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At the end of my string
  • MarSet
    Posts: 38
    Hi Everybody, Im new to the forum and only heard about PDA yesterday.

    Ive spent virtually all day reading up on it and what if anything I can do and it seems that its all about calming tactics.

    My 13 year old son has been a problem since he first started school but all we got was the he's a boy he'll grow out of it, the reality is he's got steadily worse and worse. I personally have jumped through every hoop the system has thrown expected me to jump through and got nowhere until last year when camhs put us onto the family therapy route. I explained that this wouldn't work as my son won't own any responsibility for any of it, the therapist soon came to my point of view and has fast tracked him to the diagnostic route although he will still be involved.
    I think he fits the PDA profile 100% and for years most of the aggression has been aimed at me and now he's getting more physically threatening im worried im going to snap.
    Nothing I've done for him seems to work, technology bans causes more problems that it solves although during the ban he does seem calmer but make demands that have to be met or he kicks off. sending him to his room, when he finally does go to his room he's smashing things around and breaking things. He's an embarrassment to be out anywhere with because as soon as he's told no he rages and doesn't care where he is.
    We have a huge problem with his personal hygiene at bath time we get a massive argument from him but when he eventually does go up he just sits in the water and doesn't wash, if we threaten to sit in the bathroom and make sure he's washing he just sits there getting angry until we leave and then still doesn't wash. he very rarely cleans his teeth and again usually only if one of us are watching him.
    His language is vile, he'll often sit and say nasty things to me under his breath and then deny saying anything even though it was loud enough to hear.
    Some of the aggression is now getting aimed at Mum as well now but its usually when she's had to get involved and back me up or reiterating my rules/requests. He's pushed my daughter so much she ended up moving out (although she did used to wind him up sometimes) but she basically left because she couldn't cope with it anymore.

    This all probably sounds familiar to most of you, there is probably lots of stuff ive left out because frankly its overwhelming. Ive been the main target for years and I'm so drained physically and emotionally I dont know how much more I can take or what next to do. From what ive read today camhs seem pretty dismissive about PDA although I will wait and see for myself.

    Sorry for the rant but its nice to know there are other people who understand what I were going through.

    Mark x
  • SGCmum
    Posts: 79
    Hi Mark. I'm relatively new to all of this myself, but you are definately not alone. I'm sure people with more experience will be offering you support and advice but I can tell you there really are things you can do to improve things. There is so much to learn, and a whole different way to look at parenting. It takes time, but there really is hope for some change. For me, the main thing is seeing my daughter as struggling, and suffering, not just being awkward. There are loads if old chats in the forum with great advice, but I have found that if you ask a specific question then people really take the time to pass on their knowledge. Good luck
  • MarSet
    Posts: 38
    Thank You SGCmum, I'm slowly getting round to reading threads on here.
    Its really difficult trying to re-train my mind and learning ways of parenting to a different set of ideas because I've been dealing with it for the last 8 years.
  • Ja
    Posts: 8
    Hi, The resources are on the site and plenty of books available. Gen up loads and you will feel more in control- you've made the connection and now are on the right path- a huge breakthrough. We have come to realise that PDAers have a social hangover after doing something 'sociable', have to have a break, no demands, just chill out even it is playing games on phone- helps to zone out. Demands, the more we want them to do something, the more they resist. All about choice and control as you will have read about. In our house, it is 'shower or bath', which shower gel 'this or that one', 'electric or manual' toothbrush, do them 'upstairs or downstairs'. It is most bizarre but as soon as they have a choice, their anxiety about not being in control is less. It doesn't always work. Someone else's post described running a bath every night until the child decided to go in it. Our child chooses which gel and spray to buy at supermarket, their choice. Lots of empty bottles to play with and make potions ..even at 11.5 years. However, once in the bath, can't get them out. Happy days, went swimming today ( 'swim or gym' choice) so no bath needed tmrw. Hurrah ! By the way, keep well hydrated as that helps stop the stress ( cortisol level) rising. Even low level dehydration is a problem in my child. Think of angry/meltdown as a panic attack. Yes it can be very embarrassing- no public shame. Drinks and snacks are godsends when something is about to 'kick off'. We got a dog and although it made anxiety initially worse, they enjoy taking control of the lead and walking the dog if we are out. At a PDA event I went to a few years ago, I asked if dogs helped. There was an overwhelming YES. The dog does help us get out as a family and exercise. stroking dog etc all good for mental health. Best of British .
  • thanks Ja - I find this reply useful.
  • paulfoel
    Posts: 13
    Mark - WOW this could be our 15 year old son.

