Aspie Teens: Are they more immature?

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jmorse28
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04 Jan 2011, 10:35 pm

My son is about to turn 15 and is a freshman in HS. He was diagnosed 11 years ago so I'm very knowledgeable about Asperger's. He's very high functioning. Has been mainstreamed since kindergarten, and has had all services taken away although he still has an IEP. No one ever really knows he as Asperger's unless I tell them. People just basically think he's quiet. I think people pretty much leave him alone because of his size...he's already 5' 10" and has always been really big.

Anyway, my husband and I were talking the other day and we were discussing the fact that he doesn't seem to have the same interests as other boys his age. I mean, not to give more information than you need, but he's pretty much gone through puberty and he doesn't seem interested in girls. I see him check girls out now and then but if he sees us looking at him, he'll look away really fast like he's embarrassed. Almost like he shouldn't be looking. We always tell him that it's ok to look. It's normal for his age but he just shuts down and changes the subject. He also just doesn't seem to be in the subject matter as boys his age. He's on social networking but he doesn't post very much and when someone posts to him or sends him a message, half the time he doesn't even respond. And his profile pic is always some character from a book he's reading which I wonder if other kids find that dorky. Granted, EVERYONE knows him as the bookworm. He loves his cell phone but only ever texts us or his aunt, never anyone from school but he doesn't have any close friends anyway.

So, do any of you have a teenager or WERE a teenager that wasn't into the same things that all the other kids were into? Or it took you (or your teen if you're a parent) longer to be into the opposite sex? Do they tend to mature slower even if they've gone through puberty?

Thanks for any input.



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04 Jan 2011, 11:02 pm

I'm curious as to why you perceive this behavior as immature.

It's my opinion that most western teenagers are immature. Throughout most of human history, teenagers had serious responsibilities.

Today, in the western world, most teens are kept idle, in an extended juvenile state. They have few responsibilities of any importance, and tend to shirk the ones they do have. They tend to be reckless,impulsive, dishonest and dishonest. The boys are prone to violence and arrogance and the girls are prone to delusional thoughts of romance. Your average teenager today loses their virginity between 16 and 17 years old, drinks alcohol before they are 21,and smokes pot. They are disrespectful towards authority and generally want nothing to do with their parents with the exception of money. And the most of them can't see beyond the tip of their nose, so to speak.

So how is your son immature?



against_the_clock
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04 Jan 2011, 11:24 pm

I personally never approached a girl until I was a senior in high school. I would say that although I matured sexually at a normal rate my emotions and my confidence lagged behind. But in addition to that I think it was something else too. I think it was fear... yes I was afraid of women. The fact is that I had more anxiety/embarrassment/fear than I had sex drive for quite some time, even though some very attractive women were interested in me even before high school. This might have been because interacting with women was a new experience and the emotions I was experiencing were new so it took some time to get used to them.

I also didn't tell my parents about any of my crushes and didn't even let them know I was interested in women. This was because I was embarrassed; maybe it was because my parents would tease me about things related to being a teenager and I assumed they would tease me about women as well, even when I found out later that they didn't, it didn't change things. I still to this day avoid telling my parents about girls. I guess if I had a girl friend for a while I would eventually introduce her to them as "this is my girl friend" but I wouldn't tell them anything about her or my feelings. I don't know why it is like this; it is possible this is just because I've never had a good relationship with my parents and have felt distant, neglected, nagged and antagonized by them. So my example may not carry over to your son. However, there is a great risk for misunderstanding between AS children and NT parents, because my parents didn't understand how I communicated they didn't take the things seriously that I wanted them to take seriously, so a lot of resentment built up because I thought they were doing this on purpose. I have only now been able to forgive them for this (as well as for a bunch of other crap they did).

So your son seems very much like me when I was his age. I also will add that I had very few friends, but was able to make some that had a specific interest in common with me.



Last edited by against_the_clock on 04 Jan 2011, 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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04 Jan 2011, 11:27 pm

Why would anyone want to text people or go on facebook? :roll: Be glad he has better taste than his peers.


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against_the_clock
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04 Jan 2011, 11:33 pm

Chronos wrote:
So how is your son immature?


