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Son may be going into care after Christmas

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Hello,

I suppose I just need a little moral support, or perhaps, I just want to rant. Both my teenage sons are on Child Protection Plans due to emotional abuse by my husband. My DH is not a bad man, he has Asperger's syndrome and cannot regulate his emotions very well. As a result of the abuse, I live with my eldest son (who has AS and borderline psychosis) and my younger son (who is 14) lives with my DH. However, after a period of homelessness (lodging with relatives) I have secured a home in the small town where my DH and youngest son live. I have done this so that I can offer my youngest some respite from my DH who is not coping well (and who is verbally abusing and threatening my youngest son).
Under the Plan, my youngest son has been named as a perpetrator of 'abuse' against his older (16 year old) brother. However, the situation is complicated and the 'abuse' seems to centre around my youngest's need to control, which is driven by anxiety and my eldest son's lack of understanding about boundaries. However, because I have been giving my youngest respite at my house, I have been allowing a lot of contact between the brothers and this is something that the authorities are concerned about.
One or two incidents have occurred in which my eldest has shown signs of stress (e.g. melting down in public, running away for an hour or so) but on Friday, he had a serious episode in which he expressed plans to sexually assault people and he was experiencing hallucinations. He was admitted to hospital for a short period.
Whilst my son was in hospital, our social worker told me that a foster placement had been applied for, accepted and possibly found for my youngest son. The social worker explained that my husband could not really look after my youngest and had hit him (not hard) and that I could not really provide accommodation for him because too much contact obviously affects his brother in a serious way.
So, it is Christmas Day and my youngest is going to come round. I have a 'safety plan' which I have had to draw up with the local authority which states that if my youngest torments his brother, I must call the police. I also know that after Christmas, there is a very real chance that my youngest will go into care. I also know that at some point, my husband will lose his temper and create tensions that may not be possible to manage. I just don't know how I can play happy families today.
I apologise for the length of this post.

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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I would say that when a situation is toxic or when people have a negative destructive influence over one another - the first thing to do is create some space and change environment : leave - go somewhere else - do something else that will provide the opportunity to get some perspective, quietness and calm - a cooler head and a feeling to be back in touch with oneself

then - if possible - have a conversation based on actual facts and things that have been done and said - not about whatever else has been "added" to the circumstances as in any "complications" having resulted from the situation or issue - just consider the initial facts and figures and decide how to deal with it in a way that offers a (albeit maybe temporary) solution but something that allows for the potential for resolution in an optimal and positive way

so if your son's can't be together - they must separate until one and the other have found a way to relate in a more constructive way - starting with the fact that they must consider how they behave and why - what kind of "relationship" they have with themselves - where the problem is specifically situated from their individual point of view and how they intend to deal with it - before getting back into any relationship with another

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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Thank you for the reply. Your advice makes perfect sense to me and I know that the primary aim of the Child Protection Plan is to provide such space between family members. However, I cannot simply turn my youngest son away and leave him in the care of a man who cannot cope. If I did not offer him respite, he would have no release from the situation in his home; it would seem to him (and to me) that I was choosing the welfare of one child over the other and I would have to watch as my youngest child slipped into a care system where, given his age and profile, he is unlikely to thrive. Yet by allowing my youngest significant access to my home, I also allow him opportunities for contact with his brother and this is affecting my eldest son. I place boundaries and have laid sown rules for behaviour. These are formalised in the safety agreement, but it takes so little to start an incident. However, so far today has gone well. My sons are getting on well. We have been down to my mother's farm and they have been occupied with some practical tasks. My husband has had time to himself, which is what he needs and so, I have something positive to report back to Children's Social care after the weekend. Yet, the spectre of care still looms and I keep thinking, perhaps in a melodramatic sense, that this may be one of the last times we meet together as a family. Anyway, thank you for replying and Happy Christmas.

