mouthy.

    It is sad that my husband has no bond with him. He has a marvelous bond with my daughter, but my son and he are like oil and water. I think the main reason for this is that my husband doesn't appreciate how solipsist my son seems to be. In a family of those who are far more on the altruistic side, my son is a fish out of water. My husband has no patience for a person who cares so little about anyone around them that they disregard everything. Also, it doesn't help that every time my husband talks to him, my son gets a mocking grin on his face. :sigh:

    The biological father does less to help. It's a really long story, but the bottom line is that he is self-serving and cares more about his new family and kids than he does about our mutual kids. (After agreeing to let my son live with him, his dad changed his mind and told difficult child on his birthday!) He is moving to another state in the spring anyway. So in answer to your question; he can help. He just won't.

    Thanks for letting me vent.
  4. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Truthsong, welcome.

    The teen years are awful for our kids. Many of us here on the board have remarked about how shocked we were when adolescence kicked in and the problems our kids already had, seemed to escalate ten-fold. Adolescence is notorious.

    It sounds like your husband has worked hard and devotedly. However "a good parent" may look a lot different when the kid is an Aspie. Good parenting is unconventional with our kids, and it's hard to let go of what we hoped parenting would look like. Actually it's like parenting on Mars, lol.

    If you let go of some of your expectations, you may be able to breathe a little more freely and enjoy both your son and husband more.

    Tell us more about your son, what kind of school he goes to, his likes and dislikes. Is he an anxious kid? Etc.

    Also, for you I'll bet it's exhausting being the mediator between your husband and your son.


    Have you read anything much about Asperger's and teenagers? That might help some. Also Ross Greene's book "The Explosive Child" is the first recommendation by many of us here. There's a newer edition out, but either would do.
  5. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Welcome to the board. Does your son have any other issues along with the Aspergers? Is there ADHD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or anything like that? Is he taking any medications? Is he seeing a therapist to ehlp him with his anger? Family counseling could help the two of you work out some of the dynamics of your relationship.

    My relationship with my son, who is 11, was very similar to what you describe. A conversation about the most benign subjects could go real south real fast. I felt so disheartened on so many days that I didn't know how I could continue to parent him. I have to admit that I thought about sending him to boarding school just so that I could get some peace for me and for our younger son. Take a deep breath. It helps to clear your head. Try reading "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It was highly recommended by the parents here and by the psychiatrist that I take my son to.

    You will find it to be a very supportive community here. I have found great strenght and some answers when I needed them. You are not alone here.

  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Rats...I wrote a long reply and it disappeared as my server disconnected. How frustratin! I'll try again with fingers crossed.

    I have raised a teen with Aspergers. It is not easy to be a teen but an AS teeen really has stressors. Often I found that what happened at home originated at school with bullying and label slinging. Being called weird, dumb, airhead etc. etc. is too much for AS teens to cope with and in the safety of their home it often spills over.

    There is a site that I believe is called The Oasis or Oasis that is dedicated to AS. There are message boards and forums
    that include parental input as well as a teen forum where kids can read offerings from others like themselves. Often their is a normal or above normal intelligence displayed but it also addresses the issues unique to AS. Try your search engine and see if that brings up the site. I think you'll find it helpful.

    The situation with your husband is, sadly, not unique. Having a special child is often more difficult for men, in my humble opinion. If you find that site helpful perhaps you can get him to read part of it so he is aware that the difficulties are not directed at him or you or your family...these kids have special issues that need to be understood and addressed. Good luck. DDD
  7. Truthsong

    Truthsong Guest

    Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone and for your generous help as well. I'll try to respond to everyone...

    Barneysmom: You hit the nail right on the head. I find that the biggest problems we face as a family are centered around my husband and I having differing views on child raising. That is the only thing we argue about. I follow a (partially) Buddhist path, so I am accustomed to letting go of expectations. I try to take each day as it comes and focus on the moment. My husband has a difficult time with this and at times his expectations seem far too high. I hate that I am even saying this because in all other ways, husband is truly quite marvelous. It really is difficult and exhausting to have to mediate between them.

