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to expect my son's one and only friend to be less demanding?

(22 Posts)
coolcazzie Wed 24-Aug-11 19:02:50

Hi

My 4 year old son has Asperger's and has trouble making friends. I am delighted that he has one friend, a 6yo girl who comes over. She always comes at the wrong time. Let me explain.

She only comes over when I am cooking the meal (5pm) we are eating the meal (5.30-6pm depening on when dh gets home, so my son not available to play) or when my son is about to go in the bath (6.30pm). As he is Asperger's, routine is very important and he gets upset if his routine is changed, so giving him his dinner at 4pm would not be an option - nor one my husband would be happy with. If I say come over earlier, she says No, she is watching Scooby Doo.

Also, my son needs peace and quiet to eat, or his meals don't get eaten at all, and if he gets too much stimulation from children after 6pm he goes into meltdown or starts biting himself and others.

I am getting increasingly concerned about the way she treats my son. She has started teasing him and getting him to kick her, then comes running to me for attention. My son often doesn't notice she is there at all. Or she asks me to play with her - I'd love to - but my son comes first and with his condition I can't give her the 100% attention she would love. She seems to want to play more with me or with his toys than with my son to be honest - and I can't keep taking my attention away from him. He needs me and I resent this intrusion when my son is supposed to be winding down.

This evening she and a friend turned up on my doorstep at 6pm while my son was quietly watching TV and winding down from a busy day and demanded to see my son's pet rat. I said "No" and she immediately launched into a lippy mega tirade and whinge on my doorstep. I was low on patience and quietly closed the door in her face. This is the rudest I have ever been to her and I feel quite guilty.

If she wanted to come over at 9am and play she would be welcome.

I certainly am not about to explain to her about Asperger's or special needs I think it would get my son tormented. Local children are already noticing "differences" in my son's behaviour - for instance he likes to walk along counting to himself.

My son is my one and only so I've not been through this before. Any suggestions?

cjbartlett Wed 24-Aug-11 19:06:53

What is a 6 year old doing coming over to a four year olds to play on her own?
Where are her parents in all this?

worraliberty Wed 24-Aug-11 19:09:02

It's a tough one because she sounds like she's just being a kid...albeit an irritating one grin

If you can't explain about your son's routine/condition then you can't expect her to know about it.

Sorry, not helpful I know.

milkshakejake Wed 24-Aug-11 19:17:59

If he's getting nothing out of the friendship then i would keep saying 'no' until she gets the message.

halcyondays Wed 24-Aug-11 19:20:04

Why are her parents letting her come over at mealtimes or in the early evening? I live in a cul de sac and kids will call at each others houses during the day but nobody would let them in at dinner time. If it gets to meal times or bath time, parents would just send them home. I would just be firm and explain her to her nicely that it's not a good time if she comes over at dinner time and say she can come back another time. she can't be watching Scooby Doo all day, so there is no reason why she can't come a bit earlier in the day.

Solopower Wed 24-Aug-11 19:44:26

Not an expert, but my nephew has Asperger's.

Maybe you could tell her, very clearly, that your son is only little and if she wants to play with him, she will have to come round straight after school, or in the morning during the holidays, as he needs to go to bed early.

I was going to suggest that you took them both out to the park from time to time - but if your son is anything like my nephew was, he probably needs your full attention when climbing on things and coming into contact with other kids and parents. But with your partner or the child's parent, could you manage it?

I know you need to nurture any chance of friendship for him, but it does have to be on your terms.

About the routine, if you want your son to learn to be more adaptable, then you should probably do it very slowly and in stages and not involve anyone else, so having the little girl round at meal times isn't going to help at all.

(Is it possible that she comes round at teatime because she's hungry? Is she demanding because her own family are too busy for her? Do you have a good relationship with her parents - do they know she comes round to yours??)

Good luck. smile

thisisyesterday Wed 24-Aug-11 19:50:50

quite frankly she sounds like the kind of friend your son, and you, could do without.

i would tell her that she is welcome to come and play with HIM, before 5pm. after that it's just not possible.,
if that doesn't suit her then tough!

as for winding him up and then running to you. i wouldn't have any of that either.

LineRunner Wed 24-Aug-11 19:55:05

Do you know her parents?

squeakytoy Wed 24-Aug-11 19:57:45

I agree with the others. She sounds like a very cheeky child too. Cant imagine that she is going to be a great friend for your son.

pigletmania Wed 24-Aug-11 19:59:21

Does not sound like much of a friend tbh. I agree with what other posters have said on here. My dd 4.5 dev delay 2 years, and autistic traits prefers the company of older children as they seem to relate to her better than ones of her own age and seem more understanding. She loves my friends dd who is 6.5, whilst not getting on with her ds who is the same age. The little girl is lovely though, very understanding and clever and really gets the best out of dd. My dd adores her and asks for her most times smile

LynetteScavo Wed 24-Aug-11 20:07:46

Well, I wouldn't want someone to come round while we were eating or having a bath either.....no one is our family has Aspergers, and I wouldn't change our dinner time to fit in with some local child who might feel like popping round.

The poor girl sounds a bit needy, and as if she's not getting a lot of attention at home, but that's not your problem. Tell her she can come around in then morning, but not the evening.