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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Would it not be better all round were it your eldest who were the one taken into care - say, some caring and homely institution (one that allows constant visiting) geared specifically for Aspergics, Autistics and PDD-NOS?... including better and more happy-making for him, being around likemindeds, etc.?

What I don't understand, though, is why, considering it sounds from the way you put it as if was your husband's behaviour predominantly as caused the protection order, with (I'm presuming) the youngest's actings-out but an offshoot symptom, the powers that be have decided that putting the youngest, the Neurotypical, with his Aspie dad and the eldest, the Aspie, with you the NT parent was a clever idea? I mean, "The social worker explained that my husband could not really look after my youngest and had hit him (not hard)" - duh? Surely it should be the other way around (again - Like with Like)?

Did they give you any plausible explanation for why that way round instead?

It doesn't sound like there's anything strictly abnormal going on in terms of two brothers constantly squabbling and fighting - ask any parent! The untoward part is obviously the extremes either of them go to in their needling and responses.

Have you ever let them see you crumple into a loudly sobbing heap when they behave like that? And could it possibly be that the younger is aiming his resentment over the whole sorry situation, at his older brother, believing he's the root causal factor of his father's stress overload?

Might this free document help? - https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2015/12/01/your-atnwork-making-puberty-and-adolescence-tool-kit. Are you also aware of the website forums like Wrong Planet? - http://wrongplanet.net/

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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Thank you for understanding. The Child Protection Plans apply to each boy and come under the category of 'emotional abuse'. I was conceited enough to believe I could manage everything: go to work; de-escalate my husband's emotions and protect the children. However, despite working with other agencies to support the family for years, the boys suffered enormously and developed all the problems associated with crippled self-esteem (anxiety disorders, school refusal and behavioural issues). This summer, my eldest attempted suicide and disclosed elements of abuse that I was not aware of and it seemed as though my youngest son was 'bullying' my eldest in a sexual way. I moved to my sister's house with my eldest and an application was made for him to attend a residential specialist college, funded by the local authority. However, funding was refused at the last minute and I have had to give up full time work to care for my son until something else can be found. I had intended to find somewhere for my youngest and me to live once my eldest was in college, but this plan has gone badly wrong.

My youngest was, to some extent, a part time carer for his brother. He helped him to navigate the social landscape; told him what teenagers wear and how they behave and I believe the sexual stuff was connected in some way to and attempt to control a sibling whose mental health had become dangerously out of control. Now my youngest is simultaneously caring for and controlling his father, but the abuse is still going on.

So, it is all a bit of a mess. I know I failed to protect my children and I will never forgive myself for that. However, I cannot accept that the only way to protect my youngest is to let him go into care.

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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"I was conceited enough to believe I could manage everything: go to work; de-escalate my husband's emotions and protect the children."

And your youngest has a need to control, you say? Ooh, wonder where he got that from, missus. ;-)

It's not conceit, it's fear. Stop being so hard and down on yourself (und zat iss un order, ya?!).

Ah. Normal sexual experimentation but with anger and resentment thrown into the mix. The eldest is very passive and trusting when not in Aspie Meltdown, yes?

Why have YOU not been offered emotional support - in the form of counselling? And why was funding denied at the 11th hour?

Have you contacted the National Autistic Society (NAS)/Simon Baron Cohen and his staff? Or are you US-based? You do sound English. I think that would be your best bet because Mr Baron Cohen is THE leading expert (by miles!) and his charity, understandably, the leader of that entire specialist field.

"My youngest was, to some extent, a part time carer for his brother. He helped him to navigate the social landscape; told him what teenagers wear and how they behave and I believe the sexual stuff was connected in some way to and attempt to control a sibling whose mental health had become dangerously out of control."

Hang on a minute. Is it not logical to suppose that as his habitual, 'street-wisdoms' adviser, the youngest had been trying to demonstrate 'what you do with girls'? I mean, how otherwise - if it were malicious - could (presumably/gatherably) interfering with his older brother's privates exert any control? Surely if unwanted it would have caused another meltdown or, failing that, an overly matter-of-fact reportage the next day about some "great new game" his brother had shown him? Can you go into better detail (you're 100% anonymous)?

