I've had several examples today of the great advantages of the honesty you get with an autistic child. Today was going to be busy. difficult child 3 had an appointment in the city with therapist. We were also to drop in t husband's work to collect stuff and I also planned to drop in at the Cancer Centre to get some tubigrip for dressings. Jut difficult child 3 & me,, I planned to get him to do some work on his assessment task while we were in the car. I knew it would be a log shot, but with just me, I felt sure I could get him to get something done. Then mother in law broke her glasses, needed new glasses because otherwise she sees double. So I rang around, got her in to the optometrist halfway to the city where she had the glasses made (some years ago). It was right on the way. We set off. I got difficult child 3 to talk through his work with me in the car, but mother in law was immediately putting her oar in, saying things to me like, "He's going to be stubborn," which I know coming from her is a self-fulfilling prophecy - difficult child 3 hears a remark like that and shuts down. I did say something like, "He and I are dealing with this, it is under control," and I also had to verbally smack difficult child 3 down for saying to grandma, "This is between me and mum, you're not helping, so shut up." Despite this, we got the task talked through ("Read me the question; now, what do you think it means? OK, write that down in point form", then I let difficult child 3 lose himself in his PSP; anything to stay below grandma's radar. Grandma & I chatted happily (well, chatted) and we made good time. At the optometrist we parked right outside, they said, "We can fix these in five minutes." Five minutes turned to 45 and we had to go without grandma - as it was, we were late to the therapist. At the therapist came the first really obvious blessing. Because difficult child 3 himself doesn't know (because I'm not telling him) I hadn't had the chance to tell the therapist of the English teacher's accusation that I wrote difficult child 3's assessment task for him. At the therapist we talked about how husband is so similar to difficult child 3 probably because he's Aspie but was never diagnosed as such because it wasn't understood back then; and also that Grandma's method of upbringing was "never talk back; always respect your elders" even when the elders behave badly. We talked about how difficult child 3 has to learn to put up with the unfairness of grandma trying to 'discipline' him because frankly, she is too old to change. But his dad IS changing, but when he's tired and stressed, he tends toforget and 'snap back' to old habits. As does difficult child 3 himself. Then the subject of the assessment task (computing) came up, the one we had been talking about this morning. difficult child 3 said, "It was OK for you to ask me to read it to you, and for you to ask me to talk about it, but you're not allowed to help me. I won't let you; this has to be my own work and I always make sure that it is." He was even saying that he won't look up references, because then it won't be his own work. I was saying, "You can ask your teachers questions about it, it's OK. If they're not allowed to answer that question, they will tell you but won't penalise you for asking. And it's OK to look stuff up and use it, as long as you cite the reference. That's actually a GOOD thing because it shows that you're trying to find out more. The thing is - difficult child 3 was independently saying, without prompting, that always his Assessment Tasks are his own work. I slipped the therapist a note as we left, explaining the problem in more detail. So when it comes to next term and the need to resolve the problem with his English teacher, we now have one more witness to verify difficult child 3's honesty. We left, dropped in on husband then headed back to the optometrist to collect mother in law (now with repaired specs). There were other things we wanted to do; mother in law wanted to drop in on a nearby shop for some sweets for sis-in-law when she arrives on Thursday. difficult child 3 wanted to go to the mall; so did we, we had shopping to do. So as I drove round the block, I said, "Maybe we can send difficult child 3 in to get the sweets, it will be quicker." difficult child 3 said, "But that will take too long, don't ask me, it's not fair, I have things I want to do too." mother in law immediately said, "Typical - always thinking of yourself!" but I realised difficult child 3 had misunderstood. I said, "Not the mall; I meant here. If you do this for us, it means we get to the mall quicker." But as it turned out, I decided to go get the sweets myself, so I could choose. Explaining what we needed to difficult child 3 would have taken too long. Now, apparently after I left the car, there were words exchanged between mother in law & difficult child 3. Neither of them said anything to me when I got back. Which tells me now - guilty conscience, the pair of them. We got to the mall, difficult child 3 went off to do his stuff while mother in law & I did our shopping. mother in law lent her phone to difficult child 3 because she would be with me and not need it - I had planned to simply give difficult child 3 a time limit, but was grateful for the loan of the phone. I was back at the car loading the shopping when difficult child 3 rang. "Grandma's alarm has gone - she needs to take her pills." Grandma arrived at that point so I told her difficult child 3 had rung to remind her about her medications. Again - nobody told me anything, I as unsuspecting. We got back home. Dropped mother in law off. I asked difficult child 3 to help get her bins in while I got mother in law's shopping in. No arguments - he helped. But as we got home (just me and