"My son is soon to be 16 years. I had to finally exclude him from my family home 10 months ago on police advice. My daughter and I had been living in fear of him. We had been subjected to his domestic violence and abuse. I could not protect my daughter and I could not protect myself any longer. He has been living in private foster care near to our home, which I pay for. He is at private school, which I have continued to pay for to 'keep part of his life in order'.
For the past 3 years my son believed that he had to 'teach me a lesson' which was to threaten his family group with violence, aggression and irrational control. At 13 he decided that he wanted a life on 'the streets', which does not fit with the civilised culture he was raised with.
But he got his way and despite numerous initiatives to address his defiance and abuse, he continued to pursue his desires. I have engaged, worked with, researched and despaired with police, psychologists, mentors, psychiatrists, youth workers, advisors, mental health advocates, teachers, peer associates, close family friends, and NLP specialists who work with teens. I employed a skilled educational psychologist last year that diagnosed ODD, ADD and Asperger Syndrome, as my son has always failed to reach potential at school. He is a skilled, confident and manipulative communicator.
My son was raised in a loving, non-aggressive and safe home. I am an advocate for children who have been subjected to bullying, and a teacher of young children specialising in dance and drama. I am a creative, honest and dependable human being that my son has transcribed as being mentally sick, worthless and unstable. These are his reasons for believing that his actions, which have now destroyed our family life, were justified.
He courts danger and then expects the trusted adults around him to bail him out and continue to support him, without question. I live in England. I have found telephone support from charities such as Young Minds, but within the mental health system and children's social care, there is no support for parents who are being abused by their own children.
These organisations only comprehend that children are being abused and therefore consider the parents to be at fault. I have researched and become educated within many areas associated with mental health, adolescent behaviours and education etc. I continue to read, but so far I have been unable to find a way of reasoning with my son. He blocks every avenue that I have resourced or tried. I am responsible for a human who has reneged on all of his family values. There was another visit from the police today. Can you forward some further information onto me regarding your guidance? I am unable to access all the info on your website. Can your book help me and help his foster parents try and bring this wayward young person back to a place of rational or responsible behaviour? Thanks for any comments/advice you may be able to provide. ~ A."
You may believe that your situation is dire relative to other parents’ situations. But with all due respect, your story sounds just like all the other stories I hear. Thus, take heart that you are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of parents who are experiencing similar difficulties with their children.
My job necessarily involves working with children who are experiencing emotional and behavioral problems associated with various mental disorders. For example:
· Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
· Conduct Disorder (CD)
· Depression (Major Depressive Disorder or Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood)
· Bipolar Disorder
· Asperger's Disorder
· Generalized Anxiety Disorder
· Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
I also work with the parents of these children.
The last Asperger’s child I worked with is now making the honor role at his alternative school and has been declared the “group leader” by his teachers. His mother and I had a long conversation last Friday (10/13/2006), and she described numerous improvements in his behavior both at home and school – and she did it, not me! I showed her how to be the therapist.
How many times have you told someone, “Nothing works with this kid”? I hear it all the time.
If your child truly suffers from Asperger’s, then you have an intense child. He enjoys intensity. He seeks intensity from you too (e.g., your being animated, arguing, lecturing, getting angry, etc.).
Unfortunately, he has discovered that you are much more interesting and animated when he behaves inappropriately (e.g., when he bullies, threatens, intimidates, etc.). If an intense child believes he can get a greater payoff for negative behaviors, he will repeat the pattern over an over again. This is the cycle your son is in currently.
Intense children are not out to get us as parents. They are out to get our energy. They want us to be exciting to them. What you may view as punishment or discipline may actually be rewards to your child. He literally has an addiction to negative reactions.
You can’t really stop Asperger’s children from breaking the rules. They already know what the rules are, and it gets old trying to convince them not to break rules. But you can deliver a consequence in a way that doesn’t accidentally reward them for negative behavior. And you can give your child your energy when things are going right rather than when they are going wrong.
I find that when parents have a few simple tools in dealing with a high-intensity child, they actually do a much better job of influencing him to change his behavior than a judge, counselor, therapist, psychologist, police officer, etc.
Can I give you an idea real quick? A change agent is someone who influences another person to make some improvements in his behavior.
If you lived near me, we could meet one-on-one (me, you and your son), and I’d be the change agent. But I would only see the two of you about 10 to 20 times (10 to 20 hours).
But I’d rather show you how to be the change agent, and you’ll do a much better job because you’re the child’s parent, and you will see him every day as long as he continues to live at home (thousands of hours).
See if you are willing to take a step of faith. Whether you download my eBook or not, you may continue to email me. I believe I can help you make a difference in your son’s life.
Your child doesn’t need counseling. If you’ve already tried counseling, you found that it was just another failed attempt at changing your son’s unwanted behavior. What he does need, however, is for you to use the parenting strategies I discuss in my eBook.
Why do I sound so confident? Well, I’m 50 years old and have worked with children who have emotional/behavioral problems and their parents for nearly 20 years. You learn a few things along the way. I’m sure you understand.