Monday, November 10, 2014

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day… and the Followup

Actually, it wasn’t one day. There have been more than a few in the past several weeks.

And they weren’t bad days. Bad doesn’t begin to describe them.

The circumstances were all different, but all the same in some ways.

It usually begins when Kai does something at school he should not do. Oftentimes it is because he is disappointed about something. Sometimes there’s another trigger. One time he was disappointed that he wasn’t picked to lead a vocabulary race; another time he was upset when his seat in the cab was just a bit wet. Then there was a time when he missed part of a Bill Nye video because he was out of the classroom calming down from an earlier incident.

Regardless of the trigger, these past several weeks, Kai has had huge, angry reactions where he says and does things that could get him thrown in jail if he were a bit older.

And when his teacher or a staff member speak to him about it, it usually just gets worse. He does not seem to be able to understand that he is responsible for the consequences he suffers. When he loses privileges, misses out on preferred activities, and suffers consequences, Kai blames the staff for what happened and does not accept responsibility for his actions that started everything.

We have seen some of this at home as well.

One time after a particularly bad incident at school, we increased the amount of time in which he would not get to use the iPad. He got angry, and as happens at school, he did not accept responsibility for his actions. He lashed out at me and my wife.


We tried to stay calm, and stress to him the importance that he not say or do the things he has been doing. As he gets older, this type of behavior will result in more than missing part of a video or losing iPad time; it could ruin his whole life. I don’t know that he understood.


I think he will find a hard time finding a family who will take a child who doesn’t listen to his parents or teachers.

On one particular occasion, he stayed angry for quite some time, and we sent him away from the dinner table to his room. He promptly tore apart one of his Lego sets.

Eventually he does calm down. And then he finally apologizes for his actions.

But I wonder if he really understands what we tell him.

The day after he tore apart the Lego set in his room, he tore apart another student’s Lego creation in school.

It was extremely disheartening as it was the very next day after we had spoken to him about how he would ruin his life if he continued on this path.

When Kai has bad days like this where he loses control, at bedtime he usually chooses to read stories about a character who needs help to calm down. There’s Angry Octopus, which tells of an octopus who learns relaxation techniques from a sea child. And, The Red Beast where a boy with Asperger’s learns to tame the beast within himself.

These days, though, he sometimes chooses Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, the story of a boy who has a series of bad events happen over the course of a day. I think Kai relates to the boy in the story, and he sees himself as a victim of all these things that happened to him.

* * * * * *

It has now been a couple weeks since we have had a major incident at school. This past week Kai had his first Safe Week at school in some time. He even earned 100% on his Point Sheet twice during the week, and was awarded Student of the Week.

Did he finally learn his lesson? Was it just an outlier of a week? Was he motivated because he had a chance to earn a new app for a good week? Was it the slight tweak we made to his medication?

Lots of questions but no answers yet. Let’s see how this week goes.

For now, we’re just happy that it wasn’t another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.


  1. This is another article where I really don't know what to say. I have never been in your shoes. All I know is that it must be difficult for all involved...and that you as parents, must have a lot of patience. I know anxiety must build within you with each new situation that Kai faces. The overriding fear for you must be the one you had stated about an outburst as an adult...and the legal ramifications which would likely ensue. Just a suggestion...Aikido. Inherent in Aikido is a built in legal defense as they redirect the opponents aggressive action. They learn to shadow the other person to move with him, and to use the aggressors force against the aggressor himself. Although they do learn to strike, the strikes are taught as counter strikes, which multiplies the force applied...and is inherently defensive in nature. Most of the training is redirection of the aggressors force in the form of a takedown, and the subsequent locking of limbs. This is why many in the police force train in Aikido. They stress calm mind (no mind)...calm body...coordinated action with the aggressor to take him down and secure him without injury to either party.

    1. We know someone who teaches Aikido but I wasn't sure I wanted to subject him to having Kai in his class. :) It would be great if Kai could learn Aikido, but I'm not sure he can learn it. We may be ready to give it a try anyway, though, as Kai had another bad day at school yesterday.

  2. I hope the better times continue. I feel for you very much. My greatest fears are about Janey as an adult. It's hard sometimes to think that now, with them as children, are probably the golden years in a way. Society isn't as kind to adults with issues like Kai's or Janey. I think of you often.

    1. Suzanne, our greatest fear is what will happen to Kai as an adult. We want so much for him to have some semblance of a normal life, but each time he has another incident it feels like that possibility diminishes.

      Thank you for your thoughts. Best to you and Janey.


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