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'Inappropriate' behaviour in HFA DS

(14 Posts)
BlogOnTheTyne Tue 30-Oct-12 06:58:05

DS aged 11, has HFA - or rather, traits that put him just below the cut off line for Asperger's.

He is now beginning puberty and flits between 'my little boy' and the man he will become. Recently, I'm increasingly uncomfortable about his 'sexualised' behaviour towards me or in front of me.

All his life, he has 'parrotted' things he sees on TV. When he was much younger, he'd repeat whole phrases from children's programmes and 'act out' gestures etc from them.

I have been less than vigilant with monitoring what he watches (enormous guilt here), on his PC rather than TV these days. He is 'obsessed' with 'Family Guy' and rewatches episodes constantly and also The Simpsons. I hadn't realised how inappropriate the Family Guy cartoons are and now it's too late - and my own fault, that he's now 'parrotting' phrases from this and 'acting out' aspects of episodes.

He thinks it's a big joke and believes he's being really funny but I'm finding his sexualised gestures, anti-woman phrases and his pseudo- sexual behaviour towards me is really off-putting, worrying and repulsive. EG, he'll act like he's 'coming on' to me, without having any idea of what he's really doing.

I love my son of course and I know that he doesn't really mean to be offensive. When he sees that I'm upset and angry, he apologises and says it was just a joke and then sort of flips into 'little boy' once again.

However, he is equally likely to 'blame me' and get furiously angry, if I tell him off or call him on his behaviour - which, lifelong, he's done always, as he finds it difficult to accept blame and fault and so has to 'make it the other person's fault'.

Last night, I 'lost it' with him and shouted that I find his behaviour inappropriate and disgusting and that if he wasn't my son, I'd not want to be near him and would actually want to physically push him away. I told him I feel extremely uncomfortable with his gesturing and phrases and that this is completely inappropriate and not at all funny.

He was angry and upset but then went quiet and 'retreated into himself'. It was fine between us once he was going to bed last night but this morning I'm pulled between thinking I was over the top with him and he doesn't really understand what he's doing - but also, that I really need to clamp down more firmly on this behaviour.

He doesn't display this kind of behaviour outside the home, thank heavens and seems to have sufficient control and sense to act much more appropriately outside. However, I worry that oneday, he'll think he's joking around with his school friends but come out with something really inappropriate there and also, if he ever manages to havea relationship, his parodying of 'Family Guy' behaviour would make anyone run a mile.

So I'm wondering if anyone here has a child who displays anything similar at this stage of life - puberty - and how you dealt with it? Was I right to show him in no uncertain terms, that he's not being appropriate and I find his behaviour offensive - or should I be making more allowances and be more patient with him?

squidworth Tue 30-Oct-12 07:22:12

My eldest DS went through this, mainly what he heard from school. He generally was repeating what he did not understand but everyone else found it funny so it must be. I had to be literal and explain the jokes, difficult and very uncomfortable but for us the only way. TBH it still happens but now he will ask if what he has heard is appropriate.

WofflingOn Tue 30-Oct-12 07:49:28

Same as squidworth, and it helped to remember that children with AS often function at 2/3 of their chronological age, emotionally.
So your boy may well be around 7/8 in his ability to handle certain material, concepts and aspects of humour that are considered inappropriate.
You will have to discuss things with him calmly, explain that although it is on TV, that doesn't make it acceptable in everyone's eyes and be much more up front about monitoring what he views and picking holes in what characters and comedians say on TV.
Challenge it at the time, sexism, racism and general crudity, offer your opinion as a counterbalance. You need to have a more rational argument than just getting cross if he's to understand why it isn't OK.

Courts010 Tue 30-Oct-12 08:14:13

Apart from being obssessed with watching things online, you have just described my son to a T.

Although, I can't give you any advice as I still don't have a clue what i'm doing yet I can reassure you that you are not alone.

Watching with interest.

bialystockandbloom Tue 30-Oct-12 14:26:29

Have no experience as ds is much younger, so hope I'm not talking utter rubbish, but I did wonder whether he may need some explanation of what is inappropriate about what he does, and why - sounds like he obviously doesn't really understand what he's watching, so it may be hard for him to work out what is and isn't appropriate.

