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He’s only 14 but 3son is a fully blown teenager now, who barely talks to me unless it is to sneer, mock, disagree or complain. He accuses me both of not caring enough to understand and not leaving him alone in peace. Whatever I do I cannot win.

Ever since 2son was diagnosed with ASD 3son has been hankering after a label. I’m not sure whether there’s some attention seeking there, or whether it’s a Get Out of Jail Free card, or even just he thinks it might solve his problems. I’m not saying he’s making it up, but there is certainly an element of grandstanding in all this. He constantly tells me that I can’t possibly understand what he’s going through but really doesn’t want to try talking it through with me.

He said, at the beginning of term, that he did want someone to talk it through, so I offered him two routes: via school or via the GP, saying the school would be quicker and easier. He went via his tutor and the Student Support Officer (SSO) who promptly phoned me up, clearly ready to battle with a parent who wasn’t willing to accept a child needed help and she was nonplussed when I just said yes to everything. So he’s seeing a psychiatrist at school within school hours which I think is much the safest option.

It’s not going anywhere. 3son told me before half term that the psychiatrist wanted him to be evaluated for ASD. I spoke to the GP who said referral from the psychiatrist would be helpful. I think that’s finally happening and 3son and I are to meet the GP just before Christmas.

I slapped him last night.

He walked out on me last week. He came home from school, messed around trying to get in touch with a friend, got in touch and was out the door without a word. He said, when I phoned him, that he was in a local town (a place to which he never goes) and was just going for a walk and would be back when he was ready. No mention of the friend. He came back a couple of hours later without any great explanation. Two days later the SSO phoned me up to say the psychiatrist was worried about him and to get the GP involved.

We touched briefly on the fact that he wasn’t ready to work at whatever is going on. It has been suggested to him that he uses the Headspace app (provides ten minutes guided meditation) when he gets anxious. He listens, says yes, and doesn’t do it. He carries around my book on mindfulness and ostentatiously places it on the desk at school and will discuss it freely with anyone who asks, but won’t do the meditations. I said he could put them on his phone and try them out on the bus to school, not ideal but certainly possible and nobody else need know. He talks freely about depression on facebook, with varying levels of support from his friends and occasional total exasperation. He’s started writing poetry (which isn’t actually that bad) which he also posts on facebook. So he’s at the stage of complaining bitterly about all that life throws at him, without actually being willing or able to take the next step.

He briefly mentioned that he wanted to know more about his father. I started to tell him, but maybe because I took a while to get going as this had come out of the blue, he wandered away from the conversation.

I’m very grateful that he has taken the step of seeking help at school, that he does post what he does on facebook, that he doesn’t bottle it all up like 2son. I at least have some idea of what is going on inside his head.

But I have to live with him. Much as I try to let all the aggression and the constant moaning pass me by, it’s really difficult. I try and be supportive and listen when he actually wants to talk but that’s rare and in the meantime the anger builds up. I slapped him last night. Lightly. But I did. I regret it, obviously, and think I’m a terrible parent for it, but I’d had enough. I can feel myself sinking slowly downwards.  I don’t want to be where I was a year ago. I still feel that I’m clawing my way out of a pit and he’s just making it harder.