I have had a taste of how holidays feel to parents of neurotypical children, because my own children have been so much improved of late. We spent a week without incident, without appointments, and though they were overwhelmed at a family Christmas they did respond well to my interventions and I heard some positive feedback instead of the usual criticisms this year.
My middle child did melt down today, a few times, because his lack of motivation in our new points system means that after a few weekends and extra days off he had of course run out of points. So he had to stop watching people playing video games on YouTube.
He has been doing this very often, watching people play online. More than I am sure would be appropriate for most children, but his moods have been so very improved and his school behaviour so good, that I allow it if he has the points and the narrator uses appropriate language and the game is not a shooting game.
Today he was visibly tired. His appetite has been low and his protein intake sup-par, and he was up coughing the night before last. I was expecting a fit, really.
So when it came I was not surprised. I tickled him, and that worked for a bit and then it came back. He by now was on one of those loops, where he was lacking logical reasoning and couldn´t see the big picture. So I gave him the Theratapper, which he resisted so weakly that I did use it on him over his protests. It worked well for about six minutes and then it started again. I popped a saltwater taffy in his mouth, rolled him in a blanket, and carried him to the couch to sit him in front of a cartoon. Then he was done for nearly an hour.
It started again when he left the couch, I found him weeping on the stairs and I held him and I told him I was so sorry that he was so upset and he knew I meant it. He railed against the point system and said he never consented to it and he wanted off of it. I told him he could opt out but then he was also opting out of privileges, because points are how he gets them. He was upset, but he knew the logic, and I reminded him that I just cannot do it all by myself anymore. That I gave them all a long time to start helping around the house and no one did, so now we have points. If you want privileges, you put in the work.
Their responsibilities are not much. Mostly clean up after yourself stuff and put your own things away. I am adding one each month. This month it was put away clean laundry.
The list of everything they can do to earn and spend points is printed out and taped in three places in the house.
He spent a long time being grumpy about it but the fits were gone. He came to me and said he was going to put away his laundry to earn one last turn on the computer before bed and I consented to granting his points immediately. That is how he will best learn the reward system. I told him later how proud I was of him to make good choices even when it was hard and he smiled and ran off.
He also agreed to go to a playdate with us, after days of insisting I get a sitter. I arranged for the sitter and then when he realized he would be doing nothing instead he cried about it and had me cancel the sitter.
I have to hold a family meeting about the playdate and going to the store tomorrow. Hopefully that will stave off all whining and fits about doing something other than sitting at home. I don´t blame him. I would rather be home, too. I cannot be upset with my kids for being like me, can I?