Deciding to take a step back or to be more authoritative

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Mummy_of_Peanut
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03 Dec 2013, 8:14 am

I love my daughter's uniqueness. However, I know some things draw attention to her and could make her a target for those who might want to pick on her. At the moment, she doesn't mind at all (well that's what she tells me anyway). This morning is an example. It's quite dark, when we're gong to school, so she decided she wanted to wear her high visibility vest - very sensible. As we approached the school gate, I said to her that she might be best to take off her vest and put it in her bag. She asked me why and I told her that some of the children might make fun of her. She told me she was wearing it and walked into the playground. She actually seemed to think I was daft for worrying about her. A small crowd of girls spoke to her and I could see and hear them asking about the vest. Then she walked over to the boys (her friends) and they were curious, but not amused like the girls were (quirky little guys, who don't care either). They're nice girls really and I don't think they'd say anything nasty to her, but I could see this was a source of amusement for them. My daughter truly doesn't care.

But, I worry that one day she will start to care about things like this. I also worry that she will one day go to high school, where not all the kids are as nice as the ones at her current school. I'll then feel guilty for not trying harder to encourage her to 'conform'. She'll always be different, so maybe encouraging her to remove a vest would be such a drop in the ocean that it really wouldn't matter. She obviously wants to be different anyway.

What have others done?


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b9
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03 Dec 2013, 8:17 am

did you really name your child "peanut"?



Mummy_of_Peanut
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03 Dec 2013, 8:41 am

b9 wrote:
did you really name your child "peanut"?
No :lol:

I had pregnancy scan when I was about 7 weeks gone. She looked like a peanut then. I've never called her that, not even as a nickname. :)


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Mummy_of_Peanut
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03 Dec 2013, 8:41 am

That would really have drawn attention to her.


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03 Dec 2013, 9:40 am

I think it's worth pointing out to her what the reaction of other children might be, then leaving it to her to decide. That way she becomes more aware of "expected" vs "unexpected". It won't become a teachable moment until that day that she is excluded from something and cares about it. When she's older, maybe you can talk more about the psychology of groups -- how seemingly trivial things are used to communicate who belongs or is not part of the group.



ASDMommyASDKid
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03 Dec 2013, 12:30 pm

I always been of mixed mind on this, mainly b/c my mom used to do that kind of thing and it would make me feel kind of bad, and annoyed at my mom, though not enough to change anything I did.

That said, I don't want to project this stuff on my son, either, and deprive him of useful information. I end up doing what Zette suggests, and give him the info, and let home follow it or ignore it. He always ignores it, so I only tell him the more obvious things, and have backed off a bit on even that. If he ever shows annoyance, I will do it even more rarely, and if he shows interest I will ramp it up.

I really wish they had an online psych site for kids, so I could just teach this stuff in a general way, better.



Willard
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03 Dec 2013, 1:34 pm

Mention it, don't mention it, it won't ever really matter. What you must understand is, we truly don't care. Our brains are not wired like yours and trust me on this, you neurotypical people seem every bit as odd and illogical to us as we do to you.

That's not to say the ridicule for being different doesn't hurt, certainly it does, but ultimately for an Aspergian, that's just an unavoidable fact of life. It's like being chattered at and teased by monkeys when you're only human marooned on an island full of monkeys. It wouldn't matter at all, except for the fact that monkeys are the only company available and even they reject you. :roll:

So, at the end of the day, we follow our own drummer because that's all we can do. It is very literally, who we are.

We're here, we're oddball geeks, get used to it - not because we need your approval or recognition, but because we can't be anything else. :shrug:



MjrMajorMajor
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03 Dec 2013, 1:42 pm

Willard wrote:

So, at the end of the day, we follow our own drummer because that's all we can do. It is very literally, who we are.

We're here, we're oddball geeks, get used to it - not because we need your approval or recognition, but because we can't be anything else. :shrug:


Pretty much. If it's not a bother her now, then it's not truly a problem. My knee-jerk reaction is to think she might internalize your concern into thinking you don't approve of her. If it does become a problem in reality for her, then it might be more appropriate to address at that time. Just MOHO.



ASDMommyASDKid
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03 Dec 2013, 2:05 pm

^^^The internalizing is what I am afraid of, too. Then, again, I have seen posts on here from people who wish they were told they were doing things that made them more targeted than they might have been. That is why I am mixed in how I feel.

It never helped me, but it might have been b/c I never respected my mom's opinion on anything, even as a child.



Mummy_of_Peanut
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03 Dec 2013, 3:43 pm

Willard wrote:
Mention it, don't mention it, it won't ever really matter. What you must understand is, we truly don't care. Our brains are not wired like yours and trust me on this, you neurotypical people seem every bit as odd and illogical to us as we do to you.

