To think this girl's behaviour was odd and slightly rude?(175 Posts)
Earlier today I was out shopping with my DS (13) who has special needs. Because of this special needs he is quite immature and younger than his years.
Around lunchtime we called into Starbucks for a drink and a bite to eat. We got served quickly as it was actually oddly quiet (was expecting it to be busy) but there was only another three tables occupied. We'd been sitting for a couple of minutes when a teenage girl came in, about 17 or 18 I'd say, with an older man (who I presume was her dad). The dad ordered his drinks at the till whilst the girl found a seat and sat down. She wasn't sitting that far from us - only about two tables along iyswim but we were sitting quite a distance from the till and counter.
My DS was obviously distracted by this because before I had a chance to stop him he got up and walked over to the girl and started talking to her - nothing sinister, just saying "hi" and "hello" however the girl simply glanced up, didn't say anything then looked back down again. My DS started talking to her again but by this point I was over there myself and was gently guiding him back over to our table. As I was guiding him over I apologised to the girl however she didn't acknowledge this or say anything and instead got up and went to sit upstairs instead . I don't think her dad realised what had happened because he followed her over to her seat upstairs about a minute later.
I've been thinking about it since I got home and I think it was weird. My DS was upset by it too as he asked later why she wouldn't talk to him. I mean I get that not everyone wants to get along with my son which is fine but I've always found that most people have been happy to at least say "hi" back to him. Which he is usually happy with and leaves them alone after that.
I honestly don't think there is anything in it. She was a teenage girl - they can be quite anti social at the best of times!
She probably thought "why are you speaking to me"
I know you think your son wasn't going rude, but she doesn't know that.
I think you are being a little bit unfair.
I don't think she was rude, there are many reasons she might not have said anything. I also wouldn't be sure she was 17-18. Some of the 13-14 year old girls I've met could easily pass for that age. She could easily be a child who has been taught to not engage with strangers who approach her, and acted correctly in the situation.
I have a teenage niece and I often tell her to not engage with strangers, to not worry about being perceived as "rude" if she finds herself in a situation she is uncomfortable with, and that it's fine to walk away from unwanted attention. I shudder when I remember how polite I was at that age and how men took advantage of that. I'm not suggesting your son is a leery man but special needs or not he can't expect to welcomed with open arms by every stranger he approaches.
I'd have done the same as her. I have massive anxiety issues, I can't go to the supermarket without a friend to help me. A trip to a coffee shop would be a necessary evil when I need to use the loo or get a drink etc. It would be an ordeal to be survived through breathing exercises, massively tensed muscles, screaming in my head and mental anguish followed by much relief when it was over.
I certainly wouldn't have been able to cope with a strange kid looming over me n trying to make me talk.
I'm torn with this. I feel sad for your DS as he was genuinely just being friendly.
But she wasn't to know that really.
I tell my DS's that in any situation they feel unsure about to always leave, to not worry about appearing rude. I especially think that for girls this is an important message.
The girl may have been taught similar.
And I took so long to post that I x-posted with similar comments!
Maybe she was younger than she looked and thought your ds was older? Some lads at 13 are the size of an adult male and it can be very intimidating for lone females to be approached by lone males. You don't know what has happened to her in her life, she may have been attacked and thought your son was coming onto her. A with sn once followed me off the bus talking and chatting to me. As an adult I could distinguish between him and a man who was clearly being a creepy sex pest, but you can't expect that from a young female.
I would have been pretty shy or intimidated by this at that age. I actually think good for her for getting up and moving away from a situation that, rightly or wrongly, made her uncomfortable - I would have just stayed there, staring at the table, feeling more and more uncomfortable. You never know, she may have told her dad about it and he could have explained the situation to her so that she would be fine should it happen again - just as you can explain to your son that some people are very shy and struggle with even saying 'hi'.
Btw I'm 44 and look 'normal' whatever that means, I even smile and chat. But inside I'm a mess with a brain like spaghetti.
To reiterate other posters, I'm sure you've told your DS to not to worry about walking away if someone makes him feel uncomfortable.
This girl did exactly that and potentially was told the same thing.
Maybe she was sick to death of being pestered by teenage boys in public. Maybe she was the victim of sexual assault and felt intimidated.
