Extreme stress cycle crises. I need help.

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Miah
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04 Oct 2011, 10:26 pm

I have to explain a bit of the background to this situation, but I am not trying for sympathy. It just won't make sense without the context.

So far this year, my grandpa has suddenly gotten sick, spent a month in hospital, and then died just when it seemed that he was getting better. My grandma has been showing ever increasing signs of dementia along with large doses of denial. My dad's auto-immune disorder prognosis has been changed from 'this will kill you within twenty years' to 'you will definitely be dead within five years, probably much sooner'. We're behind in the bills. My husband didn't get the promotion he was hoping for. Various parts of our house are falling apart, and the Internet group that forms 90% of my non-child interpersonal contact suddenly accused me of being a lying troublemaker.

It has been a huge amount of stress and change for me in a short amount of time. I, as an individual, do not do well with stress and change. I become more irritable, less patient, less willing to be touched (which bothers my two snuggle oriented children), my reactions to small things are more extreme, and I am often rather apathetic.

In short, my extreme stress passes on to my kids. My toddler has developed acid reflux, which means that he hasn't been sleeping well, and everyone knows how pleasant a tired toddler with a belly ache is to be around. He is doing better now. After a month of randomly throwing up at night, he's on anti-acid reflux medication and is finally able to sleep, so that helps some what. The middle child reacts by showing out, being defiant, and by teasing his older brother. He's in counseling and is annoying at times, but we are coping with him.

Then there is my oldest child. He's on the waiting list to be tested for autism. He is 11 1/2. He was tested at 3 and was labeled as somewhere between NT and autistic. I've always suspected that mild AS is too difficult to diagnose at age 3. He and I are very alike. He also does not deal well with stress, but where I am an extreme internalizer, he is more explosive. We've had explosion problems with him in the past when he was in public school, but he has been much more in control in the years that we have homeschooled him. He is a very large 11 1/2 year old. He is 5'4" and weighs 160 pounds. He is plenty large enough to cause injury to someone.

Just today, he and the middle child have been in physical fights four times (these usually set the three year old on a hitting spree). He has tried to hit his brother with a chair, and one point threatened me with the chair. He has hit the three year old twice, "because he hit me first", once while I was holding the three year old telling him to apologize prior to going into time out (he mostly got my arm that time, and he wasn't holding his strength back). This is one situation that I am actually glad that his strength and co-ordination correspond to that of a younger child.

I know these kinds of behaviors are completely out of line. They can't continue. My problem is that I know he isn't doing these things with the thought of being bad. He is stressed beyond his current coping abilities. If I yell at him or strongly punish him then that is going to add more stress and put him even further out of control. On the other hand, I cannot allow this to continue. He is going to hurt someone. All the fighting and chaos is upping my stress level, also, which only adds more to the kids, and it's become like this self-reinforcing cycle that is quickly heading for disaster.

Any suggestions for help in managing his immediate problem of extreme lashing out, or the larger problem of how to get off this stress cycle would be wonderfully appreciated.



MountainLaurel
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04 Oct 2011, 11:18 pm

Quote:
Just today, he and the middle child have been in physical fights four times (these usually set the three year old on a hitting spree). He has tried to hit his brother with a chair, and one point threatened me with the chair. He has hit the three year old twice, "because he hit me first", once while I was holding the three year old telling him to apologize prior to going into time out (he mostly got my arm that time, and he wasn't holding his strength back). This is one situation that I am actually glad that his strength and co-ordination correspond to that of a younger child.

I know these kinds of behaviors are completely out of line. They can't continue. My problem is that I know he isn't doing these things with the thought of being bad. He is stressed beyond his current coping abilities. If I yell at him or strongly punish him then that is going to add more stress and put him even further out of control. On the other hand, I cannot allow this to continue. He is going to hurt someone. All the fighting and chaos is upping my stress level, also, which only adds more to the kids, and it's become like this self-reinforcing cycle that is quickly heading for disaster.


Is the son in the bolded text oldest son? You're absolutely correct, if you allow this to continue you will have a an increasingly dangerous nightmare.

Men; fathers, are the best at dealing with the physical agressions of sons. I have never seen a mother effectively sort it out. A strong father can and will keep the family peace as to the physicallity of the sons.

Quote:
Any suggestions for help in managing his immediate problem of extreme lashing out

What is your husband's aproach to this? Does your husband spend a lot of time with the boys during his time off work? If not, as much time as possible spent with dad may be very helpful in sorting this out. I don't know what men know when it comes to boys. But you've got the husband/father right there.



Franma
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05 Oct 2011, 12:10 am

Hi Miah

I'm sorry to see all that is happening to you at once. Have you considered Martial Arts for the oldest to channel his physicality. I did that with my suspected AS son at 11 for a lot of the reasons you mention. I went a little more extreme and put him in the teen/adult class due to being big for his age. He benefited both from the challenge of having people to play rough with that he didn't have to worry about hurting (being the smallest in the group was a new concept for him) and from the structure and guidance of martial arts. It really settled him down a lot and developed confidence. I would caution you to check the schools well to see that it is reputable and teaches mind,body,spirit style martial arts and not just fighting. Anyway, that's a thought for you to consider, hope it helps.


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"It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential." Hans Asperger

In the end I'm just me whatever that may be


angelalala
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05 Oct 2011, 12:31 am

Are you in counseling at all? I think
it would be a good idea, and perhaps they could point you in the direction of some sort of supportive services (behavioral therapy, etc) for your son in your town.