Embracing weirdness vs guiding towards socially acceptable

Page 1 of 1 [ 15 posts ] 

Mama_to_Grace
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 1 Aug 2009
Age: 50
Gender: Female
Posts: 951

27 Dec 2011, 5:32 pm

My daughter has been wearing a blanket she has creatively fashioned into a toga everywhere. It looks pretty silly. :lol: However, she LOVES it and wants to wear it everywhere (including stores, etc out in public). One part of me (the NT part I am sure) wants to tell her to put something reasonable on but she is adamantly refusing. So the other part of me says, well if she wants to dress weirdly who am I to object? But I know, as she is almost 9 years old, this could be a source of ridicule from her peers (she's been pacing the yard in it).

This is just the current "weird" thing she is doing. It seems there is always something "socially unacceptable" she chooses to embrace. (not that I am judging but I want to be descriptive of the issue)

At what point do you, as a parent, embrace the weird things and let them go and at what point do you guide your children (or force if that's what it takes) to act/speak/dress somewhat socially appropriately? I thought my daughter would get sick of wearing a blanket around but she loves it. It's not weather appropriate either. :oops:



annotated_alice
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 25 Mar 2008
Age: 46
Gender: Female
Posts: 720
Location: Canada

27 Dec 2011, 6:12 pm

Interesting. One of my sons and I do this too, but only at home. It is very warm and comfortable. :)

What we do/have done is to give our sons information about how their peers and others in the community will likely view any given behaviour. We have many things that we do and wear at home that we don't consider appropriate for outside the home. My sons have embraced the idea of this division between home and outside. If there is something we disagree on we discuss potential social ramifications and then come up with a compromise, or we let them make their own choice and deal with any consequences, it just depends on how strongly we feel and how bizarre the behaviour would be considered. So I guess my answer is -it depends. How helpful is that? lol

I would say no about the blankie, but for me it would be a hygiene issue. My son's blankie of choice drags on the ground as he goes, and would get dirty fast.



Dunnyveg
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 5 May 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 370
Location: Deep in the heart of Texas

27 Dec 2011, 6:48 pm

Mama_to_Grace wrote:
My daughter has been wearing a blanket she has creatively fashioned into a toga everywhere. It looks pretty silly. :lol: However, she LOVES it and wants to wear it everywhere (including stores, etc out in public). One part of me (the NT part I am sure) wants to tell her to put something reasonable on but she is adamantly refusing. So the other part of me says, well if she wants to dress weirdly who am I to object? But I know, as she is almost 9 years old, this could be a source of ridicule from her peers (she's been pacing the yard in it).

This is just the current "weird" thing she is doing. It seems there is always something "socially unacceptable" she chooses to embrace. (not that I am judging but I want to be descriptive of the issue)

At what point do you, as a parent, embrace the weird things and let them go and at what point do you guide your children (or force if that's what it takes) to act/speak/dress somewhat socially appropriately? I thought my daughter would get sick of wearing a blanket around but she loves it. It's not weather appropriate either. :oops:


I've never met face-to-face with anybody I knew for a fact had AS, though there have been a number of people in my past I suspect. One of those was a brilliant professor. He wore very conservative pants and shirt, but wore brightly colored tennis shoes (before such things were popular) and a hat like Bob Denver wore on the old show, Gilligan's Island.

He not only got away with it, but was named dean of the department after I graduated. He was one of the best in his field, and was respected despite his eccentricities, not because of them. He was able to think of things in ways nobody else could.

It may be the same with your daughter. It should be quite obvious after a little reflection that the best new ideas come from areas normal people either won't or don't think about. Aspies, with some exceptions, aren't afraid to think the unthinkable, and we can profit from it when we allow ourselves to.

Having said this, at nine years old, it's not possible to be that accomplished. She needs to be made aware that society has certain protocols that it makes no sense to break. Your daughter needs to learn to save her energy for the battles that matter, and my guess is she'll be fighting them one of these days. For example, I wouldn't be in the least embarrassed to come to work wearing a dress and purse. I don't do so because there is nothing to be gained from flouting such conventions. Fortunately for we aspies, plenty of conventions do need flouting, and badly. It's all about learning to be able to discern the difference.



KakashiYay
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 9 Nov 2010
Age: 40
Gender: Female
Posts: 55
Location: Indiana

27 Dec 2011, 8:03 pm

I'd look at what's behind the behavior. Is she wearing the blanket-toga for kicks, or because she needs the sensory feedback it provides? (It's unlikely that she could tell you this- sensory issues are hard to verbalize even for "high-functioning" adults.)

