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Asperger's..To be Rude ,Or Not be Rude...that is the question! (and if so...which is better...Me being rude or my son???!!!)

29 replies

MrsEffervescent · 09/08/2005 11:54

Last night...something struck me as very 'funny' my warped and twisted way...about how 'Rude' sounding BOTH my husband and I ...AND... our asperger's sons can the 'giving and recieving of requests'

Here's what happened....

Andy called up to tom and asked
"Can you come down for your bath?"
Tom replied (very litterally)
"Yes...but i'm not going to"

Andy then got cross and tom came down saying

"well if you wanted me to come down- you should TELL me NOT ASK me"

Now....if you are not familiar with Asperger' will see him as a 'cheeky rude lad".... but i assure you he is not!!!

Now as parents we are told to offer choices to our kids...and speak to them as we'd like them to speak to us.

That fails with Aspereger's.

If we are direct to the boys eg "Bathtime- come down now!"...they do just that (after protest)

So big question.... when i am out with the boys and i utter a very blunt specific command (sounding like a sergent major)...I get 'corrected' or at least 'looked at'.....however if i do the "darling sweetie pie ...would you mind awfully pretty pretty pleeeease doing mummy-wummy a favour" ...then it's the boys who get looked as they reply "NO" home i am DIRECT...and Andy ignores my method and carries on 'asking' instead of 'telling'....

comments please!!!!

OP posts:
fqueenzebra · 09/08/2005 12:04

Am not a parent of an asperger's kid, but then maybe that qualifies me to answer because I am one of those people who might be giving you a "look" because i didn't understand why you were being a sargent major...

I would have thought tone counts for more than words. So a very calm quiet but warm commands "Don't touch that", "Get off that chair", "Come to your bath now" wouldn't sound to me like you were being an authoritarian ogre, just keeping things simple. The tone would mitigate any meanness that might be implied by the language. Also, i think most parents understand that simple firm commands are very effective with any type of child.

Kelly1978 · 09/08/2005 12:04

lol, I know what you mean. I think if you use direct commands but add please to them it wouldn't sound too rude. Better than youre son not understanding or appearing rude anyway!

The first tiem I took a little boy with aspergers out, I said lets have a race to the park. The poor little boy didnt stop til he got there. He was so out of breath, it was just lucky there were no roads to cross!

charleypops · 09/08/2005 12:07

Rofl at that "Yes, but I'm not going to" ! you sure he's not just a bit of a comedian??

Add a "please" at the beginning or at the end of a direct command? Or would they then percieve it as a request rather than an order?

charleypops · 09/08/2005 12:08

Lol Kelly! (my db has AS btw)

spidermama · 09/08/2005 12:12

I'm always told by friends and family that I'm too blunt and my kids aren't AS. LOL at your "darling sweetie pie ...would you mind awfully pretty pretty pleeeease doing mummy-wummy a favour".
I can't be doing with it any more. I find it more efficient to cut to the chase and say what I want to say without contrived platitudes, especially where little boys are concerned.

My dh says I need to smile more when I'm talking to people because I'm blunt and scarey. Ten years ago I might have been bothered by this.

stacijc · 09/08/2005 12:26

just a please and thank you and the tone of your voice should be nice. who cares what ppl think....b blunt with them too lol!!!!!!

troutpout · 09/08/2005 13:56

I agree ...i think tone is everything. I usually just give simple commands to my boy (he has Aspergers tendencies- although we are still trying to work out what that really means for us)...if he has to make a complex decision, then he gets stroppy.

ninah · 09/08/2005 13:58

tom sounds fab

anchovies · 09/08/2005 14:00

My 19 year old brother has aspergers and we still end up saying "don't you dare get dressed/have a shave etc" Sounds utterly ridiculous but it always makes him laugh (and get on with it!) Asking doesn't work (he says no thanks), telling him results in him telling us that he's an adult and can make his own decisions so we're left with making a joke out of it like we did when he was 6! Bless him!

suzywong · 09/08/2005 14:10

this is very interesting

In Chinese, which dh speaks excusively to the kids, there is no such thing as " darling would you like to give mummy the remote: It is "give that to mum" And sounds blunt too. No chinese people ever have a problem wiht it or wondering what others think. I use direct commands to my kids too, but as ds1 is 4 now I always follow it up with an explanation of why if appropriate.

So in anser to MrsE's original post, although I don't deal with any AS kids, IME telliing and direct commands simiplify things and allow the kid the headspace to get on with things. Don't give a toss aobut what other people may think tbh. I knew a woman in London whom I sure had an AS child, although un dx, and he responded very "badly' to the mummy-wummy asking communications and I think that actually did him a dis-service

KarenThirl · 09/08/2005 17:23

I know what you mean on this one Mrs Eff, but I agree that using the correct tone can make an awful lot of difference. The problem with using a 'cross' tone regularly is that after a while it packs no punch any more - they just get used to you talking like that and if you want to get a point across you've got nowhere to go other than shouting.

I tend to give J firm but gentle commands like "J, I want you to ... now please", "J, it's time to...". I always say his name first to get his attention, and always add the please at the end to show politeness. When he refuses (and he ALWAYS does) I begin to escalate the tone: "J, I have said I want you to do ... Do it now please". This could go on for hours so I won't bore you with the finer points. In the end I do a 1-2-3 warning and there's a punishment at the end if he doesn't comply.

Like you, I'm always aware of how strict I must sound to other people, but then I remember "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter".

