So much of parenting a young child is explaining, redirecting, clarifying, and limiting, but I have to say - sometimes it's difficult to know exactly where I should be putting my energy.
I mentioned recently that Bud has been experimenting with "mean" words, testing their power and finding their most suitable contexts. But, as a child with autism, he doesn't always retain the specifics of a mean idiom or figure of speech. Case in point: Over the past several weeks, Bud's been doing a lot of back-talk when he wants someone to stop speaking.
Sometimes it's innocuous: The dog across the street barks, and Bud stands in our driveway and yells "Shut out, Jenna! SHUT OUT!"
Sometimes it's impertinent: Nana tells him it's time to turn off the computer and he turns to her and says, "Shut out, Nana. SHUT OUT!"
Sometimes it's just plain rude: The clerk at the supermarket asks him how he is today and he responds with a loud "Shut out, man! SHUT OUT!"
I'm never sure what to do in these situations.
Do I respond the way I would with a neurotypical child to this very developmentally appropriate behavior: "Bud, it is not nice to tell people to 'shut out.' It makes them sad."?
Or do I address the autism-related issue here instead: "Bud, you want Jenna/Nana/the man to shut UP, not shut OUT. You say, 'Shut up, Jenna/Shut up, Nana/Shut up, man.'"?
It really is a quandary.