Friday, December 2, 2011

What to do when nothing seems to be working...

It's been a while since I've posted.  I mostly try to keep this blog very upbeat and positive, a place where I can share information and help others out.  Being positive is a very large part of that for me, so when I'm having a rough time, I tend to not post.  But, part of this life for us is dealing with those down/hard times as well as the good times.  So today, I'm going to share some of the more difficult parts of our life lately.

I mentioned on here a few months back about how we were having problems with Ayden hitting his brother.  He's always pushed him a bit, but it really got out of hand when school started in the fall.  Since then, it's gotten even worse.  There isn't an hour of my day that goes by where Ayden is not hitting, pushing, slapping, or doing some other type of physical damage to his little brother.  It has become a constant source of problems in our house and despite everything we have tried, it is not getting even a little better. 

The past few weeks, we've had the joy of another issue popping up as well - Ayden is just whining all. the. time.  This past week it really hit an all-time high frustration level as we quite literally listened to him whine from around 4pm to 7pm (bedtime).  Ayden's whining in the past has always been related to communication issues, and while I can't rule that out this time - I don't feel that is the case entirely.  He's doing a very good job using his PECS to communicate his wants/needs in sentences to us.  The problem that we are having now is that instead of giving him whatever he asks for as you do in the learning stage of PECS, we have begun to tell him no and this isn't going over very well.  At all.  We introduced the yes/no cards a few months ago, and he definitely understands them.  He will build his sentence and then hand us the yes card, so it is very clear he does in fact understand.  He just doesn't like it.  I believe this is fairly typical behavior for a 4.5 year old, but as he can not actually VOICE his frustration/anger at our decision he is using the only method he knows how and that happens to be whining and crying.  Understanding this though does not make it easier on us.  So...we get a frustrated and angry 4 year old, who then begins to not only whine and cry, but also to take out his anger by doing things like throwing toys, hitting his brother, yanking on the curtains etc. 

Of course, we have to add on the final complication to this entire mess, the fact that both boys have not been listening to us lately.  I certainly expect this a little, they are of course children.  My frustration lies in the fact that no matter how consistent we are or what we are doing, every day the same words are coming out of my mouth constantly:

"Don't hit."
"Don't push"
"Don't scream"
"Don't run in the house"
"Don't go in the kitchen"
"Don't get out of bed"

Some of these are directed at Ayden, and some at Issac.  Issac is doing very well with his speech, and has a very consistent answer to return to me as well. "NO".   I very much expect this from a 2 year old, and it has been happening a month or so - though it is always dealt with.   Usually I just need to look at him and he corrects himself to "Yes, mom".  So, it really shouldn't have come as a surprise when Ayden started telling me no as well.  It was actually kind of the icing on the cake.

I feel like I could handle a few of these issues at a time, but all of them together is just too much.  I'm tired, frustrated, and feeling utterly and completely lost.  None of our normal disciplinary issues are working right now.  (I'm sure being 7 months pregnant certainly is not helping things at all either.)   So I sit here, wondering what more we could possibly do.  What part of Ayden's behavior issues are typical 4 year old issues and what part are FXS issues.  Most of all, I wonder what I can do so he is his normal happy again.  It's difficult to explain that to people, because Ayden is one of the happiest kids I've ever met.  When you talk about a smile lighting up a room, you need only to look to him to understand that.  When he is happy, the world around him his happy.  His smile, his laugh, his loveable will never meet a happier child.  This is quite literally the first thing most people say to us, even that have known him for a while.  So when I say he isn't normal happy, I mean he isn't like I explained above.  He's happy, and it's noticeable - it's just not normal for him.

I don't have the answers right now for all this, but I do know it needs fixing.  The hitting just cannot continue especially as we will have a newborn in the house very soon.  I do know that it's something only Mr Awesome and I can work through though.  And we will, it's just taking time.  Through all of it we must be doing something right as these behaviors do not happen much outside the house.  It gives me hope that it will begin resolving itself as we continue to push forward.

We'll be doing our annual Christmas Tree cutting and decorating this weekend.  I'm hoping it will help them a bit to get out and do something different that Ayden certainly has enjoyed in the past and Issac should start to remember.   And hopefully, I will update soon with some of these issue getting better or resolved.


  1. I just came across your blog and am very glad that I did. I work with a lot of FXS kids and am always interested in how the family is coping and handeling everyday tasks. I know you're likely not looking for advice (as no one knows your son better than you) but one suggestion that a lot of the families that I work with have is that you try to find ways to word things more positive ways to word things (so rather than saying "don't scream" say "use a quieter voice please" or rather than "don't get out of bed" saying "stay in your bed please"). This makes it a lot better for kids to know what they should be doing rather than what they should not be doing and also helps parents from feeling bad that all they say all day is "don't do this" and "don't do that".

  2. @SW123 Thank you for the comments and suggestions!