Perhaps a weighted vest/ deep-pressure vest worn under a jacket would give her the feedback she's craving (I'm not sure she is- it seems logical, though). I like Dr Greenspan a lot, and I *really* like his ideas that everything an autistic child does is purposeful and meaningful to *them*, even if it looks like "just weirdness" to others, so I suspect there's a reason she's drawn to that specific thing.


_________________
My goofy little blog about being an aspie mom to 2 girls- one of whom is not quite NT: http://toregardaraisin.blogspot.com/


SylviaLynn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 9 Feb 2008
Age: 64
Gender: Female
Posts: 534
Location: Albuquerque, NM

27 Dec 2011, 10:08 pm

My daughter can choose her clothes in most cases. She has to wear a school uniform because that's required. It's a public school even, go figure. She has to wear appropriate clothes to church. For just kicking around anywhere else it's her problem. If she's going to look like a dork I tell her so the she can decide for herself.

My eldest daughter went through a stretch where she didn't want to wear a coat. This is not ok when it's snowing outside. I finally had to tell the strong willed kid that she could forgo her coat if and only if she wrote a two page essay on the meaning of hypothermia. Until then I'd walk her to middle school carrying her coat, then she could explain why her mommy had to bring her coat. Problem solved.

You can choose what you're willing to put up with. As far as your daughter and the ridicule of her peers, I don't know. Is she capable of understanding that other kids might make fun of her? And if so, does she care?


_________________
Aspie 176/200 NT 34/200 Very likely an Aspie
AQ 41
Not diagnosed, but the shoe fits
10 yo dd on the spectrum


Inspirations
Blue Jay
Blue Jay

User avatar

Joined: 24 Dec 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 98
Location: England

27 Dec 2011, 10:41 pm

Maybe you could both look for clothes that have the same weight and texture as the blanket. :)



draelynn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 24 Jan 2011
Age: 52
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,304
Location: SE Pennsylvania

27 Dec 2011, 10:54 pm

I say embrace both.

I was always out there as a kid too - way ahead of the curve as far as fashion was concerned. I HATED being like everyone else. i didn't go out of my way to be different, I was just me but i was always accused of trying to 'buck the system'.

I'm sorry, but the system needs bucking!

Iron clad her self esteem, teach her the social rules as best as you are able and let her make her choices. I do not mean anything derogatory by this but, perhaps, her 'individuality' make you more uncomfortable than it does her? I could have cared less what other people thought of me well into my 20's - still now to a slightly lesser degree. In that way, autism is quite freeing. Just make sure she knows the possible repercussions of her free spirited ways as well.



DW_a_mom
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 22 Feb 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 11,029
Location: Northern California

27 Dec 2011, 11:54 pm

annotated_alice wrote:
Interesting. One of my sons and I do this too, but only at home. It is very warm and comfortable. :)

What we do/have done is to give our sons information about how their peers and others in the community will likely view any given behaviour. We have many things that we do and wear at home that we don't consider appropriate for outside the home. My sons have embraced the idea of this division between home and outside. If there is something we disagree on we discuss potential social ramifications and then come up with a compromise, or we let them make their own choice and deal with any consequences, it just depends on how strongly we feel and how bizarre the behaviour would be considered. So I guess my answer is -it depends. How helpful is that? lol


This is pretty close to how I've handled it. Unless we're dealing with totally inappropriate, my son can choose if he wants to potentially deal with ridicule and stares or not. Sometimes he has just refused to believe us, and been disappointed to discover we were right, but that is part of the learning process. Sometimes he has been proud to be different. His life, his identity, his choice. Unless it is unsanitary, a dress code violation, or otherwise just going too far.


_________________
Mom to an amazing AS son, who recently graduated from the university (plus an also amazing non-AS daughter). Most likely part of the "Broader Autism Phenotype" (some traits).


Wreck-Gar
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Jun 2011
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,037
Location: USA

28 Dec 2011, 1:27 am

I agree with what others have said. I see no issues with the blanket. Personally, I didn't really have any sense of fashion till I was a senior in college and found a style that I liked.

On a related note, last winter, for some unknown reason, my son (then aged 2 and a half) absolutely refused to wear a jacket. If we tried to make him wear anything with buttons or a zipper, he'd throw a fit. We ended up having him wear 3-4 layers of sweatshirts every time we went out. This year he's fine...he must be over the zipper/button fear.



