My child will help everyone else out. Neighbors, family, at school, bus driver, etc. He will not help out and I've asked him to tidy his room for months now. I've cleaned it myself many times and it always ends up the same way. He won't take his dirty clothes to the laundry basket, won't take dishes to sink, won't pick up toys without being reminded 10 times. I'm not exaggerating, he gets reminded over and over and only does the job half way. I've tried time outs, positive reinforcement (new games, family outings), grounding, taking away toys, offering allowance, even begging. I've made lists for him placed on a large board on the wall, given one step directions, and still NOTHING. I'm at my wits end. He has Asperger's, so I know multi-step directions can be hard, but if he can help everyone else with chores I can't see why he can't do the same at home. Please help!

  • 2
    Has the given any reasons for not doing things?
    – Erik
    May 20, 2018 at 19:03
  • @Erik, he hasn't given a reason, just that he heard me when I asked him to complete it, and that he understood what I meant. He just does the "I don't know". He listens to me when we are around other people (in town, in school, at family member's homes). It's incredibly frustrating. May 20, 2018 at 19:37
  • One trait that may be common to some of us on the spectrum is elevated endorphins levels. The evidence is light at this point, limited to a couple of small studies, so it's not"fact" or necessarily universal, which is why this is a comment. Rewards and punishments don't mean as much because their normal state is "happier" in the sense that the normal hormonal response to rewards is always in play.
    – pojo-guy
    May 20, 2018 at 19:43
  • Is working together with you the same hassle?
    – Stephie
    May 20, 2018 at 19:44
  • Will he do a (small) task that can be done in one step immediately if prompted? Like after a meal, bringing his plate to the kitchen?
    – Stephie
    May 20, 2018 at 19:46

1 Answer 1


To me, this sounds a lot like "normal kid" frustrating behavior, exacerbated by ASD.

Kids will let their standards of behavior lapse when they are comfortable (at home) in ways they would never do away from home. Ask any volunteer with youth about the number of parents who say "we wish our kids would behave like that at home".

I recently had a discussion with a young man i work closely with who has a reputation for a volatile temper, about why, in spite of the amount of pressure I put on him, I had never seen his temper flare. In fact, the more pressure he had, the steadier he gets.

At one point, I realized I had gone over the boundary of responsible concern to sheer nosiness (between my own ASD and brain injury I had to be WAY over the line to even realize it), and told him "This is where you say 'Mr. ____, it's time to shut up.' He looked at me in shock and blurted out "But. I would never say that! It would be rude. "

Shortly after that, I was sitting and talking with his father when, unprovoked, he said something much more hurtful and rude to his father. While it created a "teachable moment", it also illustrates the point I am trying to make.

The risk of loss of reputation with ones parents is perceived by a child to be low - they already see you at your worst, and still love you. With others, you have opportunity to build reputation with best behavior and minimize their exposure to the less desirable behaviors.

Since my opinion of him as a person was important to him, he exercised much more self discipline for me than he did for his parents, who taught him the self discipline in the first place.

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