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Oh god dd with asd and keeping secrets. Have I handled this properly?(21 Posts)
Dd is 10 and hf asd. She is very sweet and trusting and kind, I constantly worry about her being taken advantage of by classmates.
Today out of the blue after dinner she started talking about a girl, who had said her mother was dead and her father had left and she was living alone with her little brother! After questioning it turned out that dd was told this by a girl in her year group last term while on a school trip. Dd was told that this girl's mum had died the previous day, she was all alone with her little brother but she didn't want anyone to know so she swore Dd to secrecy. Dd was obviously worried about her but promised she wouldn't tell anyone and suggested that her friend should phone child line.
Since then dd has kept the secret and it clearly worried her to tell us. She was scared of being in trouble with her friend! After I established exactly what her friend had told her and how her friend was still coming to school clean and we'll fed it seemed pretty clear it wasn't as she said. She is being looked after by someone and it seems unlikely she is alone and the sole carer of her brother. I asked dd whether she thought it could really be true and if it was right to keep it a secret if it was true? She was still worried about her friend being angry.
I have explained that Dr should never keep secrets that don't feel right. That a child alone needs help, and if she wanted it to be kept secret maybe that was because it was untrue. Dd now feels stupid but I have made it clear that I think she is very kind and trusting h but that she needs to talk to me if someone asks her to keep a secret like that. That she needs guidance sometimes and secrets are not always safe, sometimes she needs to think about if something might be wrong with a secret.
It is a useful conversation, but I am very concerned about Dd and this girl. Should I speak to the school? Or do anything else??
I have a VERY simple rule. My children are not allowed to keep secrets. If someone tells them a secret or offers a secret they HAVE to say they are not allowed secrets.
That is interesting zzzz I am sure dd would prefer clarity but I was worried about taking her autonomy away. She can be secretive but in a really obvious and showy way that just makes me wonder what she is trying to conceal. And immediately I will question her and find out what it is - or so I thought - this secret she kept for months. I suppose she really is too vulnerable for any ambiguity. I think she understands but then she will say something that reminds me how young she is emotionally. Blimey it is hard.
It's a blanket rule in our house along with emails/texts are not private. I told them up front they can have the facility but that they need to think of it like talking in the sitting room NOT privately.
Harsh but safer and they feel fair.
Once they gain maturity they can drift off into autonomy.
zzzzz could I just ask you what sort of age you allow emails and texts to be private? (Although of course I realise age does not equate neatly to maturity.) I'm find this a tricky one...
Dd is 16 and nt. I wouldn't dream of reading her texts/emails now. My original stance was that they could be private at 16 plus when they paid for their own. In practice probably about 15 (nt). I don't imagine ds will reach privacy.
The knowledge that you are "in public" really deals with the whole thing anyway.
Thanks zzzzz. DS is only 12 and is starting to want to have more privacy. He is VERY argumentative about it!
Offer to remove the facility altogether. Cheeky chop! Honestly sometimes I think it would do no end of good to transport our children back to red phone box days.
I am feeling that today zzzzz. Have been rethinking all dds access to internet based games etc. Today I saw she had unblocked a person I had blocked from her roblox acc she was immediately tearful and apologetic but clearly i cant trust her judgement, and has a complete internet ban today and I will need to keep a very close eye on dd. This is why we have pc in living room. I cant trust her to protect herself online. Ds is the opposite, trusts no one and has no interest in talking to people online other than to strategize when playing.
Would she understand a talk about good secrets (like christmas presents) and bad secrets?
I am thinking that the issue is a combination of poor impulse control and wanting to please people, jason. She does I think understand appropriate and inappropriate online behaviour and secrets intellectually, but when faced with a situation she is not sure of she doesn't always consider all the implications. But she is 10 and emotionally immature so I think I need to take that responsibility for a while longer while her emotional control catches up.
She has been so good about the internet ban, so understanding, that I want to give in and reinstate it all ... I wont though. Not today and it will be heavily monitored.
God YES zzzzz to red phone box days!!! (says she, communicating online on her iPhone......)
Meaning ME of course... (Not a dig!!!
Much like Jasons suggestion, but we use the idea of secrets and surprises.
Like ZZZZZ we tell them not to keep secrets at all. However sometimes we will keep information to ourselves for a short time, to surprise someone, such as not telling them what they are getting for their birthday present.
I'm also interested in what age, or more likely what signs we should look for when thinking about more privacy online.
At the moment both kids have emails, which are automatically copied to me and DH. DD does have her phone, but again so far we've made clear that we have access to it at all times, since we pay the bills. Only once when we were concerned about a situation have we needed ask to see her texts.
Ds is 12 and has a phone and email account - it's attached to my contract therefore my rule is he's borrowed my phone and I can read it!
With regards secrets I do as zzzzz said. Tell DS secrets are dangerous and lies get you in more trouble than admitting you've done something wrong.
With gifts etc we use surprises.
It helps though when you have a very black and white child who cannot break rules!
Thank you everyone for responding, it has been really helpful reading other peoples approaches to this issue.
I am proud of dd today as she reported something that worried her that she was told to keep secret!
Last night she told me a boy in y7 (year above her) who also has ASD wanted her to do an initiation for a secret club. This involved lying on her front while blindfolded and allowing him to lie on top and thrust! This made her uncomfortable she refused and left the situation. All correct and she told me about it the same day, so I am proud but also v worried. The boy clearly needs support and intervention. DD needs to feel safe and this all happened in the area where vulnerable children go for their breaks and lunch and I thought it was more closely supervised than this suggests.
I have emailed the school of course but poor dd is v confused about this boy she thought was her friend.
So good that your dd told you. You must be so proud of her.
Ds similar age will not tell me about anything, let alone talk about the school day...
Could you tell her that what he did was completely inappropriate, but he may not understand it was inappropriate and wrong.
She can still be 'friends' but she needs to be super careful of being alone with him and to keep talking to you or teachers. Keeping a polite distance would be good idea. But I understand it's really hard to explain why and how to do this.
God, what a situation. Have the school responded yet? I hope they're on to it pronto.
Hi Wow - yes I emailed the school and got a call back from the SENco this morning. She has taken my report seriously and they have taken safeguarding measures and will ensure dd and the boy are not alone together. It is clear they are taking it seriously - and I have made it clear that I don't want to get the boy into trouble but he needs some help and dd needs protection. She has done the right thing here and I am very proud of her. We will talk about it again tonight to make sure she knows she did the right thing.
I know that dd will have to deal with inappropriate behaviour from boys regardless of any SEN, as she grows up. She needs to have the confidence and a range of appropriate responses to deal with "unwanted advances" but I think the school does need to take on responsibility as well. Hopefully useful lessons will be learned from this incident.
Ah my alternate name has been revealed clumsily I had a logging in problem on my phone then ended registered under a diff name on phone and pc. Just haven't got round to dropping flem yet as I have active threads under both names. I need to sort it though!
Hadn't even noticed the name thing, but now I have I do like both names!
Yes, I agree about school and their role. I know how hard it is when there are 30 in each class with differing needs also. It's frustrating, but our kids will be OK and they need to learn their own way and can only learn with experience and guidance. That's what I keep telling myself.
Glad your school are taking it seriously. Supervision in school is something that worries me greatly as they move up the years.
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