Pandora_Box
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Age: 33
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,299

28 Dec 2011, 2:14 am

I'll be a little more honest about my past experience. Not that I haven't been honest before, simply I do not share this information lightly with everyone. But when I was in middle school I dressed up in girl clothing and dressed as a girl. I guess I wanted to experience it. I was pretty confused about my sexuality at the time. But I digress from the point I'm trying to make. My parents never stopped me. And I learned on my own that this wasn't socially accepted by the way I was treated by my peers.



OliveOilMom
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 Nov 2011
Age: 57
Gender: Female
Posts: 11,447
Location: About 50 miles past the middle of nowhere

28 Dec 2011, 8:38 am

I'd say let her wear it certain places. When I was her age I cut up a piece of white cotton and made it into a nun's veil and wore it all summer long, along with two long dressy dresses I had. I was allowed to wear it to places like the grocery store, or somewhere like that, but not to places where I'd be likely to run into school kids, or places where a certain standard of dress code was expected.

I don't think it would do any harm to point out to her that most people don't wear things like that, and wearing it in the wrong place will likely get her some flack from others, but she very likely knows that already. I would pitch a fit when told I couldn't wear my "veil" places, but it wasn't because I could't actually wear the veil, it was because it wasn't acceptable for me or anyone else to wear something like it. I was more upset over the concept than the actual veil.

I also denied adamantly that I wanted to look like a nun. I certainly did want to look like a nun, but I refused to tell anyone because I knew they would think it was silly, even if they said they didn't. So, asking her what it's supposed to be might not get you the right answer.


_________________
I'm giving it another shot. We will see.
My forum is still there and everyone is welcome to come join as well. There is a private women only subforum there if anyone is interested. Also, there is no CAPTCHA. ;-)

The link to the forum is http://www.rightplanet.proboards.com


Mama_to_Grace
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 1 Aug 2009
Age: 50
Gender: Female
Posts: 951

28 Dec 2011, 11:47 am

Thanks for the replies. I think she actually feels it looks GOOD. She looks at it in the mirror like it's a ball gown or something. I should also explain it is a throw blanket with a loud pattern on it and it doen't drag the floor. I have been letting her wear it and she is convinced no matter what I say that she looks very good wearing it.

I do think a part of it is the "airiness" of it. She prefers to be naked around the house with only brief underwear-I call her my "Mowgli". :lol:



Sweetleaf
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: 6 Jan 2011
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 32,021
Location: Somewhere in Colorado

28 Dec 2011, 2:34 pm

Well this is a tough issue.......I remember one incident when I was a kid and wanted to wear this ridiculous puffy pink dress to school, my mom tried to convince me not to but I was stubberon. Well I wore it to school and when I got into the classroom everyone including the teacher ended up laughing at me and no one would leave me alone that day. I probably would have prefered to avoid that experiance so I understand why my mom did not want me to wear it.........but at the same time I do not think I should have been made fun of so harshly for it.

So to me I guess it kinda feels like being so concerned with what others think and trying to deter a child from dressing weirdly for instance, is giving into bullying behavior. because its like you're saying don't do this or people will be mean to you, but also no one enjoys being picked on for wearing something ridiculous for instance so its not really wrong to warn a child about what could happen.

I guess i just feel like there should be effort from the other side to encourage more tolerance of differences between people, because I don't think its good people are bullied into behaving a certain way in the first place.


_________________
Fascism is a disease.


SylviaLynn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 9 Feb 2008
Age: 64
Gender: Female
Posts: 534
Location: Albuquerque, NM

28 Dec 2011, 3:43 pm

Yeah. There are some places and times when certain dress is required. Just for kicking around KB can wear whatever she likes. I warn her when something is likely to get her into social trouble, but to be honest I also give her personal points when she decides to do what she wants to do. I'm kind of glad the public schools here require uniforms so there aren't nearly as many of the eccentricity questions for school stuff.


_________________
Aspie 176/200 NT 34/200 Very likely an Aspie
AQ 41
Not diagnosed, but the shoe fits
10 yo dd on the spectrum


OliveOilMom
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 Nov 2011
Age: 57
Gender: Female
Posts: 11,447
Location: About 50 miles past the middle of nowhere

28 Dec 2011, 7:20 pm

I'm going to be asked that this be moved into parents.


_________________
I'm giving it another shot. We will see.
My forum is still there and everyone is welcome to come join as well. There is a private women only subforum there if anyone is interested. Also, there is no CAPTCHA. ;-)

The link to the forum is http://www.rightplanet.proboards.com