Parenthood: Aspie Kid or Spoiled Brat?



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StarTrekker
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Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:49 am

For those of you who watch the show Parenthood, I want your opinions on Max Braverman. I really want to like the show because its main character is an aspie, but I can't enjoy it because I feel like the writers made the parents ruin this kid. They let him run roughshod over them and never give him any kind of boundaries. I just watched one episode where Max ran away because he wanted to go to the museum, and when they found him, no one said one word to him about the fact that his behaviour was wrong, because they assumed he "didn't understand" because of his AS. It really frustrates me that these parents have no control over any of their children. Kristina and Adam let Haddie bully and be abraisive to them and let Max do whatever he wants because he "doesn't understand", and Sarah lets Amber behave just like Haddie. What do you think; is Max more aspie or spoiled, boundary-less kid?


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JSBACHlover
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Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:27 am

Actually, I'm glad you brought the subject up -- the character with Asperger's on Parenthood.

We all know the saying, "If you've met one Aspie, you've met one Aspie." Well, I don't have any Aspie kinship whatsoever with this Max character at all. Maybe others of you do? and if so, please let me know.

But Max seems to me to be a stereotype which I have not met in the Aspie community. Every Aspie I know nevertheless has an expressiveness and emotionality about him or her which Max doesn't have in the least.

And, yes, his parents spoil him terribly. When he does or says something inappropriate, he is just told, "Max, that's inappropriate." That's not enough discipline. Certainly I got more discipline than that. Max needs to be whooped. I don't like him. Let me tell you: once my parents pointed something out to me and explained to me how I goofed in my ToM and spacey oblivion, I understood what they were saying. I got the message because they yelled at me.



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Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:35 am

Max is based on one of the writer's own autistic son but I think they turn up the stereotypicality. That's a real word.

I think maybe the writer's are making the parents seem more irresponsible after all they seem kind of young. Max might be harder for them to control and they seem new to the AS diagnosis and don't know how to handle it. As far as parents go they're not very assertive and I had a pretty easy going mum too.

Whooping an autistic kid isn't going to do much. I hated everyone that spanked me. I was an odd child like that but I never learned my lesson. My mum preferred to yell and scream at me and attack my character rather than explain why what I did was wrong.

It's an over dramatised TV show too. Max seeming to be a spoiled brat could be deliberate.


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JSBACHlover
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Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:41 am

Pensieve -- My parents whooped me well before there was an "Asperger's" in the DSM. But, man, it worked. Did I hate it? Did it confuse me? Did I have to talk about it with therapists? You bet. But B. F. Skinner and Pavlov had something right because it worked enough for me to change my behavior.



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Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:53 am

I too feel that Max's character plays up the stereotypes too much. On the other hand, I can relate to the Hank character, who as I mentioned in another thread, is also apparently on the spectrum:

http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt248962.html



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Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:01 am

He could be both. Sometimes when a kid is labeled, parents end up babying them and letting them get away with things assuming they can't understand or can't learn. They could still talk to him about his behavior and correct him without giving him any punishments. I think the parents do their best. They still try and discipline him by talking to him and trying to get him to agree or be more flexible and try to be understanding because they know he has AS. They wouldn't want to punish him for something he had no control over because that is like punishing someone for "ignoring"" you because they couldn't hear you due to being deaf or punishing an autistic child for having a meltdown due to sensory overload.

The character seems to suffer with anxiety too because he is like me except he is more affected by it and more textbook.


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JSBACHlover
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Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:09 am

Am I living in an alternate reality? My parents punished me. It hurt like nothing else, but it taught me not to be a weirdo or to step over boundaries. Why do so many here think that discipline won't work with us Aspies? I'm getting confused.



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Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:46 am

JSBACHlover wrote:
Am I living in an alternate reality? My parents punished me. It hurt like nothing else, but it taught me not to be a weirdo or to step over boundaries. Why do so many here think that discipline won't work with us Aspies? I'm getting confused.



I was grounded and punished too growing up and scolded. I was also taken to lot of doctors too because my mom didn't know what the heck I had and she knew I had something and not everything she did with me worked so she had to find ways to raise me and I was lucky she was smart enough to figure out I was different and my mind was different than other kids. For one she had to learn to be visual, she had to be patient even if it meant using up her time to work with me and get me to understand and answer all my questions I had about reality and what people do, I was never "whooped" every time because my mom didn't use that method unless I did something wrong like making a mess and not cleaning it up or hurting my brothers and she also gave me warnings first before she did it. She would ask me if I wanted a spanking and I would say no and she would tell me to stop what I was doing or it will happen. Then as I got older, it was being sent to my room or having my dolls get taken or losing privileges because spankings quit working on the child and they get too old for one when they get to kindergarten so you shouldn't be doing it anymore because they understand the meaning of no and right from wrong. I was rarely spanked then passed age five. That had nothing to do with me having a disability, it had to do with my mother not believing in spankings when a kid reaches kindergarten because by then they should know and you shouldn't have to spank them to discipline them to get them to learn.

I would say I was also given some tough love growing up but I also remember getting into trouble for things I had no control over so tough love didn't work there but it worked in other things. For one I was expected to behave and follow the rules and use table manners and I did or there would have been a consequence. I remember going to bed without supper because I would refuse to eat it and my mom wouldn't let me have anything else and I wasn't allowed dessert either unless I ate enough of my dinner. My mom would also point out what I was doing wrong for why kids would run from me or not want to play with me or not like me or why they would even tease me. Did it make me feel bad? Oh yes or how else would I have learned? The truth hurts. I have seen some members say here they never knew what they did wrong because no one ever told them. Well my mom told me. I don't even see it as blaming the victim like some people do. Mom also used to tell me what not to do or kids would think I was weird. It's more of her not wanting me to get hurt or get teased and no parent wants their kid to get bullied so they may try and avoid them getting targeted for it by telling them to not do this or that.


