discipline and the SN child - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-27-2008, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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i sit here with tears in my eyes because i've just sent my almost 4yo to the bed. not our bed, to another bed in the second room. she is sleeping alone. i told her i didn't want her next to me.

i'm lost. i just don't know what to do. i hate this. i hate being mean, i can't believe i said those words... i know she was hurt and probably doesn't understand why.

today has been a particularly bad day (as was yesterday) and i barely have anything left for tomorrow (i am DREADING tomorrow). there is no one to help me. dh comes home at 7pm and doesn't understand her condition to begin with. he doesn't know how to talk to her, how to get through to her... and he tries once and then gives up. he is not a playful father - he doesn't read to them or play with them. he thinks that entertaining them is putting a movie on. : as the girls have gotten older he has very much become an armchair parent and i'm the one disciplining and trying my hardest to become more informed about everything so that i can give the girls the best we've got. I ONLY HAVE SO MUCH FREAKING PHYSICAL AND MENTAL ENERGY THOUGH! i also have to deal with dh's negativity about everything and that is ENOUGH to wear me out - i suspect he has aspergers or SPD himself but that is another thread - then add in dd#1 and her issues... thankfully my second dd is easy to deal with.

i need a break. but i don't want to leave dd#1 (the one with sensory integration/processing disorder) in a huge fit of tears. it pierces through me and i would feel incredibly guilty the whole time. how do you any of you actually get out of the house or be alone for a little while? i haven't been alone in almost 4 years and we don't go anywhere, don't see anyone.. i have no one to talk to.. so i'm really starting to get serious about having some time off because i NEED to. i am really not doing well in this state. i hate mothers groups/play groups - it seems almost every kid is sick and all the kids play so nicely and my one just doesn't understand all the social stuff and ends up being annoying/angry/pushy and i'd rather just stay at home.

so, onto other stuff...... what do you if your SPD kid is being very selfish and demanding. what do you do when they hit thier sibling for no damn good reason at all and keep screaming in thier face? what do you do when your younger child comes out with lots of scratches from playing in the backyard in places where you know she could of only been scratched by from another person (like under the neck, on the shoulders etc). what do you do when you ask your SPD child to do something so freaking simple (like please put X on the table) and all they do is look at you and smile and *knowingly* refuse to put it on the table.

i don't know what to do with my daughter anymore. things are good when i am rested, happy and bursting with enough patience to last a week straight - remain positive and let a lot slide. but i'm not feeling optismistic anymore. i'm tired, i'm angry, i'm lonely and resentful and i find myself dealing with dd's behaivour in less ideal ways. and i know i can do better than that, i know i can, dd deserves for me to... but i just don't have the resources or energy. advice, please...

please no flames. my conscience has flamed me enough. i want to start anew with her but i feel i've already done the damage and nothing i can do is going to change anything.
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#2 of 6 Old 08-27-2008, 10:33 AM
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We are having so much trouble with my older ds completely wearing me out.

Some things that have helped: swim therapy; OT; Montessori; more OT strategies: like heavy work, chewing gum, wheelbarrowing, heavy blankets over him, yoga poses---volcano; and some anti-anxiety strategies for me.

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#3 of 6 Old 08-27-2008, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by mamaverdi View Post
Some things that have helped: swim therapy; heavy work, wheelbarrowing, heavy blankets, yoga poses, swinging, basically any movement.

I hear you. I'm right there with you. I really, really struggle to get through the day with my SPD, high needs, sensory seeking, self-directed, verbally challenged child.

IT IS TOUGH. There are days I cry with frustration.

Sensory input helps tremendously, but, let's face it, there are other demands for my attention and it is exhausting providing sensory input all day long. Sometimes it's impossible given the setting.

I use a lot of compression and massage on my little one, as well as the ideas listed above. It's an ongoing process throughout the day. Fun, toddler/child oriented Yoga poses help, too. We do those a lot, actually. It's a game...my little one and I do it together.

I am banking on things getting easier once we're out of the toddler years and (hopefully) my child will become more verbal and better at self-regulation of sensory needs.

Also, I want to add that much of my frustration and tears are because I really am committed to gentle discipline and want to be warm and loving, but firm with my child. However, even though I've read many, many books on gentle discipline (Becky Baily, Dr. Sears, Alfie Kohn, Harvey Karp, etc as well as Love and Logic) a lot of the ideas, while good, do not work with special needs kids or SPD kids. I have to tailor every approach...modify every idea.

