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WIBU by saying her ASD child was really well behaved?

(25 Posts)
user1495092636 Thu 18-May-17 08:45:40

I sometimes look after my SIL's son who has ASD. She often talks to me about how difficult she finds him, so I do it to help out. A friend of mine recently said (when I had a conversation about looking after him and said he is always so well behaved) "I hope you don't keep saying that to her" and I was a bit confused is it really rude for me to say her son has been well behaved??

FrenchMartiniTime Thu 18-May-17 08:50:02

Because it comes accross as you being smug that he is always well behaved for you and badly behaved for your SIL.

Your suggesting that it's your SIL's parenting that's the problem.

That's how it comes across, even if you mean it as well intentioned.

hesterton Thu 18-May-17 08:50:27

You risk sounding as if you dont believe her or that you think you manage him better than her. Even if that's not what you mean at all. Try saying it is so much easier for someone who has him for a few hours when he's on visitor's behaviour than it must be for his mum.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Thu 18-May-17 08:53:11

It depends on your exact wording, your tone, your relationship with SIL and her sensitivity. If my mum tells me DS was perfectly behaved, I might roll my eyes and say that was an improvement on yesterday when he was a pain in the arse. I wouldn't take it as critically as others might, because I think it's not uncommon for children to play up for their parents.

You might want to downplay his behaviour a bit in case she's taking it badly.

JuicyStrawberry Thu 18-May-17 08:56:24

No I don't think it is rude. I have a son with ASD and it makes me feel so happy when people such as grandparents, teachers etc.. say he's been well behaved/happy/wonderful etc... I'm glad he's all of those things at school and with family members and I see it as a compliment to both me and him when they praise him!
He vents most of his frustration all out at with me probably because he's closest to me.

Lightship Thu 18-May-17 08:56:46

It's not that it's 'rude', it just potentially suggests you don't believe in the diagnosis, like the 'there's no such thing as ASD, it's just bad behaviour that needs firmness!' brigade. Again, depending on how you say it, and how often your SIL has encountered skeptics about ASD.

allcatsaregrey Thu 18-May-17 08:58:26

My daughter has asd and I don't mind people saying she's well behaved because she is very well behaved. She is still very hard work though because of her severe anxiety and sadness as she tries to fit into to a world that doesn't understand her. Children with asd aren't always badly behaved but they do need alot of extra input.

Justmadeperfectflapjacks Thu 18-May-17 08:58:37

Just acknowledge that he was well behaved that particular day. Give examples. Surely he deserves some credit for managing his behaviour if he is doing so? His feelings over hers surely!?

Crumbs1 Thu 18-May-17 09:00:47

I think it's good to hear if your children are well behaved. Children with ASD are no different- kids with SEN can be very naughty too. It's not all about the disability, sometimes it's just plain naughtiness. Interestingly, it is believed that about 60% of people with Tourette's can and do exaggerate their tics.

maggiso Thu 18-May-17 09:02:10

No it is not rude to say her son has been well behaved, and give them both credit for this. What your friend might be trying to warn you is to be careful not to imply that the credit for the good behaviour is yours, or that you don't believe the challenges she faces. Some children with ASD mostly manage ( with great effort) to hold it together when away from home but let their challenges show once safely back with their main carers. Parents in this situation often get blamed or dis believed.

HallowedMimic Thu 18-May-17 09:02:21

The fact that your friend mentioned it suggests there might be something of 'well he's alright with me' in your tone.

If you must comment, a breezy 'he cooked/played/helped really well earler' would be fine.

I would imagine your sister in law has long term difficulties on her mind, which amplify the day to day stuff.

halcyondays Thu 18-May-17 09:02:22

I don't think it's rude or suggests not believing in the diagnosis, unless said in a certain tone. Many children behave much better for anyone except their parents. I have a dd who has Aspergers and am glad she behaves well with other people. It makes life a lot easier than if you were getting constant calls from school etc.

Spikeyball Thu 18-May-17 09:02:51

I would only comment on behaviour in general if she asks. It's fine to comment that he has been happy, enjoyed doing an activity etc or there is a specific thing he got upset about.

PandasRock Thu 18-May-17 09:06:27

Agree, depends on how you say/phrase it.