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Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:22 am

I have not seen this show, but I have heard about it.
From personal experience having attended private schools for kids with ASD and been
to their houses a few times or seen them with parents at school, it seemed to me that
with some of the parents their main priority was to avoid a meltdown. It was almost like
"as long as he/she is not burning the house down, let's avoid triggering a meltdown".
And i think that makes for a very spoiled kid. I was taught to be accountable.

I just watched a 6 minute clip from the show that mainly dealt with Max entering puberty
and how clueless he was about it, which seemed kinda fake to me because I studied it very
thoroughly on the internet when I was 12. There are at least 4 aspie kids i know on
the teen forum that has a big puberty section and they all seem as knowledgeable as me
about it. It's the NT kids who act clueless. Also the way he was talking about things just seemed
fake. Like whoever wrote the script was going by symptom criteria. I mean it was accurate but
also artificial looking. But I suppose if you are going to do "this is how an ASD kid acts" maybe
that's what you want to do. It is just a TV show after all and there prolly are kids more like that but
I have not really met any, and I have seen my fair share of them.



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Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:58 am

JSBACHlover wrote:
Pensieve -- My parents whooped me well before there was an "Asperger's" in the DSM. But, man, it worked. Did I hate it? Did it confuse me? Did I have to talk about it with therapists? You bet. But B. F. Skinner and Pavlov had something right because it worked enough for me to change my behavior.


+1

I'm mixed on how to say this.

AS or not, a parent must DISCIPLINE their kid. Usually, if the kid has classic autism or low-functioning AS, they should know there is something going on. For high-fuctioning AS, it's harder to realize the kid has more going on than just misbehavior.

Still, AS isn't an excuse for poor behavior or no effort to apply self-control. A Dx of AS might change HOW and HOW MUCH you discipline, but every child needs it and needs to be taught what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

For example, a normal kid who acts up might get a swat on the bottom because they've been told not to do it and they do it anyway. A kid with AS, you might sternly remind them to not do it because their impulse control may be impaired. If they defiantly choose to do it after being warned, then more corrective action is justified. If your kid with AS CAN NOT control this issue, have a way to deal with it or know not to inject them into social situations where it will pose a problem.

My mom didn't punish my sister and I equally. My sister thought it was unfair, but I understand her reasoning. My sister was outgoing and liked socializing. Making her go to her room was punishment. I was withdrawn and liked being alone. Sending me to my room would be a reward, so mom punished me by making me stay out and socialize with guests...which I hated.

Knowing what works on your kid and how to apply it is key.



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Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:38 am

I don't watch the show, but with regard to the issue, I think that if you don't push your boundaries you won't figure out what you're actually capable of. To not even bother to teach a child isn't fair.
All children need to be taught what is expected of them. Different strategies may work better with some than others, but to not try at all leaves the child at a disadvantage.



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Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:37 am

I did not respond to normal punishments at all. My parents spanked me, and it did nothing but make me angry. I can vividly remember fighting back. I didn't care what they took away; I could find plenty ways to entertain myself. Send me to my room, great that's where I want to be anyway. I just seemed to level out as I got older. I can't really attribute that to anything my parents did as far as punishment goes; it was more me observing how other people behaved (once I got to an age that I even noticed which was around 12-13ish). It didn't matter how many times they punished me; it seemed that I forgot about it all within minutes and repeatedly got into trouble for the same things (most of the time it was multiple times in the same day).

My teachers always told my parents that I behaved quite well so they couldn't figure out why I acted the way I did at home and in public. The behaving quite well at school basically meant that I did my work, made good grades and didn't interact with anyone unless absolutely necessary.

I do relate to Max quite a bit. Though, it is a much younger version of myself that I see in him. I can relate quite a bit to Hank (Ray Romano's character in the show) as well.



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Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:45 am

I will say that very often I would go to my room sobbing because I just didn't understand what I did wrong. That was why I would cry -- not because I did something wrong but because I couldn't see what was right or wrong in what I did. I eventually did learn, but it took me very long.

Maybe my parents punished me too much because, even today, as an adult, I live with a perpetual and overwhelming fear that I will inadvertently do something wrong, and that someone will "scold me and send me to my room."



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Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:06 pm

Up until I was about 12-13, if I was in my room crying it was because I was angry about being punished and that's all I thought. I just sat there getting angrier and angrier. I wasn't reflective enough to even think about what I had done wrong before the age of 12. Once I began to notice other people and how they behaved, my parents rarely had to punish me any more because I could learn more by observing the people around me and tried really hard to appear the same as everyone else. Even after 12, if I was punished for anything I seemed to lose the ability to be reflective and rational. It was immediate anger and angry outbursts and sitting there stewing in my anger.



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Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:01 pm

My parents have a pretty good system of accountability.
There is a list of rules about behavior and responsibility.
And if they are broken I am given an infraction which results
in loss of privileges and restrictions. I remember my uncle spanked
me once when I was five or six and that caused me to have an atomic
meltdown. And I wouldn't let him get near me for a really long time
after that. Spanking worked okay on my nt cousin, but not on me.
(and just for the record he did not spank that hard and did it with pants
up so no child abuse going on. But you just don't grab an autistic
kid and toss him over your knee - at least not this one)



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