Sibling of autistic young man shuns him

Sharon - posted on 09/15/2017 ( no moms have responded yet )

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I have a 23 year old son who is on the autistic spectrum. He is higher-functioning, and is completing a college degree while living at home. He does have some struggles academically and is not socially oriented. He is a has always been a good hearted person who tries his best. My other child is an 18 year old daughter who is neurotypical and a high academic achiever, with strong social skills and many friends. The two got along and played together when they were little, and in fact my daughter doted on and adored my son. However, as they both got older she "outgrew" him and basically stopped interacting with him for all intents and purposes by the time she was 10. During the teen years she developed more of a dislike for him and looked down on him, and to be fair to her she did suffer during this period as he experienced emotional outbursts which were frightening to her. That has since been corrected and through counselling we were able to identify some of his other behaviours she found objectionable and these have since been corrected. My concern now is that despite this, she wants nothing to do with him. It has come to the point where we can't do anything as a family and there is simply no sibling interaction. If I try to talk to her about this she becomes upset and won't speak to me for days, I have recognized that I can't force affection or healing in their relationship and am no longer commenting. However, I would like to hear from any moms who may have had similar experiences... what, if anything helped restore some degree of good feeling between siblings, and do you think time/maturity will help if I just leave it alone?

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Sharon - posted on 09/19/2017

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Thanks for your suggestions Leslie. It's helpful to know other families have their dynamics too.... I will broach the idea of family counseling, and also discuss with her some of the things we're missing out on doing because of the sibling rift... we'll see how things unfold.

Leslie - posted on 09/18/2017

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My 21yo DS is very similar to your 23yo. I also have a 23yo DS. For a long time they were the best of friends until they got to be in high school. Sometimes now they still fight like cats and dogs and sometimes they act like best friends still....
Since DD was responsive to counseling before would she be now in the interest of family togetherness? Have you talked to her about what types of things you would like to be able to do as a family? That might be the first step to take. See if that may help. As you're finding out, we have less and less control over our kids and their behaviors as they get older ;-( I can tell you that my own brother and I don't get along well anymore but, we are able to come together for family events and other times that are important to my parents so I do think time/maturity can help somewhat.

Leslie - posted on 09/18/2017

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My 21yo DS is very similar to your 23yo. I also have a 23yo DS. For a long time they were the best of friends until they got to be in high school. Sometimes now they still fight like cats and dogs and sometimes they act like best friends still....
Since DD was responsive to counseling before would she be now in the interest of family togetherness? Have you talked to her about what types of things you would like to be able to do as a family? That might be the first step to take. See if that may help. As you're finding out, we have less and less control over our kids and their behaviors as they get older ;-( I can tell you that my own brother and I don't get along well anymore but, we are able to come together for family events and other times that are important to my parents so I do think time/maturity can help somewhat.

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