That's a hugely unhealthy load that youngster is getting foisted onto him. One, his mind can't concentrate on what it's supposed to be concentrating on (everything involved with growing up) and, two, the power would undoubtedly go to his head. Question: Has he started getting bulshy/mouthy/bossy with you as well, lately?

How did you fail to protect them, given how that indicates you were meant to be able to even in an highly difficult set-up like this that even experts find tricky? Are we tucking into a Guilt sandwich again?

"However, I cannot accept that the only way to protect my youngest is to let him go into care."

Neither can I! And neither can I get my head around SS condoning thus rubber-stamping the back-to-front sounding arrangement. But I note you haven't told me what I asked, being, what social services' claimed reasons were for doing the placements that way round. RSvP.

I think you'd do well to ring the NAS toute suite. (Local authority, shclocal shauthority, pff.)

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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Hello again. Your response is very reassuring. I will try to answer the questions that you have asked first, although maybe not in the order they were asked. First, the situation whereby I look after my eldest, AS, son and my husband looks after my youngest has arisen because technically, I left to take my eldest son to a place of safety when he attempted suicide and my husband and younger son remained together. I say 'technically' because in reality, I stayed with my eldest in hospital and he could not return home. The arrangement was only meant to be temporary because we were pretty sure that my eldest would be accommodated at a residential college within a few weeks. However, the attitude of Children's Social Care does leave a lot to be desired. My husband phoned our social worker on the day of the Child Protection Conference to tell him he had hit our youngest son. The lead social worker came out and talked to my husband and told me there was no need to take matters further because my youngest son was 'more resilient' than his brother. My husband is also named as a perpetrator of abuse (emotional) against my eldest son and my eldest son threatened suicide if he went back to live with him. The sexual abuse involved, grabbing and touching and more serious incidents such as filming each other masturbating and penetration by an object. My eldest told me nothing about the videoing and penetration. My youngest son told me this and he seemed shocked that he/it had gone so far. Social workers were concerned about the lack of supervision which allowed the incidents to occur. I was at work when the incidents took place. Funding was pulled at the last minute because my son sent a presentation to the local authority stating how he did not wish to go to any specialised provision and he wanted to attend a mainstream college. He is a bright and articulate young man and his wishes were respected (the LA also saved a lot of money!) However, two local colleges said they could not meet my son's needs when he came to interview and my son's mental health has now deteriorated to the extent where he rarely leaves the house (except to engage in very familiar activities, like going to his grandmother's farm). My youngest is not really bulshy/mouthy/bossy with me. He is extremely protective and I think he is frightened that his brother will hurt me. His fears are unfounded because his brother is a gentle, passive young man. Yet he has had episodes where he seems to lose touch with reality. I do feel guilty because I was the only person who could protect the children when they were small. Fourteen professionals who attended the Initial Child Protection Conference also mentioned my 'failure to protect'. I think the best solution would be to try to find a provision through which my eldest can receive the care and education he needs; but this will take so much time and fostering may take place for my youngest in January. I am based in England and I am a member of the NAS and I am aware of the work of Simon= Baron-Cohen. Ironically, I used to develop services for young people with autism, hence my reference to 'conceit'.

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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I don't know where on the spectrum scale your eldest falls, but I would have thought that it was certainly high enough to warrant a care home if social services started down that route to begin with. Surely that demonstrates undeniably that he's pretty full-on, certainly within the social intelligence domain as is required for self-sufficiency after ones parents pass away? Surely, then, he doesn't count as having the adult capability to give legal consent and, thereby, his *objection*?

Saved a lot of money, huh. I say, how queer of a local authority to put budget concerns high above the welfare of a member of its community, despite that member's welfare hangs decidedly in the balance. (Sounds like there goes an example of institutionalised psychopathy in the form of a business, does it not.) Boo...hiss...!

