I let my 3-year old Jonah (ASD) get away with pretty much everything when he just wants to aggravate his 8-year-old brother Jonny (NT) but I have a VERY short leash when my 8-year-old wants to aggravate his little brother.
Jonah (younger ASD) will throw all of Jonny’s stuffed animals off his bed. Jonny yells passionately at Jonah to “STOP!” even going as far as using Mommy/Daddy’s command words “NO THANK YOU, JONAH!” to which Jonah laughs with glee and continues his throwing ways.
Mommy and Daddy do nothing.
Conversely, Jonah dislikes other people singing songs he recognizes. I don’t know why… Jonny also dislikes it when we sing to a song he knows, but Jonah will REALLY let us know he would like us to stop.
So Jonny will get Jonah’s goat by singing “Happy birthday.” It’s actually pretty harmless, but it will bug Jonah to NO END.
When Jonny does this, Jonah will yell and scream and start hitting Jonny. Jonny will laugh and keep singing.
I won’t tell Jonah to stop hitting his brother. I’ll tell Jonny to stop singing (of course it is because Jonny is PURPOSEFULLY annoying his little brother).
I tell myself, it’s because I don’t want my ASD to melt down (which is a big… BIG part of it), but in truth, I was a “younger brother” myself and I simply [*ahem* MAY allegedly] have more empathy with my youngest.
I also think that sometimes, I just want my kids to have the experience of being “brothers.” Nothing “autistic” or “NT” at all.
Just to be able to annoy the heck out of eachother one minute, and be best friends the next.
What about you guys? How do you handle your kids when they interact with each other like this?
Jason is a freelance photographer and graphic designer. He is also a parent of Jonny (9) and Jonah (4) who was diagnosed with Autism in December 2016.