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Bully or friend?

(10 Posts)
Swiddle Thu 15-Nov-12 12:40:39

My 10 yo ds with Aspergers has trouble making friends in his mainstream school and is desperate for playdates. One (rare) classmate who is usually willing to come and play is the resident alpha male and always seems friendly. However, I heard from another mum that her child says alpha male often makes cruel comments to my ds. Ds denies this totally, but (a) may be protecting his friend and (b) may not realise that the comments are cruel as he may not pick up the nuances. The child who reports this is a good solid sort. My ds is a sweet gentle boy who has a neon sign saying "bully me" over his head, iyswim.
As the problem has been happening at school dinners, I asked for my ds to be seated elsewhere. Now he is wretched as he has been moved from his 'friends'. And alpha male has just invited him over to play!
Utterly confused! I don't know whether to court the friendship or keep the distance or kick up a huge stink about the bullying.
Any thoughts?

Bluebirdonmyshoulder Thu 15-Nov-12 12:54:54

Hmm, tricky one. Next time you invite alpha male over, could you earwig a bit more? I.e. don't leave them alone upstairs but told laundry in your room or something?

Also worth asking the teacher what her view of this friendship is.

Can you also encourage the friendship with 'good sort' boy? Does he do anything outside school that your DS could join in with?

Tbh, the fact that alpha actually invites your DS over to his I would take as a good sign but then I'm a bit trusting like that.

Swiddle Thu 15-Nov-12 13:59:42

Thanks Bluebird, I get so keen for him to have a friend I begin to think that even a bully will do! I will ask the teacher her view on this (tho' after I started blubbing at parents evening, I think she's got me down as one to watch!)

HecatePropylaea Thu 15-Nov-12 14:07:16

It is my sad experience that there are children who will befriend ours because they can be on top of them. They can lead them and dictate to them and they enjoy this. They may not be out and out cruel (although this can happen) but they like the inequality.

And sometimes our kids can't see this. They just think they have a friend. sad

Things to watch out for - when they play, is it always what the other child wants to do? Do they seem to lead your child round? Do they always have the goes on stuff and get your child to watch? Do the kids play what they both like or what the other child likes? Is the other child happy to do what your child likes or do they keep moving things back to their choice? Are they playing with the stuff rather than your child? Do they appear to be giving orders rather than playing cooperatively?

Friendship has to be a give and take. If you're seeing all take and no give - it's not a friendship.

Now, my kids (autistic) do all of that stuff if you let them grin but I step in to ensure that there is turn taking and fairness and to teach them how important this stuff is. But if you're seeing it from the NT child to the child with ASD - it can indicate there's something to keep an eye on.

coff33pot Fri 16-Nov-12 01:03:02

DS had a "friend" who came every day for a while....till I ran out of biscuits that DS could give him sad

Another was very friendly till I worked out that DS pocket money jar was going down. He was charging DS for his company sad

Another one pretended he was "looking after" DS until middle DD had this boy mimicking DS behind her all the way home from senior school of his mannerisms and body language. She was so upset but DS just said he is a "friend".

The worst one told DS there was a new game on the street and it was called Ollie Catch. The boy would open the door and say Ollie Fetch and the staffie used to chase DS and bite the backs of his calves. DS has no pain threshold and assumed the dogs were playing. It took 12 weeks for the marks to go sad He has never been out on his own since then.

Watch carefully from a distance. Invite them out to the park together and see how they act. Always listen when one or another has shut a room door. It pays to be suspicious on occasion.

HecatePropylaea Fri 16-Nov-12 06:42:47

Oh yes.

I've had a 'friend' of my eldest come round and every time he leaves, something appears to have left with him.

my eldest truly thinks this boy is his friend, because he tells him he is angry

Last time this boy came round, I sat in the bedroom with them.

Haven't seen him since.

However, in the interests of fairness, my youngest has two friends. Two ACTUAL friends! Who love him just for being him. Who see the child not the autism.

One of them is a little girl who just adores him. She's far too soft though because she's happy to just do what he wants. I keep telling her - "tell him what you want to do and you guys do that for a bit." and she gives me a lovely smile and says no, she wants to do what X wants. She just loves to be with him.

The other is a boy who likes him so much because he just plays. His mum says that he loves that they just play. There's no politics. No 'you do this or I won't be your friend'. No drama. They just play and he loves it.

peekyboo Fri 16-Nov-12 16:39:48

My son, super-sociable and gentle, always, WITHOUT FAIL! made friends with the alpha male/human riot in any school group. Some of his friends should have come to our house with danger money for me. Honestly, as if it wasn't exciting enough making sure ds didn't launch himself off into bushes, or take off down the road, without his friends doing it for him.
Interestingly, none of his friends were on the spectrum, they were just very loud (and usually a bit obnoxious as well).
I found out as time went on that his main friend was classed as a bully by other children, though my son never saw him that way. He always took the noise, insults and the rest as part of his friend's loud character and never took offence.
Looking back, I don't think the friends were using my son in any way. They tended to put off what you might call 'normal' friends and as an aspie, my son took people at face value. Although my son had friends who made me nervous at times, I could see how they each saw something in the other that other people missed.
Always be careful that your child isn't taken advantage of, but don't be too quick to decide if a loud, brash boy is a friend or not until you have an unhappy son at home. It could just be a case of opposites attracting!


peekyboo Fri 16-Nov-12 16:40:45

PS My son is now 17 and makes much quieter friends who are more like himself!

nostoppingme Thu 22-Nov-12 22:30:11

This thread has got me really upset.
Especially your reply coff33pot.
My son has for the first time ever hinted he would like to have a birthday party, and the boys he has invited are all either ASD or Aspergers apart from 1.
I hate how he gets bullied, teased and called names.

ProcrastinatingPanda Thu 22-Nov-12 22:40:42

I've experienced some of this with DS but on a simpler scale as he's only 5. He will tell me all about his best friends and the children he loves in school but when I find out more about usually it comes out that the children he thinks are his best friends don't like him and say quite nasty things to him. He is oblivious and follows them around everywhere which only makes the problem worse I think.

I've asked the teacher to keep an eye on it and see what friendships are genuin and which are DS being taken advantage of, could you ask your sons teacher to keep his eyes peeled to see how genuine the friendship is? I suspect it's a lot more complicated with 10yr olds though than it is with 5yr olds.

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