How are you doing these days, anyway?

spacecadet · 09/08/2005 17:27

my dd's half brother has autism, but not aspergers, and his mum has to speak like that to him in public and for example, where i would say to my kids, dont throw that, she says, xxxx throwing,she hasnt been glared at for speaking to him in that tone in public, but has had someone have a go at her because he had a huge tantrum in a shop, which really upset her.

coppertop · 09/08/2005 17:32

I would stick with being direct and with a please/thankyou on the end tbh. I have similar troubles with my dh who still doesn't get that if he says to ds1 "Are you going to get ready for bed?" ds1 will think he has a choice in the matter and say "No". Far better to just say "Get ready for bed, please". Sod what people in the streets/shops think.

Socci · 09/08/2005 17:39

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

MrsEffervescent · 09/08/2005 23:16

well...i am relieved you are all saying what i feel...that it's how i say it ...not what i say....the tone thing certainly makes the difference!

If i don't say things 'that way'...they misunderstand me or react negatively.....Alex my youngest will correct me if my tone is i can rely on him to keep me on track!

Someone metioned that using please might make them still see it as a request they can refuse...THAT is SOOOOOOOOOOO right!!!

how do you know my boys!!!? !!!

If i add please i get 'reasons to refuse'!!!

The other 'technique' i have to use is what the OT called 'Speak'n'Spin'...that being i stand at the bottom of the stairs for example...say my bit- then turn round and walk away- NOT listening to their reply....maybe repeating this 3 or 4 times-because i haven't responded to them they come down (reluctantly) eventually.... and i am far less stressed than if i started 'discussions' with them ....

OP posts:
Blossomhill · 09/08/2005 23:18

Hey Mrs F - long time no see

PeachyClair · 10/08/2005 00:13

Yep, everyone thinks I am ridiculously strict with Sam, but if I ask could he or would he, then I get an opinion as he doesnt't get it either (AS again!) So 'could you give me that can of beans please?' results in 'hmm, I could, but I think that one up there looks nicer, and my brother would like the one in the more beans more bang advert because he really likes that don't you (pause for conversation with DS2 where they chant the more beanz more bang thing for an hour)..... or, to save eons, I can say 'Sam, pass me that bean tin there now'- then I get the tin, but also strange looks from poeple thinking that I could do with learning a few conversational niceties!

PeachyClair · 10/08/2005 00:15

Speak n spin sounds great, but Sam thinks if I am not there then the request isn't any more either. Typical!

troutpout · 10/08/2005 12:24

God it's so damn wearing though isn't it?. When you have tried 30 different ways of saying something and it still hasn't worked.Yesterday we were all trying to get ds (8) out of the door...and half an hour later..he was still stropping and still only had one sock and one shoe on (won't wear 2 socks at the same time without them being covered). dd (2) had totally had enough (bit poorly) and i just was soo overwhelmed with resentment towards him on both our behalfs.....and i schreeched and swore at him

PeachyClair · 10/08/2005 12:42

God the socks... DS has an issue with those too- only ever with shoes, even in winter, yet he likes rest of himself to be fully vcovereed up!

It's ahrd isn't it troutpout? My ds is given to sudden violent interludes, and DS2 gets the brunt of it (I get a lot though), I can't wait for him to go back to school, I seem to be shouting all the time. Ther est i can deal with but the violence- DS2 has to see I am angry about it, and it is so CONSTANT! Very wearing indeed. DS screams a lot too during the hols, just locks himself in loo and screams for half an hour, neighbours must be considering calling childline .

matnanplus · 10/08/2005 13:35

My grown sisters have DS and a simple precise command gets done with a thank you when achieved, a jazz'd up request gets them confuddled and up tight.

Other's can look and mutter but they're not the ones dealing with SN minute by minute we are, so if it works for you keep it up.

Love the speak'n'spin, tho like Peachychair if you don't stand there repeating it it ceases to be a current request

mummytosteven · 12/08/2005 11:23

am going to make a similar point to SuzyWong about cultural differences. My Austrian mummy pal once said that I was her favourite English friend as I didn't bother being polite about requests, leaving her guessing, but was very direct!! She felt that being direct was more the Austrian way.


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fqueenzebra · 12/08/2005 11:41

Apparently Indian people in all those overseas call centres have to be trained up in British niceties & chitchat, the please and thank you bits, etc. It's not part of their culture, either.

As an American I think this entire thread is supremely British, worrying what someone will think if they overhear you being less than supremely polite in talking to your child, hahahahaha....

Kelly1978 · 12/08/2005 11:54

fgqueenzebra - the same thing occured to me when I saw this thread first!
Very true about Indians - my dp is Indian. He doesn't even know the word for thank you in his own language - it is only used for extremely formal occassions.
I pick him up on 'telling' ppl, instead of 'asking' them to do things. He thinks please and thank-you is entirely unecessary with close friens/family. He isn't rude, it is just a culture thing.

Sapphire1975 · 15/08/2005 10:50

This thread did make me smile.
As a mum with 3 boys, the oldest having ASD/Aspergers I totally know what you mean Mrs E
and saying PLEASE although its the right thing to say (which all my boys are told) it does tend to make instructions sound like a request to a child with AS.

I wanted to comment what people are saying about tone...
A big part of AS is they do not understand social things such as tone of voice, this is shown in their own speech too, so while this is important and works for non AS kids it will not work for all children with AS etc believe me.

I think the people Mrs E mentions giving her funny looks for how she has to speak need to remember to stop and think as they have no idea what the mother may be having to cope with.

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