Looking for advice - 10 year old rude to younger children

Hello, I'm new.

I'm looking for some advice and to see if anyone has had any similar issues with their child or has been in the same position as my eldest son and can help me to understand whatever I'm missing.

I have a 10 year old son with high functioning moderate Autism. He has a younger brother who also has a similar diagnosis. 

My eldest son has always had lots of friends of his own age and has always been well loved at school by children, teachers and parents despite him taking some things literally and getting confused sometimes. He has always been a kind and loving boy.

His younger brother took a long time to make friends at school. When he eventually did and his friend started to come to play I realised to my horror that my elder son was not very tolerant of his younger brother's friend which seemed completely put of character for him. At this point my younger son and his friend were about 6. My elder son would interfere with their games and would try to influence his brother to do what he wanted instead of playing with his friend. He would be difficult about letting them play on things and sometimes just says hurtful things to the younger child. It seems to be just the one friend that he does this to. I know this particular friend has rubbed other children up the wrong way but I have had so many chats with my eldest son about this, explaining that he's the older child and that he needs to be kind and that theres no need to be mean. I've suggested that my older son goes to his grandparents for the day when my younger son has his friend around but my elder son insists on being at home because he feels he's being left out otherwise. The latest play date went ok for the most part until my elder son openly told the younger child that no one liked him. When I told him off and spoke to him later he said he was just being sarcastic but he clearly doesn't know what that means. 

I feel awful for my younger son (and his friend too) because he struggled enough to make friends without his brother interfering. 

I'm worried for my elder son because this is unacceptable and he starts secondary school this year where people don't tolerate much. He's at a specialist school but I still worry that he'll struggle. It also not something we've had to deal with before and I really don't know what to do. My instinct is to be strict but so far that only seems to be making matters worse. When I talk to my older son he just says "this is how I am". 

Any advice would be gratefully received!

  • Hi

    My daughter is 8 and still awaiting assessment, she has a younger sister who is 7 and nt, the older struggles socially only having a few friends who she tries to control. We generally don't have play dates at our house as if the younger one tries to join in the older one gets very angry as they are her friends and she has to control everything she also tells her younger sister that everyone hates her and wishes that she had never been born, this is obviously not tolerated but is made more difficult as they are so close in age and share friends! 

    When the younger one had play dates the older was upset by the change in routine as obviously her sister was behaving differently and not just doing what the older one wants. It was this loss of control over the environment that caused the problem 

    We limit play dates to neutral areas such as parks to minimise impact on home routine.

  • HI

    I'm sorry that you're going though a challenging time with your son.

    Individuals on the spectrum can often display behaviour that may be challenging. There will generally be a reason for this and it is important to try and understand the trigger for the behaviour when developing strategies.

    You may like to have a look at the following link for more information on behaviour and strategies:


    You may be interested in seeking some professional support regarding the behaviour. You can search for professionals in your area we are aware of on the Autism Services Directory: www.autism.org.uk/directory.aspx

    You may like to contact The Autism Helpline who can provide information and advice on behaviour and strategies. You can call them on 0808 800 4104 (Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm, Friday 9am to 3pm). Please note that the Helpline is experiencing a high volume of calls and it may take a couple of attempts before you get through to speak to an advisor.

    I hope this helps,

    Chloe Mod:)