When does “cute” become a concern? Weds 4th June 2014

By | June 4, 2014

I guess it’s not so much a diary post tonight as a request for advice.

This is something I’ve been pondering for a couple of weeks, ever since D’s birthday party.

Female pupils are very much in the minority at her SN school, whether it’s a case of girls with autism being trickier to diagnose as – as a recent report suggests – they are more able to “mask” and “cope” with their anxieties or whether it’s because it is more prevalent in boys. Certainly some emails I get as a result of the blog assume that I have two autistic sons, not a son and daughter.

It means that in school D has a lot of “boy friends”, boys who very sweetly and innocently say that they want to marry her, that they want her to be their “girl friend”. I think there’s currently 4 (!) and she used to come home quite agitated and say that someone would tell her that they’d want to marry her but she didn’t necessarily like them. But she said she had to because they’d asked first. A gentle chat was in order about how you should only marry if you both love each other.

There is a rule at school according to D that “kissing is not allowed” and she only told me that because another boy (not one of the “boy friends”) tried to kiss her behind a cupboard, she told me very matter-of-factly whilst all sorts of thoughts flew through my head! I’m glad that the pupils are aware of this rule, I hope the majority follow it.

There was a funny instance at her party when one boy said to the party hostess that D was his girl friend, another one retorted with “no, she’s MY girlfriend” and apparently they bantered backwards and forwards for a while and everyone thought it was “cute”. Which it was and seemingly innocent.

There was certainly plenty of kisses in birthday cards too.

As everyone was leaving, the boy who I guess considers himself to be D’s main “boyfriend” gave her a hug and there was a collective “aaw” and then they kissed, on the lips. Not so much of an “aaw” from my viewpoint as an “ooh er” and a feeling of “get off my daughter, she’s only 10!”.

The concern I have that because they have been told that “kissing is not allowed in school” that therefore, it’s “okay” out of a school environment.

She’s too young.

I’ve tried gently asking her if this has happened before but am met with a “let’s not talk about it”.

Am I overreacting? I don’t think so. A young girl with learning difficulties and autism. But I also know that as she goes closer to teenage years there will be feelings and fumbles, I was a teenager once too. But I wasn’t D, with autism and an inability to say if she doesn’t necessarily like something.

Do I leave it be? Hope that whatever feelings there are might fizzle out or put it down to young love? Do I mention it to school or hope that the rule is abided by during school and then make sure there are not opportunities during parties? And what happens if they’re both on school trips and therefore not in school, would the rule be respected then?

Not sure. I think I’ve just answered my question, certainly with regard to trips, there are a few upcoming.

Any advice appreciated.

Other than the above (and it felt a relief to blog that out), it’s been a good day on the whole.

T is aware that some of his class are having upcoming visits to their secondary schools, which is making him wonder if he’ll be going on two as we’re waiting for the outcome of next Monday’s appeal meeting. Fingers/toes/everything crossed for that. I’m so nervous that we’ll let him down. It would have been so much easier had he had a statement but it’s best to look forwards, isn’t it.

Thanks for reading Jx

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8 Comments

Karen Sellers on 6th June 2014 at 9:23 am.

Personally I think it is best just left, and accepted as children mimicking what the adults do. I had several “boyfriends” in primary school – we held hands at playtime and kissed from time to time. They all fizzled out and nothing was ever improper or anything but innocent. I know there is a worry due to D’s autism and potentially not feeling she can say no, but I think right now if the school rules are no kissing, then maybe ask school when they feel it is appropriate to mention that the rule also encompasses school trips, and leave it at that.

The “good” news is that socially D is usually with you, or you are in the background, so you can be pretty aware of who she is with at all times anyway. My middle girl had a boyfriend aged 12 (and she was at a mainstream secondary). All it consisted of was holding hands when they went for lunch, some wee kisses and hundreds of soppy texts. With you there I don’t honestly think there is much to fear just yet. Big hugs for the stress of having a growing girl!! xxxx

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Jeannette on 11th June 2014 at 9:14 am.

Thanks Karen, it is the “out of school” aspect that concerns me out but as you say, I’m more than likely there. There is definitely a maturity differential in the other child’s favour too.

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fairywishes on 7th June 2014 at 7:29 pm.

My daughter is nearly 10. I was worried about some of the people in the local park (I let her go on her own) so I made a black/white rule (she’s ASD too) that NO-ONE is to kiss her on the lips, even family (although at Daddy’s house I think this isn’t followed) and only family to kiss and good friends to hug her. She has learning difficulties as well as Autism and a rare chromosone disorder. In September Year 6 she’s going to the local special school because I don’t think main stream secondary (or SATS) is the way forward. It’s very hard because she thinks she has lots of boyfriends – I’m not sure the boys even like her! Also she will call someone a friend whom she has just met and often doesn’t notice when people are asking her to do something for a laugh or if they are mean to her – she thinks they are being friendly. It’s a hard thing and this year we’ve tried to stop her from hugging everyone – a slow slow process but trying. So I don’t really have any answers just saying I understand the difficulties. Have I asked before where in the country are you?

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Jeannette on 11th June 2014 at 9:15 am.

Thank you, our girls sound very similar and, it is a comfort to know that I’m not alone in this concern.
We’re in Berkshire, where about are you?

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fairywishes on 11th June 2014 at 10:04 am.

I’m in Newbury

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Jeannette on 25th June 2014 at 4:54 pm.

Just down the road then 🙂

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fairywishes on 7th June 2014 at 7:37 pm.

Sorry another comment, although you are there and boyfriend girlfriend at this age is usually quite sweet as a teacher I think you should be aware it isn’t for all children and some do understand things a bit more than we think. Also as they get older they maybe left on their own and we have a duty to inform, educate and trust them. But how is the question!>

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Jeannette on 11th June 2014 at 9:17 am.

Totally agree with your last sentence, to go in with too much information for them to process would be an overload situation. If I get anywhere I will let you know. Really appreciate the comments.

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