How an AutParent Handles Event Complaints

How an AutParent Handles Event ComplaintsHow an AutParent Handles Event Complaints

My son attends gaming tournaments. He plays one game in particular, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.

Honestly, I don’t really know much about the game, nor do I have much interest in any video games. I can (sort of) watch one and (sort of) know what’s going on. I can follow when someone wins/loses.

That’s about the extent of it.

For the most part, when I take my son to these tournaments, I write. I actually get a lot of work done! Sometimes, when it’s been a few hours (these tournaments can go on for hours!), I watch some of my favorite shows, read, or (yes) nap. I spend a lot of this time in my car. When my laptop battery runs out,   I have to find a place to plug in.

I go into the tournament facility and there’s always a place for me to sit and charge my phone. The event organizers are always accommodating.

Some facilities are better than others. Some events are better than others. Some organizers… well you get my point.

My son plays this game with a lot of emotion. A lot of it is anger. He does get so wrapped up in the game, so passionate, and so angry, that he screams and does throw his controller. He also pounds his fists.

Now, when he first began to play in public, he didn’t even know some of the etiquette for tournament play. There was a learning curve.

What I’m discussing here, though, is his emotion, and his struggles with anger while playing this game.

It has created a lot problems. I recently learned that this problem is bigger than I thought.

What am I getting at?

For a long time now, whenever my son played at home, he would get angry if he wasn’t playing well.

This anger created a lot of conflict in our house. My husband and I aren’t crazy about him screaming at his game or throwing his controller.

We have had many fights over this negative behavior. We explained to our son (time and time again) that we strive for a peaceful home. Getting this angry and upset at a game isn’t peaceful.

My son, however, swore that his behavior at tournaments was much better. He swore that he knew (because he was in public) that he had to control himself more so than at home.

I guess my son figured that he had a bit of defense…”I do better in public and that’s more important, isn’t it?” Well, not really.

We had never accepted this defense, even though he tried it many times. We explained to him that decent behavior is expected in both places—at home and at tournaments.

What happened?

I was at a tournament recently, I had come into the venue to charge my laptop, and I was approached by one of the tournament organizers.

This person asked me if I was the parent of this gamer. (My son is a minor and this event organizer knows me. We have attended many of their tournaments.)

This person was not the head of the tournament, nor was it any of the check-in people (they know me). Thinking back on it, I didn’t recognize this person.

Still, he knew who I was. He said to me that my son was seen too often playing with this “emotion.” He was (more or less) warning me that if my son’s behavior (throwing his controller and getting angry) didn’t improve, he was going to be asked to stop attending these tournaments.

I promised this person that my son would improve. He loved playing and would understand that his behavior needs to be acceptable—at home and at tournaments.

I was a bit taken aback. No parent likes to be approached by someone and told that their child’s behavior is causing problems.

It is embarrassing and doesn’t make a parent feel all that great.

However, I also understood what he was saying.

I quickly connected the dots. I was being told that my son wasn’t able to separate at home and at tournament behaviors. He was struggling to be consistent, or rather his defense that he was able to keep it together at tournaments wasn’t quite accurate.

What happened?

My son wasn’t all that pleased to hear this news. He did admit that he “sometimes” got angry. However, he felt that his behavior wasn’t that severe. He was concerned, of course, about the threat to not being able to attend tournaments.

I was able to leverage this into (finally) reaching some approved behavior at home. “If you can’t play without acceptable emotion limits at home than you can’t do it at tournaments (therefore I won’t be taking you to tournaments).

We came to a new understanding. My son has re-committed himself and he’s doing well so far.

As a side note, I approached one of the tournament organizers that I’m friendly with and the organizer hadn’t heard of any need to approach me regarding my son.

She said she would look into it and suggested that since she hadn’t heard of a problem then I shouldn’t worry too much about it.

Additionally, she intimated that the person who approached me might have been a player. I described the person and she wasn’t sure who that was. I told her that I didn’t recognize the person.

How do we move forward?

Our son has improved his behavior at home and he promises (and promises and promises) that his tournament behavior will not be a problem ever again.

I will continue to take him to tournaments. We both enjoy going (for our own reasons). I can only hope that things improve.

How an AutParent Handles Event Complaints

Here are some tips for helping your child/teenager with autism attend big events:

7 Ways to Support Autistic and Sensory Spectrum Kids at Big Events

More on Kimberly Kaplan:

To purchase “Two Years Autism Blogs Featured on”

or “A Parentsʼ Guide to Early Autism Intervention” visit Amazon (print or digital) or Smashwords   

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LinkedIn: Kimberly Kaplan

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How an AutParent Handles Event Complaints