Have you thought of phoning the Daily Mail news-desk (should you still need to)? They LOVE these exposure-type stories and, say what you like about that paper, but it can't half campaign relentlessly and give-or-take 100% successfully on behalf of victims seeking due rights and justices! This would be right up their street.

It is *not* motherly neglect in this day and age if you're the only adult member with real earning capability OR because like millions of other women, you can't all reasonably survive on your husband's income alone (assuming he even has one?). WHO CAN THESE DAYS! All recent governments agree with getting as many mothers back into the workplace as possible (more income tax & NI, ker-ching, kerching) so, what are they suggesting women are? Willow-The-Wisps..."I'm here!"...."Now I'm here!"...."I'm back here again!"? Or that you should take the income you earn and spend it on a specialist childminder? LUDICROUS (do not get me started! LOL)

Your local authority have a DUTY to take your eldest out of the firing line, not switch him from battle front line into a field of land-mines! And same goes for your younger son. But, why, if the living situation had been not of your choosing and just situationally temporary, did the LA say that stop-gap arrangement had to remain insitu?

Is your youngest AWARE he faces foster care if he doesn't rein himself in and try more tolerance towards his brother? Might that be why the improvement yesterday, combined with the fact that with you now an at-home mum, he no longer faces having to shoulder a significant share of that adult burden which, his 'symptoms' show, is something he couldn't cope with (him and god knows how many professional, ADULT carers these days)?

Also, the surprising fact that your youngest was the one who willingly came and TOLD you. He obviously has Aspergic tendencies himself, wouldn't you say, if he tells the truth no matter the risk and cost to himself when he could so easily have kept it secret like boys his age normally would? Or (ref not coping) was his telling you his cry for help, indeed, committed the act to begin with so THAT he could cry for help at you (including about his fears that his brother could end up hurting you)?

Another question: have you become familiar with all the subtle signs your eldest is becoming agitated to the point where he's likely to tip into hyper-tantrum mode? And have you ever thought of getting "both" boys a cat? Stroking a cat is known to be VERY calming and therapeutic, plus the eldest clearly already loves animals and being around them, yes?

If they're going to 'say' that your 16-year-old should be viewed and treated as an adult, surely he qualifies for Disability and other state benefits, etc.?

Do you have legal counsel on the case or have you sought help from your local Citizens Advice Bureau?

Don't worry about your guilt for not being Superwoman because now you've effectively been forced to be a stay-at-home mum, it's going to get bit-by-bit yet very quickly cancelled out. Get as involved as you can with your sons and domesticity AND ENJOY IT. It's NOT boring, struggling against it and wishing you were still at the office every day, hence NOT getting involved enough, is what makes it boring. It's just another world - no better or no worse, just a different set of pros and cons (like anything in life, actually) but where that particular set might suit you better. Going by the distinct improvement yesterday, I reckon this period will do the three, possibly all four of you a lot of good, as in, right and laudable intention to be 'superwoman', WRONG ARENA (office). However, what about state benefits for you, including Carer's allowance?

You shouldn't take what is a loose catch-all terms 'failure to protect' personally as a criticism, anyway, because it allows also for the fact of INABILITY to/barrier AGAINST being able to protect.

You used to work for the NAS? Ah... 'Physician' heal thyself. Er - not possible. This is 'can't see your own woods for the trees-ville'. Or, put another way, can't see back of own head without a mirror. But that's still not conceit, that's logical assumption but which leads to an IDEAL which, as such, isn't workable in reality. If you'd already had it spelled out to you that you alone couldn't conquer yet still you'd forged ahead, THAT would be conceit.