Was I right to show him in no uncertain terms, that he's not being appropriate and I find his behaviour offensive Yes, I think you were right. But also need to find a way to show him what is appropriate, as well as telling him what isn't.

auntevil Tue 30-Oct-12 14:36:37

In a similar vein, my DS picks up phrases from a lad at school. He thinks they're funny, but has no concept as to what they mean. The other week he started to use the term d**khead.
I asked him what it meant and he said 'a funny person'. I explained what it really meant, and why calling someone that was not acceptable. I told him not to repeat words that this boy said unless he knew what they meant and he used them in the right context.
Lo and behold, he was picked up by a senior member of staff repeating more choice words at school. DS's only saving grace was that the incident was witnessed by staff, and they saw the words being whispered into his ear by the same lad. He still has no idea what he said was wrong.
I am just going bit by bit at each incident and explaining why what he said was wrong and not funny. I'm also trying to get him to understand what it might be like to be called these names.
Ever hopeful, just hope I can stop any of these words being common language for him.

BlogOnTheTyne Tue 30-Oct-12 19:20:59

Thank you for the feedback. Yes, he's very immature for his actual age in many ways, socially and emotionally and yet speaks like a professor and reads things well in advance of his years. Typical HFA really.

I don't want to open up the subject too mcuh today, after my outburst yesterday as I feel he needs some calm and secure 'love' from me today. But I have made a point of cuddling him today in the appropriate way and when he responds appropriately, giving him some positive feedback like, "Now THAT's the way we can give each other a hug" etc.

But I think I'll talk to him calmly in the next few days about the difference between appropriate affection and inappropriate, sexualised gesturing.

I think I'm worried that over the next few years, if he begins to take an interest in relationships, he'll be very clumsy and inappropriate in how he behaves and this will be incredibly off-putting to anyone.

Has anyone on this list got through the years of 'dating' or at least desire to date but having to manage the difficulty of maybe not being able to 'get' this next aspect of growing up?

Someone said to me recently that HFA people need a particular type of very nurturing, caring, protective person to partner them and I can see this being the case with DS, although I often wonder if he'll ever manage a relationship at all and this makes me feel very sad for him.

WofflingOn Tue 30-Oct-12 19:32:27

Mine is 17, at the having a group of friends that are mixed sex stage, hugging and group socialising. Has been on a few days out with female friends but no girlfriend as such yet. It has been a minefield, but talking and honesty have helped ensure that any possible issues were run through before hand. His mates all know he's an Aspie and the girls like him and find him a safe person.

BlogOnTheTyne Wed 31-Oct-12 13:41:44

WofflingOn, how did your son get on over the years from aged 11 upwards? DS is struggling a bit to retain the friends he had at junior school, as some are pairing off or finding new more compatible friends and his group of about 7 friends has been split up. The two he's still with, have formed a twosome and DS is nowhere near able to make new friends.

That's just the boys. He doesn't talk to girls at all and,a s most of the girls seem to be at least 3 years ahead of the average boy, socially, someone like DS is just way way behind. If the girls notice him at all, it would be to see him as 'weird'/odd. Some year 10 boys, for now reason he can think of, turned on him the other day and began to say, "You're very 'special' aren't you? You're a very 'special' child" ir meaning 'special needs' of course. DS hadn't ever met them or interacted with them and was simply sitting behind them in an assembly.

If this is how things are for him with other boys, I fear the future for him with girls. Typically for HFA, he's opinionated, controlling and arrogant at times or completely withdrawn and shy at other times.