I think she just means that he hasn't gotten to the point where he is approaching women, which is a step that most men get to eventually and hence can be labeled as a developmental mile stone. I agree with you though that most teenagers are very immature today and society is being lazy in letting them be like that. Otherwise, her son seems comparatively very mature in that he is using his time as teenager to read a lot of books. I spent my teenage years trying to socialize and being in constant anxiety because I couldn't. I wish I had done some more book reading then. Heck I wish I didn't bother socializing at all.



Last edited by against_the_clock on 04 Jan 2011, 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

against_the_clock
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04 Jan 2011, 11:34 pm

DandelionFireworks wrote:
Why would anyone want to text people or go on facebook? :roll: Be glad he has better taste than his peers.


Good point! I second this.

Then again we all have profiles and lists of interests, and we are posting on a website...
Also she didn't say that he was or wasn't into facebook.

But the phone texting observation was good!



Last edited by against_the_clock on 04 Jan 2011, 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jmorse28
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04 Jan 2011, 11:54 pm

What I mean by immature is that most boys his age are at the very least interested in girls (or boys, whatever your orientation may be) but he doesn't even seem interested...forget approaching a girl. I would drop DEAD if he approached a girl from sheer shock. Yes, I'm glad he has little interest in facebook (although he is on it) and texting. I guess I should be grateful for that.

against_the_clock: You make a very good point about the teasing. My husband and I had this conversation as well that we tend to joke a lot. It's just the way we are and we definitely tease about girls. He had a girl he used to pal around with who we KNEW liked him and we started referring to her as "Tender Roni" because her name was Veronica. We thought it was funny and just lovingly teasing him but we wonder if doesn't take it that way. I mean, he has a sense of humor but I wonder if it digs deeper into him. I get nervous that he won't discuss serious things with us because he's afraid we'll make a joke. I think he sees us as not taking anything seriously although we've had MANY serious conversations with him. We're just that kind of family...always joking around.

So should we just cut that out altogether with him? Should I talk to him and ask him if our joking around really gets to him? Do you think it would get through? We are very close but I don't think he tells me anything really personal. Then again, most teens don't tell their parents anything. But I know I had close friends to talk to instead of my parents. He doesn't. He has friends but no one close at all that he would ever talk to about anything bothering him or anything important.



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04 Jan 2011, 11:57 pm

I think I was considered more mature for my age other than the areas of romance/dating and physical coordination (I didn't play sports and I didn't start driving til 17.5, which is really late in a rural community where everyone starts driving at 12 :roll: ). But everyone asked me for help with their homework, and everyone came to me for advice with their personal problems, and I had a fair number of friends. On the subject of dating, I realized at an early age that people were "going out" and breaking up without any real reason, and I didn't see the point in stirring up drama. I decided to wait til people mellowed out and were more interested in a long term relationship than making out in the bathroom between classes (still waiting... :roll: )



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05 Jan 2011, 12:36 am

I understand how interest in the opposite sex (or same sex, or both) ties into maturity, but what does one's level of social inclination have to do with it?


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05 Jan 2011, 1:21 am

I was "immature" in such a way and was told by my parents that being gay wasn't okay and called such for a long time. I thought I somehow looked gay but in a different group of kids it never happened that way so it was just rumors.

I think joking around about such things however is embarrassing for just about any teenager. Nobody wants their parent to tease them about their dates or crushes, trust me.



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05 Jan 2011, 1:45 am

My personal experience is that my mom likes to tease me in ways that NTs perceive as lighthearted and fun, but which I'm never going to perceive as less painful than a slap in the face. But she refuses to stop interacting that way, so I have to get used to knowing I'll get hurt. (I honestly don't understand what's offensive about telling her our relationship is toxic, either. That really upset her. Weird. It's not like I said I hated her or anything.)

So my advice would always be to not tease an Aspie unless you're used to seeing a positive response.


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against_the_clock
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05 Jan 2011, 10:04 am

jmorse28 wrote:
What I mean by immature is that most boys his age are at the very least interested in girls (or boys, whatever your orientation may be) but he doesn't even seem interested...forget approaching a girl. I would drop DEAD if he approached a girl from sheer shock.

