I go to the high school today to pick my son up for an appointment. He happened to be in the middle of an "awesome" social skills session with the school psychologist. She came and spoke to me to tell me how great he is doing at school. His teachers think he's doing great. He's passing all of his classes. They aren't seeing any of the negative behaviors that we saw last year in middle school. Wow!
So I'm happy that he's doing so well there. I just wonder why I'm seeing such a stark contrast here at home. I mean as soon as he sees me...he totally changes his demeanor and starts huffing and puffing, positioning himself to be angry and sad all for my benefit. His facial expression literally changed right before my eyes as we walked out of the school doors towards the car for his doctor's appointment.
"Why do you change like that as soon as you see me?" I ask.
"That's because you're mean to me!"
What do you mean I'm mean to you? I just saw you and said hello and you totally changed into H.R. Puffinstuff. (Am I dating myself here?)
"You're right Mom. I'm sorry. It's just that you guys won't give me the things that I want...especially Dad."
We make it to the doctor and I give her the rundown on the past few weeks -the atrocious behavior at home verses how "awesome" he is doing at school. What does she do? She tells him that he is being mentally abusive and disrespectful to us and that he needs to get a job to get all of the things that he wants! She also told him if he doesn't get his sh*# together (I'm embellishing here) she has the option to recommend that he be taken out of our home because he is basically being mentally abusive to us. Basically...she scared the sh*# out of him. Do I agree with this tactic? No...not really. Does he need a reality check? Yes...definitely. Did she really mean what she said? I don't know. She told him that she is giving him a chance to treat his parents better. Does he have the capacity to do this? I don't know.
This doctor is African. Other cultures do not put up with a lot of the crap that we "Americans" do. She is a mental health professional, a Psychiatrist. Does she really understand how to approach Aspergers specifically? Well...today, she didn't sound like any book I've ever read or any therapist I've ever been to.
At the same time, I am dealing with a teenager. The typical teenager gives his parents hell on a stick! My atypical teenager was "Mr. Personality" at school and for the rest of the world, and was pretty crappy to us most of the time. He would disagree if he reads this...but it's true. I lived it. I suppose a part of this behavior is a right of passage. It's just intensified times to the tenth power with a teen with Aspergers.
She also recommended yet another medication...Intuniv, which is primarily used for ADHD for impulsive behaviors. I believe it is a non-stimulant. Ugh!! Another freaking medication. I just don't know if I'm up for it. After giving it some thought on the way home, I remembered that I forgot to tell her that he's been sleeping a lot. Will this medication make him more sleepy?
Suddenly I had an 'ah hah' moment...he's doing great at school, one because "we" (his parents) aren't there. Since when do parents deserve any respect? Also, his day is structured with plenty of things to do. He is working really hard to appear typical to his peers. He doesn't have to do that here. He can relax and be his grouchy self. There is no one to impress here!
Lately, he has lost interest in the roller coaster design game (Roller Coaster Tycoon 3) that he used to play for hours. HE's Bored! Boredom drives him to looking on the internet for expensive things to that he thinks will give him something to do. It also leads him to annoy his brother and the dog, and anyone else in earshot.
What he really needs...is more inexpensive things to do. We need to keep him busy...or at least busier. Will that help some of the acting out? I think it will. The trick will be finding things that he is willing to do without a fight. (Good luck there!) These things also have to not involve me --at least not all the time.
The other day I thought about donating him to a church. Can't I just drop him off and they could keep him all day on Sunday? They can return him just in time for bed.
So sitting here writing this...I am talking myself out of trying this new medication. Instead I should try some more creative ways of keeping this boy out of my hair...which is turning more gray by the day.
Why isn't there a magic answer?