Discipline

Ok where to start, 

I am new here, My 10 year old son is yet to be diagnosed. The wait list is long and have at least another year to go. He is very high functioning and We ( family and friends) believe its Aspergers. ( Why oh why did I wait so long.. Thought we were coping ) 

 

I am in search of discipline for him. Taking his video games ( he only plays on the weekend) and his Saturday Pokemon group away does not work. Giving him chores, I could not get him to do them if I tried and would just lead to another fight and fit. He hates being told what to do by me (ODD) Hell he has a need to be in control at all times. Nothing can be his fault. Example if I say YOU left your coat on the floor please hang it up. He comes unglued starts yelling and calling himself bad and has a fit. If I say I am not sure how your coat ended up on the floor, could you please pick it up. he is ok. ( thank goodness for my coworker, she helped me sort out that trigger and how to reword) I am desperate for away to discipline him that is going to work. Any and all advice is welcome.

 

Thanks so very much!

 

 

 

Parents
  • What makes you feel that the discipline does not work? What is he being disciplined for? Are you hoping the the discipline will stop the negative behaviors? You also describe him as needing to be in control. I'd like to suggest some things for you that I think will help. I am a parent of a 22 yr old with Autism, as well as being a Marriage and Family Therapist that specializes in working with families with kids on the spectrum. So I think you may have two issues going on here and luckily one thing to do to address both. I
    It is easy to assume that kids respond the way they do because they don't like what they are being told to do (The ODD part) when in reality is is likely an anxiety reaction to a sense of unpredictability. Kids on the spectrum thrive on routine and predictability, and something simple like a request to do something can trigger that anxious response which really looks like he is trying to control. And in a way he is, he wants to control his environment so that it feels safer for him. Things he isn't prepared for are really scary and that is where you are getting the behaviors. The other issue is his response to discipline. I'd suggest that you eliminate the word discipline all together, and use the word consequence instead. Discipline is about punishing, the very word means you've done something bad and you need to get in trouble for it. Consequence on the other hand is just a result of an action you take, sometimes consequences are good, and sometimes they are negative.
    Here is my suggestion to help with both of those issues. By creating a written plan, you can establish a set of clear expectations for him, issues around school, chores, whatever those items are that you feel the need to discipline over are a great place to start. Often kids on the spectrum do well with a sense of first this (the chore) than that (the consequence-video games, positive getting to play and negative not getting to play) By setting up these expectations in advance you are making it clear to him and he is then able to predict and feel more control over the environment. For example
    When you get home from school first:
    Hang up your coat and put away your backpack
    Have a snack
    Do your homework
    When you complete those things then you have 1 hr of video game time. If you do not do those things you will not get your video games until you complete them all.
    This way there isn't a sense that he needs discipline but that he just didn't follow directions, and the way to earn the privilege of video games is to do what is asked. When you make things clear like this the child can also create some habits/routine around these behaviors and will eventually do them without reminder.
    Remember, consequences are a way to teach that our choices have results, they are not to prevent him from making poor choices. He is still a 10 yr old boy and they will make dumb choices. But he can learn some cause and effect, and the first few times he doesn't get what he wants will be hard, but eventually he will learn that doing what is asked is the way to get what you want.
    Also if you need to make requests that cannot be planned in advance I would suggest that you get his attention, make the request, and then give him some time to process it. Let him know when he needs to do what you are asking, right now, by bedtime, this week etc. and again let him know what will happen when he does and doesn't do what you asked.

    I hope this helps...you can reach me at coachsharimurray@gmail.com if you have other questions.
Reply
  • What makes you feel that the discipline does not work? What is he being disciplined for? Are you hoping the the discipline will stop the negative behaviors? You also describe him as needing to be in control. I'd like to suggest some things for you that I think will help. I am a parent of a 22 yr old with Autism, as well as being a Marriage and Family Therapist that specializes in working with families with kids on the spectrum. So I think you may have two issues going on here and luckily one thing to do to address both. I
    It is easy to assume that kids respond the way they do because they don't like what they are being told to do (The ODD part) when in reality is is likely an anxiety reaction to a sense of unpredictability. Kids on the spectrum thrive on routine and predictability, and something simple like a request to do something can trigger that anxious response which really looks like he is trying to control. And in a way he is, he wants to control his environment so that it feels safer for him. Things he isn't prepared for are really scary and that is where you are getting the behaviors. The other issue is his response to discipline. I'd suggest that you eliminate the word discipline all together, and use the word consequence instead. Discipline is about punishing, the very word means you've done something bad and you need to get in trouble for it. Consequence on the other hand is just a result of an action you take, sometimes consequences are good, and sometimes they are negative.
    Here is my suggestion to help with both of those issues. By creating a written plan, you can establish a set of clear expectations for him, issues around school, chores, whatever those items are that you feel the need to discipline over are a great place to start. Often kids on the spectrum do well with a sense of first this (the chore) than that (the consequence-video games, positive getting to play and negative not getting to play) By setting up these expectations in advance you are making it clear to him and he is then able to predict and feel more control over the environment. For example
    When you get home from school first:
    Hang up your coat and put away your backpack
    Have a snack
    Do your homework
    When you complete those things then you have 1 hr of video game time. If you do not do those things you will not get your video games until you complete them all.
    This way there isn't a sense that he needs discipline but that he just didn't follow directions, and the way to earn the privilege of video games is to do what is asked. When you make things clear like this the child can also create some habits/routine around these behaviors and will eventually do them without reminder.
    Remember, consequences are a way to teach that our choices have results, they are not to prevent him from making poor choices. He is still a 10 yr old boy and they will make dumb choices. But he can learn some cause and effect, and the first few times he doesn't get what he wants will be hard, but eventually he will learn that doing what is asked is the way to get what you want.
    Also if you need to make requests that cannot be planned in advance I would suggest that you get his attention, make the request, and then give him some time to process it. Let him know when he needs to do what you are asking, right now, by bedtime, this week etc. and again let him know what will happen when he does and doesn't do what you asked.

    I hope this helps...you can reach me at coachsharimurray@gmail.com if you have other questions.
Children
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