Mickey has decided he is grown. We are having (for lack of a better term) an Oppositional Defiance flare-up. We cycle through these periods every 5 or six months. This one started about 10 days ago, but it is ramping up rather dramatically. This isn’t the same as an Autism “off” day – this is full on intentional “I don’t care what you want me to do, I will do exactly what I want”. Mickey is rarely nasty or mean, but as consequences have been applied for behavior, he has turned mean.
“If you all would leave me alone, I would do what I’m told”, “You give me consequences, I will give them to you”, “mind your own business, I am grown up and I don’t need you anymore”. Our normal consequences of grounding (no screen time, no playing with friends) and sentences aren’t doing the trick. So, now we will try something new. I will try giving him what he wants – I will leave him alone. Mickey doesn’t do well alone and strongly prefers attention and companionship. So, he will not have privileges – no tv, no extracurricular activities, no eating out, etc. I will also not be forcing homework, nor signing his daily agenda, unless it is put in the proper place in the evening (in his backpack hanging on the hook). The sentences won’t go away, but I won’t be mentioning them again.
For my own sanity and blood pressure, I need to step back. He hurt me last night and keeps lashing out more and more. He was horrible to his Grandfather and it broke my Dad’s heart and he was nasty to his Grandmother who is recovering from surgery. He is never awful to them. Ever. What we were doing isn’t working now, this has long been the story of our life – what works today, doesn’t work tomorrow. So, now we try this. He will have consequences at school, but those will be the natural consequence of not having homework (F) or not having his agenda signed – he won’t earn his classroom currency for having it signed, etc. I will buy him his own food and he is welcome to be responsible for his lunches and breakfasts. Dinner will be boring, but I will provide it. I will do his laundry because he wouldn’t care if his clothes were dirty, but I am shutting off cable to every room but the living room, and he will not be able to be with Minnie and I.
We are going into lock down mode around here. No treats, no eating out, no parks, no swimming, etc., at least not for Mickey. Wish us luck, keep Minnie in your thoughts please. In many ways her life is charmed, but some parts of her life are almost entirely controlled by Mickey. It is usually not a huge issue anymore, because overall his behavior is not what it once was. But, this is going to be a long holiday weekend for her, and unfortunately with my mom out of commission while recovering, it will be harder for someone else to help her get the positive attention she deserves. But, Minnie is resilient and we will do some crafts, swim a little, play some soccer, and do our best to have a nice weekend despite Mickey’s best attempts to thwart that plan.
Any advice or words of wisdom are welcomed and appreciated. For the first time in a while, I am at a loss. I am overwhelmed by the behavior and the sheer hostility towards me and his teachers. I don’t know what changed, I don’t know what is going on in his head. He once became fixated on proving how strong he was (constantly flexing, doing air ninja moves to scare people, professing to be able to beat people up, etc) and this ‘I am grown’ thing feels a little like that. I don’t know if it is his upcoming 10th birthday or something else. But, if we are dealing with an ASD fixation and a ODD flare up at the same time, we may be in for a challenge like we haven’t seen before. Usually they don’t converge like that for us, but I am perplexed.