difficult child 3) he said, "I don't want to have dinner at grandma's tonight." I said, "Why? Because she was needling you a bit today?" (I was thinking of the couple of comments I had heard). I told difficult child 3 that I was cooking one of his favourites, he needed to come down for dinner. He didn't want to. I said, "You don't need to talk to grandma much. Talk to your cousin instead, she won't be here for much longer." So he reluctantly said he would. I went down to mother in law's to begin cooking. By the time I got there, niece and her friend had finally arrived back from their own visit to the city. mother in law said to me, "Is difficult child 3 not coming down to dinner? I thought he would be sulking." I said that he might be playing with his new purchases, he was having trouble with one of them (true). mother in law then told niece that difficult child 3 had got upset with her. I thought she was referring to the times I had heard, but I finally realised that there had been a scene in my absence. I asked mother in law what had happened. By this time, husband had arrived. mother in law's version: "You got out of the car, he muttered something, I said, 'There's no need to be like that,' and he went to town on me. I'm not used to being spoken to like tat and I said so. That got him even angrier and he said, 'Just for that I won't go to the mall and I won't come down to dinner tonight.' I suppose I shouldn't have said anything...[too right] ...but maybe if someone says something he will learn not to talk to his elders with such disrespect." mother in law then continued to niece and her friend, "I know he has a problem, I get that, but he has to be told and he has to learn somehow." I had got up to leave the room to attend to dinner; I knew better than to try to talk to her, I was angry but I needed to hear difficult child 3's side of things. I also knew that mother in law reacts to anything unsettling with more attack, or 'teasing'. It rapidly can escalate, then she tries to backpedal out with "I was only joking, " or "Don't talk to me like that; don't be disrespectful." husband quietly rang difficult child 3 and talked him into coming down to dinner. We ate dinner, mother in law was a bit prickly but trying not to be. Any distance form difficult child 3, mother in law was taking personally and being alternately huffy, or conciliatory (as if to show, "Se? I am making concessions here.") I found a reason to go home early. I'm tired anyway, I've had a big day. husband decided to come home with me, I wasn't leaving GF3 there without us. difficult child 3 said, "You don't have to ask me twice." [we usually do] On the way home I said to difficult child 3, "OK, what happened when I was in buying sweets?" difficult child 3's version: "Grandma said, as soon as you were out of the car, that I was only thinking of myself as always. So I let her have it,she had been saying little things like this over and over, and I'd had enough." Putting it all together, plus what I had heard immediately before I left the car - mother in law's comment that difficult child 3 had muttered something and she had said, "Don't be like that" doesn't fit. It makes more sense to me that the comment she had made to me, which I thought I had successfully countered, of "He's being self-centred," when in fact difficult child 3 had misunderstood what I had asked and thought I was asking him to forgo all his own errands merely to go do our grocery shopping while we sat in the car. And instead of talking it through while I was there, mother in law waited until I was out of the way so she could administer the kind of parenting and strictness that she "KNOWS" that our son doesn't get from me. And, of course, it backfired. And she must have known she stuffed up badly, because she said nothing when I came back to the car. difficult child 3 would have been feeling guilty because he knows he shouldn't, ever, talk back to mother in law whatever the provocation. But mother in law said nothing. And if she really felt in the right, she would have said to me, when I go back, "I demand you tell your son to apologise to me." And yet - the stories don't match. But when I listen to both, it is difficult child 3's story which sounds much more continuous with what was happening immediately before. Once sis-in-law arrives, things will get worse. When they get together, sis-in-law and mother in law seem to conspire to "teach difficult child 3 how to behave" by the same little interferences. difficult child 3 gets confused and upset, but it is very difficult for us to defend. Of course difficult child 3 doesn't behave like a "normal" kid You try to teach a normal kid to knuckle under to authority and at worst you'll get silent, sullen resentment. But difficult child 3 doesn't have that sophistication. So twice today, I have felt confident in relying on difficult child 3's truth. It fits the reality, it was guileless, it was refreshing and it was extremely helpful. I can't ever say to mother in law, "You didn't tell mete whole story," because the last thing she wants to do is go back and deal with it. She is hoping we will sweep it under the carpet. But we do have to equip FG3 to cope with the coming onslaught of elderly female relatives hounding him to "behave" according to standards he can't handle. Autism brings a lot of headaches at times. But today - I have twice been very grateful for the good qualities it brings. Marg PS and yes, we gave difficult child 3 a gentle talking to about how NOT to react to Grandma's brand of discipline. It achieves absolutely nothing. Justas she achieves absolutely nothing. Most of the problems today came about because she only heard half of what was being said, then she drew her own conclusions without listening any further.