I am curious if other parents with kids on the spectrum have as much difficulty as I do 'making' their children do chores? I have put 'making' in quotes because to be honest, their is no 'making' .. there is only the getting them to agree that it would helpful for them to be helpful at this particular time and place ...
And I guess I just more or less answered my own question because it seems to me, their is no 'making' because attempts to reason, or yell at them (my frustration) don't work - they tend to meltdown if I do that. They will be very helpful if they are in the mood to be helpful which doesn't actually happen all that often for my son (almost 16) (once a month and when he does he is outstanding but he has all kinds of other issues like he can only be around other people for about 3-4 hours before he shuts down).
This leaves my poor oldest daughter (age 17) as the main 'slave' because at the moment she is the only one who will do anything ... she doesn't like it though and if I ask too much she will also melt. And timescales ... unless I give a good reason that she agrees with that it needs to be done 'NOW', she will put it off and go back into her own little world and forget even if I remind her 3 or 4 times a day for 3 days (3 days is about the average length of time it takes for her to do something if it isn't urgent).
NT daughter (age 12) with sensory issues generally times a temper tantrum or angst the moment she is asked to do anything and thus wiggles out of it ...
This is a bit of a rant. I know I must not be the only one. During school term time, I don't even begin to ask as everyone is so stressed and overloaded from school
I hate housework myself. If I had known it would be my main job (besides working full-time and running the house including all the finances and making sure people ate properly ...). ARRRRRRGGGG ....
Too much. And the worst thing is ... they aren't getting the skills they will need in the future when I'm gone ...
How, exactly, do you expect a teenage boy to behave?
A little mediation there methinks is needed.
There is certainly a teenage factor - most teenagers are hard to persuade to do things, autistic spectrum on top does make it harder.
Autism manifests as complex behaviours and there isn't enough information around as to why.
Socialising is difficult if you are not receiving (or providing) the right input. So you have to work at it harder. Also where there is background noise and lots of people talking it becomes harder to process and concentrate. I'm at the mild end and I'd hardly last three or four hours, I'm usually in trouble within an hour.
Meltdowns are a response to sensory overload, both the amount of information coming in and the ability to process it, which is much less than non-autistic spectrum. Added to which any cumulative stresses and anxieties over a longer timescale will add to it. Try not to think of it as a temper tantrum though - something to be corrected - it is likely there really is stress to limits.
Skills for the future - yes very important. But some skills will be hard to adjust because they are part of the autistic spectrum, not options.
Some parents on here may be able to offer tried and tested solutions based on agreements in order to get some chores done.
OK, more seriously, and coming from the point of view of a parent who is on the spectrum who has brought up 2 moderately NT boys with varying degrees of success...
You rightly say that you can't make them do things by shouting or reasoning with them. I think you may be able to get them to reason with themselves by leading down a path and leaving enough clues about things so that they work things out for themselves. If they end up without clean clothes beause you have resigned from your position as their slave then they will work out how to put the washing machine on and then they will work out how to dry things. Part of the problem here is that you are making yourself into their slave and continuing to tolerate their laziness.
With our eldeest we ended up at loggerheads, I got so exasperated that I went to thump him. This was a stupid mistake - he is bigger than me! But I was so angry that he actually left home, fended for himself, realised that he had been using our house as a hotel and after a few years of living in rented rooms and working on bin lorries etc he worked out what his home had been providing all those years. He is now extremely reasonable, self sufficient, hard working and has gone back to college as he can see how grim life can be in the real world.
Our youngest was much easier, stayed in the groove of education, went to uni, came home in holidays, shared flats with mates etc etc and is working things out for himself. Now that I have a diagnosis, he has become more understanding and less argumentative and we are in severe danger of living happily ever after!
First of all - what I'm struggling with is this.
1. I don't know how other teenagers are because I haven't seen them in situ - that is - in their own households. I don't have that many friends and the friends that I have tend to be either online, or don't have children that are teenagers (yet).
2. My own feelings.
I GET that they have sensory issues and need to shut down after a while. I get this. That is why I hardly EVER ask anyone to help me (well I ask but I know that I am not going to get a very good answer most of the time so I give up).
But, I am almost sure that I have undiagnosed Aspergers as well. And even if I did not, when I work at a demanding job (I'm a programmer in a busy open plan office) where *I* am assaulted by bright lights and noise and having to be socially interactive (since I lead our team of 8 people) while at the same time needing to think about quite difficult things and be productive ... well when I get home at the end of the day and find that children who are quite capable of messing up the kitchen completely and have done so - have left me a huge mess - which needs cleaning up before I can cook their supper ...
I think that maybe MY needs are not being met. In the past I have tried not doing any housework either - which means that we live in the pigsty but since we rent and there is a house inspection every 6 months (more if you fail) - it has been humiliating - and more to the point we are now trying to repair our reference so that we can actually rent a house that is big enough for all of us.
It boils down to this. I am tired of people telling me that I need to make the children do more because I really can't do it.
I am tired of the children not helping at all and living like they are in a hotel although I recognize that this is what children will do if they are not pushed.
I am tired of people telling me what I should do and how I should be. I just want to be myself but apparently it isn't allowed for ME to be that person. It's only allowed if you are a child?
I feel like a bad mother on both accounts.
I GET that with Aspergers they are going to have the need to pursue their special interests and have time away from other people most of the time, god knows I would love to be in their shoes because there is nothing more I would like to do than to go online and play WoW, or hearthstone or do more work rather than doing all this horrible housework which I hate and I am incredibly bad at, just because for some reason, my needs are less important than their need to do the same thing simply because I'm the adult. I'm glad that because Blizzard hasn't released any new content for a year and because the guild that I was leading would need building up again before I could raid, that I actually have the freedom to do this - but I really miss having a special interest that absorbs and consumes me and I'm getting tired of relying on mmo manufacturers to provide this and I need something else ... and I am pretty darn sure that I am not really intereseted in having that special interest to be housework.
I don't really need advice to FIX this. It's working ok (ish) as it is right now - I've resigned myself to a life of servitude until they move out which they probably will never do. Was just hoping to hear from anyone else who FEELS like I do.
My son has just come downstairs and we are going to go to Morrisons and buy cheese for his birthday fondue and, I think, a cake mix for his cake. Which I was going to make in the shape of a starship but I am not sure I can now so it will probably just be a plain cake and he will be happy. So I will stop ranting. It's so hard to convey everything that is a situation in text to people who don't know one.
Probably that was way too much information but hopefully, someone will read it and understand.
Oh and rcombinantsocks - I just reread your post.
With your sons being mostly NT, maybe they realize that they would smell if the laundry wasn't done. My daughter kind of gets that and she was supposed to be doing the family laundry as well as her own since she hasn't been at school since December but she kind of failed to remember to do that...she gets lost in her writing and storymaking ...
My son definately doesn't get that if you sweat there is bacteria and then you smell. He won't let anyone cut his hair. He is offended if you tell him to wash because he smells but he doesn't take regular showers. It's a struggle to make him actually put the laundry in the wash.
However I think that I need to sit down with him and work out what will work for him and for me.
And, maybe I need to do the same with the girls.
no, I'm afraid that boys (wherever they are on the spectrum) won't smell the bacteria too well :-)
You aren't a bad mother - all parents get ground down by teenagers and ultimately if life was too comfortable then they would never leave home. It seems to me that the friction and discontent is pretty unavoidable and is part of how they discover who they are and that they need to do more for themselves. The transition from child to adult just isn't easy.
I'm a programmer too so I expect that you are likely to be well down the ASD track like me!
One of the ways I think about this is that life is like a computer game where you have to play against the baddies (i.e. your children, work bosses, relatives etc) and manipulate them into doing what you want. You would happily do this in WoW etc so why don't you treat life as a similar challenge where you strivbe to get to the next level (where you can have your own time, doing what you want whilst you have manoevred the others into leaving you alone.
I like this idea.
With a lucrative career can you not afford a cleaner to remove this source of stress from your family enviroment?
Hi Outraged. It's a good idea but ...
1. It's not that lucrative - as I work as a junior programmer and am still climbing the ladder (or trying to) so we are watching every penny trying to save ... and up to last month a cleaner would have been a dream - now it's more of a luxury we could begin to think about affording if we are very very careful.
2. Cleaners would need the floors and the house decluttered enough to actually clean! This is yet to happen.
3. I would need to find someone who wasn't judgemental and safe, as, for the entire family and especially those with aspergers, this is a SAFE place. So someone I could trust not to do anything that would involve perfumes or strange new cleaning products etc. Someone who didn't just say they understood autism but really really understood it and who wouldn't be too intrusive in our home and would understand that suggestions of putting children on a rota were not helpful nor welcome ...
and finally ...
4. It's the day to day housework that is a problem. A once a week cleaner couldn't help the problem with coming home to a kitchen of dirty dishes and needing to clean them before cooking!
However, the idea has merit and I thank you for it and I will let you know if we do decide to get one that you were right :P
Hello Dor. I am so glad you out this on, and the replies you have given to some of the ‘assistance’ you received. I’m having similar issues. My son would most definitely continue to wear offensive clothing, etc. I’m going to show my partner your post as it might assist him in understanding you sometimes can’t even lead a horse to water. Thank you. xx