    In answer to your questions: My son had issues with anxiety and depression as well as with ADD and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)/ODD tendencies. He is on medication for all that and to be honest, now that we have finally found a cocktail that works, things *have* gotten much easier. He was scary for a while with his mood swings and wild tantrums. I am grateful to have those days behind us. Now he just has the idea in his head that he shouldn't have to work for anything. That he should get whatever he wants without earning the privilege. He doesn't seem to have any interest in learning the concept of respecting his elders, so he speaks to his parents, teachers, etc. with a chip on his shoulder. The attitude with which he speaks to people gets him in a lot of trouble. He seems to think that he should get respect without giving any back. He's not angry. He just doesn't seem to give a hoot about anyone or anything. It's hard to understand that mindset and sometimes I worry about his future.

    I haven't read that book you are all suggesting, but I definitely will. Thank you all for that. I did look into the Oasis website and associated forum. I was on there a while, but I felt like no one really listened, everyone just complained. So it was less than helpful. Thanks for the suggestion, though. I appreciate it all.

    As for therapy; he was seeing someone for a while. But it wasn't a good fit. In the end, all they did was sit in the room for the allotted time and speak about only topical things. The fact is, my son doesn't think he needs to do anything to improve his situation. As a counselor in my own right, I know that no one can be helped unless they are willing to help themselves. difficult child has no interest in self-improvement, so therapy of the conventional type hasn't worked. Seeing a family therapist would be wonderful, if I could get husband to agree to go. Truth be told, he doesn't think he can do any more than he's already doing. So he's got his own brand of stubbornness. That really leaves me in the middle as the only person willing to make changes and sacrifices. Which, to date, has not worked. :groan:

    Thankfully, tomorrow is another day and another chance to try again.

    Thank you all for your support! It means a great deal to me just to be able to talk to people who understand what I am going through.
  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    So, he wants to be a mean, disrespectful person? I don't think so. I think he is having trouble connecting the dots about how to socialize and speak to people and get a positive outcome from it.

    He needs help learning it. It is not going to be a traditional method. Many kids just 'get it' but with a difficult child you have to get creative on how to teach this to him.

    And if he DOES want to just be mean & disrepsectful to people - then he is going to get natual consequences to that choice. He should understand what those are so he can make an informed choice of how to treat people.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Do you know a lot about Aspergers? Are you aware that these kids seem self-centered because they are wired differently and have trouble relating to others and that it is a real handicap? I think your husband needs to read up on it. Your son's me-centric behavior is par for the course for kids on the spectrum. ADHD/anxiety go hand-in-hand with autistic spectrum disorder/Aspergers. So does being a loner.
    I truly don't know how you and hub can have a good marriage if he has no tie to your son and no interest in understanding him. I suggest marital counseling. You all need to understand your son better, and he also needs help (although Aspies sometimes are not very good at counseling, again because it requires that the person relates to the therapists and Aspies are quite socially handicapped).
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome. If you can get your husband to lurk here also, it would help, I'm sure. He sounds a lot like my husband in some ways, and my husband will I know be reading this post in his lunch break at work (hi, honey!).

    Disrespect - it is not what you think. He is not your average kid, and disrespect is not the same in his head. These kids lack social graces and do not pick them up by osmosis, as we expect them to. It doesn't matter how bright they are, it's like you are expecting a blind person to paint a colour portrait.

    You cannot discipline anything out of him. He learns by imitation, not be being told. So however yo speak to him, will be how he speaks to you. How you handle him, will be how he handles you. Or your husband. These kids dish back what is given to them. And as parents, when we are in discipline mode, it would be seen by these kids as (what we would define as) disrespect, if it was the other way around.

    These kids are truly egalitarian. Everyone is equal. Everyone. Really equal. So they talk to everyone as if they are sharing the same head space. That is when you hear your own phrases coming out of their mouths. An example - easy child 2/difficult child 2 when she was 2 years old. I had a family rule that every second cup of drink had to be water. She asked for a second cup of juice, I said, "No, it's water's turn. drink a cup of water, then you can have your next cup of juice." I poured it for her, and she took a sip and got angry with me. She stood there, hands on hips, and shouted at me, "I said I wanted JUICE! Why don't you ever listen to me?"

    Read "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. I can see it has already been suggested. You need to get your husband to read it too. I know he's not the boy's father, but he still lives in the same household and therefore needs to understand how to interact with the boy. The book is like a roadmap when you're lost in a strange country. If he can't "get into" the book (my husband couldn't - he did try) then you read it and explain it to him. That's what I did, and it actually helped me consolidate the information.

    There is a lot more I could say but I don't want to overload you.