Yours,
Thesaurus. ;-)

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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Thank you again for replying. You seem to understand the situation well. My son is affected by his condition quite significantly, but this is made worse by his mental ill health. However, he has no learning disability and was considered to have the mental capacity to make a decision about his education. Nevertheless, he would have required a lot of support in any mainstream post-16 provision (he had 1:1 support in all classes at school and supervision at break times). Yet, because he asked for mainstream provision instead of anything specialised and residential, not only did it complicate the arrangements I had planned for both my sons' care, but it delayed the completion of my eldest son's Education, Health and Care Plan which is a document that states how he can be supported in education or care. Because the situation is so critical at the moment, I have been researching some other possible accommodation options for my eldest son. There is a project called 'Shared Lives' which is available to people aged seventeen or over and offers people with additional needs the opportunity of living in a supported family-type group. I think my eldest son would benefit from this, but his mental health needs to be a little more stable. My eldest receives Personal Independence Payment in his own right (although he has not touched any of this yet) and I may be entitled to Carer's allowance. The job that I have left was as a lecturer in further education and I have retained some very part time distance tuition, but some of the work starts in February and one course that I teach is on a zero hours contract, so i do not know yet whether I will earn too much for Carer's allowance. Yet, looking after my sons is a priority and I can help them in very practical ways with respect to education once this crisis has passed. The evaluation by professionals at the Child Protection Conference that I had 'failed to protect' my children from significant harm is harsh. However, there is some truth in the judgement. I knew something was wrong and I did not take my children out of the situation. I am a member of the NAS, but I have not worked for the organisation in any formal capacity, so I apologise for any confusion. I have found the NAS Helpline very useful in the past both in a personal and professional capacity. The job that I have just left required me to develop courses and provision for students with autism and related 'conditions' in a college of further education. The boys have continued to be calm and happy today so I hope we will prove that they can spend some time together safely.
Thank you again for your support.

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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I am sorry but I forgot to reply to one or two points that have been raised. My husband has not worked in a full time capacity for over twenty years. He has had one or two part time, self-employed businesses but he has difficulties working for other people. I can recognise some of the triggers which precede an 'episode' in my eldest son. In fact we have worked with the psychologist on ways to help my son recognise these as well. However, the episodes can develop very quickly. My eldest son and I have a kitten. She is from a litter of feral cats at my mother's farm and she is full of character. However, she is very definitely my son's cat and she spends a lot of time sleeping on his bed or curled up in his lap (when she is not tearing around the house, chasing imaginary mice). My youngest son is much more a dog person and he had a fantastic relationship with my mother's Border Collie. Sadly, the dog was killed in an accident in October. He was only eight months old.

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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I think it's too much of an uncannily convenient coincidence that, given protracted quality time with you these last few days, they're suddenly behaving themselves a lot better, don't you? Maybe their nonsense was actually the product of a subconscious and tacit agreement between the two of them (being so close and no doubt recalibrated more to the same wavelengths from having spent so much time together) to mount a campaign to get you to "look-at-us-look-at-uuuuus!" so as to make you have to cut down your working hours?... combined with the fact that the youngest is right now getting to enjoy being back with you again straight after having not liked staying with his dad? I mean, kids are just smaller adults lacking better experience, not idiots, right? Some teenagers can be incredibly and sometimes *impressively* long-sightedly manipulative, even without realising it themselves, especially if you're a (no offence, you're in good company) control-freak who married an even greater control-freak (despite in his own more uniquely unusual ways), meaning, both your kids were bound to have inherited that streak. IMO, control-freakery can be a sign of having more intelligence than there are places to put it. Do you agree with that take?

Plus, things always seem worse right before they get better. Further, that's the point when you'd be bound to suddenly, newly feel that the climate were finally *safe* enough to let rip with acknowledging the full force of your situation to-date and allowing all those previously banked-up frustrations and other emotions that you couldn't afford to indulge, to finally come out, meaning, you can seem, even to yourself, to be suddenly not coping when all you're doing is a much-needed off-loading of all the stress and pressure....clearing the decks ready for the next phase of the journey. Put it this way, if you're being bitten by a whole swarm of mosquitos or a ruddy great spider drops into your hair as you carry a tray of your beloved best crystal in from outside, you're not going to feel you can afford to react, not until you've got the chance to set the tray down safely, at which point you finally allow yourself to let reactively rip. Again - fair comment? So I'm thinking you had already HIT rock-bottom and now are on the up again (or on the cusp). But it still could help if you were to contact the NAS again, just in case this improvement proves not to last.

