Hurtful comments from family members

Hi sorry think I just need a safe space for a bit of a ramble...

i am struggling after a hard conversation with my mother about my nine year old son who I am attempting to receive a diagnosis for.

it has got very difficult getting L motivated to do anything out the house, to the point off us threatening and everyone falling out with no resolve on situation. This has been the case for a while. Even attending his two weekly groups is a hassle for him and he enjoys these once their.

anyway i was chatting to mum about it not expecting the outcome I received. My mum started the conversation talking about control and being manipulated by my son, then went on to state she didn’t understand why he behaves differently at school and with herself and some others and how we are struggling so much with his behaviour. That she does not see behaviours that are difficult and that I make out that he is worse than he is and I put him higher on the spectrum than he would be. She doesn’t understand why I don’t consequence his behaviour when he acts the way he does. That even children with problems require discipline.  She then asked if I thought things were that bad why wasn’t I pushing for help for him, and that she sees his anxiety as the main problem rather than his other Asd traits. I don’t honestly think she has a handle on what the symptoms of Asd are, I thought she did but now I’m unsure.

Because of all this im doubting myself, the last thing I want to do is make things worse, my fear now is I’ve been doing this by unconsciously giving him reasons for acting up. I doubt myself daily or so it feels daily as it is . Am I doing the right thing, saying the right thing, should I consequence things or not, should I limit the expectations when he’s struggling like I do or is this giving in. Everything seems like wading  through mud sometimes. I never thought he was anything but high function/ mild Asd but I felt due to his high anxieties and social difficulties that I have witnessed he was a little more complex. Now I’m not altogether sure what I think it’s got me doubting it all.

i did try and explain a few things but wasn’t getting anywhere as she so obvisouly disagrees with how I do things... why have I not known this before, I had no idea. All this time through various  conversations we’ve had she’s been thinking the exact opposite. 

Im not sure what to do now... it’s going  to be difficult knowing all this and acting like I’m ok with it all. I’m not going to be able to discuss things freely with her now, and all this time I thought I had someone in my corner as school aren’t helping as they state they don’t see any traits and paediatrics can’t move forward without collaboration, we’ve been under paediatrician for 2 years already. I’m seriously thinking off going private, or I was anyway.

She did say none of it was said to be hurtful and it was just an opinion?

i guess it just shook my already weak foundations. I find Asd can be a bit off a mine field to negotiate round daily with changing behaviours and anxieties in my son, I don’t know if im doing the right thing most of the time but I’m trying.

Im sorry for all the negativity... just feeling sad I guess and disheartened.

  • You don't say whether your son has ASD or if he's waiting to be assessed for it, but either way his anxiety and social difficulties are clearly causing him problems and upsetting him. From what you've said it sounds to me as if you're accommodating your son's needs, not "giving in". How would forcing him help? I don't think I would call it 'limiting expectations' either, but allowing your son to participate in decisions about what's expected of him. I call that good parenting. 

    Even mild ASD is complex because no two people are the same. You, and your mother, may still be learning about ASD and all it entails (not all of which may be applicable to your son) but you, more than even your mother, do already know your son. With all of the uncertainty you're facing at the moment it's no wonder you're doubting yourself, and many other things, but don't doubt your ability as his mother. I'm sure your mother meant well and she's probably worried about the effect all of this is having on you too, maybe that's why she's looking for ways to make things easier on you but perhaps going about it in the wrong way (i.e. minimising it).

    In your mother's generation parenting was perhaps ... more forceful. There was very little known about ASD back then and probably discipline and consequences were the prevailing parental tools. She may just be unfamiliar with more modern attitudes rather than actually disagreeing with how you're bringing your son up. I can't see how giving someone consequences to face, if their anxiety gets the better of them, would actually stop them from getting anxious for instance. Discipline is fine if it means following guidelines, parameters, an agreement with the child that if he does A then you'll do B, or whatever, but it's not possible to discipline someone out of ASD or anxiety. Trust your own instincts as his Mum. As for your Mum, I think she's probably just worried about you and made a bit of a hash of trying to help, I'm sure the last thing she wanted to do was to make things worse.   

  • My mum started the conversation talking about control and being manipulated by my son, then went on to state she didn’t understand why he behaves differently at school and with herself and some others and how we are struggling so much with his behaviour.

    Angelic child when visiting other people's homesteads, and demonic child at home sort of thing ~ is fairly common knowledge, and the domineering conformity at school does, unfortunately, tend to be parents homework on account of which. This can be especially the case regarding children with A.S.D.; due to the mimic (copy) response of learnt behaviour being way more involved, rather than so much modelled (try it on) behaviour ~ being that social imagination is poor, and executive functioning has to be learnt over a longer duration than is typically the case with other children.

    If you have not already, perhaps consider doing for your son the Childhood Autism Spectrum Test, which is available via the following link: