We had probably one of the roughest mornings ever here in the Claxton house today. It began with a conversation at the dinner table Monday night upon my three daughters' return from a week with their mother. You see, the girls have befriended a lady, whom I do not know, over at their mother's house. The lady is said to be 31 years old. The girls call her their "Friend." Along with my wife, I find this relationship a little odd. The girls spend the night at this lady's house. I asked my eldest daughter tonight it they're spending the night there because her mom and step dad have to work or if their mother and step dad are at home and they're just letting them spend the night there. If it's the prior, that's one thing. If it's the latter, I continue to reiterate, there is something weird about it.
So began the dinner table discussion last night. And then still fuming from it this morning, my eldest son, who has Aspergers began asking my eldest daughter what was wrong with her. Initially, I'm told she blew it off. Not having the social graces to let ANYTHING go, he kept at it and out popped the conversation from Monday evening, to which the eldest son began with his two cents. As the diologue billowed into a cloud of verbal nuclear smoke, and the badgering about how the girls shouldn't be friends with a 31-year-old lady, out popped a direct declaration or implication that the 16-year-old was the "R" word. A word no mother with a special ed son likes to hear, and no one with special disabilities likes to hear.
So, again, lacking the social graces of a child much older than five at times, our son ran upstairs to tattle, yelling at the top of his lungs that his sister had called him the R word. And beginning what had to be about 30 reptitions of it over the next 20 minutes. She called me R, she called me R. And all the while acting a fool about it. The more we told him to be quiet and quit yelling, well, the more he belted out that "She called me an R," thereby reinforcing in the minds of anyone within earshot that he was an R, a term that's not nice or appropriate.
And so it went. He was arguing with me because I kept telling him to be quiet. He yelled back at my commands to be quiet. I took him to the den for a paddling for not listening. He wondered why he was getting paddled and yelled it again, "Why am I getting punished when she called me R."
And so it continued to go for several minutes more.
So who was in the wrong?
My wife and I have repeatedly struggled with what to do about our Aspie son. We've even done chats here on the Dads Center with other Aspie parents over the past few weeks. Some cases are worse than ours, others are better.
Our daughter shouldn't have dropped the R-bomb. That was wrong. And he reacted negatively to it. As he should. But he shouldn't have run through the house reaffirming it. He shouldn't have been yelling at his parents. He shouldn't have kept the ball rolling when told to let it go. He shouldn't have kept back talking. My daughter left the kitchen to go to her room to get out of the frey. She did was most people I think would have done. She dropped the bomb and then ran for cover.
As Kari and I talked tonight, we concluded that me and my girls need some coaching on how to deal with our Aspie son. Kari's two other boys have dealt with our eldest all of their lives. They're used to it. But me and my girls are not. And we've seen a tremendous decline in maturity and behavior over the past couple of months. I'm coming to the realization that instead of becoming more responsible with age, our son is staying flat in the trend lines, while getting older. I cannot expect his maturity to improve with his age as I do our other children. It just isn't happening. And I don't think I'm getting to the point of where I'm accepting excuses for him. My thoughts over the past few months were that as he aged, so too should his behavior improve. But again, it's just not happening. And so I'm having to change my expectations.
I can tell you without any certainty that in my mind, we won't be talking about driving for this child anywhere in the near future. His judgment skills just are not there. He is brilliant at Math and Science, but when it comes down to sense to get out of the rain, or to keep his mouth shut, well, it's just not there.
And so my heart hurts tonight. At dinner time, he kept badgering one of my twins because she wasn't doing her nightly chores to his liking or whatever. He kept pushing verbally and pushing and instead of using the R word, she called him a Rick James term, without the Super….
And so up came another billowing cloud of a mother already hurting from hearing her son called an R during the day, now being called an F. Not a good day here. Should either of the girls said what they did? No. But we as parents need to find some new tools for them to use in response to his badgering and taunting and socially reckless activities. Calling names is wrong. But so is the behavior that leads to them being used.
Therein lies our dilema. Who out there knows what we should do to remedy this kind of thing? We can't have many more mornings like the one we had today. It's hurting our family. Blending is hard as it is. Adding an Aperger's case to the mix is making it harder. We love all of these kids equally, though it is times like these where Kari and I instinctively side with our own flesh and blood and have difficulties seeing past our own kids' imperfections. We need some help dear friends. Any suggestions?