5 10/10/2012 parenting Autism


We know that raising kids doesn’t come with a handbook.

Raising kids with special needs? OY!  We’re going through this blind. With no help.
Cuyler is my heart but lately I have no clue what I’m doing with this kid.
We are seeing behaviours I never thought we’d be dealing with.
Aggression. Yelling, hitting, pushing, spitting. Experimenting with swear words.
(old pic, taken in fun. But most days lately this is how I feel with him)


I probably shouldn’t write about this but will because people laugh when I tell them. It’s not funny at all, yet so funny…
He doesn’t like when we raise our voices. Sean spoke firmly to him a few weeks ago. Cuyler ran to his room crying.  He came down a few minutes later. Sean was cooking at the stove and had his back to the kitchen. Cuyler stood behind him and silently held a piece of paper up to Sean’s back.
He refused to show me what it said. When I finally got a glimpse of it, I saw:

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry so I did both.

He’s done it once again after that. I told him that I was going to send it to school and show his EA. He didn’t like that.
I also told him that I was going to send it to Santa if he did it again.
He hasn’t done it again.
For the record – that is not okay. We do not allow that. It is unacceptable.
We have rules and expectations of appropriate behaviour in our home.
Yet we have no idea how to discipline him.  He knows it’s wrong. He knows he is not allowed to swear. He knows he is not allowed to spit or push. Or throw things.
He has an older brother and a younger sister who can get on his nerves but his reactions are unacceptable.
How do you discipline a child who doesn’t care about consequences?
How do you reason with a child who has no reasoning skills?
How do you negotiate with a child who has no negotiating skills?
I am clueless.
We took him to a pediatric psychiatrist in the summer to explore the option of medication. It was one area we had yet to explore. This doctor concluded that meds were not a good option for Cuyler. Potential side effects far outweighed any benefit we might see.
I was relieved yet at the same time at a loss as to what to do next. I don’t know what to do next. I don’t know what to do.
For the most part he is a gem at school. We’ve only had one really bad day. That was last week. I am terrified that these behaviors are going to creep into school.
I don’t know if this is something he’ll grow out of. If it’s just him experimenting with his/our limits. Lately I feel like I’m fighting him all the time.
Right now we have no other options than to just keep doing what we’re doing. We’ll just keep trudging along, waiting for those small doses of immense joy that I get from him every now and then.
While we do that I can take comfort in the fact that I’m not a bad parent.
I can effectively discipline my other children. I can reason and negotiate with them.
They are good kids. All three of them are.
I just really don’t like autism these days.
  • Leslie

    Wow Christine, this sounds so difficult and yet somewhat normal. I totally remember my son wanting to express himself in ways he knew were wrong, but it did not stop him. They want to see what they can get away with and will deal with consequence, no matter what it is. I know what you deal with is different, but stay strong, you ultimately do know what the best way to deal with it is….even if you can’t figure it out right now….you will!!!

  • Tracey

    I feel for you, woman… sending hugs your way. Lots of them. xox

  • Kelly Campbell Rutherford

    Where is the Super Nanny for Autism!?!?!? Is there anyone at the school board who is the autism “expert” (like there could be such a thing)? There really is no template for what you’re going through with him, there never has been. Yet, you HAVE done well with him. He has mastered many of the skills you and Sean set out for him, thinking rather than responding, which is HUGE!!!!! THe success is so hard to see at times. oxoxo

  • Julie

    to me this sounds like “normal” behaviour for his age…but i think maybe it’s just intensified by autism? every kid at his age (mine, too) are experimenting with words they hear on the playground so when the f-bomb drops at the table we talk about it and that it’s not an acceptable word.
    i think he does understand the consequences and reasoning…he’s not allowed to say F-U…so he writes it down!! sorry, but i snorted loud at that one. that kid has smarts our the wahzoo! i can only imagine what the behaviour would be like if you were lax in your parenting.
    you’re not a good mom…you’re an awesome mom!

  • Sara

    Oh dude. I know my sister has been dealing with the same lately – Scotty was really into these youtube videos that had bad words in them and he was repeating them. Like Cuy – he knows that these are not good words! I’m trying to remember how my sister dealt – I honestly think she just got angry with him – and he recognized that he wasn’t going to get away with it…. but man – what the hell do you do????

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