20 Responses to Bad Influence.

  1. People are going to draw the line where they want to, but I don’t think you’re hypocritical at all. You said yourself, if he were older and able to attend even with the “rambunctious” child around, then you wouldn’t have worried about it. This new child is clearly going to have an impact on how your son learns in that class; and you know what? I think it makes you a great mom to be cognizant of that.

  2. Little Miss has a similar tendency to follow a more rambunctious leader (I put that on her sensory-seeking side) and more than once I have been in the same situation. It frequently happens when we take Little Miss to the mall play land. She meets an older, more rambunctious child (usually a boy) and adopts that behavior (like jumping off the play equipment into other children). Then, we need to help her un-learn the behavior that made her popular with the new child before she hurts herself or another child in the play land. It can take weeks. Sometimes it never goes away.

    Your thoughts about separating your son from the other child are natural (and probably for the best, considering the circumstances). Above all, we need to protect our kids and do what is best for them — regardless of the empathy we may feel for another child’s situation. Would I call you hypocritical? Maybe in theory — but NEVER in your practice of parenting.

    • solodialogue says:

      Thanks, Karla. I think I would be more of a hypocrite if I was not honest. And yes, I do recognize how this might sound but ultimately, we are responsible for our own children. It’s strange that I did not get to meet this other child. He was apparently already there having therapy and the therapist left him in the back in a playroom when she came to get my son and the other boy who my son regularly attends with. Maybe if I had met him, and not just heard this negative report from the speech therapist, I would not feel so worried about the whole thing. And, it’s one thing to make observations of your own – but when someone else tells you your child’s behavior is more inappropriate and tells you it is because of the new child, well, that led to this post. I will talk with them about it again today and see if I have misunderstood. I have to.

      I greatly appreciate your support and understanding. 🙂

  3. C... says:

    I can completely see your view and I don’t think it’s hypocritical. I would not want my Aspie son (only) hanging out with someone with very low functioning autism because he’d lose what socialization skills he’s acquired. However, through the span of his day he comes into contact with different levels of people and he learns something from them regardless how little interaction they have. My son is not a follower because he is stubborn and wants to do things his way and also because he won’t do something just because someone else is doing it. We thought with peer pressure his eating would change because he’d see other kids eating pizza and chips etc. He does not like pizza and won’t eat just any chips. Has to be Tostitos. My son is not swayed much by what others do but he can be disruptive all on his own on his bad days.

    • solodialogue says:

      Claudia, thank you for your honesty. You are lucky in that your son is not easily influenced but your honesty shows that you are worried that he could lose those socialization skills by a lower functioning autistic. Is that wrong? Ideally, I think we all want our children to socialize with everyone. That makes for a well-rounded, politically correct, loving society. I want that to be the reality. So how do we foster this when our children have these social deficits to begin with?

      In the scheme of things, I would love for my son to be able to socialize with anyone on the spectrum, low or high and be able to handle that interaction in a manner that would allow him to have all kinds of friends. That, however, is a dream right now because of his age and lack of understanding socialization at all. Of course, that’s what a social skills class is supposed to help him with but I’m highly doubtful that 45 minutes of attempted interaction involving following another child who is running around when they should be sitting, not following direction and acting inappropriately can increase my own son’s social skills. I see the opposite happening.

      Maybe the speech therapist has it all under control. She is really quite a strong personality but nevertheless, she is not ABA trained and is alone with these boys. She is the one who told me about the trouble. Perhaps, it’s just a matter of getting them used to each other. Maybe I’m jumping the gun (probably).

      I will see what is to come. I will wait it out and report back. Ultimately, I want my child to have the ability to socialize with anyone and everyone. But given that autism is all about that inability, I want him to get by – in the real world – and that may require some separation for now. Thanks for your comment and support. 🙂

  4. Flannery says:

    That rambunctious kid running around, he’s probably mine. Sorry about that, that’s how his impairment manifests itself. Maybe yours will have a “grounding” effect on mine.

    • solodialogue says:

      This is why I hesitated to post this. I have no intent to say any child is less than mine – nor do I intend to imply that mine is less than anyone else. This is a speech therapist’s social skills class – not a behavioral therapy social skills class. So, regardless of the speech teacher’s attempts to socialize these kids, I’m seeing that I may – not saying will – but may have to deal with increased behaviors as a result of the influence any child – typical or autistic that can increase my own son’s behaviors and take away from the goal. (this only happened between 4-5 yesterday)

      If my son was not so easily influenced by anyone, if he could make decisions about what is good and bad, and still chose the behavior that is not acceptable? Then, I would definitely make him work through it – not think about the influence of the other child. But he is still only 4 years old and he makes some really bad decisions – he throws heavy objects in the air and waits for them to come down – inside – not outside and does not understand these objects can hit people – himself included in the head, even though it’s happened multiple times. He is slowly making his way away from that behavior but when he is excited by a “rambunctious kid”, he will start doing this behavior again because he gets wound up.

      The only effect my kid would have on yours ( and this is not your kid knowing where ours fall relative to each other on the spectrum) would be to perpetuate and feed off the inappropriate behavior. Mine is just too young yet to make those kind of judgments. Maybe he should start – but he should do it with the help of the correct therapist and that would be ABA not speech.

      I certainly don’t mean to offend anyone by this post. Especially you. If you think I’m missing something, please tell me more. I’m open to hearing any perspective that might help me deal with this issue.

