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3 Bumps

Family Christmas--What would you do?

My son has autism and has been having a hard time recently. We have been working with him and trying to figure out what is going on,but he has been having a lot of meltdowns. In truth, he could need a med adjustment, as it's been over a year since he has had an increase, but his father refused to allow an adjustment--but that's a whole different thread.

My stepfather has just recently been diagnosed with cardiac artery disease and will be having a stent put in place on Wednesday to open the blockage in his one artery. My mother called last night to say that she still wanted us to come up for Christmas dinner, but if my autistic son starts to misbehave, we would have to leave as not to cause stress for her husband. I told her that in that case, we would make other plans for Christmas day.

My mom flipped out. She yelled and screamed that it was not about my son or me, that it was about her husband. I stated that I understood, but both my sons, my husband and I deserved to have a nice holiday and we shouldn't have to be on guard to leave and have nowhere to go. She said that we should go to her house as plan A, but have a plan B. When I asked her to explain, she stated that if he started acting out, we could go to someone else's house. I said I didn't think that was fair, that people should know who to expect on Christmas Day.

She is still mad that we are not coming to her house Christmas day and she thinks I am being unreasonable.  I think that if we have the opportunity to go somewhere where we can all enjoy our day, and be with people who will accept my son, meltdown or not, we should do so.  My sister thinks Mom is nuts wanting people at her house three day's after her husband's surgery anyway. 

Am I wrong in wanting to be able to enjoy my day and just make alternate plans where i wouldn't have to worry about packing up and leaving?  Am I being selfish? 

Answer Question

Asked by layh41407 at 8:21 AM on Dec. 18, 2010 in Relationships

Level 36 (79,415 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • No you are not wrong, grandma is!

    Answer by older at 8:23 AM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • no, not selfish. i can understand both parties, from different perspectives. your mom is probably yearning for stability and 'normalcy', due to your sd's recent health issues..and what's better than to have xmas dinner 'as usual'? she's on-guard because of his health/recovery from surgery before xmas, and realizes the ramifications of needless stress for him. that still doesn't mean she doesn't want to try to enjoy her family.
    what's the real likelihood your ds will flip out? (in all honesty, i don't have a clue, as i don't deal with autism.)
    to save you from having to 'up and leave', just make other plans. perhaps come by your parents house afterward, for a short visit/dessert/etc. there's a solution..but neither of you have thought it through enough to be considerate of everyone else.

    Answer by dullscissors at 8:27 AM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • dullscissors--the likely hood of him flipping is pretty good at this point. And I had thought of that, but the problem with that thought is that she lives an hour away from other family members. I live 20 minutes from my sister, 45 minutes from my in laws and 30 minutes from my parents. My son will be coming from his Dad's house to my house Christmas morning. That is one transistion. We go to somewhere else for a meal, that is another transistion. If we make a third transistion after that long of a drive, there will most likely a 99.9% chance of a meltdown.

    Comment by layh41407 (original poster) at 8:32 AM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • I would do what is best for your son. Your mom is going through a lot now, but not only is she the adult here, she is also not the one dealing with autism. It seems very rude of her to say that you can come, but be prepared to be kicked out of my home. If it were my son, I would plan Christmas at home, so that he had less transitioning. Maybe you could suggest your mom invite your sister over (not being mean, just offering to have family with her on Christmas that better fits into her needs right now) and you and your family could visit a different time. Good luck.


    Answer by scout_mom at 8:42 AM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • no, i'd do it the same way

    Answer by armywife43 at 8:56 AM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • I understand where you are coming from and I think your mom is being unreasonable.

    Answer by MommyH2 at 9:01 AM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • Do what is right for you and your family. My father's dementia is getting worse and worse day by day we were having the same discussion last night. So please you do not want to make or disrupt Christmas for family or have them mock the fact that we are causing a disruption on such a special holiday.You are doing the right thing.

    Answer by mamacita69930 at 9:15 AM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • How old is your son? Is there a place at your mother's home that is quiet and "low key" where your son can regroup?

    I say this because both of my sons turning 9 and 7 have autism, and we have SLOWLY learned how to deal with their being overwhelmed when visiting other people's homes. We would bring with us a number of known calming toys and materials that we used to distract and redirect during stressful times, and put those items in a quiet room in the home we were visiting, so as to minimize the disruption and allow our son(s) to calm down, then when they were calm, we would ease them back to the "festivities" in shot bursts. Over time, the need for alternate activities has decreased substantially, to where we really don't make alternate plans anymore.

    I think you need to explain to your mom what exactly sets your son off, and see if she cannot "compromise" with you, to make the transitions easier.


    Answer by LoriKeet at 9:25 AM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • And if mom doesn't understand, or is unwilling to make reasonable accommodations, for HER GRANDSON then I'm afraid you need to do what is BEST for your son--which may mean having a quiet Christmas at home! As far as I'm concerned, Christmas is FOR the children, it's not about parental controls or wants. Maybe you should offer to host Christmas Day or Christmas Eve dinner at your home with the opening of presents and what not! It's what we did until our boys were about 5 and 3.



    Answer by LoriKeet at 9:28 AM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • Amen, LoriKeet! Excellent response and I couldn't have said it better. Good luck, Layh. That's a rough spot to be in!

    Answer by JawgaMom1 at 10:03 AM on Dec. 18, 2010

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