To discourage DS's friendship with this boy(57 Posts)
Genuinely not sure if I am unreasonable. I have a son (9) who is friends with another boy. The boy is high functioning autistic. I am friendly with the mother and we have younger cchildren the same age so often get together. When they play, the friends son is often rude to my son and will shout in his face. My son acknowledges that it's due to the autism and tries not to take it to heart. His younger sister (5) is awaiting a similar diagnosis so we have some insight.
My issue is that the boy will continue to be rude and mean to my son and his mother will never correct him, instead she just soothes him and cuddles him while he calls my son names and shouts. The most recent example was when we went there to play and the friend got cross over my son having won an award at school that day and refused to speak to him. My son ended up sitting and playing alone and was so disappointed he cried. When the friend and his mum saw this they just completely ignored he was upset and went and watched a film together. When I gently pointed out that he was crying and wanted to play the mum just cuddles him tighter while the boy says he hates him and shouts it loudly for my son to hear. The mother says nothing.
Now I have a 5 year old awaiting diagnosis as I said, and I know it can be tough when your child gets upset, but even at 5 I would not let my DD be mean or rude to her friends. She doesn't always understand social situations and how to cope with them, but I see my role as trying to guide her through them and develop strategies to cope and maintain the important relationships and friendships she has. Like my son's friend, despite the high functioning she does understand what acceptable behaviour is in terms of being mean, and when she doesn't understand or behaves in a way that is unacceptable it is still my job to teach her and correct her.
I have become a bit distant with this friend lately because although I do understand, I don't see that my son should keep being subjected to this behaviour. My son also needs to learn that being shouted at and called names is not ok and that he doesn't have to put up with it. So, am I being unreasonable in distancing myself, especially knowing that the boy doesn't have many friends as it is? WWYD?
I wouldn't cut them out but I would certainly make sure my DS had plenty of other options.
Does he get the opportunity to play with other children enough? To balance things out?
I would absolutely not cut them off completely. Your ds understands the behaviour is due to autism, as do you. The mother may be dealing with it in a different way from what you would but you may find this is the easiest way for her to calm him and diffuse the behaviour. Your son can be a freind to this boy. All children upset each other at times.
YANBU I would discourage any friendship my children had where their friends was being horrible to them and they were becomming upset.
That doesnt mean cutting him off or not letting them be friends at all but encouraging your ds to make friends with other people and spend more time with them instead.
YANBU at all, I would not accept playdates anymore with this boy, this I am saying from a parent who has a dd 11 with ASD and learning difficulties. Yes the boy cannot help his behaviour, or finds certain things hard to cope with, but that is not to say that the parent can just sit there and do nothing, whilst your ds is bullied like that. My friends ds who is 11 was the same as this boy, and she would always be on top of him, apologising. If it got too much we would know when to leave, or she gave playdates a break for a bit as he could not cope with them.
You can however meet up with the mum, when the kids are in school for a chat, that's what I used to do with my friend, as her ds was mean to dd, dd has a different type of Autism.
If it is upsetting your ds, he does not have to have a friendship with this boy, you have to put his feelings first as his parent.
Sorry OP - high functioning autism or not, I certainly wouldn’t be encouraging my son to develop this friendship. In fact I’d be doing the opposite. Still socialise with the mum on your own if you feel like it - although she doesn’t sound like the type of person I’d want to be around much tbh
Your poor son - how unpleasant for him. I’d ditch the play dates immediately OP
YANBU. Your son's getting upset on a regular basis, it's not working.
Would like to point out though, not all autistic children present the same, so I'd be wary of comparing your dd and her ds.
I would definitely distance (as you say your son needs to learn that nobody can treat him like that and its unacceptable. Hes worth more than that). But I wouldnt abandon the boy. Maybe just lower contact. He may be nicer if he realises he doesnt see you as much and his mum explains why (if shes realised)
You have a point. You don't want your DS to think it's ok to be shouted at, left out or called names. I'd like the other Mum to be showing she's teaching him it's not ok.
