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How adaptable should you expect your children to be for guests?

(70 Posts)
Jimjams Tue 08-Feb-05 12:08:05

Just curious really and pondering.

We have had visitors this weekend (family) who came with their 6 month old baby. Now coming to stay with us must have been a nightmare for them- I can see that. DS1 is loud (not much we can do about that), doesn't understand about staying out of their room (after all its the study - he's usually allowed in there), doesn't understand not to touch the laptop computer that's been brought down. He's obsessive- screamed until their door was opened etc. Because we've now had number 3 it meant there were times when we weren't able to shield them from ds1 so to speak.

However the husband got really quite stroppy at times- I think he thought that when I asked them to do something around ds1 (like wait until a little later before settling their baby to bed so that dh was around to stop ds1 charging into the room - as he had been the day before) that I was being difficult or pandering to him. He didn't seem to understand that pretty much everything we do has ds1 taken into consideration, for example getting into the car is done in a way that will suit him, trips out, shopping, bath times. not pandering to him- just that we have to to ensure he doesn't end up dead under a car or something. Lots of other examples - and I think the weekend was stressful for all concerned (including poor old ds1).

So how much should we do in our house to stop him affecting them? (I don't take him to their house as I know he can't behave in a manner they would find acceptable). For example the husband was trying to use his laptop on the floor when ds1 was around. Ds1 kept trying to touch it and sniff it and the husband "wanted him to stop". To do that we would have to drag him off and try and attract his attention elsewhere- should we be expected to do that- or should we be saying use your computer later, or put it elsewhere?

I find this sort of thing hard to be honest. The husband is clueless- completely clueless- so how polite should we be expected to be, and how adaptable should ds1 be expected to be?

jangly Tue 08-Feb-05 12:13:09

I suppose prepare them well in advance is all you can do. Perhaps even write down what they should expect.

JaysMum Tue 08-Feb-05 12:18:01

I am so very choosy as to who we now have in our home to stay. Living by the sea we did tend to get used an awful lot as a free holiday!!!!!

I believe that our home is J's safe place...it's where he can be who he really is and is his home.....therefore unless visitors are prepared to follow our rules and do what we say without any objection, then they are welcome....if not then there are ample B&B's around here for them to use!!!!

I will not tolerate the tuts or grumbles that J has raided their bags or messed with their mobiles.....its their fault for leaving them in his reach!!!!The floor is J's shelf....if they dont understand that then tough......they pay the price for not listening to our house rules.

We, like you have to ensure the safety of our son and if it means we have to do certain things in what would appear to be a bizzarrre way, well thats up to us....we live with our son 24/7....they do not.

The motto hanging over our front door says....

Visitors are like fish....after three days they start to stink!!!!! I never stay anywhere longer than three days if I am visiting someone....because I know how true this motto is.

Jimjams Tue 08-Feb-05 12:20:20

well I was thinking of insisting that anyone who comes to stay reads Geoorge and Sam first of all (paying particular attention to Sam)!

TBH though I don't think that the husband will ever get it- we've explained a lot and it surely doesn't take that much to work out that a severely autistic child isn't going to obey everything you say to them instantly.

I think my opinion is that if people come to stay in our home (and ds1's home) then they should realise that they are going to have to be adaptable- I don't think that ds1 really should be the one having to do the adapting. (whereas ds2 whatever- fine)

coppertop Tue 08-Feb-05 12:21:51

I think that if they're in your house then they should be doing their best to fit in with your (or ds1's) ways of doing things. I'm sure in an ideal world it would be great if you could switch off ds1's autism and all the rituals routines etc that go with it. However, back in the real world that just isn't going to happen. If they can't cope with it then that's their problem.

Jimjams Tue 08-Feb-05 12:22:49

Ah JaysMUm- that's how I felt about it, but wasn't sure I was being fair.

For example ds1 kept shouting and frightening their baby- but I can't do anything about that- I cannot stop him shouting (if I could I quite happily would- I don't enjoy listening to it either ). But the husband complained about it.

chonky Tue 08-Feb-05 12:23:27

Jimjams, I agree with Coppertop, I really think that as it is your home you have every right to take the 'use your laptop later please' approach. I don't think it's rude, it's just making life easier for everyone, your guests included.

Sorry I can't suggest anything more helpful. Some of our friends have really come on board with understanding dd's extra needs, others haven't and sadly it means that we won't see as much of them as we would like. However, it gets to the point where trying to explain it to someone who's clueless for the nth time is just not worth it IMO.

coppertop Tue 08-Feb-05 12:23:44

You could print out your own George & Sam quiz that visitors/guests would have to complete correctly before being allowed in. That way you'd know they'd read the book.

Marina Tue 08-Feb-05 12:25:14

I think your expectations are entirely appropriate in this case Jimjams. Ds1 cannot adapt, but seemingly from your experience neither can an NT male adult.
We will probably be staying with a friend over the summer whose ds (last seen as a babe, she's been living abroad) is 3 now and clearly on the spectrum - she is going through the diagnosis process with him at the mo. I don't think it will be easy for any of us but I do hope to make her life easier during our visit not harder. Hearing from you and other SN mums helps those of us with NT children try to understand better.

