Can a 24 yr. old adult with a developmental disability get away with threatening another person?
My sons 24 yr. old cousin is developmentally disabled. He has to live with his parent/guardian as he cannot take care of himself. On several occasions he has raised his fist to my son or threatened him. When I speak up, I'm told that he is disabled and to just ignore him, or tell my son to leave his cousin alone. That makes it seem that my son is the one being punished for what his cousin has done or said. I don't want to send the wrong signals to my son about life & what may arise. I think that the cousin has been taught that his disability will help him get away with alot.
I agree with you. Both your son and the cousin are getting the wrong idea. The cousin shouldn't be allowed to get away with it, & your son shouldn't have to tolerate it.
I agree that my 12 yr. old shouldn't have to tolerate it at all. I have spoken to his cousin several times. It goes in one ear and out the other. He is disabled but he isn't stupid. Some people seem to think its one and the same, but it isn't.
In addition, the other day I saw him punch my son in the arm. They were playing "Ball Tag", and Jamie got him in the side with it. Instead of continuing the game, he walked up and punched him. Even though he hits like a little girl, it shouldn't have happened and I reprimanded him. I mean, he is an adult even though he is developmentally challenged, and he needs to know you cannot do that to a child. But, no one around here agrees with me.
Am I around stupid people or what?
I explain to the kids what they have done wrong and ask them if they understand what I am trying to say. If they don't understand then I try another approach.
Well, if his parent/guardian refuses to take responsibility, the only reasonable thing you can do is tell them he's not welcome in your home, & don't go to theirs. otherwise it'll be a never-ending battle of you needing to protect your child.
Dealing with someone with disabilities can be extremely difficult. It is hard to answer your question without knowing more specifically what disabilities the cousin has. For instance, you call him an adult, but does he actually have the mind of an 8 year-old?
And even if his mind is perfectly sound, a physical disability can completely alter the way we see and interact with the world. I can understand your concern, and it seems wrong for his caretakers to seem so uninterested in the cousins behavior, but at the same time, your reprimands may not be the way to go. For punishment to work, the punishee must understand what they did was wrong and understand why it is you are reprimanding them. It is my understanding that aggressive and threatening behavior can be somewhat common for developmentally disabled persons, but that for them it can simply represent a way of trying to communicate that makes sense to them. From their perspective, then, you are reprimanding them for trying to communicate, and that will just be confusing to them. What may seem obvious to you is not necessarily obvious to them.
I think in this situation, I would worry about your son more than the cousin. We aren't always going to agree with the way others raise their kids, nor can parents always be there to help in every situation. Make sure your son understands the situation and try to give him the tools he needs to handle the situation on his own.
Granted, there are maturation issues with those with developmental disabilities. But to excuse them because he is mentally disabled is also enabling him to not to progress to his potential in life. Depending on where his maturation is, he IS capable of understanding the basic difference between right and wrong.
As "normal" people, we know the basic difference (the black and white of it) by the time we are three. And then we understand much of the grays by the time we are 5. So, if your nephew is functioning at a 3 year old level or higher, there is no reason to excuse this behavior by telling other people just to ignore it. What if the next step is that this 24 year old actually does hit someone? So others are supposed to get beat up with no consequence? He is capable of learning basics.
This is coming from me, as a former aid in a group home for developmentally disabled adults of all kinds, including those with brain injuries, mental illness and mental retardation, and any combination of the 3. I was also a job coach for young adults who are developmentally disabled, and they were all, for the most part, capable of learning how to respect others.
It's those behaviors that are being allowed by the caretakers of your nephew that leads to further discrimination by the general community because they want to make disability a crutch to not teach life lessons.
If it is a mental disability, then I doubt anything can be done. I have a brother-in-law who had severe head injury in an accident and he has temper tantrums constantly (he's 43). He's on medication but it isn't helping. If it is another type of disability then I agree with you. Explain to your son the situation and he should understand that his cousin's and family's behavior are not a standard to go by.
Your son shouldn't have to tolerate it but your not likely to find an easy fix aside from keeping your son away from the cousin so he isn't put in that situation in the first place.
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