    We made the mistake of letting him have too much PC time. Now hes obsessed its all that matters to him.

    So any ban is met with extreme aggression. It is our fault - like you when we took him out he was a nightmare so it was easier to leave him home. Bad idea from us I think.

    Hes got a little sister 5 years old so, of course, we wanted to do nice things as a family with both kids. When we had him with us you just wished he wasnt there.
  • MarSet
    Posts: 38
    Thank you for the replies everybody, I keep writing a big response but it doesn't seem to want to post from my ipad
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,053
    If it’s too long it may not post and you might need to split into two messages.
  • MarSet
    Posts: 38
    Hi RhanH, it wasn't that long I was just responding to everybody in 1 post.

    Paulfoel, the problems with tech started when we had to put time limits on usage before that he'd grumble and moan about it but he'd finish what he was doing and turn it off, I think his first mobile was when it really started.
    This last week while my daughter was visiting, I picked them up on Tuesday within an hour he'd already started on her causing major grief, Wednesday we were all going to the cinema, he wanted to see Alita when he saw the trailer for it the week before but he refused to go as he thought wed get the neighbour round so he could go back on his xbox, he was told this won't be happening and if it did he wouldn't be going back on it anyway, his reply was ill just be a dick for whoever is looking after me then so I ended up staying at home with him.
    Thursday we did manage to go for a meal without to much aggravation (very unusual) but he started later. Friday we were going to the seaside and yet again he refused with the same intention as Wednesday so I ended up having to stay at home again. Basically a spoilt week because he manipulated every part of it.
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,053
    HI MarSet, it sounds like you're having a very difficult time at the moment. This might sound a silly question but have you tried talking things through with your son to see if he can identify what the difficulties are for him and whether you could agree any solutions to help him feel more comfortable accessing activities for example? I appreciate he may not want to talk, but sometimes we have to perserve and keep trying, maybe via different means ie communicating via a game he enjoys, an e-mail/text, etc. All behaviour is a form of communication, so it's about trying to find out what he needs to help, whether this is time alone with no demands or tactics to help enjoy time away from the home.

    You mention that you've been working with CAMHS, does your son have any diagnosis ie. ASD, or could this be someting that might be worth exploring? Is it possible your son could be feeling that he's different to his peers but is confused and doesn't know how to articulate this? Puberty is also a naturally confusing time for our children but if he's feeling unsure about things it's possible this could be spiking the behaviour too.

    Please remember we do also have an Enquiry Line if you would like to talk to someone on a more one-to-one basis: https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/contact


  • MarSet
    Posts: 38
    Hi RhanH, we've been working with the family therapist until now but he's had a few 1 on 1s with him as well. He's starting the diagnosis route on the 5th of March so hopefully we will find something out soon but as yet he's not been diagnosed with anything.

    Communicating with him for me is almost impossible because he just won't talk to me, I'm treated with a whole host of verbal abuse, him telling me to shut up or him blocking his ears and screaming at me. He also will just sit there and completely ignore me with his middle fingers in the air. I have tried to communicate through text and email on other things but that more often than not proves fruitless or I get a middle finger emoji. I dont think its a puberty thing because he's been like it for years just getting steadily worse and worse as time has gone by.
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 1,053
    I can sympathise with how challenging this is for you. Even if you do usually hit a brick wall, I would encourage you to keep trying though as you never know, one day he may just respond slightly more positively. If he knows you're not going to give up, this may help to increase his trust and in the longer term his willingness to communicate.

    In the meantime, I do hope the assessment process goes as smoothly as it can for you.