That's not to say the ridicule for being different doesn't hurt, certainly it does, but ultimately for an Aspergian, that's just an unavoidable fact of life. It's like being chattered at and teased by monkeys when you're only human marooned on an island full of monkeys. It wouldn't matter at all, except for the fact that monkeys are the only company available and even they reject you. :roll:

So, at the end of the day, we follow our own drummer because that's all we can do. It is very literally, who we are.

We're here, we're oddball geeks, get used to it - not because we need your approval or recognition, but because we can't be anything else. :shrug:
Willard, I'm actually probably on the spectrum myself, but the difference with me was that I would become really upset, if I thought I was being laughed at (whilst still being happy to be a goat rather than a sheep). Being laughed at, ridiculed, ignored and inadvertently causing people to become intensely angry, throughout school, will have that effect on most people, even those on the spectrum. If they can just put up with it, then that's great, but not everyone on the spectrum is like that - a small perusal of this site will tell you that there's plenty who do care very much. I'm an oddball geek too, with severe sensory issues, just never projected my discomfort to the outside, so nobody ever knew. When I was a little younger than my daughter is now, I was completely oblivious and I was as happy as she is. But, when I was around 7 1/2-8yrs, I became very aware of the reactions I was getting from others. I knew I was doing something wrong, but had no clue what it was or how to correct it. I ended up with selective mutism, social anxiety and avoidant behaviour, making me even odder than I already was. If she really doesn't care, then I'm sure she can avoid this, but I'm worried that some day she might care. At the moment, she has no female friends and, with their reaction today, I can't see that changing. As a teenager, she might wonder what's up with her that she's not able to have female friends. I just don't want to feel guilty, if and when she does come round to thinking that fitting in (to a certain extent) matters to her. As a mature adult, I really don't give two hoots what people think, but as a child and sensitive teenager, it was a big deal.


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Eureka-C
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03 Dec 2013, 9:01 pm

ASDMommyASDKid wrote:
I really wish they had an online psych site for kids, so I could just teach this stuff in a general way, better.


actually there are a couple

http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthT ... aspx?p=267

http://kidshealth.org/kid/


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ASDMommyASDKid
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03 Dec 2013, 9:36 pm

Thank you, so much! I will check these out!! ! Thank you!



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03 Dec 2013, 10:22 pm

I struggled with this for a really long time.

When my son was in 5th grade, we started a "things that make me a target" program. I really felt horrible doing it, but he was so clueless and so upset because he knew he was doing "something" but he had no idea what it was. I felt like a heartless b***h and I was really afraid it would destroy his self-esteem.

It actually had the opposite effect. He felt empowered by the knowledge that he could either choose to share that "weird" (not a bad word in this house---we own it) part of himself with others, or not. It often went something like "Doing XYZ is not typical for boys your age. There is nothing wrong with doing it. And you can do it at home as much as you like. But if you choose to do it at school, you must choose so with the understanding that it may make you a target." He has actually learned to blend a lot better. Not so much because he is a sheep and just following what everyone else is doing, but moreso because he is avoiding doing things that draw negative attention. Like wearing novelty t-shirts to school. Every day. Without fail. Or approaching kids he doesn't really know and talking about asphalt or some other completely random thing that no one seems to care about. Once I started pointing out some things that he did that were not typical of kids his age, he became much better at figuring it out himself. There are still some things that he simply can't see himself. Usually really subtle social rules. But he has curtailed many of the things that used to draw negative attention to him.

I'm glad I did it before middle school, if that helps you at all.


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League_Girl
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04 Dec 2013, 1:31 am

Mummy_of_Peanut wrote:
I love my daughter's uniqueness. However, I know some things draw attention to her and could make her a target for those who might want to pick on her. At the moment, she doesn't mind at all (well that's what she tells me anyway). This morning is an example. It's quite dark, when we're gong to school, so she decided she wanted to wear her high visibility vest - very sensible. As we approached the school gate, I said to her that she might be best to take off her vest and put it in her bag. She asked me why and I told her that some of the children might make fun of her. She told me she was wearing it and walked into the playground. She actually seemed to think I was daft for worrying about her. A small crowd of girls spoke to her and I could see and hear them asking about the vest. Then she walked over to the boys (her friends) and they were curious, but not amused like the girls were (quirky little guys, who don't care either). They're nice girls really and I don't think they'd say anything nasty to her, but I could see this was a source of amusement for them. My daughter truly doesn't care.

But, I worry that one day she will start to care about things like this. I also worry that she will one day go to high school, where not all the kids are as nice as the ones at her current school. I'll then feel guilty for not trying harder to encourage her to 'conform'. She'll always be different, so maybe encouraging her to remove a vest would be such a drop in the ocean that it really wouldn't matter. She obviously wants to be different anyway.

What have others done?


Maybe she will do it on her own when she wants to if she finds confirming makes people leave her alone. That is what I have done. Sometimes people don't start caring until it affects them and then they start to learn finally.


