06-21-2022 08:45 PM - last edited on 06-22-2022 03:19 PM by Philippa-RO
I have two sons, one is 25 and the other is 16. My oldest has always been a handful, very aggressive, antisocial and really just. different. We found out too late that he had Asperger's syndrome. He has mostly matured, doesn't have as many outbursts but he can still seem very childish at times about seemingly basic issues. Especially at the moment with still not having had a proper job, he will lash out at the mention of it and wont accept help with the process of applications. He also doesn't seem to understand the value of money, always wasting what he receives and feeling no true regret if he spends some of ours and cant pay it back. My youngest is about to be finished with his main bit of schooling and so has to consider work or furthered education. He has now started acting up, almost like his brother, but isn't on the spectrum or have any other medical issues. He's very bright and often mature but i can tell he thinks his brother is the favourite when really i love them both equally. What would other parent suggest i do?
06-21-2022 10:18 PM
Thank you for joining us on the forum!
This sounds like a new situation for you and it seems like your son is going through some major changes.
When you say your youngest son is acting up, what behaviours are you seeing? And what is doing that you can now tell he thinks his brother is the favourite?
I’m sure that you are well aware of both your sons' behaviours over the years and that you have supported them with their individual needs and personalities in mind.
Hopefully some other members can provide their experiences shortly. Thank you for sharing this!
06-23-2022 04:48 PM
I have a boy / girl set of twins just about to turn 16. My son has Asperger's while my daughter has not. I can not tell you how many times I am accused of favoring or allowing certain behaviors. I tell you this so you know you are not alone xx
My daughter has recently gotten a job and is enjoying the benefits of part time work - money and a fuller social life!. As she has shown this step of maturity and commitment, she has unlocked the door to further freedoms that come with 'growing up'.
Our son on the other hand has not, and when we speak to our son about getting a part time job and doing more than playing x-box in his bedroom, he too like your son will lash out and bring on an all in war until his father and I drop the subject. It is so very difficult. It's hard to know what is the Asperger's and what is just bad behavior. Welcome to life on the spectrum!!!
From my experience, we have found honesty to be very effective. For example, we have always told our son that he will most likely have to work harder than most to fit into this world, and that the world will make no allowances for him. And that first steps will be a bit scary (as he does not have the ability to 'imagine' how things might be). But his father and I will always be his biggest supporter cheering him on all the way.
So, now we are trying to help / coax him into getting a part time job. We have pointed out the obvious benefits, not only money, but learning new skills, meeting new people (although this is confronting) as well as a sense of achievement he will feel. We have started to roll back how much money the twins receive from us and have told them at 16 we will no longer pay for outings with their mates as this is what we 'all' work for. We will continue to pay for the necessities, but they will need to pay for their wants. We are hoping that if nothing else, necessity will force his hand.
It is a possibility that you could set a date with your older son when your financial support will be sized down? You could still support the necessary, but no longer give him money for socializing, dinners out, etc ?
With your younger son, maybe take him out for dinner and have a frank and honest conversation, letting him ask questions, share his feelings and no doubt make accusations on how he feels you parent the boys differently.
I have done this with my son who was having issues with how he thought our parenting was inconsistent between him and his sister. We allowed a respectful, but no holds barred conversation to take place so he could tell us exactly what he thought. We answered his questions, explained that sometimes we do have to parent them differently due to them being different people, with different personalities. But also, sometimes we were just going to disagree on some issues. When he is a parent he can make different decisions if he so wishes. All parents do the best they can with the information and knowledge they have at the time.
While this is a simplistic action, I believe it made our son feel respected and heard. Even if he didn't like or agree with some of our answers.
I don't know if what I have shared has helped and I genuinely hope it has, but I wish you all the best. Honesty and tough love are sometimes the hardest parenting we do and it can feel very confronting, but in the long run I think it is worth it.
06-23-2022 10:04 PM
Hi @Jennifer-RO Thank you for having me and thank you for the reply even if you don't have personal experience within the matter.
Its been going on for a long time but really now as they are both older its coming to the surface more often and with more aggression. My youngest has always had arguments with his brother, I don't know of any siblings that don't at least occasionally, but he never usually lashes out at others. I don't know if its because he's about to move to a new stage in his life (work/six form etc) but it seems that he now puts more notice into the fact that his older brother doesn't work, doesn't have many commitments or requirements and in his eyes 'gets away with it'. More and more he has been copying the I don't care mentality and every argument loops round to his brother.
06-23-2022 10:21 PM
Hello @LittleWren !
Thank you so much for the warm message, its very comforting to know I'm not alone with these worries, I'll try my best to acknowledge your points here and I hope you are also able to help your twins in continuing to push the conversation in a meaningful direction! x
I'm certainly hoping that open discussions would get both my boys to open up more and accept their responsibilities. My youngest is already discussing wanting to help pay for rent etc once he finds a good part time job after schooling (of course id want him to have it for himself starting out as he's never had his own money in that sense). My oldest however has recently asked family and friends to support him in starting a 3d printing business. He's got a few machines and seems happy with what he is trying to do but any attempts to help, encourage or event just know what he's up to are met with childish tantrums, in many instances he just becomes a brick wall.
We have already stepped back on the finances, he has to pay for part of his rent and put money towards the weekly shopping and our monthly utilities. These payments often come in small amounts instead of in one sum at the due date or are often late or don't get received at all. this is despite him doing occasional chores for his father and getting a few 3d sales each week. He also receives support from Universal credit. He makes enough to scrape by on whilst we are still being generous but I don't know where the money goes and he just doesn't seem to understand the importance of money. he takes and takes but doesn't think about anyone else.