I'd love more feedback from people on this forum who have HFA children in the teenage and upwards age group and particularly, those whose children are now wanting or even trying to date.

swanthingafteranother Thu 01-Nov-12 12:36:26

Blog my son has diagnosis of HFA. He is a very sweet natured, sociable child of 10 but also does the inappropriate behaviour stuff, particularily with his sister's friends (his sister absolutely hates this). He has never watched Family Guy but I can see that he can only imitate rather than understand how people interact, so he is overly affectionate sometimes or says wrong phrases (like for example "hello lovely ladies" to a group of ten year old girls blush
What keeps me calm is that I was useless with the opposite sex until I was about 19, never had a boyfriend till university, and I suspect that although I didn't say inappropriate things exactly I was getting it wrong most of the time too...hmm What I mean is, I'm sure I had the same ASD as he is displaying now, except the female version...
Love of your parents will get you through, and in the end you will find the affection you learn about from your mother or father, siblings or both will stand you in good stead for emotional relationships with opposite sex if you are touched or otherwise with ASD. And your son has shown capacity for friendship - that will bear fruit with opposite sex in due course, although it might be later than with NT teens.
I think some Asperger's children are just what might in a previous era be called "late bloomers" or "late developers".
Don't put pressure on him to succeed with girls at this stage or question his inability to sustain friendships, just keep encouraging his communication with others, invite someone over 1:1 for him to keep boy boy friendships chugging along. I think you do have to facilitate more if you have an ASD child, and not expect it just to happen through school activities. He is only 11 so why would you worry about dating now? Please don't. Just encourage him to be a fine person.
RE: horrid children at school. There are horrid bullies everywhere, unfortunately and I think you need to teach ds a response, or remind teachers that he needs a bit more tlc and that bullying should not be acceptable. Alert them to fact that this is an issue. I would, and don't be frightened of appearing "soft" and "wet". It could get worse, so act now.

HotheadPaisan Thu 01-Nov-12 12:40:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

swanthingafteranother Thu 01-Nov-12 12:42:28

Also I think that "puberty"is not just about sex. It is about wanting to be better, faster, stronger, thinking more clearly, having drive, emotional susceptibility, adventurousness. In fact puberty is not just about reproduction it is about having all the qualities that nature gives us to become successful parents in due course so just because he has hit puberty doesn't mean he is ready to have or needs a girlfriend, just that he beginning to learn all the skills that will make him ready to be an adult.. Just the same way you wouldn't think a 13 year old girl who had hit puberty wasn't ready to have a boyfriend...would you?

BlogOnTheTyne Sat 03-Nov-12 06:18:15

Well, I was 21 before I got into relationships at all. So you could call me a late starter! However, some of DS's peers began 'going out/dating' last year, in year 6!!!

I'm happy whether DS is heterosexual or gay and want, most of all, for him to retain/make friends throughout his life. Hormones seem to be raging at the moment, making him have huge mood swings and he can go, within the course of a single minute, from sweet, loving little boy, to outrageously rude and angry 'teenager'.

He gets fixed ideas about his future - uni, job etc etc - and then worries incessantly that he won't achieve his goals. But he's never yet had, as a goal, developing a relationship or having children. He finds younger children completely unnerving, hates the sound of babies crying (puts his hands over his ears) and is repulsed if I point out a cute baby or refer to him when he was a baby, in a positive way,even.

I think my thoughts on will he ever be able to have a relationship, are more based on my worries about him once I'm gone (I'm rasing DCs alone with no other input and no wider family involvement). I know it's possible to be very happy and single but i do think he'll need friends around him and someone or some group of people to love and support him. Right now, he can be incredibly off-putting, even to friends and sibling and I realise that only I fully understand him and love him.

whatthewhatthebleep Sat 03-Nov-12 12:35:06

It's just really important that when 'inappropriate' things happen that it is explained why it is not a good attitude or behaviour to have towards others.
Rather than blaming and giving an ASD person a row about it and making them feel like a bad person.
My DS is 12yrs and when this sort of thing happens or things are said, I then explain what sort of person does this sort of thing and that this is not the sort of person he wants to be seen as or to behave like.
As an ASD person he has a very strong drive when it comes to right and wrong and honesty in all things. I appeal to this side of his nature and use it to teach him more right from wrong and build his understanding this is never about him personally but rather the behaviour or language that matters and my explaining is always about the measure of a good person V's a bad person or good choices V's bad choices and about who he wants to be and what I expect from him in future as a good person.
This seems to work very well for us and eliminates my DS ever feeling he is bad as such, rather that he has been mistaken and has a choice and guided through in changing the behaviour and making better choices, etc does really sort a lot of this sort of thing out.

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