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explaining personal boundaries

(16 Posts)
OnceUponAThyme Tue 22-Oct-13 16:41:30

hi, I've previously posted about my dd and got good advice, so thought I'd ask yet another question smile

my dd is nearly 5, and has suspected asd. our recent issue is that she tries to hug, kiss and tell people she loves them. which is fine for family, but not strangers.
I've told her that hugs and kisses and saying "I love you" are all special things to do, and that we never do it to strangers or people we don't know well.
but it's not really working. I'm trying to be consistent and remind her, and have stopped family demanding kisses and hugs when she's not interested, as I think it gives her mixed messages. only today, she was trying to hug a shop assistant and tell her she loves her but cried when I tried to remind her that we dont do that.
I think the problem is she doesnt understand, but I don't know how to give her the "rules" as such, and clearly my and dhs explanations are falling short.
I know it's not the end of the world, but it makes people uncomfortable sometimes, and she needs to learn personal space. and obviously it makes her more vulnerable.
thanks for reading all that rambling thanks

claw2 Tue 22-Oct-13 18:46:06

Have you tried telling what to do, instead of what not to do, only a subtle difference, but I find it helps ds (he was/is a hugger of strangers too)

I found he knew he had to say/do something when people arrived/departed, he just didn't know what to do. So his learnt response was the only one he knew.

So instead of 'never hug and kiss strangers' (ds would misinterpret this, so the gas man wouldn't be a 'stranger' as he would be in our house!) it would be 'you only hug and kiss mum, dad and nanny and brothers etc'

Then when ds would kiss, hug and say inappropriate things, for example when the education welfare officer visited us at home for the first time, ds hugged her legs and told her 'I love you, going to miss you' as she left. Instead of 'no don't do that' I would remind him 'nice to have met you' and to shake hands, is a more appropriate thing to do.

He is getting the hang of it!

PolterGoose Tue 22-Oct-13 19:35:03

Agree with claw, say what she can do not what she can't. In situations when you know she might do it prepare her in advance, with lots of reminders and rehearsing. Before you go out say "when we go in the shop we say hello to the lady and when we leave we say thank you" or whatever. On the way remind her and again just before the situation. Once in the shop or wherever say "dd, remember what we do?" and prompt her, verbally, in what you do, whatever. Don't worry or be self conscious about loud parenting, just do it smile

OnceUponAThyme Tue 22-Oct-13 19:53:50

you both make excellent sense, I'm embarrassed to say I don't think I tell her every time what to do, I do just remind her not to do it blush
we rehearse a lot of things, such as asking to play, going to soft play etc so it's a good idea to roleplay this one.
and good point about strangers, and who they are. she was telling the plumber she loved him and wanted a kiss. makes sense to give her an action, as it were, that's more appropriate.
sorry for not seeing such an obvious thing, we're on a bit of a learning curve and sometimes it's hard to know what to do or how to handle certain things.

ouryve Tue 22-Oct-13 20:03:55

It might be useful to teach her about social circles. You could use something like the diagram in this paper (simplified to her age and level of understanding) and use photos and pictures of generic people in various work clothes, etc to work out who goes in which circle and how to approach them
www.ascd.org/ascd/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_199109_walker-hirsch.pdf

claw2 Tue 22-Oct-13 20:07:05

Don't apologise, we are all constantly on a learning curve smile

A lot of ds's behaviour is learned. Saying 'hello' and 'goodbye' didn't come naturally to ds, he had no natural inclination to say either. He would walk in and out of rooms, as if people didn't exist at one point!

He needed prompting 'ds say hello'. He then went from one extreme to another, hugging everyones legs and telling them he loves them!

ouryve Tue 22-Oct-13 20:10:17
ouryve Tue 22-Oct-13 20:12:32

We've all but given up on getting DS1 to say hello. The lollipop lady knows what sort of start he's having to his day by whether or not he greets her!

DS2, OTOH, says hello to bread, a la Stewie Griffin grin

PolterGoose Tue 22-Oct-13 20:13:48

That's brilliant ouryve

OnceUpon don't be blush it's amazing how often replying to someone else's post makes me re-think what I do and how I could do things better, I tend to get very wrapped up in ds's anger so forget the more pro-active stuff. And life is so bloody exhausting its hard to see the wood for the trees.

PolterGoose Tue 22-Oct-13 20:15:37

ouryve hello to bread grin

AgnesDiPesto Tue 22-Oct-13 20:24:30

We used relationship circles really successfully. Also did it with matching photos to yes or no cards on the floor whether it was someone could hug or not. Then generalise it to real life. So walk around and point out people and ask yes or no. Then he just stopped asking anyone but immediate family. DS is very rule driven tho.

claw2 Tue 22-Oct-13 20:28:07

grin @ hello to bread!

I went to an art auction at ds' school the other night and ds was really over doing the over enthusiastic introducing me to EVERYONE, even if he didn't know who they were!

Sometimes you cant win grin

OnceUponAThyme Tue 22-Oct-13 21:18:17

thank you all so much. I'm going to use the social circles and the links, I think it'll make it easier for her to understand. its just nice to know I'm not alone in having these kind of issues to think about.
my friends don't really understand and think all the roleplaying etc is "babying" but they dont see how she is without practise or some clear direction in social situations. I can't just leave her to it as it's heartbreaking to see.

I love saying hello to bread though grin dd used to greet other children by listing dinosaurs at them. we've progressed to hello, what's your name grin

My Ds2 was/is like this.. ongoing project you might say.
He's 16 now and still talks to ANYONE as if they were his best friend..he has no idea that they aren't
However up to the age of about 10 he was still sitting on total strangers laps blush and had disconcerting habit of sliding his hands down their tops..very quickly! He just liked the feel of skin!!

We used a traffic light system.. we put everyone into either 'green' (family, ok to sit on, touch, tho not to grope!) Yellow were class staff..special school so had to be quite intimate with him for physical care, and red.. strangers.

It has taken a LONG time but the traffic light system has really helped.. we reinforced it all the time.. 'Ds2.. red.. talk no touching' etc.

DS2 is social.. but doesn;t know how to get it right and it has really helped...or at least at 16 he is no longer trying to sit on strangers!! (just as well..he's 6 ft!)

Spiraling Wed 23-Oct-13 09:31:03

Brilliant ouryve will use this. Ds hugs everyone, someone for letting him in, or say hello, anyone I say hello to as they must be ok.

OnceUponAThyme Wed 23-Oct-13 10:10:07

the traffic light system is a good idea as well, I'll have a go at that one too.
spoke to her nursery about it as well, so they'll help with reminding her of certain things as well, and talking to her about it.
I think if the message she gets is consistent, its less confusing so it's important that everyone has the same mindset on it. her nursery are really supportive though so that's good.
thanks again to everyone, I really appreciate it thanks

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