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To wonder if I'm making a boy who will be an arsehole?

(74 Posts)
Eggybreadleg Wed 20-May-20 16:55:26

I'm so upset and absolutely raging at DS. Earlier in the year he told a classmate he was brown like poo and his we, his teacher and the head made a big deal out telling him this wasn't ok. We went over racism etc and he was sanctioned at school as well as punished at home. We made him write the other boy a letter of apology and I really thought he got it. Now today I got called by school to tell me he'd done it again! For reference DS does have high functioning autism. I feel like ripping all his lego out of his room and putting in the bin. I'm worried I'm going to unleash an arsehole on the world. Why doesn't he get this is such a big deal?

AJPTaylor Wed 20-May-20 16:58:23

How old is he?

LittleFoxKit Wed 20-May-20 17:04:35

Theres a few things that need go be considered first
How old is he?
And how severe is his autism?
What's the context?

Does he display racist sentiment, eg dosent like the other boy because of this ethnicity,
Or is he being factual, eg the child has skin different to him and he is describing it in the first way that comes to mind? (Younger children love poo and wee references).

It may be dependent on age, that he is not thinking about it in terms of racist connotations and is being descriptive (although in a not very nice way).

Best way to approach it will be best discussing it, as depending on how autism if you throw his Lego out it's like he will not associate what happened in school = punishment by Lego going and will be unlikely to understand the action=consequence of that sequence of events. Ideally the school need to be dealing with it straight away so it's very clear to him that the action has a consequence which can be easily connected.

Depending on age it may be worth discussing with him why he said it, so you can find out whether it was racist or a blunt factual statement, then discuss it from there, if its racist then that's not okay, if it was misplaced blunt statement, then explore why it's not okay, that sometimes even if something is blunt and a description it's not okay to say as it hurts peoples feelings etc etc.

LittleFoxKit Wed 20-May-20 17:08:32

Btw I'm autistic, and occasionally say something (I am very big fighter for equality, we all bleed red, everyone is human, anti ablism, etc etc) and my poor DH looks at me and horror and says "you cant say that!", when tbh I've not thought about the connotations of what I've said, I've just stated something factually/descriptivly not considering societal expectations and rules. But for me there is never a negative -ism behind it, I just haven't considered how society would construe it.

Butchyrestingface Wed 20-May-20 17:13:23

Your son's age is a rather important factor. How old?

Lordfrontpaw Wed 20-May-20 17:14:50

If he is at school - is this a special needs school?

Eggybreadleg Wed 20-May-20 17:14:51

He meant it. He's high functioning. He used it to hurt this kid. They had an argument at play time and other kid demoted him in their make believe game but without reason or at least in DS's mind without reason. So DS called him and idiot. Other kid said why am I idiot and DS said "because you're brown". DS is in a mainstream school with no TA. He's not usually a behaviour problem. He's not disruptive etc. He's middle of his class academically so not thick. He does struggle to control his temper when wound up. I'm so angry with him but I just don't know wtaf to do. We read social stories last time, we talked about calm down techniques when angry, we talked about history. And we fucking are again. I'm so angry! He's 8.

lanthanum Wed 20-May-20 17:16:16

It may take time to work on it. I taught a lad with ASD in secondary whose IEP included racism as something he was working on. He didn't cope with change, so apparently reacted badly to having supply teachers anyway, but particularly so if they were non-white.

As LittleFoxKit says, it might just be a matter of understanding that some factual statements are not very nice. It can be a rather subtle - look at the similes used in poetry - why is it nice to compare someone's eyes or hair colour to some things but not others, and why does it get even more fraught when we get to skin colour?

Lordfrontpaw Wed 20-May-20 17:16:26

OK - oh dear. What does the school suggest? Does he get any additional support?

IsolaPribby Wed 20-May-20 17:23:26

He is 8, and has autism. He wanted to hurt the other boy, but probably doesn't understand the loaded implications of using the colour of his skin to do so. He probably doesn't understand the difference between you smell to your brown. Be consistent, be firm, and realise that he will probably not get it for a fair while.
I'm not saying it's easy, but it's not straightforward racism either.

BogRollBOGOF Wed 20-May-20 17:32:10

Autism is highly likely to be relevant as there is a factual level of observation to the comment- not that that negates how it is offensive, but there is a level of contradictory social observation and ettiquette to learn that you can make observations that Amelia has long, blonde hair, and Ollie is tall with brown hair, but you can't mention that Muhammed has brown skin or that Gertrude is fat. Factually they are similar descriptive observations, but some trigger issues with self esteem or experiences of abuse and are therefore socially unacceptable.

I'm assuming from the comparison with poo that he is quite young and/ or emotionally immature.

Yes, it needs addressing, and he needs to understand boundaries of what is socially acceptable or not, but don't go too gung ho on your reaction. Concentrate on why some observations upset people. It sounds unlikely that it was intended with malice and that his intent is racist.

Don't do anything with a Lego. Talk about why such comments are upsetting and an appology letter is a relevant consequence.

SeriouslySoDoneIn Wed 20-May-20 17:34:13

Well he likely gets his attitude from you... bottom of the class kids are thick? Really? Not that they may need additional help and support because they’re not high functioning? Thank god you and your son are no where near my child’s school! Wouldn’t want either of you around, you both sound awful.

