Autism and Respect

Autism and RespectAutism and Respect

Fifteen is such a tough age.

There’s so much going on at this age.

So many pressures and changes. Even your body doesn’t feel right half the time.

On top of all of this, some fifteen-year-olds, naming ours, struggle with some basics.

Autism presents challenges in communication and social situations.

How to appropriately react to someone—either your parents, your coach, or even a stranger—can, at times, be challenging when all these other things are going on.

What’s it like for our son?

Our son likes to get things done correctly, and quickly.

If he did something one way, he doesn’t like to be accused of doing it another way.

He’s quick to go on the defensive.

He can be quick to anger.

So much of this is the age.

But, there’s one thing that we demand that he always try to remember…

What’s that one thing?

Respect.

Remembering to always respect your parents at this age is an impossible task.

My husband and I just have to let some things go because, well, we get a good amount of attitude these days and talking back and all of these “fun” things, that we just can’t address it every time.

We pick our battles.

What really gets to us is when we hear our child being disrespectful to others.

This recently happened at my son’s swimming practice. His coach was telling him that he was doing the wrong kick. He thought he was doing the correct kick. Okay, so a difference of opinion.

That’s one thing. But, the way my son responded to his coach was something I could not tolerate.

What did I do?

I pulled him from the pool and told him that that was not okay. The way he responded to his coach was disrespectful. He quickly went on the defensive and explained to me the kick thing, but I told him that didn’t matter as much as the way he responded.

My son has impulsive responses like this. It’s part autism, part age.

It’s something that we are constantly working on. And, again, it something that the parents can take better than the rest of the world. That’s what we try to teach him.

The rest of world is not your parents. There may be someone out there, one day, who doesn’t respond well to your responses.

But, mostly, we talk to our son about how treating other people with respect is simply appropriate. They may be authority figures or not. Teachers. Classmates, Swim instructors.

It doesn’t matter.

It’s another thing that a fifteen-year-old has to fight through. But, it’s an important one.

Autism and Respect

Here’s a helpful article on autism and teenagers:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-autism-advocate/201101/thirteen-things-parents-teens-autism-need-know

More on Kimberly Kaplan:

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Autism and Respect