DH spanked my 3 year old with SN. We don't have a diagnosis yet, but we suspect Aspergers.
I am appalled that it seemed to have helped calm him down. Now DH is saying we need to be spanking him more regularly. I don't agree with it - so this is going to be a huge argument of course.
But I don't have any thing in my arsenal to bring up on *how* we should discipline him. We recently went to a developmental pediatrician who basically said "there's nothing atypical about him, he just needs discipline."
The way we have disciplined him in the past, does not work. We have tried start charts, placing him in time out, locking him in his room, taking away privileges, yelling :( , threatening, bribing with food, walking on eggshells, and he still exhibits absolutely off the wall, uncontrollable, wild and hyper, aggressive, attention seeking behavior. It takes 2 hours off fighting to get him to bed. I tried just dropping the nap and bedtimes, but lack of sleep makes his behavior worse.
Other times, he is calm and sociable, even speaking in language way beyond his years.
I'm so lost and overwhelmed now I don't even know what to do with myself.
Could use some advice?
OK, I think that your DH is thinking that spanking=happiness and calm. NOT TRUE. In fact, while it might make him calmer, it'll make the child worse. Tell him that. I know. I had a physically abusive father as a child- I should know. Tell him that spanking makes the child scared and distrustful of him, so if he wants a positive relationship with his son, it won't work via spanking. Plus, explain to your DH that the Aspergers diagnosis means that he is highly sensitive to certain things, and that will often cause the meltdowns- it's a problem with the brain, not demonstrative of too little discipline.
And don't yell or threaten or anything else unless your child is clearly pushing your buttons from typical kid behavior, and not because of something to do with his disabilities.
Continue with the charts and schedules, and reward him for his good behavior so he's encouraged to do it more often, explain to him what's going to happen throughout his day through social stories- often helpful by teaching the child to anticipate what will happen better- and explain to him specifically what he can and cannot do- i.e., you cannot throw blocks at your brother, but you can throw clothes in the hamper.
And make sure he gets lots of sleep, and maybe get him involved in sports? Just a thought- some have a lot of energy to burn off, and can appear off the wall as a result. Maybe avoid sweets? Some kids have a negative reaction to anything with sugar in it like candy, etc. that makes them even more hyper.
Get him involved in calming activities like taking a walk or getting a massage- good bonding activities that will make both of you calmer. Don't have him play games or watch t.v. before bed- it will make him want more and disillusion him into thinking that he's not tired simply because it's fun for him. Pick something else to do. Check for a possible ADHD diagnosis- a lot of kids are comorbid- meaning two DAs or more at the same time.
Change your pediatrician! He doesn't seem to be sensitive to kids' needs, especially Aspie kids, so get someone else who has experience with those kids and knows how to doctor them properly without dictating your parental methods.
As for your DH- I think you should research first about Aspergers and how it works in the brain and then explain to him, because if you don't he might be thinking that you're trying to pick a fight with him instead of trying to help him be a better parent. Also bring him to seminars to make it more clear for him to understand, and you can work together to try to help him instead of against. Also talk to him about child-rearing practices- research together and decide what works best for the child and both for you.
As for your DH- whenever he blows up, let him know he can leave the house and take a walk or something- riding bikes, etc. If he feels the need to beat up his kid, then he probably has a lot of other problems too. Ask if you can go to couples therapy together so you can both seek help together.
Hope this helps! As I said before, I know how it feels to be on the other side of the fence, and it isn't pretty. Today, I have nothing to do with my father, and don't trust my kids with him, or myself. He was just a big verbal and physical bully who tried to control everything I did, which destroyed my self-esteem and confidence in myself and the world around me- and because he was my father, I had no choice but to give in to him and take it. Fortunately, I knew it was wrong- like you, I had a really supportive mom who taught me right from wrong, and that was one of them. Make sure you tell your child that you're sorry about how your DH behaved, but that make sure to come up with solutions with him so that both of you can prevent his meltdowns.