Toiletrollbuyer Wed 20-May-20 17:34:16

I am high functioning autistic, I say some terrible things but luckily DP is incredibly tolerant!
For example, he bought a herb mix for cooking the other day, cooked a wonderful meal and I told him it smelled like toilet cleaner. I wasn’t being horrible, it just did!
It’s so hard to split fact and emotions, it’s as frustrating for me as it is the person I am talking to. I have said some horrific things which after reflecting on them are awful but for me at the time they were just factual

Elieza Wed 20-May-20 17:36:26

I was thinking something similar to isola, ‘you smell like poo’ was frequently said in my youth by various kids. Not because the recipient did smell but just to be horrible.
He probably doesn’t know that ‘you’re brown like poo’ isn’t the same level of saying nasty stuff and is a totally different type of insult.
It does need to be remembered though. He can’t just blurt our whatever he thinks will hurt someone.
What are the school suggesting should happen to him?

Seaweed42 Wed 20-May-20 17:37:44

He got a lot of attention the last time he said this. Does he like to get attention? If you all made a massive fuss over it. Next time just Calmly but Firmly remove one of his privileges like the Internet/his tablet/whatever for a certain amount of time. If he says it again the same happens. A letter of apology means feck all to an 8yr old.
If you have a big meeting where he is the centre of attention, he may enjoy that attention, despite the fact that he is in trouble.
He's probably not racist, he is just using the kid's difference to punish him. If the kid had really red hair or a birthmark on his face he'd probably have said that.

LeopardPrintTits Wed 20-May-20 17:37:54

If he has done this deliberately, as you’ve said, surely he’s learnt to be racist from something?

KitKatKit Wed 20-May-20 17:38:16

I think you need to normalise difference, in the same way that parents of neurotypical children should educate their kids about autism.

Maybe the books that you read to him/ he reads need to have ethnically diverse characters, people that are different to him. I'm guessing he doesn't actually know any people of colour in his immediate circle which is why he felt it was okay to make that comment.
I don't think you're making an arsehole at all, though I think there are things such as the aforementioned which might help his world view as he grows older.

Ellie56 Wed 20-May-20 17:44:59

Why doesn't he get this is such a big deal? Because he's autistic.

He may be high functioning, but he will still struggle with social communication and expectations.

My son used to find BAME people really scary, but he seems ok with them now he's grown up.

MrsTWH Wed 20-May-20 17:45:24

Ok, so he is 8 and is autistic. He got a big reaction last time he said it, and knew it would hurt the boy when he was angry and worked up.

So now, what are the consequences going to be for him now he’s deliberately done it again?

Bookoffacts Wed 20-May-20 17:47:54

Children insult each other with whatever is to hand.
Tall, short, fat, thin, brown skin in majority white skin schools, white skin in majority brown skin schools.
Funny hairdo, wrong shape or angle of hairbow, smell, hair colour, attitude/ ethos (!),
gender, sex, clothing, level of intellectual prowess, class, parents car, phone, house..

Just explain gently that it's not nice.
Also explain that insulting someone on their skin colour is far worse than any other kind of insult.
Insult and exclusion on class in contrast is practically promoted.

Ellie56 Wed 20-May-20 17:51:09

And you might be better getting this post moved to the SEN boards. There are a lot of knowledgeable posters on there who may be able to suggest something to address this. The usual punishments don't work with children with autism.

KaptenKrusty Wed 20-May-20 17:52:03

You are definitely being a bit harsh here - the poor child is autistic ! He probably now knows after that last time that referencing the other child’s skin colour Hurts him - which is what he wanted to do as the other child was mean to him

Obviously you need to work on this as you don’t want him to grow up coming across as racist!

But the way you are dealing with it now in such anger is not helpful!

Bearnecessity Wed 20-May-20 17:54:48

What is happening to make your son resort to this? In my experience year 5 and around that age is really challenging for all kids as a developmental time.Kids are at their most vile at this age and will single out any definitive characteristic to pick on and highlight. They move through it and come out the other side ...in my ds day it was your gay....said not because he was homophobic or an arsehole but because he was being bullied himself heavily and struggling to deal with it. Good modelling and move on I say....

CrystalTipped Wed 20-May-20 17:56:16

This may sound simplistic, but does your DS like chocolate? If he's thinking brown = poo, point out the things he likes that are brown - chocolate, caramel, coke, tree trunks, birds, dinosaurs, horses, dogs, hair, etc. And more exposure to diversity in his TV shows and books.

Or show him pictures of white dog poo! It may sound silly, but maybe saying "look, poo comes in different colours too" will break the association.

I know kids with autism can be very rigid in the way they think. It may be best to try to tackle it in a positive/lateral way, instead of reinforcing the negativity.

NellyNoNorks Wed 20-May-20 17:58:44

OP, if your DS is autistic, you are going to have to learn an awful lot of calming techniques for yourself before you can get anywhere with him.

My XH didn't manage to do this, and I left him because of it.

IME the very worst thing you can do with an ASD child is rant and scream and be angry with them. It might make you feel better if you're the angry type, but it won't have the effect you want. Your DS will just not "get" it. He will, though, find your anger incomprehensible and frightening, and will not make any link between your feelings and what he said to his classmate.

With these sorts of things, I'm afraid, you just have to keep plugging away, very calmly. "We don't make comments about the colour of other people's skin". If he asks why not, then something clear is called for ("because it is rude to make comments about other people's skin colour"). Social stories can be useful here.

There is also some inconsistency in your post. High functioning autism is a world unto itself, and tends to mean a person is super-brilliant in some ways (academically, musically etc) but less skilled in others (normally socially). Is this what you are talking about?

It's also a shame that you describe the less academic children in your son's class as "thick". You presumably don't use these kinds of derogatory terms in front of your son?

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