Gavin informed us today that nothing we can do, scares him. He also told us that the reason he listened while he was in the psychiatric unit was because, “I was afraid they would call security”.
I’m not sure if this scares me or just creeps me out. Perhaps a little of both.
I don‘t know how to address this. Clearly this means that the consequences we currently employ are not harsh enough to discourage his negative behavior. I don‘t know what else to think.
It almost feels like a challenge..
**Thanks for reading**
-Lost and Tired
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While I certainly can see logic in your argument for compassion, I think gavin’s behavior has pushed the L&T household beyond touchy feeley discipline that has proven thus far to be ineffective.
The entire family is sleeping together in a locked room. They have to store items that are potrntial weapons under lock and key. What kind of message does this send to the little brothers? How empowered do you think this makes Gavin feel now?
When your 13 year old makes you fear for your family’s safety and he tells you that nothing you can do scares him, its obviously time to show him that the parents are in charge and call all the shots! I’ll guarantee that if Rob employs a bit of physical discipline…be it physical (a spanking or the like) or even simple hands on restraining force (physically move him to a quiet, non attention getting room during a meltdown), Gavin WILL be scared and think twice in the future.
The bigger picture is, this change in discipline may be good for gavin. Id hate to raise a 13 year old that believes he is as empowered as he is currently being led to believe that he is. The world is a cold, brutal place and Gavin is just a few short years from adulthood. Its critical that he learn restraint and respect by whatever means Rob must employ. If he doesn’t, he could be in for huge problems (either legal or interpersonal) in the future.
As I said, I truly believe that these developments have put us well beyond the “oatmeal” days…
I think once aspect of this that you haven’t experienced yet is being a teenager. As much as mentally he isn’t that age, some of what Gavin is doing is very typical teenage behavior. I was a neuro typical child and definitely said that to my parents as I was storming upstairs stomping as hard as I could and slamming all the doors in between.
I am shocked by the calls for escalation, the take-up-the-challenge-and-bring-more-force advice you are getting. When a child says "nothing you do scares me", I think what that means is "I am scared". Please, at least consider this. He is a small kid and you are two big people whom he depends on and you guys punish him for things he may not be able to control fully.
Listen to your heart. Gavin is a child who is suffering. (You may be suffering, too, but he is suffering for sure.) And you guys are all he has in the world. And you can withhold meals, withhold his only companionship and love, and send him places he doesn't want to go. Please consider it from this angle.
If he learns (from you guys) to apply increasing force to get the behavior you want out of people, what lesson is that going to teach?
If that’s not throwing down the gauntlet, I don’t know what is.
From reading your posts, I know that you are against spankings and physical discipline, but at what point do you decide enough is enough, and take back control?
Gavin is a predator. Plain and simple, if given the opportunity, he will prey on the weak and fearful. You have your whole family locking themselves into a bedroom because of his threats, for g*d sakes. How is this fair to your other children?!?
Now he’s telling you that nothing you can do scares him? Guess what…he’ll quickly realize that the cops don’t scare him either when he sees that all they can to is transport him to the hospital (where he’ll quickly be released).
Gavin is obviously troubled, but I think you’ve passed the point of oatmeal snapping him back in line. Ever wonder why every state legally gives parents the ability to use physical force to discipline their children? Because some children need a firmer touch than others.
(Note…I in no way condone “excessive” corporal punishment…just maybe showing gavin that a 13 year old must answer to his father when he threatens or hurts his little brothers or mother).
You're being baited to do something. I would suggest not reacting to it, but that's very hard to do. If he brings it up again, you can either say "Okay" and provide no other response or emotional reaction, or say "We're not trying to scare you. You don't behave/follow the rules because you're afraid of the negative consequences. You do it because it makes yourself and other people happy, you have more time to do fun stuff, you can earn things, etc." (whatever else you can think of that fits your situation).
This is a good insight into his mindset on behaviors, so now I would suggest working with his mental health team on changing that point of view (I listen because i'm scared of the consequences). Good luck!
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What if you try a positive approach? (tokens) etc?
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So if Gavin was intimidated enough by security at the hospital, I think he needs to meet your policeman friend. Introduce him to Gavin as your ‘family security’ in uniform of course. Put him on speed dial and show Gavin this too. Just try not to use it as an empty threat..