    Please keep posting and let us know how you get on.
  • MarSet
    Posts: 38
    I tried to have a conversation with him yesterday afternoon when he got in from school, he ranted off at me and proceeded to lock me out in the garden, ignored his phone and any attempt to get his attention. An hour and half later he opened the door and said have you learnt your lesson and tried to stop me getting back in the house. I kept my calm but had to shove my way back in.
  • June67
    Posts: 706
    Well done for keeping your calm in a very challenging situation, try to remember if he does have PDA it's not personal it's just him not being able to cope. I tend to give my boys as much time and space as they need once we've completed the coming home rituals that the PDAer needs to do to make the transition from school to home. They often need to just be and not talk frequently watching Youtube or gaming for an hour or so before I can get any sense out of them. The also need to be fed and watered fully as they need it before we can talk at all. You are not alone in being met with anger and fury just for trying to talk, keep the door open but not pushed and you may have some more positive things in time. Remember you speaking to him creates a set of demands for him to a) listen, b) acknowledge you, c) think of a response and d) speak or reply and he may not be ready to think about the topic you raised. So you can see how after a stressful day at school he wants to calm down from and forget about your normal simple question 'So how was school?' could set him off into a stress linked meltdown or challenging behaviours.
    Keep being calm and patient even if he can't always do the same although it's frustrating you are being a role model for how to manage feelings if nothing else. On a practical note think about where keys and spares are kept and if that needs to be different, also sad to say it but we keep knives etc. less accessible e.g. in hard to open cupboard as then there is less danger of harm from negative impulsive behaviours just in case.
  • MarSet
    Posts: 38
    Hi June67, we wasn't talking at the time. after he had raged off at me he went back to his xbox and I went out for a smoke so the door was closed when it happened, he even went to the kitchen window to tease me with the key.
    Sometimes I think its just the sound of my voice that sets him off because even if he speaks to me as soon as I respond he goes off on one. I try and give him the space he needs specially when he's on the xbox but that's mainly because I can't watch him playing the games he likes to play for more than 5 minutes at a time or I get a raging headache.
  • Kallie79
    Posts: 23
    Mark,
    Didn't want to read and run.
    I'm new here. My son is a lot like yours. He's younger, he's 9 but he can be very creative with the things he says to me. It's hurtful to say the least. I totally understand where you're at. I've had to take the PS4 off him. He's had several meltdowns about it but I hate the thing. It's caused nothing but grief.
    I can relate.
    Hope you're well.
    K
  • MarSet
    Posts: 38
    Hi Kallie79,
    Funnily enough his behaviour changes when we used to give him technology bans. He would be calmer but rage off about different things. He would put a constant demand on our time even when we were busy doing things and everything had to be on his terms or he would start. Taking his xbox away is an idea but not one I'm considering at the moment because he's starting to get more physically abusive towards me now, he's already threatened me with knives and various other things so if I take his xbox away I fear that would escalate into something very different.
  • Kallie79
    Posts: 23
    Mark,
    Hello and thank you for your replies to my post earlier this week.
    Yes I think it's all about knowing what will trigger them. It's difficult cause the triggers can alter from time to time. Does your son like animals? I've noticed my lad is very calm and happy around animals. I've asked my key worker about possibly getting him into something to do with that.
    I've now been reffered to social work. This fills me with dread as I've had previously had them involved. I feel like everyone is judging me when my entire life is all about trying to keep my son afloat and happy. I know they'll help but it's daunting. How have things been for you lately? Hope you're well.
    Kallie79.
  • MarSet
    Posts: 38
    Hi Kallie79,
    Happy to try and help and if it did then great, We have 2 dogs and he likes them when it suits him to like them which isn't very often and normally when he's avoiding something. Most of the time the dogs are actually scared of him because of the meltdowns so they keep away from him.
    It was a reasonable week until he had went off on one this morning and refused to go to school, Hope your doing OK
    Mark
  • Kallie79
    Posts: 23
    Hello Mark
    The school refusal thing is horrible isn't it?
    I get it at least once a week. School are supportive but it's not a problem I can see going away anytime soon.
    I'm just waiting it out in my room at the moment as he's just told me I'm a piece of crap and he didn't want me near him. Im so tired.
    Hope you're weekend goes well.
  • MarSet
    Posts: 38
    Hi Kallie79,

    Luckily the school refusal thing isn't a massive issue with him, its normally a Monday when he can't be bothered to get up but not very often. I find its those days when he's not at school (due to refusal or exclusion) that im at my lowest as im pretty much trapped in the house, I can't even take the dogs for a walk.
    We had a fairly decent weekend for a change thank you. Hope your well

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