Meantime, you can beat yourself up all you like for having done this instead of that (hindsight a wonderful thing), but I personally see no call for it when your intentions were always instinctually correct and objectively laudible, over which attempted aims-achievement it appears you completely busted a gut, certainly emotionally wherever prevented by impracticalities and infeasibilities. It's not like your reasons stemmed from the fact of not giving enough of a sh*t, now, is it. Au contraire! Plus, you wouldn't have wanted your family's difficulties to have become a burden on any outside individual or group if at the time this option had yet to be proven unavoidable. Charity begins at home, right? You have to do your utmost yourself before you then ask for outside help. And mistakes are not failures, they're the steps of the staircase to success.

They give A's for effort in schools, do they not? There's no 'could try harder's here. You just lacked the 'own trees' side of this particular experience - the INSIDE scoop. Now, however, with your pared-down hours, you're on the right track for getting it, and, madam, that can only enhance your knowledge and what you subsequently go on to be capable of contributing to the field of Autism (personality type Reclusive) and how it affects the entire family members. I mean, theory alone never makes one an expert, nor theory plus only fairly superficial witnessing and experiencing. Knowing the theory just makes all the practical easier to understand, to a far greater depth, and thereby gives you understanding in BOTH hemispheres of your brain. So if you have the expansive theory *plus* the practical inside wisdom, that is when you get to consider yourself a true expert. Every cloud...? :-)

So it's all good, just doesn't feel like it at the time.

For now, ref the undoubted grief your youngest will have been trying to cope with on top of everything else, might it be an idea to get him a puppy (whichever breed is lowest maintenance), assuming his father might benefit from and enjoy that as well?... something for them to find common ground over?

By the way, I'm not surprised the "cat" prefers cats (independent, self-sufficient non-pack animals) and the "dog" prefers dogs (sociable, cooperative pack animals), makes perfect sense. :-) I don't recommend you yourself get an octopus, though...I hear the tank takes up too much space. ;-D

PS: Can I suggest you take as much video footage as you can of the boys getting along smoothly? You never know, could come in handy.

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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Forgot to ask: Since a farm setting seems to be where your eldest is happiest, with open visiting access to yourself and the youngest possible at all or any hours, would your mother be at all willing to take him in for a while or even just for a few set days from week to week? Might that be a perfect solution, if only temporarily (but which might work out for both parties enough to make it longer term)? And if so, might the proposal sound like a treat to your eldest, rather than an exiling?

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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Hello.

I have just managed to get back online after some flooding incidents. Thank you again for replying to my posts. I think you are right to deduct that the improvement in my sons' behaviour may be attributable to external factors such as the fear of going into care/hospital and spending a bit more time with both parents (in my youngest son's case). I have submitted a brief report to our lead social worker and other people in our Core Group detailing how effectively we have stuck to the 'Safety Agreement' and how positive the Christmas break has been in terms of the boys' issues. My husband, however, has told me that he has left various messages on agency answerphones telling them how my youngest son is 'bullying' him and how he cannot cope with my son and other complaints, so I have asked for a meeting through which we can work something out that does not involve my youngest going into care. I think my son would like another dog, but pets are not allowed in the block of flats where he lives. My mother has said she will get another puppy. She is eighty seven so the dog will require a lot of looking after by others, so there is a role somewhere for my youngest. My mother's age makes it impossible for her to care for either of my sons.
Anyway, for the time being, thngs are a little more positive.

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Flooding incidents?

Giant thumbs-up on the report. And I'll remind you why: Christmas is notoriously that time of year when kids fight *more*, not less. TEN TIMES more (ta-daaa!). Especially Aspies whose routines have suddenly got altered in any way. The inference for the new year/back to situation normal is therefore obvious. Put it this way, if they can, whenever they're aware they really have to, stay upright during a gale-force winds then mildly breezy to just plain windy is not going to be a problem.