Whatever the reason, she has no obligation to be accommodating towards your son. Calling her rude and weird is childish of you.
Point taken about the possibility that she thought he was older. He is very tall for his age so I think might look older to some.
I did explain to him that some people are shy and might not want to talk all the time but I still don't think he understands
Sorry you were upset about this.
I don't like strangers coming up to me. It scares me and my first thought is that they are going to try to steal something (if I am in a shopping area etc).
To you he is your 13 year old son. To her he is a teenage boy no different to any other. And if you grew up where I did then teenage boys are not the nicest of ppl.
I think you are reading far too much in to this.
Even at 17 or 18 they can still be a bit immature and socially awkward. And how do you know she was that old? She might have looked older than her years.
Also although you know your son is immature for a 13 yo - does he look his age? If so then she had no reason to know he was anything other than a 13 yo boy who might be a PITA
like many of the 13yo boys she may have already encountered at school
Maybe she has some SN herself and has been told not to talk to strange men? Maybe she also looks older than she is? Maybe her mother just died?
You don't know why she didn't want to answer your son, and you are being very judgemental and unkind to call her odd and rude. Your sons behaviour was odd and rude in the same context as you are judging this girls behaviour by.
I have an eleven year old with add. He's super friendly. Especially to girls! He likes them super much!
But he gets in their faces, acts like a younger child, and they don't want to talk to him. I don't blame them
I'm sure she didn't mean it personally, OP. Your son sounds very friendly and nice, however other people don't know him as well as you do, and how he would never harm a fly. I get very nervous when I am approached by strangers too. I've been accosted so many times by people with unpredictable behaviour (in particular one woman who would not leave me alone- she thought she was being nice but she was quite aggressive and scary) when I lived in my home city, it is difficult to tell between who has ulterior motives, and those who are just being kind/ has special needs etc.
In the nicest way I think you are muddling up your very understandable feeling of sadness that your son was slightly upset with the idea that the girl was 'rude and weird '. She wasn't. Now that you know that not everyone will respond in the way you'd like to your son's friendliness, maybe you should be more vigilant about when is an appropriate time for him to act on it? Playgrounds, parties, friends houses etc are appropriate - coffee shops, trains etc are.
My teenage son has high functioning asd, he is horrified if people talk to him and would have reacted the same. Not saying this girl has, but plenty of people don't like unsolicited interaction (myself included although I would have said hi).
The young woman's behaviour wasn't odd, rude or weird.
She's under no obligation to talk to anyone. She's probably aware that to say "hi" to please someone else (or someone else's mother) is likely to be an opener to further interaction which she didn't initiate and clearly didn't want.
It doesn't matter whether the person approaching is 3 or 103, with or without SN, or the woman 17 or 47, unless they want to no-one has to entertain approaches from strangers when they're out and about minding their own business. They especially don't have to respond if they feel uncomfortable or intimidated, whether or not that was the intention of the person speaking to them.
I put my hands up here. i feel like this with other people's small children. My free time/coffee/cafe time is rare and valued. I don't want to spend my own child-free time drinking my latte and talking to your 3 year old about Peppa Pig. I will ignore children who are allowed to come my way and stand there demanding attention. I'll ignore people who make me feel intimidated too. It's my right to do that.
Is this the first time you've experienced this, OP?
If your son gets upset at being ignored and as a safety measure for his own benefit, would it not be better to encourage him not to approach strangers rather than considering them weird, odd or rude when they don't want to talk?
YABU, you are not considering the fact that she could be incredibly shy, have anxiety or SN herself, you are only seeing it from your DS's hurt feelings point of view.
not sure what your own child's issues are, but my DD has ASD
she would be right in your face, trying to sit with people she didn't know if she liked the look of their seat, or they had something on she liked the look of.
i'm going to have to teach her that's Not What We Do, by social stories and scripts, because i know fine well a Not Very Nice person will surely tell her one day, probably by means of a 'fuck off, weirdo'
OP, YABU about the other customer, is there any way you can help your DS understand it's not about him, but about other people?
You are absolutely NOT unreasonable for feeling sad and upset for your DS.
But she is a teenager herself and probably felt very awkward at being approached by a stranger.
Not that many teenagers are confident enough to be able to deal with that sort of interaction
Don't let it get to you and I really hope this thread doesn't descend into something horrible.
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