I have 3 dc, all with ASD.

When I get told they've behaved well, I take it as it's meant - in that moment, at that time, they behaved.

I may make a comment 'makes a change' or 'at least they behave when it matters' or similar. But I am secure in my knowledge of their various dx's, and don't feel threatened. I already know my dc don't behave 'typically' autistic (i.e. they don't display many of the behaviours the general public erroneously believe are core autism behaviours) - that doesn't mean they don't have autism.

IF your SIL is feeling raw, or could have reason to suspect it may been you disbelieve the dx, she may take it as criticism of her parenting.

user1495092636 Thu 18-May-17 09:06:57

Yeah, I see what you mean.

number1wang Thu 18-May-17 09:12:03

Children with ASD sometimes behave a lot better elsewhere than at home (google "masking"). So yes, he may well be much better behaved at yours than at home, but it may not be anything to do with you specifically!

Dreamstosell Thu 18-May-17 09:30:27

I have a son with ASD. I'm always relieved to hear that he's behaved himself. For me that would mean I wouldn't feel I was imposing on you too much if you offered to have him again.

Nousernameforme Thu 18-May-17 09:40:27

Just a quick "he's been fab/great/no problems today" on pick up is fine.
Saying "I never have any problems with him when he is with me" is not.

birdlover1977 Thu 18-May-17 09:45:10

I have 2 boys with ASD and it makes me so happy when people tell me that they have been well behaved, or coped well with a change in routine, or managed their emotions effectively (i.e being scared but not running off, or being angry but not hitting, etc). This means that they are getting the right level of support and all the hard work I put in at home is making a positive difference.

The only time I would be upset is if someone tries to imply that actually the boys don't have autism and their difficulties are due to my parenting. That would hurt. Thankfully no-one I care about has ever implied this, if they did I would limit contact with them.

Senac32 Thu 18-May-17 09:52:08

I would say not just ASD children, but most children behave differently in different situations.
Also "familiarity breeds contempt".
And for your comments to his Mum, the same as the previous poster wrote.

Colacolaaddict Thu 18-May-17 09:55:28

DS is going through the assessment process and that sort of feedback is very useful to me. We are increasingly finding it difficult to leave him at parties etc as the social demands grow with age, so I would welcome that reassurance.

However, DH and I also roll our eyes at his GPs who insist he is an angel every minute and couldn't possibly do anything imperfectly. They mean to be kind but it makes it difficult for us to have a meaningful conversation with them about what works, or what DS might feel but can't express.

It's lovely that you have him over. I bet that is very much appreciated.

chocaholic73 Thu 18-May-17 09:55:36

My DD with ASD could also be extremely well behaved even in what was for her very stressful situations but it was a huge effort for her. I am not saying it is the same with you OP but PILs would have her, totally overload her and not have any issues. On many occasions, they wondered what our problem was ... what happened was she held everything in till she felt secure at home, then all hell let loose.

LeftoverCrabsticks Thu 18-May-17 10:21:51

Our son is six and has ASD/PDA. When strangers say it e.g. a doctor doing a hearing test said "If I hadn't seen the diagnosis I'd never have believed he had it" although they might mean well, it does feel sometimes like our struggles are being minimised or disbelieved even if that was never the intention.

His behaviour especially with people he's familiar with can be an absolute nightmare, so there is nobody in our lives who looks after him regularly who would disbelieve the diagnosis! Therefore any "well-behaved" compliment from somebody in that situation would be met with total relief and pride.

LadyPW Thu 18-May-17 14:19:05

Why not ask your SIL if she minds you saying it? That way you can explain that you're not questioning the diagnosis / her parenting but are now questioning yourself because of what your friend said. SIL gets to know that anything you have said or will say is free of undertones, and you get to stop worrying that innocent comments are being taken the wrong way. Win, win.

DixieNormas Thu 18-May-17 14:28:11

Like other say, it can depend how you are saying it. It's not unusual for dc with asd to behave, its not unusual for dc with asd to mask with other people.

I have a child with asd who can't mask, its always a relief when im told he's been fine. The few people I leave him with (rarely) are well aware that his behaviour could go either way though depending on circumstances usually out of anyone's control

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