If she's not doing that I wouldn't be interested anymore
Your friend may be trying to calm her son in the way she knows works best for him: I have a DS with ASC and he responds better when I attempt to calm him than when I am firm. It's very sad that children with ASC are excluded due to behaviour that they cannot necessarily control, but you must absolutely put your child first: if your DS is not getting anything but unhappiness from this relationship, then yes, pull back. It is not your and DS's job to provide a friend for your friend's DS. And being shouted at is horrible for anyone, let alone a child.
What you might see as the other child’s mum soothing and not telling off might not be the whole picture. When a child with ASD is in that moment, addressing poor behaviour doesn’t work, it can exacerbate it. The mum may well have that conversation offline when it is far more effective. Children with ASD also communicate differently - this child might become over excited and his behaviours become inappropriate, or he might see any communication as good communication (my ASD son is like this, but in reverse, in that other children can be very unkind but he sees this as kindness as to him any interaction is good).
I would also say that there is an old adage that if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. So comparing your daughter’s behaviours with the other child’s isn’t really helpful. Also girls can present very differently.
That said, it can be very difficult and intense for other children sometimes. Maybe more infrequent play dates, or arrange different sorts of activities?
It’s exceptionally lonely being a parent of a child with autism, especially when some of the associated behaviours aren’t socially exceptional. Maybe coffee and a chat with just the mum? With your daughter coming up for assessment you might find you can help support each other?
Socially acceptable not exceptional. (Bloody autocorrect.)
I'm in the middle of autism assessment. This boy's dealing with the world as best he can, and probably doesn't understand why his comments are rude. To me, stating a fact isn't rude, I modify my behaviour, I don't really understand why I have to.
What does your son feel about the boy? By 9 children can decide if they wish to be friends or not. I'd ask him and take it from there. As much as it's not the other boys fault, your sons feelings are your priority.
Thanks for the responses, I was expecting to be told I was unreasonable and nasty for not excusing the behaviour. My son doesn't ask to see this boy, and says when he is nice he enjoys playing with him but it's horrible when he is mean. He says he wants to be his friend at school - interestingly at school he is not horrible. I will continue with my friendship with the mother and have occasional meet ups with the boys if my son wants to, but not as often. I think this may be a friendship that will flourish more if it remains in school.
you're not unreasonable.
My son who is autistic has friends who are also autistic and there's been many occasions where my son or me have not been ok with their behaviour. My son is pretty tolerant but he doesn't have to put up with being screamed at or insulted and I'm not about to make my son ignore his own boundaries just because the other kid is on the spectrum although we do talk about it and don't judge harshly or anything.
pretty much most of the kids I know are on the spectrum because of the people I know. That does not mean it's a massive free-for-all regarding behaviour
Yanbu to put your ds's feelings first and keep him from situations that make him feel shit.
He can be friends at school where teachers can monitor the friendship.
Good plan OP
If this boy doesn’t behave so unpleasantly at school, it seems to me he knows exactly what he’s doing and realises school won’t put up with it - but his mother will, and does.
I would stop the play dates for now. Your priority is to protect your son, not help the other boy. Being shouted at, called names, and ignored by his friend's mother when crying, could have lasting effects on his social confidence and wellbeing. Your son shouldn't have to endure that behaviour out of duty.
I'd be kind but honest with your friend, tell her the truth, that your son is upset by the behaviour and not getting enough from the friendship. I would also mention that she ignored him when he was crying.
Yes meet up with the mum on her own, stop the playdates as your ds is being bullied by this boy, and this boy is not coping with them. If you do go round with ds, and he is nasty, leave, don't subject him to that.
support ds in making other friendships but don’t cut this boy off, autistic children have a really hard time in terms of bullying and being excluded by peers.
Shouting at/telling off autistic children in the moment rather than calmly explaining and supporting them at other times can exacerbate distress
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