Your husband's Aspergic; he's whatever personality and brains he is, simply under Aspergic magnification or shrinkage, not stupid. So what on earth reason(s) would he have for wanting to keep putting potential spanners in the works? Could he be resentful at you or trying to exert what he thinks is some sort of cunning plan to get himself re-instated in the family home or even just get your fuller attention back (settling for negative if positive isn't on offer because attention is still attention)?

Thumbs-up to your mother re getting another puppy! She's clearly on your side and willing to get herself involved as much as her age and limited energy allows. Does your son know this too is in the pipeline?

Anyway, if you want my opinion overall, it's this: Using myself and all other people I've ever come across (bl**dy loads) as yardsticks, in relation to what you've had and still have left on your giant plate, I think you actually *are* a bona-fide Superwoman. But I think the problems simply is this: you haven't yet reached the point in your life where you've managed to sit down and work out where your super-natural (note that's 'natural, elevated', not 'mythical') powers work, where they distinctly don't (or where just require outside assistance, i.e. YOUR DELEGATION), and where they shouldn't ever be directed in the first place or should yet haven't yet. Like anything, if you do something fully, properly and intelligently-strategically, you'll reap success, guaranteed; it's half-a*sed of anything or full-on comprising elements OUT-OF-KILTER/lop-sided that reaps failure or half-a*sed results. There's nothing wrong with being a control-freak if you hone and polish it so that it works beautifully for you AND for everyone else and vice-versa. If the giant machine didn't need control-freaks/perfectionists/bust-a-gut over everything cogs in conjunction with every other type of cog in existence, the giant machine-maker wouldn't have made them in the first place (and there wouldn't be such things as the Olympic Games, etc.) :-)

Considering too many people in your prolonged position would have experienced a nervous-breakdown by now, let alone kept their cool as they found pragmatic and innovative solutions and ways to cope - well, suffice it to say: madam, I salute you!

You'll be fine. MORE than fine. But 'GREAT' if you take this tip: I think it's obvious (to me, anyway) that your miniest me, your youngest, has inherited your mental strength and energy AND refusal to be beaten (except where he can (very intelligently) tell he has to rein himself in, out of sensible, self-preservationist choice, as we've seen). Therefore, if you can flatteringly ask him to TEAM UP with you as your right-hand man, where you'll get to harness yet keep regulated that hunger for power *and for responsibility of his (*rare!), you and he will be an unstoppable force. It'll keep his hands busy with the RIGHT things, the things you WANT AND NEED his help with, rather than his desperately meddling with purely whatever's going for seeming grabs whilst meantime sacrificing his powers of canny judgement. I know you say he's only 14, but I also know you'll have for too long been too distracted to keep up with how otherwise mature and above-average capable he's become today. But, from what you've already described thus far and what I've gleaned between all the lines, if he's not a mini-you (needing only directing and mentoring) with a giant need to be needed and useful, YET WITH THE ABILITY ON TOP, i.e. "born 40", I'll eat my hat!

But reward him with his particular version of fun kid time or kid perks (e.g. extra pocket money as a wage) so that you make him want to keep one hand firmly on the rest of his childhood until he's genuinely ready to let go and complete the leap.

Look at it this way: he's going to be a control-freak ANYWAY, right? So you may as well start supervising and guiding him now rather than later and meanwhile leaving him to his own devices so that it works for you and the family as a whole and he can feel like a rock instead of a pain in the a-hole. For example, he clearly takes the credit as much as you for he and his brother suddenly getting on smoothly.

Sound like a plan?

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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Silly name is there some way we can talk? You seem to have knowledge of certain things I need help with

Son may be going into care after Christmas

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AOOH, in case she's long gone - this help you need, are you talking about Asperger's?

This thread has expired - why not start your own?

B-5