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If you have a DD and a DS and your DS has SEN(15 Posts)
This is our situation.
Our DS is older than our DD and is very volatile.
I am desperate not to get into the situation where our DD thinks that only girls do housework/only girls have to be kind/only girls have to be calm and please people.
But the practical situation is that our DS finds it a lot harder to be calm and kind than our DD does (though she has her moments, no you do not need to lie down on the floor and scream when I say you can't take your enormous teddy to school).
We expect them both to help around the house but she ends up doing more. DH and I are pretty equal in what we do round the house and for the kids (he's naturally cleaner than me, and is much better at remembering school letters, filing medical letters etc., I've just handed over children's outgrown clothes duty to him having done it for 8 years i.e. 16 seasons) but she will willingly help put clothes away, asks to use the hoover etc. whereas he doesn't (sensory issues don't help with the hoover noise!).
He doesn't have a learning disability and I fully expect him to be an independent adult. But he also has some demand avoidant characteristics and will say no to things he actually likes doing (e.g. cooking) if he thinks it's for his own good, and he has ADHD so leaves a trail of chaos behind him!
We are also trying to teach her to be less reactive (she now verbally argues with him in an age/sibling appropriate way whereas as a toddler, when he was a preschooler, it was like he had his own squeaky toy, press it and it cries, but he still gets more aggressive when someone reacts, and it's usually her reacting) as he feeds off this. I don't want her growing up thinking she has to appease men though, either.
Does anyone else have this kind of issue and have you been able to find a way forward?
It’s great you’ve recognised the potential issue ahead of time.
For the housework it may be that you need to make your children responsible for specific activities and if your DS doesn’t get many chores because of his SEN your DD gets away with a light chore list as well. Designated activities would make it easier to track what each of them do.
And I say that with real feeling, as the eldest where we didn’t have designated chores I had a lot of chores and my mother didn’t realise how much I did compared to my siblings until I left home (I was very aware).
I've had to couch it in terms that my DS's disability make mastering chores extremely difficult, but in her case, she doesn't have that barrier and there is no reason for her not to learn them.. and made it clear that their sex has nothing to do with it.
She is aware HE may never live entirely independently and always need my care.. i HOPE thats not the case, but his level of need means its a real possibility.
Mine are all boys so I don't have the concerns you do however I refuse to raise a man child that has his disabilities as an excuse for poor behaviour.
DS9 has ADHD, ODD and conduct disorder and in short i just dont back down.
They all have their assigned chores. They all do them. Some days he takes all day. Some days he is the first to complete tasks. But regardless of any screaming, shouting, storming off and meltdowing I calmly maintain that he can pursue his activities when he has completed his chores.
I wish i could say regular upkeep of this rule has improved things. It hasn't. There is no rhyme or reason to his refusal. However one consistent thing is that he WILL do it.
I don't remove privileges as in the moment he doesn't care. He just simply cannot move onto the tasks he has planned for himself until he has checked off his list.
We have a mixture of difficulties, including demand avoidance.
We set the cooker timer and all do chores at the same time. When they were younger we had a 10 minute tidy time. As they have got older it’s 20 minutes.
People can choose the task they like best like dishwasher or hoovering. If they need more support they can sort washing with an adult. But everyone works for same amount of time so it doesn’t matter if some people get more done, we’ve all given up same amount of time.
Of course I do more than the kids do but that’s ok as they are all doing something.
I have a very similar situation in my house (4 year age gap) and he also has an older sister (2 years) I mess up everyday with this. I can't even get him to take his dirty pots through to the kitchen as he makes such a mess when eating that he would just leave a trail behind him.
I have DS 10 who has ASD and ADHD and some learning difficulties, and DD 8, and this thought has crossed my mind because I had to do a lot of caring for my mum when she developed a disability but my brother who was 3 years older never took any responsibility or helped out with tidying/cooking/etc.
DH is very good at doing his fair share so the kids both see him doing tidying/washing/cooking when he is home (works away in the week), unfortunately all we have done so far is to not allocate either of them chores !
mine works best by praise. pots are being brought to the kitchen spontaneously. not consistently, but enough. we will get there in the end.
but yes, i am aware that this is likely to be an issue, made worse by respective personalities. and fighting against a bad example.
I assign ds the jobs he can do. Recycling is one.
However, he is going to have to use a over in life, noise or no. So he can have the choice of wearing ear defenders, but he still has to Hoover. He can have his phone and xbox when he has done his chores.
He used to kick and scream. He doesn’t any more.
So a combination of making adjustments, assigning him crap but doable jobs.
In terms of pda... would you like to Hoover now or after lunch? Would you like to unload the dishwasher or sort the recycling?
CHores have to have a bearing on them - so DS might have the chore of loading and unloading the dishwasher/doing the washing up - if he doesn't do them then there is a knock on effect of not having dinner until he does them etc etc.
I was brought up to appease my often violent younger brother - in fact he is NT I was just told to be a nice girl. DO not teach her to appease her brother.
Also I don't get the "pots don't get brought through to the kitchen". If they won't tidy up properly then they can eat standing up in the kitchen or go without..
London you make it sound so easy I wish it was as easy as "make him eat in the kitchen"
But tbf that is about the level of advice we have had from numerous professionals, before they discharge us as they won't do interventions for children with autism.
OP. Sorry to de-rail, I hope you make a better job of things than me.
Another one who has a similar situation with older DS and 3 younger DD's. When he was quite young, DS would often attack one of them, when things were going badly for him.
I absolutely refused to allow him to get into a situation where his DSis's compensated for things that he found difficult e.g. the smell of the bin, noise of the hoover, struggling with preparing veg.
He is now mid-teens and very competent - changes beds, makes meals (very samey and you'd be bored rigid if he cooked for a week....., but he does it), uses the hoover (hates it but does it).
We used a lot of visuals- how fairness works, equal though not the same, to get respect you have to have respect for yourself and others etc etc.
I spent hours and hours (not exaggerating) negotiating conflict, so that he learned to see the alternative point of view.
Often, we had to exaggerate our understanding of his point of view so that he felt heard, and then he could start to listen to an different view-point.
There was an FBI hostage negotiation book (really!) that I found helpful.
My DDs can now also regulate themselves so that they rarely get annoyed when his behaviour is very rigid. They've taken this skill into their friend groups and have become the negotiators when friends fall out, or when there is a bit of bullying going on.
DS will always struggle. I always had a vision that, even if he is quirky, if he could cook a decent meal, and pull his weight in the home, he would be an attractive partner to a decent woman someday. And, that if he ever found himself caring for children, that he would be able to do so without me having to intervene.
Thank you all, this is really helpful.
I don't think we're teaching DD to appease DS. I hope it's more "well, really, if you want him to stop bothering you it's best to just walk away/it is his room and you weren't invited in and I know he shouldn't shout but please remember to ask first"
Some things (hoovering) neither of them have to do yet so it's more that DD volunteers and DS would never. Same with some less noisy tasks.
He is thankfully still at the age when some tasks (bringing in the food shop for example) seem fun and they both have to take off their bedding and bring down their wash baskets so maybe we should just keep building on that.
I think there is an important distinction between appeasing someone and accommodating their disability.
It’s finding that line and helping the kids with it too. It shifts of course, just when you think you’ve got it