My Asperger son has trouble with handling punishments. Whenever he is given one he has a tantrum and then whines about the punishment afterwards for at least a week. I keep telling him to "move on", meaning to forget about it and go to the next thing. But he doesn't listen. He also wants to "make up" punishments often. For example, if his punishment is going to bed early, he may ask to stay up later the next night. I think he is upset about punishments because they're changes in his schedule. Please give me advice that is long and good!
I had trouble with punishment too. Lots of times I remember being spanked or sent to timeout, not remembering what I did to cause such a reaction.
For one thing when I am wrapped up in an activity nothing come hell or high water will pull me away from the task I am doing unless:
a. I complete the task to my satisfaction
b. I grow bored of the task
c. Something else catches my attention
It is very difficult for me to "move on" because I feel anxiety leaving whatever task I started undone, if it is something I can get absorbed into. Perhaps a good way to explain the sensation is like leaving all the faucets running at full blast and all the doors and windows wide open... It just doesn't feel natural.
Starting next task causes anxiety too. I have a hard time trying to put this feeling into words. Perhaps it is frustrating because I don't know how much attention I need to pay to next task. Will it take a few minutes or several hours to get done? Will it be a task I can complete or will I be left unable to finish it?
For example I am writing something on the computer. I can never get done because there's always something new to write or just one more forum post to answer...
If I need to vacuum, there's always one last corner that needs to be vacuumed. There's always dust somewhere...
If I need to wash dishes (immense dislike to starting this task to begin with) every dish needs to be spotless and perfectly clean to my standards...
When I get involved in a particular task, I have a hard time doing a "half hearted" effort. Either I give the task my all or none at all.
Some people find timers helpful. In my past, it just set me up for several partially completed projects, or at least the feeling I didn’t complete. Or I just ignored the timer. My dad sometimes put consequences to failing to do things by that time, but some of the methods he did, though they may have worked, they left me quite bitter and mad for a period of time. (he sometimes squished bug jars or throw out a random house plant) I'd backlash on some of those occasions because I also had it in my mind what I thought was a fair punishment vs an unreasonable one.
Maybe dad was wrong? (Some of those things caused me great distress. After all would you want something meaningful of yours damaged and tossed in the garbage as a consequence?)
Maybe I was wrong? (After all, my dad had a hard time finding any other solution. I wouldn't listen to him any other way. I had it set in my mind I was going to finish whatever before moving on to eating or washing dishes.)
I can't say who was right or wrong, because we both believed we were doing the right thing. Maybe you can take a similar approach, but not damage the object of bargaining.
I may be describing OCD with my autism (after all lots of so called disorders are comorbid), who knows, but when I get punished for trying to make the floors completely free of dust or punished for taking too long washing dishes, I feel bad, because I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do and now I'm getting whacked.
I hope I described this as honestly as I could. I think this has got to be the first time I actually put this experience and feelings involved into words. I may find better ways of describing it the more I understand about myself.
I squashed bug jars after repeated requests to clean them out and move them out of he way. And plants were because you argued about where you can keep them when you knew where they belong (not enough space) and had more plants than you can handle.
I find finding appropriate punishments difficult. I think there is a difference between being naughty and being autie.
In the UK I am hearing alot of good things about the 1-2-3 magic system because the programme can be used with all children in the household. I don't know all the ins and outs of it but It involves earning rewards (which can be tokens they keep in a jar) for good behaviour and when they have an agreed amount of tokens they can trade them in for a pre-agreed reward eg. 1 token means a treat (eg. macDonalds), 2 tokens = trip out to swimming baths, 3 tokens = a toy etc.
I cannot remember what you do when they misbehave, but I know it involves warning, a choice/compromise and if they don't comply some tokens are taken off them. If they do comply they get a token. I liked the sound of this system because it recognises that some children cannot simply comply straight away and it allows them to chose an alternative remedy that they can keep to. That might be worth looking at as it seems to concentrate on positive behaviours and accountability. I know a number of mums with numerous kids on the spectrum and with ADHD swear by it and say it has saved family life.
I find it hard to punish my 7 year old after a full blown tantrum (which is usually caused by some autistic traits). When I send him to his room, after about 10 minutes he will be all tearful and apologetic about what he has done. He says he can't stop himself and he can't control himself and he can't stop the bad feeling. He is genuinely sad that he called me lots of colourful names and tells me he is sorry. Then he will get really upset with himself and say I am a very very bad boy I can't control myself. Now I know he has been bad, but I know he is being truthful when he says he can't stop it and he can't control it, because that is what other autistic people say. So I content myself with having sent him to his room. We talk it through afterwards. If he starts the same thing again soon afterwards I remind him of what happened before and sometimes that brings him round. If he really cannot stop himself I empathise with how he must be feeling and sometimes that in itself diffuses the situation. So instead of me sending him to his room telling him he has been naughty. I send him to his room saying I understand you are feeling very bad and angry, but you need to calm down. If I meet him head on it will just escalate.
Now, my husband, doesn't exactly agree with this. He thinks he gets away with far too much and that being naughty is being naughty and no excuses. And sometimes, if my son is really pushing all of my buttons I will explode and turn into a Sergeant Major and just the tone of my voice and the look on my face will send him running for cover.
Don't know if any of that helps??
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