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04 Dec 2013, 1:38 am

Mummy_of_Peanut wrote:
Willard wrote:
Mention it, don't mention it, it won't ever really matter. What you must understand is, we truly don't care. Our brains are not wired like yours and trust me on this, you neurotypical people seem every bit as odd and illogical to us as we do to you.

That's not to say the ridicule for being different doesn't hurt, certainly it does, but ultimately for an Aspergian, that's just an unavoidable fact of life. It's like being chattered at and teased by monkeys when you're only human marooned on an island full of monkeys. It wouldn't matter at all, except for the fact that monkeys are the only company available and even they reject you. :roll:

So, at the end of the day, we follow our own drummer because that's all we can do. It is very literally, who we are.

We're here, we're oddball geeks, get used to it - not because we need your approval or recognition, but because we can't be anything else. :shrug:
Willard, I'm actually probably on the spectrum myself, but the difference with me was that I would become really upset, if I thought I was being laughed at (whilst still being happy to be a goat rather than a sheep). Being laughed at, ridiculed, ignored and inadvertently causing people to become intensely angry, throughout school, will have that effect on most people, even those on the spectrum. If they can just put up with it, then that's great, but not everyone on the spectrum is like that - a small perusal of this site will tell you that there's plenty who do care very much. I'm an oddball geek too, with severe sensory issues, just never projected my discomfort to the outside, so nobody ever knew. When I was a little younger than my daughter is now, I was completely oblivious and I was as happy as she is. But, when I was around 7 1/2-8yrs, I became very aware of the reactions I was getting from others. I knew I was doing something wrong, but had no clue what it was or how to correct it. I ended up with selective mutism, social anxiety and avoidant behaviour, making me even odder than I already was. If she really doesn't care, then I'm sure she can avoid this, but I'm worried that some day she might care. At the moment, she has no female friends and, with their reaction today, I can't see that changing. As a teenager, she might wonder what's up with her that she's not able to have female friends. I just don't want to feel guilty, if and when she does come round to thinking that fitting in (to a certain extent) matters to her. As a mature adult, I really don't give two hoots what people think, but as a child and sensitive teenager, it was a big deal.


My ex boyfriend who was on the spectrum also cared what people thought of him but because he worried so much what people would think, it actually affected him and me. There is a level of caring of what others think and not caring what others think. Some people do one of these too much it affects them while for most people, they are in between. Too much of anything is bad and too little of anything is bad. It's usually social anxiety when someone cares too much what people think.

My mom also told me what not to do or kids will tease me or think I'm weird. I never saw it as negative. Some here have called it blaming the victim because you are telling them what to change so they won't get teased or get negative reactions, etc. but I think that blaming the victim thing is being overused and thrown around by people like the word bullying is.


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04 Dec 2013, 8:43 am

League_Girl wrote:
My mom also told me what not to do or kids will tease me or think I'm weird. I never saw it as negative.


My son does not see it as a negative, either. He sees it as a useful piece of information.

I think that part of the issue is how the information is presented. My son has never been told that what he is doing is wrong. It has just been pointed out to him that it is something that other kids his age will perceive as "weird" and that it may draw attention to himself that he does not want. Whether or not he chooses to continue to do it is completely up to him. But if he chooses to do it, then he does so recognizing that unwanted attention will likely be the result.

It kind of reminds me of a conversation that my friend had with her NT daughter. Her daughter is an extreme tomboy. She has purposely eschewed all fashion "edicts" as adhered to by her peers, ever since she was a little girl. She is now a teen, and to be honest, if I saw her on the street without knowing her, I would not be sure if she was male or female, though she clearly self-identifies as being female and heterosexual. When she was younger, she was very bothered by the fact that she was teased and singled out because of her appearance. My friend told her "there is nothing wrong with the way you want to dress if that is the way you want to dress. But the reality is, it is different from everyone else. If you want to be different, that is OK, but you need to own it, not view yourself as being victimized by kids who do not hold your same views."

When my son chooses to do things that he is aware may attract unwanted attention, he owns it. He recognizes it as a personal choice that reflects something that he is choosing to share with others despite the fact that they may not appreciate it. This makes it much easier for him to say "I don't care" and mean it, than when he is being targeted and he has no idea why or what to do to make it stop.

This really only works, though, with things like intrusively sharing immature or special interests. Which he can either choose to do or choose not to do. It doesn't work as well for things like pragmatic language deficits. He cannot "choose" not to have them. In that case, my approach has been more along the lines of "the fact that kids tease you because of that is because they are ignorant. It is not a reflection on you. It's a reflection on them" and then we work on the pragmatics that trip him up. For example, he is now very good at recognizing when figurative language is being used. He isn't always able to work out what is meant by it quickly enough, but recognizing that it isn't literal at least helps him to stop blurting things out because he recognizes he probably does not understand what is being said. So recognizing that he has a tendency toward literal interpretation of figurative language because it has been pointed out to him still helps.


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