My Son Is Chronically Inflexible!

 I don’t think I ever knew pain until I experienced mommy guilt. No one tells you before you have kids that it’s a package deal. Kids and guilt go together like cookies and milk. No one tells you that the pain of mommy guilt will wreck you from the inside out. I spent all that time before I had kids with my head in the clouds thinking motherhood is all about hearts and rainbows. 

At age two we were told my son was severely linguistically compromised{Apraxia/Dyspraxia} and that therapy should be started immediately to rectify any impairment to his future development. In addition, he presented a sensory-based feeding disorder and sensory modulation deficits {Sensory Integration Dysfunction/Sensory Processing Disorder}. We also heard possible-borderline-autistic. Needless to say, the anguish my husband and I went through over this diagnosis was unparalleled.
I did indeed feel my was slower at speech, but I truly didn’t feel there was a “problem” with our son or that he was mentally compromised or developmentally delayed. There were no other “signs” that ever lead me to believe this. So, even when I was entrenched in the professional and lay opinions of everyone else, I could still see through it all, and believe my son would be okay.

"You are the worst mother in the world"


The above comment is what he shouted at me the other day as he was stomping up to his room for punishment. My 11 year old son has become exceptionally rude, grumpy and disrespectful and defiant at home. He is easily frustrated and chronically inflexible.

I've read lots of books, consulted with his peditricain, his old Physical Therapist,  a Developmental Psychologist, but I can't seem to get a handle on this attitude of my son.   

School is a different story and always has been.  He is a wonderful student! In fact, he scores at high school levels on aptitude tests! Everyone tells me he is gifted. His teachers enjoy him and have great things to say about him.  They are always shocked when I share the difficulty that we experience at home.  None of this behavior is ever displayed at school.  He has many friends, plays guitar and takes fencing lessons.  He is a welcome guest at play dates.  Parents of his friends often comment on his polite behavior and how quiet he is, and again, are always surprised if I share details of his behavior at home.  

We also have a 9 year old daughter and a 6 year old daughter who do not display these same types of behavior.  Our family life is the same as the families in our area, single family income, father works outside of the home, mother stays home, homeschooled children, active in our church. Our children have been raised in a stable, loving, two parent family and the girls are very well grounded and very well behaved. They are loving and kind to their friends and family.  We have many close friends and family members.  

Everyone is puzzled by our son, but again, the behaviors only occur within our immediate family.  Never, ever with friends. He has just recently began to let the attitude slip around family members and they are horrified.  My brother actually told me I needed to start spanking my son, something I have not done ever, and something I am not at all comfortable with.

I am at my wits end.  When he's pleasant, he's so much fun to be around.  I have said of late that he is 85% great but the 15% that is hard is absolutely grueling.  With everything my husband and I have tried, we have never really made any significant difference{s}. We have tried reasoning, explaining, punishing, sticker charts, therapy, medication - all to no avail. We can't figure out why out son acts the way he does. We can't figure out why the strategies that work for our daughters don't work for out son. We will have periods of relative peace which can last for a couple of days or weeks, but we can never pinpoint why this happens. Just as we never know what really sets him off.  

Grounding has not helped.  Taking things away doesn't seem to matter. He could care less if I take the television away from him. He does get quite angry when I ground him from his iPod Touch, but it passes quickly and he remains grounded from technology for months at a time because of his behavior.

Talking about the impact of his behavior on other people, {ie: his family} does not seem to matter to him.  He seems never to have any remorse, just anger when consequences are imposed. We have to force him to apologize and there is such anger and hatred in his face, I honestly can't believe he is my son sometimes.

I'm so exhausted everyday trying to derail my son's bad attitude. I have worked so hard homeschooling my children and he simply ruins at least one day out of the week. My husband tells me I can not let one little incident pass by me without calling my son out on it. However, there are times when I simply do not have the energy to deal with his bad attitude. There are times when I just want to get through the day without an episode. There are days when I just let things slide to keep the peace. I'm really not sure if this is the right thing to do. I've just never wanted to be the type of mom who calls their children out on every single, little incident that happens throughout the day. I feel like I need to pick the important issues and try to work through those as they occur.

My son is on his way out of our homeschool and back into a private school. I think perhaps this is the environment that may suit him better. He is still very much a child with SPD and maybe being a home is what is contributing to his meltdowns. I'm back to a world of maybes again.