And closing the door on her was quite a reasonable response to her whinging...I would have done the same with a firm "goodbye."

mummymccar Wed 24-Aug-11 20:09:08

Very odd that her parents don't seem to be in this picture at all. Surely she should be having meals at some point too if 6 is your dinner & before that she is watching Scooby? Maybe you should have a chat with the mother? You don't necessarily have to say anything about the sitatuation, just something innocuous like 'are you ok with her being at ours so much?'. Difficult situation.

ChopMonster Wed 24-Aug-11 20:21:18

The poor girl, she is only 6 and sounds like she just wants some attention. Do you know who her parents are? Maybe you could have a chat about her coming over earlier in the day and perhaps not every day. It might be nice for your DS to have a playmate every so often. Could you explain some ground rules to her? She might calm down in your company.

coolcazzie Wed 24-Aug-11 21:30:30

Thank you for your messages - all sounds very reasonable :-)

I would add that her and her mum and dad are recently arrived from an EU country (they have been here a year). She is now fluent in English, but her mum speaks next to none. I have not been able to have a conversation with her but she and I smile at each other. I have never seen the mum in the playground with this girl. The girl simply roams around from 5pm to 8pm every day, sometimes I can see her from my kitchen window playing in the park on her own. It makes me feel sad. We have never been invited to their house, and when we did pop over and asked if we could come in the girl said "No".

I could write her mum a note, and she could laboriously decipher it or show it to her husband....that might work

I reckon the girl is needy and quite lonely and I feel sad to not have the attention spare to help her.

coolcazzie Wed 24-Aug-11 21:33:33

yes chopmonster, that sounds very nice and a good idea. If we could get her round early, via a friendly note to her mum, and explain some ground rules for playtime. On a weekend an outing to the park with my husband as suggested by Solopower might also be an idea.

snippywoo2 Wed 24-Aug-11 21:53:16

Shes not your responsibility, she not your concern and you don't need to pay her attention, you have your own son to care for. It might sound harsh but one thing I learnt years ago when living next door to a family that had kids like her you can not be their parent as well. It's a common trap that good parents fall into, they cant help it they take on lost kids. Kids they think are lonely ignored not looked after properly, often to the detriment of their own family. Don't feel guilty shutting the door on her especially as she acts the way she does towards your son. You have enough on your plate and your son comes first.

Solopower Wed 24-Aug-11 22:00:35

Agree that your son comes first, but think we are part of society, and we all have a certain responsibility for other people.

Your son needs friends, too, so if you can help the child to understand how to behave more acceptably, it will be a win-win situation.

Also the parents might come from a country in which it is safe to let your six-year-old go to the park on her own (though I can't think of one, tbh, because even in more laid-back societies most kids go out in groups). If you are a person they have contact with, you might be a bit of a role model, and can show them what is normal here.

EdnaKrabappel Wed 24-Aug-11 22:09:18

OP, your sentence She seems to want to play more with me or with his toys than with my son to be honest says it all really, as does bringing a friend over. She is chucked out of her own house from 5-8pm shock and therefore wants to come and play with the toys in your house. She's not interested in being your son's friend. However, if you feel that she needs positive attention, and that by including her appropriately, you could develop a mutual friendship for her and your son then worth a try. Just don't feel that you have to.

peggotty Wed 24-Aug-11 22:13:22

I don't have advice per se but just want to say that you sound like a really lovely person smile. I agree that the girl sounds a bit needy and lonely, and you are showing patience and understanding I could only dream of possessing!!

zipzap Wed 24-Aug-11 23:26:19

So you reckon the mum is still keeping to her daily routine from where she comes from - lots of places abroad eat much later than we do; she might not have realised that it's not a good time for a kid to be out hunting friends here...

MCos Wed 24-Aug-11 23:46:55

Hi OP,
I'll share my experience with you. When my DDs were younger (3-5ish), we also had a neighbors child (age 4-5) appear at our house maybe 5pm ish, and still be here when we had dinner 6ish. Sometimes I fed her, other times my kids gobbled down their dinner and went back to playing with her, til her parents came to collect her 7pm ish.

I have since realized that my BIG mistake was not to say 'time to go home now, it is dinner time in our house'. I often mentioned to parents when they called for her that I had given her some food while we had dinner. So they must have figured out we had an earlier dinner time than their house. But in hindsight, I'll presume they didn't think it was a problem since I never said it was.
But it was a problem, and it bugged the hell out of me. Same child was also much higher maintenance then my two girls, and sometimes got my girls hyper. My not so tidy playroom sometimes looked like a bomb site after the 3 of them played together (And she was forever looking for treats..)

Neighbor's child went on to make better friend with another neighbor, and then spared us these visits. (Thank God!)

But in hind-sight - my BIG mistake was not sending her home when she outstayed her welcome, or when it was meal-time in our house.

So my advise to you, send her packing when you have enough. It will keep you sane.

spiderpig8 Wed 24-Aug-11 23:54:44

'The poor girl sounds a bit needy, and as if she's not getting a lot of attention at home,'
How do you get that??
She sounds like she is coming round to play with someone else's toys and in their house for a bit of a change of scene.She 's not interested in your DS ,just entertaining herself

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