It was a guys day -Dad and all of his boys, including his nephew who was visiting from out town, went to the movies. Even our eldest son '22' tagged along to see the rated G movie. I had been with the crew for most of the week while my husband was on a business trip, so I welcomed the break. I took the opportunity to go out to lunch and see a movie myself. I accidentally left my cell phone at home. I love that quote, "There are no accidents. God is just remaining anonymous." Well, thank God, I wasn't able to receive the phone calls.
When the movie ended -'14' promptly stood up and said, "Let's go!" Everyone else remained seated to watch the out-takes and extra scenes that rolled during the credits. Dad instructed him to sit back down. He did not comply. Older brother asked him to sit down. He refused and began walking out of the theater. Older brother followed him, and ensues a confrontation where he verbally threatens his younger brother. This does not go over well. You can bet on a meltdown type of situation when you make someone with Aspergers feel like their back is against the wall. The over-stimulation is off the charts and they don't handle it well. Meltdowns are part of the Aspergers condition. Sooner or later, they are going to have one. All we can do is try to avoid situations where we know that they will.
Now...I have to say that older brother had recently, and successfully I might add, diffused another situation wherein if '14' had followed a simple direction, it would not have turned ugly. This one involved me. He was given the choice to leave the room, or go outside to join his brothers at the neighborhood park. Instead, he chose to beat on my door until I would come out and talk to him about why he didn't want to go play at the park.
His aggressive behavior during meltdowns is beginning to get out of hand. My husband and my oldest son, are extremely concerned about the way that he treats me.with utter disrespect. I do not feel threatened at all. Agitated, aggravated, stressed? Definitely. Yet, they worry because my teenage son is so big, and I am so small. They worry that he will take the aggressiveness to another level while having a meltdown. I am his mother and my instinct tells me that he will not go there.
The verbal altercation that took place between my two sons was a result of things that had taken place over the past several days. All hell broke loose...22 cursed at and threatened 14, therefore 14 cursed back. I wasn't there thank goodness, but I know it wasn't pretty. Dad was able to coral all parties and to get them calm before anything too bad happened. 22 was quickly able to see that he had handled the matter in the wrong way, that aggressiveness only leads to more aggressiveness.
Dad was spent, physically and mentally by the time they all returned home. It was a very upsetting, embarrassing situation. Some of it did take place in full view of my younger son and his visiting nephew. Surely this news will travel and spread throughout the family back home. Questions will be raised, "What the hell kind of parenting are you doing? Things in your house are totally out of control." I understand his concern, but people back home probably do not fully understand the breadth of what it means to have a teenager with Autism. Raising teenagers is hard! Our neuro-typical teenage son wasn't a walk in the park. He's 22 years old and still doesn't make the best choices. So you can multiply that by 10 for one with Aspergers and by 20 for having two siblings with it in the same house.
I can't worry about judgments from others. I don't think anyone out there is the perfect parent with all the answers. Every person's situation is unique and we all have made some questionable parenting decisions. We are all just trying to do our best with the knowledge and love that we have for our children. I don't know a parent out there who has made it through the teen years totally unscathed. I mean, don't they all just LOVE school? Oh and dating and sex when they are totally immature, yet hormonal isn't that fun? Let's not leave out the fact that they all think they know everything and we know absolutely nothing! Aren't all siblings just totally in love with one another singing "Kumbaya" every night by the fire?
14 has received a consequence as a result of not following directions. Asperger's training tells us not to punish him for the actual meltdown itself. Meltdowns can not be completely avoided. All we can do is try to reduce the damage. Punishing someone with Aspergers for a meltdown is like punishing someone for swearing when they drop a brick on their toe. However, what led to the meltdown was not following a simple instruction. Personally, I don't think it's easy for him to follow instructions when he has something else in his mind. Many of his actions and the actions of our younger son are an attempt to control their world where so many things are out of their control and don't work the way they think they should. Unfortunately, their father does not share this view. They live in the real world where rules are expected to be followed, whether we like them or not.