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ASD Teens & Aggression

“My teenage son is very aggressive and lacks any type of impulse control. He cannot be left alone with his siblings. Does you have any recommendations? I know he does not want to do these things, because when we talk about it, he says he loves his sister, etc., but he hurts her all the time. My poor daughter has to put up with his aggressions on a daily basis. I can't watch him every second he's awake. I also can't put either child in a protective bubble or send my son to his room and leave him there all day. I really don't know what to do with him and I'm not a big advocate of drug therapy.

He's starting to internalize his behavior, and now said to me this morning that he's a bad boy even though no one tells him that, not us, or his teacher. I worry about his self-esteem as he grows older. We praise him when he's good, but he gets a ton of negative feedback: “Don't do this… don't do that, etc… you need to go to your room for hitting your sister"… I constantly feel like I have to micromanage him. But he knows he's in time-out or in his room a lot, and I do that so he can calm down or to protect his siblings. Any advice would be helpful.”

Unfortunately, for some teens on the autism spectrum, aggression may become quite common when reaching adolescence, and this may be clearly influenced by the parenting styles of the teen's mother and father. In fact, one of the key factors in determining an ASD youngster's tendency to develop aggression later in life may involve the presence of a maternally sensitive woman who can also balance the discipline and aggression in life.

In many of today's American families, it is not uncommon to find that both the mother and father are relatively absent from the youngster's life (e.g., due to work-related issues). Because a youngster's mental health is often greatly influenced by (a) the presence of maternal nurturing and (b) the balance of a father's discipline, when either of these are absent in the life of a youngster on the autism spectrum, confusion abounds and aggression usually develops. If you are the parent of a teenager on the spectrum, it is important to provide this balance to your child-rearing efforts. 

If you are a single mother, and your child's father is not present, you can expect your youngster's aggression will undoubtedly be present as you provide the maternal sensitivity your youngster needs while also attempting to be the disciplinarian. 
Because ASD kids have trouble differentiating social cues, and are confused by discipline when expressed by their mother, the authoritarian type of parenting is often met with aggression. For this reason, having a male role model (e.g., uncle, grandfather) who can provide that discipline while you provide the maternal sensitivity will go a long way in your youngster's long-term development.

Conversely, if you are a father who is raising a child alone, you will want to be sure that you find ways to be sensitive and nurturing to your youngster's needs. Because fathers are more likely to be the authoritarian, a woman's sensitivity will be important in your youngster's mental health. Often, this role can be filled by a woman who is an aunt or grandmother, and does not necessarily mean that a step-mother has to be in the picture.

ASD is a developmental disorder that affects many kids by resulting in abnormal social development. For parents, offsetting the risk for development of aggression is most likely achieved by first identifying your parenting style - as either disciplinarian or nurturing - and then finding someone who can fulfill the role as the opposite parenting style. 
Trying to manage both the motherly role and the fatherly role often leads to confusion in the youngster, which may exacerbate Autism-related complications in adolescence. Of course, it is not always possible to find a co-parent, but the ideal scenario would involve such an individual.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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