*Encouragement is the best medicine to give someone. If I were to pick any gift to have in helping others, that would be the one*

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teaching Compassion

Chaz (on the left)& his friend Dexter (right)
Lately Chaz has been tackling his brothers a lot.  Really hard. My son Ryan came in the living room with big alligator tears telling me Chaz jumped on him twice really hard.  Ryan already had a headache and was doing his chores.  So to be tackled and hurt his head, just did Ryan in.  He was in tears. I gave Ryan (9) a hug, told him to lay down in his bed.  I had a talk with Chaz about being too aggressive.  I explained to Chaz that his younger brother is already not feeling good and now he's hurt. Chaz said, "But mom, I'm Aspergers so I can't help myself.  I'm not like other people."

My response?  "Chaz, you may have Aspergers but it doesn't make it impossible to treat people right.  It may be harder for you at times, but not impossible. Please go give Ryan a hug and apologize."  So he did.  I also asked him to take Ryan's chores for the night to show Ryan he truly is sorry and also to take care of things for him since he is sick.  Instead of putting Chaz in the corner or in his room (which he loves anyway), I needed to teach to care about not only someone's feelings, but to show it with his actions.

(If you are curious, here is Our Family Chore List)

I've had to do this over and over and over since he was about 3 but I'll keep teaching him this until he moves out on his own.  I've really seen Chaz grow in this area. When Chaz was little he would hurt a kid and not even blink an eye.  It was incredibly embarrassing and frustrating to explain to people.  What was I to do?  Shrug my shoulders and just say "Oh well, he is Aspergers?"  OR walk Chaz through these experiences and teach him to say sorry with his words and then by his body language?  If I can use those words. Body Language.  Teaching his body and his actions to line up with his words I think are incredibly important.

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jazzygal said...

Hi there! I have an 11 yo with PDD-Nos. You are so right, their diagnosis cannot and will not be accepted as an excuse for bad or unkind behaviour! Or for not doing homework.... "I can't do it... I have special needs"!! They are clever kids and know exactly how to get around us. Just like other kids ;-)

We can teach them, it's hard but we can do it :-)

xx jazzy

Anonymous said...

Very good post. Thank you. My ten yr old often acts similarly with his 8 yr old brother. Example and stepping through how to behave is far better than punishments that often escalate the frustration etc. The way I see it is that all kids need 'a way back' from things they've done wrong, a way of making it right again and restoring the pleasant, caring atmosphere of the home.

Mandie said...

I can so relate to this! Thanks for sharing!

AspergersSquared said...

My husband is 33 and recently diagnosed Aspergers. My oldest son (8) also Aspergers. Younger two children seemingly NT. Whenever ADH or ADS do something that is inappropriate I reprimand them both. It's incredibly difficult being the only parent!!! But I can't let even the little things slide because the younger two need to know what is and isn't acceptable and respectful! Like I said on FB I love how you had Chaz finish Ryan's chores! That's so what I would do!

Virginia (Jenny) said...

Jazzygal, he uses that over and over but I just have to keep reminding him. Nope, you have to still try like the rest of us. :)

Mandi, thanks for commenting! :D

Alisonwells, we would try the timeout things but he would just get overly upset and freak out at times. It just took me a long time to realize that the punishment should fit the crime. :) Wish I had learn sooner!

AspergersSquared,that is interesting that your husband was just diagnosed. I wonder what it was like for him growing up not having that information. Did he get picked on? Makes me wonder. Thank you for commenting! :)

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