Do Unto Others – Or in other words, if it would hurt you, it would hurt them

This week-end was a big family week-end, there was a lot going on at all times. To cut right to the chase, my boys were playing with their cousin and while wrestling, Cameron jumped and landed with his butt on his poor cousin’s head… while she was laying down on the floor.

My son is not small. He’s only 5 but he’s about the size of an 8 year old. His cousin is 12.

Suffice to say, it hurt her quite a bit and the playing promptly came to an end.

The boys came to find me and told me that she was crying but didn’t tell me why. We had to track her down and find out what happened.

I don’t think anyone ever questioned it but I could just tell that if anyone else had put much thought into it, it would appear that Cameron had no remorse about it at all, he just went off and played with something else.

But I could tell, because he was in the opposite end of the house on a different floor, playing by himself. You wouldn’t know it just to look at him, but he felt bad about it.

A little while later, when I was alone with him, I tried to talk to him about it. The only way I could think of to get it through to him, which is what I’ve always done with him, is to ask him how he’d feel if it was someone jumping on his head.

It seems that, for the most part, he does not understand nor realize in the slightest just how much his actions will hurt someone else, but he does know what would hurt him.

And so the only way I can make him understand how to be careful or avoid certain things is to think first about how it would feel if it was done to him. Naturally, when playing, there simply is no way for him to stop and think about it like that. He just does what he thinks is fun.

I mean, this is a tricky enough topic for any child to learn but when you have Autism in the mix, there’s just no way for a child to understand how their actions will affect the person they’re doing it too. Especially when it comes to another person’s 5 senses, such as touch. Pain is just too foreign a concept to know how others would experience it.

But like everything, this is a learning experience and he felt really bad about it. So even though he likely doesn’t quite get the whole concept of what happened, he does know what he did wrong.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.


2 Responses to Do Unto Others – Or in other words, if it would hurt you, it would hurt them

  1. valeska October 12, 2010 at 9:35 am #

    Thanks for sharing! I have a very active three year old (PDD-NOS) and so what I usually do when getting him with other kids, is that I let all the other kids know, along with their parents, that he’s ‘sensitive’ (not to play rough) and doesn’t realize when he’s doing something bad. So instead of hitting him back or yelling, they should tell him “not nice” and come find me. It usually helps.

  2. outoutout October 12, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

    This story reminds me of something that happened when I was in 1st grade. We were all lining up in the music room at school, and I accidentally bumped into another girl. Hard. She started crying. I was scared; I didn’t know how to say that I was sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt her. So I just got in line and pretended nothing had happened. I hoped it would just go away. Well, I got in trouble instead. I still remember the teacher getting into my face and saying, “I can’t believe you did that. Can you?” I didn’t know what to say. Funny what you remember years later…

    Anyway, I think you handled it really, really well. All things are a learning experience.

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