Surviving the chaos..

I met with Gavin and Elliott psychologist, Dr. Patti last night. We were discussing Gavin’s recent esculation in the self-injury department and the impact it’s having on everyone in the house. Gavin and Elliott were playing while we were talking. After we spoke Dr. Pattie was playing Candy Land with the boys and just talking to them. Gavin was basically playing the game by himself because he was simply taking everyone else’s turn despite being correct several times. After a few rounds of Candy Land, Dr. Patti said the game was over and came back over to talk to me. Gavin continued to play and was getting annoyed that no one was taking their turn.

I looked at Gavin and asked him “what did Dr. Patti just say to you?”. Gavin immediately begins twisting his body and is gearing up for a meltdown. We get him to sit down and try to explain why he is upset. I asked him again “What did Dr. Patti say?”.  By this time he’s getting really upset. Eventually Gavin says that “she told me to stop playing because the game was over”. To which I replied “then why didn’t you stop?”. He gets even more upset and screams that he doesn’t know. Here is a little insight into Gavin. When he reacts like this, it’s because he was caught in a lie and NOT because he can’t control himself. After a few more questions he finally admits that he heard her but just didn’t want to stop listening.

This is becoming more and more of a problem for us. Gavin’s behaviors, be it self-injury or simply not listening is beginning to make bigger and bigger waves. Now we know that he hears us. He simply chooses not to listen or follow the instructions. This new piece of information means we have to be more proactive in our attempts at correcting the behavior. We are going to have to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy of sorts. When he makes the choice to not listen then he will have oatmeal as a substitute for his next meal. Hopefully we can get through to him before the behavior becomes a more permanent problem. All Gavin’s behavioral challenges do is just add to the chaos and set a bad example for his brothers to follow. There has to be accountability.

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
0 0 votes
Article Rating

Join The Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

most voted
newest oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dee Brake

hi lost and tired.
i see you as a "no excuses" sort of parent. which i mean is you had children with issues and you dont make excuses for their behavior. i know parents with kids who tantrum who are always stressed out and it is not a "disorder" that is causing it, just preprogrammed in the childs mind that this behavior is not only acceptable, but the accepted normal in that house. In our house, we have a no tolerance policy of sorts. which means no fighting, no hitting, sharing all the time and manners all the time. we adopted this early and i remember my mother in law being shocked at my approach, but i will NOT allow tantrums for spite and and I WANT attitude in my house. even tho i can say that Ayden, being the one with more "special needs" doesnt really often get punished as his emotional stress does not work well under a punish situation. only turning him into a sobbing mess. but i am strict. and i pick my battles and stay firm. when someone is out of line they are taken aside and spoken to and i am firm. taking away privileges and such, if they fight over a toy, that toy is put away for the day or week or whatever depending on the situation. in our house, FOOD is never a punishment as ayden has a texture sensory issue and food issues. i know it is not easy being you. and i commend you for pushing thru and trying every card in the deck. your boys and especially Gavin did not come with a manual, and there is no OFF or RESET switch. the hardest thing now, is to know WHEN to offer that understanding needed for his many issues and disabilities with emotions and comprehension, and WHEN to lay down the law. the lines can get blurred and it is hard to punish a child for feeling intensely when it is a reaction, just like say, an allergic reaction, that is uncontrollable. GOOD LUCK with these NEXT STEPS. lets hope we can get the behavioral outburst that are purely a willful intent to not listen under control. i am sure that it wont be easy.


Thank you for "getting it". Gavin is a mystery wrapped up inside an enigma. No one knows for sure where his level of control lies. Things would be vastly different if Gavin were an only child. We wouldn't have to worry about the impact his behavior was having on his very impressionable (also Autistic) little brothers. Regardless of whether or not he was only child there would be accountability. That is to say, consequences for his actions. Here is a good example. Gavin used to be VERY sexually aggressive. He would always find ways of touching people inappropriately. NOTHING worked to deter the behavior. We feared what would happen as he got older. The law isn't as "forgiving" as the people were when he was younger than 9 or 10 years old.

We didn't want this for him and we had to think about the people he may "assault" in the future if we didn't quash this behavior now. After trying everything "conventional" and having nothing work we spoke once again to his psychiatrist about our concerns. He said the only thing we had left to do was going to be very difficult for us. It would require us to embarrass him significantly each and every time it happened. We had to make him feel as horrible as we could (within reason, obviously). This was VERY difficult for us but we did it anyway. It wasn't easy to explain our actions to family and what few friends we had left. Most people don't do well thinking "outside the box".
It took a few times and I honestly felt like a monster but you know what, it worked. We haven't had an issue in well over a year. I'm really glad it did because I don't want that to be among his already long list of challenges.
Sometimes as parents we have to do what's best for our kids regardless of the popularity of the actions we must take. We have a top-notch group of specialists, some are literally the top in their field. So we bounce ideas off of them constantly and get feedback on what they think we should do.
The world may NEVER cater to my kids so I MUST make sure they are ready for the world. We live by this saying: "you can't punish a blind man for not being able to see but you can punish him for shooting someone". I know that sounds weird but basically it means we can't punish the kids for things OUTSIDE of their control but we must hold them accountable for the things WITHIN their control. All while teaching them to better manage the behaviors they naturally struggle with.

Thank you for sharing that story with me. I really appreciate your insight and your support. I look forward to your next comment 🙂
My recent post Autism- self-injury and “outside the box” thinking