One thing I tried to get across was that he may be VERY interested, but one of a few things could be going on, the two possibilities I see are:
1 He doesn't want you to know that he is.
2 He could have anxiety/embarrassment around women (and new situations) and this is more powerful than his interest in them.

jmorse28 wrote:
against_the_clock: ..... We thought it was funny and just lovingly teasing him but we wonder if doesn't take it that way. I mean, he has a sense of humor but I wonder if it digs deeper into him. I get nervous that he won't discuss serious things with us because he's afraid we'll make a joke. I think he sees us as not taking anything seriously although we've had MANY serious conversations with him. We're just that kind of family...always joking around.

So should we just cut that out altogether with him? Should I talk to him and ask him if our joking around really gets to him? Do you think it would get through? We are very close but I don't think he tells me anything really personal. Then again, most teens don't tell their parents anything. But I know I had close friends to talk to instead of my parents. He doesn't. He has friends but no one close at all that he would ever talk to about anything bothering him or anything important.


I think you answered your own question right here:
jmorse28 wrote:
I think he sees us as not taking anything seriously although we've had MANY serious conversations with him.


You can try finding out if your joking gets to him by having a direct verbal conversation with him alone and in private (which is the best way). Although if he's angry about this and has been punished for being angry before, he may not tell you. I remember feeling trapped because I was always angry at my parents but couldn't tell them how angry I was because for me to really be honest would be considered "rude" and I would have gotten punished. Hopefully that doesn't apply to your situation.

I don't know whether to advise you to stop joking altogether with him. (it wouldn't hurt to try this though and ask him if he appreciates it, and let him know you are concerned that he isn't taking your jokes well, then maybe he will be more open about whether he likes your jokes or not) There is a difference between joking and teasing though and the latter I would say is never advisable around teenagers.

I wish my parents had thought as much about this as you did. They would continue to tease even though I would groan painfully or complain, or tell them to stop.

What is his reaction to your jokes anyway? You should be able to tell by that. Does he laugh? (although he might find something funny and be embarrassed at the same time, or be laughing to relieve tension, as I did when I was made fun of). Does he tell you to stop? Do you not stop when he tells you to because his body/non-verbal language doesn't match his verbal language? (because it might not match up, if not follow is verbal ques not his non-verbal, and this also depends on how much he has asperger's as there are different degrees)

To summarize, yes ask him about it, but I don't know enough to say whether you should stop joking with him altogether. But I would advise against all teasing, I never appreciated that.

PS
I guess I don't really know how explain the difference between joking and teasing. The best I can do is that teasing is a joke that brings something up that makes you feel embarrassed or cuts you down, but done in a non-serious fashion. (hopefully the person that this is done to understand that it is non-serious, however I resented even the fact that it is brought up as a teenage, this may or may not apply to other aspies, but judging by the other responses here it does apply)



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05 Jan 2011, 10:33 am

Wow haha, I think I've said so much to the point of being confusing. Sorry this just brings back a lot of memories for me.



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05 Jan 2011, 10:58 am

I have found exactly what you say to be true with my son.
My son is a Great Kid. I adore him. But he is about 7 years younger than his peers.
Having a younger non Aspie teens has made me more aware of how immature and rather
innocent my AS son is.

There are good things about being immature (youthful) and some rough things.

The good:
Great sense of humor, care free view of life, Enyoys still playing with toys, reading
certain books, playing family games, family time, Polite but distant with girls (this will come
later takes time and comfort) and with his youthful attitude comes a kind soul. helpful
to others, kind, caring and truly a benevolent friend.

The rough:
Bathing reminders, manners, not responsible to care for our pets, He could
get lost going to a mall, his sense of time, his sense of here and now, and he often has
trouble understanding the social innuendo of overly dramatic teen girls or mean
opportunistic nasty kids, He can be victimized, It is hard for him to understand
why anyone would want to hurt him. ....


Being younger or innocent is not a bad thing it just makes parenting a little harder. I find
I can not assume my son can handle being alone, or cooking for himself or protecting
himself. He is vulnerable. It is harder to teach street smarts and how to make your way
day to day to my AS son. There was a time when I was embarrassed that he still played
with his legos, or cars or playmobil at age 15, but I have discovered it makes him happy.
And it was really just me that had issues about it.

Being Younger is a good thing especially when he is 97 years old.
Everyone will think he is only 87.
~mm



against_the_clock
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05 Jan 2011, 11:43 am

It depends on how you define maturity. I tend to see people with asperger's as being more mature for their age than NT's but then again that is obviously not always the case.