Mean Girl on the Spectrum

I have come to a very frustrating fork in the road on our journey. And maybe this is unique to raising a daughter versus raising a son, but it has me completely puzzled. 

Lately, our daughter is struggling with jealousy and turns everything into a competition. Whatever she has, has to be ‘the best” or “better than yours.”

Things that are not supposed to be measured are being measured by her. The best at karate. The better birthday. The most beautiful hairstyle. The prettiest dress. It is exhausting just thinking about it. 

While I am confident that she truly understands when she is physically hurting another person and how she shouldn’t, I am unsure of whether or not she comprehends being mean and hurting someone’s feelings. Either she truly doesn’t know or she enjoys doing it and does so on purpose. I want to believe that she doesn’t understand.

It is getting completely out of control. There is nothing I hate more than nasty little girls. I feel like my biggest goal as a mother raising a daughter, is to raise a nice person. But I feel like I am failing. 

Normally, when a friend invites you to a party—you respond excited to go, right? 

Not Ally. 

She told her friend that her party is stupid and that her birthday is better than hers. 

Here is the problem. Does she actually mean this? Probably not. 

Is she going to have a good time at this party? Probably.

My husband and I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to show her how mean she was to her friend. 

We acted out the scenario several different ways to show her right versus wrong. 

I did social stories. 

I showed her a YouTube video about being mean. And while she was able to identify the right way someone should behave in the scenario, she fails to act that way herself and refuses to acknowledge that she is wrong. 

(In this video below, she clearly related to Zoe.)

Over the past several months, she has been exposed to older mean kids. As much as I try to shield her from it or keep her away from kids like that, they are everywhere. And as I say this, I acknowledge that my child is sometimes that kid as well. 

The problem with a child like mine is that she remembers everything. All it takes is one encounter and she will be mimicking that child’s bad behavior for months. 

We have been doing everything in our power to correct this behavior. It broke my heart, but I had to actually say to my daughter that some kids no longer want to play with her. That their parents no longer let them play with her. I had to actually list children’s names to make her understand. Children she adored. Should I have done that? I don’t know. But I am trying every possible technique to get through to her. 

When she saw a child on that list from above playing with her new friend outside the other day, she cried. I used it as an opportunity to show her consequences for her behavior. That when you are mean, other kids get to have fun outside and play together while you sit an do nothing all alone. 

Saying this to my daughter made me feel like a monster. 

But if she doesn’t learn this soon, she is going to end up really alone. 

If anything about raising a child on the spectrum is the most difficult, it is this.

Is this a personality issue or is she a mean girl? Or does she lack empathy?

I don’t have the answers. But after consulting her ABA therapist this morning, we are going to have to crack down on her words and behaviors. 

Every time she says something fresh, we will have to make her try again until she says something nice. 

I just want my happy, sweet little girl back. The one who doesn’t sabotage everything for herself. 

If you are or have raised a mean girl on the spectrum, I would love to talk to you! 

Note: I found a study that found how children with “HFA” manifested jealousy through behaviors different than their typical peers…but not much on correcting the behavior: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15115069

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One thought on “Mean Girl on the Spectrum

  1. Yes, I can relate. I had always thought my daughter was going to have to learn “the hard way” socially as she wasn’t getting the lessons I was trying to teach her. She always wanted friends, but never kept any until this year. She is still mean. Not in the same sense though – she no longer needs to be the “best.” She just needs to be right. She is rude in almost all of her exchanges. She doesn’t hear herself. She can’t just end a discussion with “okay” – she always needs to end it with some rude remark. And she never says sorry. Well, she never says it nice – it’s always SOR-RY. It’s tough

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