lack of empathy v's too much empathy (it's frustrating)

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aurea
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13 Jun 2011, 3:57 pm

Not sure if this is a request for advise or just a post to get it off my chest.

I have two aspies, C aged 21 and J aged 12. Both have their own special interests, both can be fantastic with each other and really look out for the others needs most of the time.

However, J is extremely verbal and is very much into gaming, he will talk and talk and talk, xbox, ps3, wii and ds games at you for hours on end (when he isn't playing) he has no real interest in any kind of physical sport or activity (except pacing whilst talking games. J also gets louder and louder as he talks at you.
C's interests are dogs particularly his german shepherd and Taekwondo (he just started lessons about 4 months ago) . Both boys barely tolerate each other needs to talk about and to relive their special interests. The minute J starts talking about his games, C tells him to be quiet it's giving him a headache (probably it is) , But the C starts talking and asking J to practice Taekwondo with him, J tells him has not interest in that. C is much bigger than J and often trys to force J into playing taekwondo with him. This always leads to J crying and C angry.
Things got pretty bad last night, C swears that he was just playing with J ( C has no friends and uses J as his play mate :( ) C didn't physically hurt J but J felt tormented (I fully get it, C was without realizing it being a bully) For years I have been trying to help C understand that he can't physically make J do what he wants, and at the same time trying to help J understand that C does love him and isn't intentionally being a bully. I have even tried laying down the rule that they can't talk or act out their interests with the other.
Last night I asked C to come into my room so that he could see just how upset J was (hoping that the visual might help him better understand). This didn't work, C says yeah I see he is crying but I was only playing. This of course made J even more upset because he thinks C just doesn't care and J is the over sympathetic type. Hmmm, life is so frustrating.
I have one that can be overly sympathetic and one that just doesn't seam to get sympathy at all.
I feel like I'm always coming down harder on C because he is older, but this is not fair. He hasn't had the same level of support or understanding that J his younger brother has had.
I don't know what to do. It's very hard being stuck in the middle all the time.


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13 Jun 2011, 5:49 pm

Do J's instructors emphasize that martial arts is only for self defense? My boys have taken karate for years and their sensei has always told them this was the first rule of karate. No horsing around with it, no practicing on the dog. My boys have practiced together but only with their sparring gear on and it was an acknowledged practice session. I think his instructors need to be also teaching him when to use and practice his martial arts.



Annmaria
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13 Jun 2011, 6:39 pm

Hi

My son/daughter same, my son doesnt show that he is concern about his sister feelings at the home setting or when its between them. Also this can happen outside the home mostly on days out. If he feels she has been treated unjust by me or her father he will then intervene, I am sure this would be the same outside the home. maybe its just a sibling thing.

Whilst my daughter 15yrs dx ADD but I suspect AS etc she is very sympathetic towards her brother at times but he does get on her nerves. At times she can be the peacemaker so to speak when he won't listen to us.

So maybe its just sibling rivalry and they display it differently, he demands whats, whats aggressively. and she gets her way by been nice or upset. Maybe they both manipulate each other and us at times.



Franma
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13 Jun 2011, 7:45 pm

It sounds like the boy needs something to kick other than his brother. If you can find a way to not make it seem like a reward, you could try getting him a practice dummy or one of those big hanging bags they use to kick and make the rule that that is all you can practice on or you lose the privilege of taking Tae Kwon Do classes. Also, his Master at the dojo would not tolerate him using TKD on his brother and he would make him do many many push ups or other exercise to help him remember if you told him. You could have the Master talk to him and agree to a consequence if he misuses his skills. As he goes further in TKD this can get dangerous if not addressed. My son's Master was able to get through to my son at times that I could not and I was really surprised to see him just accept it and do his push ups and learn when the master told him to. If you tell the Master and he does not address it, you are not at a quality school.


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psychohist
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13 Jun 2011, 9:32 pm

aurea wrote:
Last night I asked C to come into my room so that he could see just how upset J was (hoping that the visual might help him better understand). This didn't work, C says yeah I see he is crying but I was only playing.

Possibly C already understands but just doesn't show it. He obviously thought you were bringing him into the room in order to get him to do something different, rather than just trying to get him to understand.

I would suggest assuming that C does understand, rather than assuming he doesn't.

I don't think their having different interests is a problem. My brother - as far as I know not aspie - and I had very different interests growing up. It didn't prevent us from being close now that we're adults.



aann
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14 Jun 2011, 12:19 am

You said, "I have one that can be overly sympathetic and one that just doesn't seam to get sympathy at all.
I feel like I'm always coming down harder on C because he is older, but this is not fair. He hasn't had the same level of support or understanding that J his younger brother has had. "
For my kids, I had to focus on the fact that a child was hurting another, not whether he could be sympathetic. His inability to be sympathetic doesn't mean he cannot control himself. We had to take period of time when the whole family could focus on the rule about not hurting one another, with clear consequenses for infractions of the rule. This is not being hard on one person. My son had more control than we realized once we focused on it. Teach him to read the signs of disinterest in the other child and give consequenses if he dismisses them. Reward days or weeks when there are infractions of the rule. We need to accomodate our aspies, but some behaviors we should never accept.



liloleme
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14 Jun 2011, 4:22 am

Is your older son participating in any type of job training or social skills training? When we lived in the US there were social skills coaches that would go around with the older kids and help them to understand job skills and how to order food and any other type of outside social thing that they were unable to accomplish on their own.
I have older kids and my daughter (aspie) is about to turn 19 this month. She could not handle being around my younger kids 8 year old son (aspie) and 6 year old daughter (autie). She moved in with her sister when she was 17 and is now living in the US (we moved to France) with my mother and she stays a lot of the time in the house with her boyfriend who has been dx with schizophrenia but seems more Aspie to us, they are both sort of agoraphobic lately. I tried to get my daughter the social skills coach but she would not go. Maybe it would be a good thing for your son if it was available in your area and something he was interested in. Getting him away from your younger son and dip his toe into the adult world might help him. Is he interested in college at all?



aurea
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14 Jun 2011, 4:19 pm

All really good advice.
This is where we are at now (thanks to some great advice by one of the posters) I've had a talk with C without J around, I've done this many times now but something seamed to click this time. Hmm I think it was the threat " C if you try to force your brother, or practice taekwondo with your brother again and he tells you NO or STOP I will be calling the Taekwondo center and talking to your instructors". I had to remind him several times but so far I think this will work. I reminded him to use his boxing bag for practice and I have told him to show me his patterns.

C told me he seriously thought J was playing with him because J seamed to be laughing (must admit I was in another room when this all happened and I thought I could hear J laughing) I explained to C that just because J is acting one way doesn't mean that that is the way he is feeling. J often smiles or laughs when he is scared. I told him he HAS to LISTEN to what J is saying, not how he is acting or how he thinks he is acting. C then said that he was unsure if J was still playing or upset when J attacked him, but even then he wasn't sure if he was serious.
Apparently J punched C in the face then when C turned his back on him he dug his nails in C's back. He then said "mum he must of been really upset, sorry. I thought he was playing, I wasn't trying to hurt him".

I need to find a social group for C and then try and get him to go. He does have a job training agency that he goes to, but he doesn't like the lady (she's fairly new to his case and doesn't know what to do with him) C won't talk to her he barely even looks at her.


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Mum of 2 fantastic boys. oldest 21 yrs= newly dx'ed ASD
youngest 12yrs =dx'ed ASD, ADHD,OCD,GAD and tourettes.