      • Flannery says:

        Not offended at all! I would probably feel the same way if I walked in different shoes. I just wanted to show the flip side of that…your concerns about your son picking up behavior from others, and my concerns that my son’s behavior keeps others from wanting to play with him. It’s a struggle on both sides, and I completely understand. Wanting your child to blend with typical peers and not be shunned, wanting my child to blend and not be shunned. It’s the irony that we live with every day.

      • solodialogue says:

        Thanks for that! I so adore you. I would feel horrible if my post causes offense. I do understand the flip side and I hate myself for it. Which is part of the reason I posted it in honesty. I do understand why what I am saying is wrong but I still feel it in my gut. It’s not fair. It is an irony and frankly I don’t know what to do about it. ❤

  5. Lizbeth says:

    Oh the fine line we walk as parents…..it sometimes sucks, doesn’t it?!? 😉
    Here’s the thing, the way I see it, you have to do what’s best for your child. Period. Does it make you popular sometimes–no. Does it help your son–yes. I know that’s super short and to the point but at the end of the day you have to go with your gut and do what you think is best for him.

  6. Tam says:

    Hrm. I don’t quite know what to make of this, Karen.

    You’re going to find quite a few ‘neurotypical’ children his age that are rambunctious and run around and act up when they’re supposed to be sitting quietly. It seems odd to want him to gain social skills that will let him interact with kids his own age, but to also get upset that he’s having these types of interactions. Whether this particular kid is on the spectrum or not, that’s the type of thing that all kids of that age will do, especially when they’re in a new situation and haven’t learned what’s expected of them yet.

    Perhaps this isn’t the right time for him to learn these things, but part of growing up and learning to socialize is learning not to mimic everything around you, learning who/what to mimic and what not to mimic, and learning how to recognize when someone’s got a better grasp of something than you do.

    The thing is, all parents, special needs or not, have to be concerned with ‘bad’ influences, and a ‘bad’ influence can be anything from a teacher to a parent to a school bully to a television program. You haven’t even met this kid, and this was the first time the two boys had even met each other. Deciding he’s a bad influence so quickly seems a little rash.

    • solodialogue says:

      You are right. I just came from the place where he has his social skills class. I had a long talk with his social skills teacher. She explained what you just explained, basically. You both are right.

      Look, I never said I was perfect but I am honest. These were my gut feelings. I knew it was not the right way to feel, but if you don’t discuss what’s really bothering you, how will you learn to get past it? I know now how wrong my feelings are but if I lied to myself, I would be doing everyone a disservice.

      I think I need to be called on the conclusion to which I jumped. Part of my problem is that I want to shelter my son from anything bad. When I heard he was acting out because a new kid was in class, I suspected “bad influence.” I did not conclude “bad influence” – but I suspected it. Instead of suspecting my own son’s culpability. Live and learn.

      I was wrong. I did not give my child enough credit and I did not give the social skills teacher enough credit and I made assumptions which are wrong. The addition of another child running around (NT or autistic) gives my child an opportunity to misbehave himself. He took that opportunity – not because the other child was encouraging him but because he could get away with it. How big an a** does this make me? You decide. Mea culpa. My bad.

      Should I always suspect it is my own kid who has done something bad? No. Should I always expect that influences surrounding my son has led to him doing something bad? No. Should I look at everything before posting? Definitely yes. But if I gave no thought to this matter at all when I was informed that my kid was misbehaving and acting inappropriately, then what would you think of me?

      • Tam says:

        One mark of a good person is that they can admit when they’re conflicted on a subject, which is what you did here from the start. I totally respect you.

        I hope you don’t think that I was thinking you a bad person or something! I have a bad habit of coming across harshly, but I was just considering my views on the encounter, and did not intend any kind of judgment on you.

        No one can expect anyone to fully consider every angle of something before talking about it, that’s kind of the whole point of blogging with comments turned on, isn’t it? 🙂

  7. Grace says:

    When I saw the title of this post, I thought you were gonna be writing about me. *sad face*

    I get what you’re saying. You’re certainly not wrong for being honest about your gut feelings. I often have similar feelings myself. We all just want what’s best for our little ones.

  8. Lynn says:

    I know exactly what you are talking about. It’s sort of the politics of autism. I’ve made similar calls on occasion….just be prepared for the day when your kid is “that kid” that another parent doesn’t want their even higher-functioning kid to be around. It will come and it doesn’t feel good.

  9. Big Daddy says:

    You are not being a hypocrite. You just want what’s best for your son. We have been down this road, from both sides of the street, and it’s never easy. Obviously, what you need to do is to keep advocating for what is best for child with the understanding that others will do the same for theirs.

  10. eof737 says:

    You are human and want the best for your child… Frankly, the other moms probably feel the same way. As each child reaches a milestone, the bar is raised and no one want to see the efforts revert… What is even more important is that you caught yourself and reflected on it… Imagine those who never even notice or care about those thoughts? Keep the faith 🙂
    Eliz

  11. Sue says:

    Wow, fantastic reading for me. I am so happy, I am not the only one having back and forth judging myself if I am a good mother or not …. Or am I making the right decision at the right time. Phew! I usually do these inside my head …. ALONE, selftalk, kind a mad person. I know, I should communicate more to real people around me, but they get so frustrated and (probably thought that I am obsessed with my son) disappeared. Thanks to all. You are a very positive bunch.

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