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#4 of 6 Old 08-27-2008, 11:31 AM
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I'm right there with you. My 6 year old sounds a lot like your almost-4 year old. And I have an 18 month old who gets to deal with his big brother's aggressive and sensory-seeking behaviors. I do my best with discipline. Sometimes I lose it. Sometimes I surprise myself with my patience and creativity. I'm not perfect. None of us is perfect. We can only do our best, and face each situation with whatever amount of patience and understanding that we have at that particular moment. I'm never going to be the most wonderful mother ever. But, I'm good enough. My kids know they are loved and cared for. And, when I lose my temper and say or do things I regret later, I apologize for it and try to do better next time. It's hard. I know I could use regular breaks and more help! My DS1 is in OT three times a week now, and that helps, but we still have problems. And he's simply not going to get all the attention that he needs from me since I have a high-needs 18 month old to take care of as well. You can only do so much. It's really, really hard. On the really bad days, sometimes all you can do is keep them alive. Everything else will have to wait until you have had more sleep and a minute (or hour or day) to yourself to recharge.
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#5 of 6 Old 08-27-2008, 01:45 PM
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That's the thing I hate most about being a parent of a SN child- the guilt when you just can't take it anymore and end up yelling or leaving the room when they're crying. Everyone is human and we all NEED to get away from the constant demands of parenting- especially the even more demanding constant demands of our SN child.

I definately think you need to find a babysitter or see if there are any special needs programs in your area, I'm not sure how old your child is but there is a special needs preschool in our area (goes through age 6) that offers daycare (part time or full-time) and respite care once a month at night during dinner hours so that parents can get out.

I'm lucky to live near my mom and my grandma so I have the perfect support system. When it gets to be too much I just call one of them up and say "Grey really needs to come over." My mom watches him for a few hours everyday anyway so that I can go grocery shopping, do errands, etc in peace. I definately suggest trying to live near family or supportive friends if at all possible. We actually moved here to be near my family when we realized Grey might have some challenges.

As far as discipline, lot depends on what sort of challenges your child faces, but with ds1 I know that he understands and is very intelligent and often is just doing the same 3 year old crap that all 3 year olds do and need to be disciplined for, he just does it in more intense, explosive, and often more annoying ways. I treat him just like he's a normal 3 year old. He gets things taken away (especially TV time), he gets put in time out, I get down on his level when he's squealing and screaming at his brother, take his hands so he can't hit me, and say very sturnly that he WILL NOT scream in his brother's face and he will not pinch him or whatever he's doing at the moment and then he goes to time out. I definately pick my battles. I don't care if he cleans up or won't sit at the table sometimes, but I will not let any sort of violence against anyone (especially ds2) go unchecked.

Sometimes I yell and just explode and you know, he actually seems to really understand that for some reason. It's not my ideal way and its not something I do as a matter of course but when enough is enough I don't feel bad about him seeing that he is sending me through the frickin roof with his behavior and he needs to cut it out. Its easy to loose control especially when there is another child involved- the mama bear instinct in me comes out when he does something to his brother. One time he screamed so loud in ds2's face while he was sleeping (and ds2 was only 5 months old) that ds2 woke up wailing uncontrollably. I snapped and popped ds1 on the leg. I always said I would NEVER spank- I felt horrible about it. But you know, he hasn't done anything like that to ds2 since then. Not advocating it, but just saying that no one is perfect and I think most of us SN parents have some story to tell like that.

Best of luck to you and definately don't forget about this and just go back to the day to day- you HAVE to find some time for you. Don't feel bad that she's crying when you leave, I know its hard, but know that you will be so much better of a mama when you come back that its worth it to just put the fact that you have kids out of your mind for a few hours and go do something for you.

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#6 of 6 Old 08-27-2008, 10:08 PM
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Mamamelia, Thanks for taking the time to share with us. I hope that you feel some better just by posting and knowing that there are people who have btdt and that care.

Every mom needs some time to herself, especially a mom of a sn child. Find an hour or two, this weekend perhaps, where you can go and do something that you like to do, by yourself or with a girlfriend. When I get to feeling totally stressed, I tell DH that I've got to get out and I go to the library or bookstore. I take a walk somewhere special. Even grocery shopping can be a refreshing break if I am by myself!

Things that we do to help Sid: OT; brushing and joint compression; a special chewing rope; pillow "fights"; other heavy work, like jumping. Sid is an outside kid, and thankfully, we have a fenced back yard. He spends lots of time outside, and this is good for him and me.
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