    KISS. Keep it simple. Praise him for good things, do not make it connected to anything else (such as toothpaste!). Just say it. Remember, if you apologise to him for something you did wrong, you are setting an example for him to learn how to apologise to others. Similarly, if you can say, when he is raging at you, "Why are you shouting at me? I am not shouting at you," then the message will eventually sink in.

    There is a lot more going on in his head, all the time, than you could realise. And it is aligned at 90 degrees to how your own mind works! He cannot understand this, because he is less equipped to understand this than you are.

    You will get through this. But keep in touch, we can help you manage this with support.

  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Truthsong-Just adding in my welcome; glad you found our corner of the world.
  12. lisa3girls

    lisa3girls New Member

    I am new here too, also having a bad day. I have a 16 year old daughter who has Non Verbal Learning Disorder (similar to Aspergers) and she is just as you describe. Today started out with my suggestion that she might ACTUALLY wear snowboots for snow shoeing rather than Uggs. (crazy huh???)

    She is defiant in so many things-- just not respectful of the house rules-- she eats in her room (leaving the dirty dishes and wrappers in there), bought an M rated video game I forbade (becasue of younger sisters) and doesn't see how her being late is impacting others -- totally self centered and non-empathetic. I KNOW she cannot help it, but it isn't any easier to live with every day.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    lisa3girls - what I said in this thread applies to you also. Read that book. It will help. Stay in touch here. That will also help. You do not have to cope alone any more.

  14. lisa3girls

    lisa3girls New Member

    Thank there still time to get something out of it for a junior in high school?
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    There is always time. I've used this book on staff in meetings. I've used it on the Dept of Ed. I use it all the time now. It works on PCs as well as difficult children. It works on husbands (hi, honey!). husband knows it though. I think. Well, he does now, because he lurks here all the time! And posts occasionally...

  16. lisa3girls

    lisa3girls New Member

    Thank you!! Can you help me with all the abbreviations?
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    easy child - perfect child (yeah, right). The kid who is otherwise normal. ONly we don't use words like normal. Except for people like me - I use the wrong words all the time!

    difficult child - Gift From God. The child that brought you here, the one who is driving you nuts. Take it how you want it, but we do try to be nice about it, even through gritted teeth.

    Up the top of the forum page is a thin dark grey bar which has FAQ on it. Click on that and see if you can find the info re acronyms. Personally, it has taken me years to work out some of them. But then, I keep using Aussie slang and have to explain myself, so I figure we're square!

  18. Truthsong

    Truthsong Guest

    It's easy to say that I don't understand him based on the little I've been able to share so far. But truly, I know this boy very well. The other side of the coin is that he really is a spectacular young man in some ways. And I do commend him in a lot of positive ways (the toothpaste was not linked to anything, he just needed more and I put it where he could find it.) There are good days and even on the days when things aren't all good, there are good points within them.

    I know difficult child doesn't just want to be mean and disrespectful. It's just that he lives so much for the moment that he forgets what the consequences of his actions were before and doesn't connect the dots between two similar-but-not-exact sets of circumstances. So it takes a while for him to "get it". It's just a long, uphill process.

    Margurite - I definitely will read that book and will ask husband to as well. You are right about the way Aspies emulate. Sometimes I forget about that, so I appreciate the reminder. I'll work on that some more and talk to husband about it again.

    MidwestMom, I admit, you hit a nerve. You seem to be making some assumptions here that I feel are misinformed. I do know quite a bit about Asperger's. And it isn't that husband is unwilling to understand him. It's that despite difficult child's diagnoses, he still needs to learn how to become a productive and well-fitting member of society. Just because he has issues doesn't mean we can't teach him what it means to be a good person. I appreciate your concerns, truly. When I say they have no bond, that's not to say that husband doesn't care for difficult child, or want what's best for him. Please understand, that husband is not a monster. He loves difficult child in his own way. He just gets frustrated like the rest of us.

    Thanks again for the welcomes and the help.
  19. lisa3girls

    lisa3girls New Member

    I SUCK at this...she gets me SO upset, and I have too younger girls to deal with, and I do not have much patience at all...ugh
  20. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Truthsong, we get a lot of people here that don't understand Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). You can get him to that "productive citizen" category, it will just take longer than it does most kids. I think I get what you mean about the lack of bond, that it's not that husband doesn't try but that he doesn't feel received, would that about cover it?