Can zero tolerance leads to paranoia?

I’ve been talking a lot about our reinstated,  zero tolerance policy for touching. This policy applies to Gavin only because he is touching people in inappropriate ways. We have tried to work him through this and explain the issues,  however,  Gavin simply does it over and over again,  anyway. 

Regardless of his intentions,  we had to institute the zero tolerance policy,  in order to not only protect the rest of the world from Gavin but also protect Gavin from his own behaviors.

As Gavin gets older and these behaviors continue,  he will find himself in very serious trouble.

We have worked very closely with his therapist to create this zero tolerance policy and the consequences for violating it as well.

As one might expect,  this is not am easy task to enforce.  In fact,  it’s frustrating and exhausting.  This is especially the case when Gavin constantly tests the boundaries. In the span of 15 minutes yesterday,  he touched Elliott 3 times.  While these touches weren’t in a sexual manner,  he’s not supposed to be touching period….

We are forced to cracked the whip,  so to speak or risk losing control over the situation.

Not only is this difficult to enforce,  but it has had an unintended affect on Elliott and Emmett as well. There is almost a sense of paranoia in the air. Elliott is constantly coming to me and saying that either he accidentally touched Emmett or Emmett has touched him. This is despite our best efforts to explain to Elliott that this rule doesn’t apply to him or Emmett. 

Our efforts are in vain,  because nothing seems to help them understand this.

So because Gavin can’t keep his hands to himself,  we have had to institute a zero tolerance policy for touching.  Now,  because we have the policy in place,  Emmett and especially Elliott,  have become almost paranoid of physical contact with each other.

In special needs parenting, many times,  there is no such thing as a clear cut, right or wrong answer. Many times the solution to one problem can create another problem.  This is one of those times.

Rob Gorski

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