Jimjams Tue 08-Feb-05 12:27:39

Anyway we had great stress all round. I almost exploded on Sunday night when my suggestion of putting their baby in the bath with (NT totally NT) ds2 was met with a very resounding 'no". it wasn't the no that pissed me off - it was the way it was said as if I'd suggested bathing him with a dog turd. Took to swearing repeatedly from the sanctuary of the bathroom (with dh trying to calm me down- his family!) God knows what a suuggestion of putting him in with ds1 would have done

(i was trying to cut down on the length of time bathtime was taking as ds1 is a nightmare to get to bed at the moment- and we can't start bedtime until the bathroom is clear- it's next to his bedroom- we'd been up until 11.30 with him on Friday night, 9.20 Saturday night and then having to organise dinner- so I was trying to get things moving a bit faster). Luckily ds3 didn't mind bathing with his dogpoo brother!

chonky Tue 08-Feb-05 12:29:23

Blimey Jimjams, the visit sounds horrendous.

Jimjams Tue 08-Feb-05 12:29:25

Best advice I can give Marina is to put the kettle on! No-oine seemed capable of fiinding the kettle this weekend and after dealing with asd ds1, a 3 year old and a 4 week old I didn';t have the energy to be the hostess with the mostest. If someone had managed to load the dishwasher that would have been even better. I'm sure I was a terrible host, I felt as if I was about to explode to be honest!!

Jimjams Tue 08-Feb-05 12:30:55

ROFL copppertop

what things like "what's the appropriate reaction if I find a poo in a strange place - ie not in the toilet?"

MeerkatsUnite Tue 08-Feb-05 12:33:07

Feel that they should have adapted to you and your circumstances. They surely know DS1 is autistic.

Why should you have to shield DS1 away from them?. If they cannot or will not try to empathise then I would reconsider having them to stay at all.

What was his wife's reaction, was she at all understanding of the situation?. Also feel that her husband was indeed pretty much clueless, why try and use the laptop on the floor for instance. Silly old trout. That's inviting trouble anyway with any child in attendance. I would have told him to put his blasted computer away!!.

batters Tue 08-Feb-05 12:33:35

oh Jimjams, sorry that you have had to cope with this and that no-one even made you a cup of tea!!! Amazing I think as Marina says, the NT adult expected a child with SN to adapt, but couldn't show the same behaviour himself.

crunchie Tue 08-Feb-05 12:34:08

JIMJAMS you have just had a baby if your visitors cannot be a little understanding then it is their problem. Seriously what an utter t**t the husband sounds. Just make sure they NEVER visit again.

ImuststopdrinkingBlossomhill Tue 08-Feb-05 12:36:32

My house is the one place dd can be herself. The place she doesn't have to conform.
I am am sorry but if people don't like it then tough.

I feel so on your behalf jj.

beccaboo Tue 08-Feb-05 12:36:37

I think Jaysmum is right, it's your home and you should be able to do whatever you like there. You're offering your guests hospitality, and they should make the effort to understand why you do things in a certain way.

It's unreasonable of them to expect ds1 to do the adapting if he finds change difficult. If your ds had a 'visible' disability I wonder if the husband have the same attitude? Getting annoyed with, eg. a child who has difficulty walking, would be pretty unacceptable, and the same rules should apply.

open Tue 08-Feb-05 12:40:34

Visitors should definitely adapt to your family, Jimjams. Wouldn't it have been easier for them (and you) if they'd stayed in a local B&B? Surely less stress all round.

colditzmum Tue 08-Feb-05 12:42:27

Remind him that he doesn't live at your house, and that discourtious guests are unwanted guests!

What a rude man! on your behalf!!

misdee Tue 08-Feb-05 12:42:42

mother of NT viewpoint here. All guests should adapt to your children, children shouldnt be expected to adapt. if som3eone was using a laptop sitting on the floor in my living room then i know dd2 would attempt to dive on it and press the keys. option would be for the person using it to sit at the table or use it in a 'safe' room.

Socci Tue 08-Feb-05 12:59:09

Message withdrawn

WideWebWitch Tue 08-Feb-05 13:04:01

Haven't read the other responses Jimjams but they were in your house and should have understood about ds1, you shouldn't have had to change any rules for them. The laptop thing was inconsiderate too. So I don't think you should be polite, it's your house, you're the one with the autism to cope with, they should be understanding, polite and considerate IMO. Ds1 shouldn't have to adapt in his house. Maybe an NT child could be expected to understand a slight change of rules in their own house (i.e. you can usually go in the study but not today as people are sleeping in there) but not your ds1 imo. Because it really isn't as simple as that is it? They'd maybe be ex friends if I were in your position, depends on how polite or otherwise they were.

WideWebWitch Tue 08-Feb-05 13:04:36

Now I'll read what everyone else has to say!

WideWebWitch Tue 08-Feb-05 13:08:38

Oh my word, now I've read the thread I'm cross! What, they didn't even load the dishwasher or make a cup of tea?! And you've got 3 children, including ds1 and a newborn, what are they on?

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