I think this is a big reason as to why his brother feels so left out as he is more mature and capable in the moment. I will certainly try 1-2-1 outings, i think its a wonderful idea. I was thinking of trying to again push my oldest to look into a part time job as I don't know how lucrative his printing will be any time soon. If anyone would have suggestions or links to some good articles id be very appreciative. I think forcing job search apps on him right away might throw him off even more.
Thank you again @LittleWren I hope I didn't veer off too far from the path with this one, i just have so many thoughts and troubles about all this.
06-24-2022 02:16 PM
Just wanted to chime in and say it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job of supporting both of your sons and fostering a positive relationship between them, even if there have been some challenges along the way. While I don't have Aspergers, I grew up with a mental health condition and the same kind of tension that you're describing definitely arose between myself and my sister - it was hard for her not to feel resentful at times because I got a lot of my parents' attention and they always seemed to 'go easy' on me. Spending one-on-one time with my parents and getting a chance to voice her frustrations definitely helped her to recognise that she didn't resent me as a person, she just needed to feel like her problems and efforts were valid as well (which helped our relationship as siblings, too!).
You mentioned that you're not quite sure how to broach the subject of work with your eldest son without throwing him off even more. It sounds like he's got a tricky relationship with money, despite your best efforts to encourage him to develop some more financial independence. If you feel like it would be useful to you, here's one of our articles on supporting your teen to find a job. Although your eldest isn't a teen anymore, it sounds like there could be some useful tips in there for you nonetheless. Also, the National Autistic Society have some great resources for young adults who are on the spectrum and are seeking work, so feel free to check that out too.
How are you holding up with all this? It can be tough to notice your kids comparing themselves to one another and struggling to take those next steps into adulthood. Do you have anyone in your life to talk to about what's been going on with your sons?
06-24-2022 02:31 PM
Hey @LittleWren , thanks for sharing your experience here. It makes such a different knowing that you're not the only parent going through these things, and you've given some really great advice.
I'm glad to hear that sitting down with your son and letting him vent his frustrations and ask questions was productive, I'm sure he was grateful for the opportunity to be heard. I really like what you've said about parenting your kids differently because they are different people with different personalities - it can be so hard to grasp the reality of that as a teen, but good parenting really isn't a 'one-size-fits-all' experience!
It sounds like you're fostering really healthy relationships with money for your teens. It can be a tough transition when they realise that they have to pay for their own 'wants', but I know that once I started working for my own money, those fun outings with friends and little treats for myself felt so much more meaningful because I'd earned them. It certainly made me appreciate the value of money more.
How has your son responded to receiving less financial support from you? Fingers crossed he's able to find some work - what kind of part time work do you think he'd be interested in doing?
06-24-2022 02:49 PM
Hi @Portia_RO ,
Thank you for the positive feedback, I really wasn't expecting it 😊
Thus far our limited financial support hasn't bothered him too much as he spends most of his free time playing X-Box in his bedroom....argh! That is a problem within its self.
We have had a couple of discussions about work as he is warming up to the idea as a lot of his friends have now gotten part time jobs around school. They are no longer available to play video games as often.
We have found his biggest issue is not wanting to be somewhere 'front of house' as he is aware of his anxiety around dealing with new people in a changing situation. We have suggested that maybe he might feel comfortable working 'back of house' at a fast food venue like McDonalds or KFC where he doesn't have to deal with customers and making the food will get easier and easier the more he does it.
Our son is now open to me helping put his first resume together and we can go and drop it in around our area. Fingers crossed 🤞
06-24-2022 03:20 PM
Hey @FarGoneConcl ,
I can imagine you have a million things going through your mind all at the one time while also juggling 'the rest of your life'. It can be exhausting, but the fact that you are reaching out for help just shows what a loving and concerned parent you are xx
I was thinking if you son wanted to start a 3D business and is seeking support for this idea, then why not ask him to put a business plan together? It doesn't have to be a million page document like the banks would ask for, but could be as simple as start up costs, target audience, how he would market it, expected income, etc. Sometimes asking them to put a bit of research in makes them have a really good look at what they need to do to become successful in their chosen task. I know that has worked for both my kids in the past and they get a really good understanding of what they are trying to do.
I find this then puts them back in control which can be really empowering and help with their confidence.
I hope that my suggestions are coming through to you as support and ideas and not like I know exactly what I am doing. I am just trying to share what has worked for me in the past. I know that what I have found success with will not work for everyone.
But if there is something in what I say that you can use or may not have though of then it's at least something. Sometimes it is just about sharing and brainstorming together xx
06-24-2022 07:32 PM
Thank you so much for the kind words, it certainly means a lot to know I'm not alone or doing anything wrong. Sorry if I keep this quite brief I have a lot on today but want to make sure I reply to everyone! xx
Thanks a bunch for the Job site support links, ill be sure to research them a ton when i get home tonight and then hopefully introduce my oldest to them! Hoping i may finally get through to him if its 1-2-1.
Its been tough for sure, I've got a lot on my plate with work, family, medical and all sorts of other issues that never seem to end. its a never ending cat and mouse chase with a problem arising every time you solve one!! My kids don't mean to hurt me but of course them comparing each other and fighting is always a pain on my heart. I talk to my S.O. but besides that not many people are around at the moment. Most of our close friends are either not parents or have moved further away.
Thank you again for the kind words and show of support! xx