That\’s the plan. The next time he stops by I\’m gonna speak with him about this. I would think it could send a very powerful message. 🙂
The statement is a little 'odd' but then again 'typical 12 year olds' will say things similar to that as well.
I think he is trying to up the anti so to speak as he knows you have at home.
Often when a new behaviour program or rules are put in place there is a need to 'push the limits' or 'up the anti' to test it out the individual just is testing out the new rules.
I would say that you do not want to 'scare him' as you are his parent and you want to keep him safe, as well as his brothers and his mother.
that you have had to add extra rules and equiptment (door alarms etc) to help ensure the safety of the whole household. Explain that you hope that these new 'rules' will help ensuer the safety of the family but that if things get 'out of control' there is a posibility of calling the police. let him know this if possible, when he is calm and in a normal state.
i know i mentioned this before have you spoke with the therapist (i think its dr pattie that deals wit this) of having a way for him to safely let out his frustrations.
i'm not sure what the best idea of this is, as i said befoer where i work one guy will go in his room, at his own choice and yell out stuff, he yells all kinds of things vulgar languate things he is going to do to hurt people, etc. but we don't adress that as it is in his room and they are just what he is saying not acting upon. Gavin no doubt has some psychiatric issuses so its safe to say that he will never be 'normal' in his way of dealing with things, that due to the psychiatric issues he will have melt downs, i'm not sure if they can every be prevented as he needs an outlet to get rid of anger, there has to be a safe thing he can do to allow him to express his anger or get rid of the excess energy he has,
I totally agree. My guess is that he is trying to say that our consequences don\’t bother him.
We haven\’t reacted to his statement but have filed it away in the \”keep a watchful eye on\” category.
Let him know that you’re not doing anything to TRY to scare him, so it’s fine that he’s not scared. Then absolutely make sure your local police are aware of the situation and what they might be dealing with if you call them for assistance. Find out what they can/will do to assist. Make sure Gavin is aware that you have already spoken with the police and that you guys are only doing what you’re doing at home (with all the locks etc) to try to reduce conflict and keep belongings safe. Also make sure he knows that you and his mum aren’t scared because you know you have the police available to you at any time. At his age, I would choose a calmer moment to also explain to him that you and mum also have the option, if his behaviors are severe and uncontrolled, to place him under foster care so he would be a ward of the court and be placed wherever the court would see fit. Most kids, no matter how severe, actually do want to stay in their own home. Knowing that their behaviors might risk that will sometimes help them to chill out. Most of all, my advice is to stop showing him your fear. Your fear gives him a toehold and tells him that HE is in control. That’s the LAST thing you want going on. Never forget that you are the adult here. No matter how out of control his behaviors, you are the adult and you and your wife have options. Don’t play victim to his behaviors. Head up. Chin up. Inner strength up. Do NOT let this beat you down. Do not let his behaviors dictate your life or the lives of your wife and other children. Have guidelines in place. Make them clear and fair. Choose your battles wisely. It’s not worth a meltdown to have him put his socks away or put his cup in the sink. Good book is The Explosive Child which talks about choosing what items are solid, which are negotiable, which really don’t matter – this is so you’re not having a knock down drag out battle over something that really is not a big deal at all.
Nicely said Kim. Your right and we have the book you are talking about. 🙂
Sounds like he issued a challenge to me…time to escalate?
I agree but the problem is where do we escalate to?
Tell him that you have security too…..only it's called the P-O-L-I-C-E!!
Very, very good point! We are going to do just that.
Continue to document all meltdowns ,and yes,what Gavin said is a challenge,find out legally what holds ,restraints,punishments are allowed and when you should call the police,the challenges will excalate if not met,praying for a long term solution for all of you ,that the doctors will figure out what is medically and mentally is the problem with Gavin ,and hoping you both know that you have tried everything and been the best parents to all of your boys,and what your seeking out for Gavin is for his best not punishment or abandonment .Thoughts and prayers go with,Gloria
I think on top of Autism, you have a teenager emerging on your hands. I'm not saying thats an excuse, but a teenager is a whole other animal autism or not.