Please note that threads in this topic are removed from the archive 90 days after the thread was started. If you would like your thread to be retrievable for longer than that, please choose another topic in which to post it. Our SN area is not a substitute for expert advice. While many Mumsnetters have a specialist knowledge of special needs, if they post here they are posting as members, not experts. There are, however, lots of organisations that can help - some suggestions are listed here.

Spiteful behaviour

(9 Posts)
twainiac Fri 11-Apr-14 17:50:20

I gave posted before about my DS who is 8 and had some very helpful replies.
He has received a diagnosis of non ASD, but acknowledgement of difficulties in most areas, just not severe enough to warrant ASD diagnosis. His main problem area is social interaction - hasn't got many friends, gets easily annoyed and upset by others, takes things the wrong way etc.
However, often I think he is just plain spiteful. Have been watching him playing with DD, with a light sabre, and whilst she is smiling and laughing he has an aggressive look on his face and is trying to hurt her. Often he does this in an underhanded way, looking to make sure no one is watching.
At times I find it hard to like him, his difficulties I understand, but his nasty streak gets me down.
Just wondered if anyone had any experience of this or pearls of wisdom to offer?
Many thanks!

PolterGoose Fri 11-Apr-14 18:30:07

Well, I'd ban light sabres for starters. If he's already struggling with temper then you need to remove any play opportunities which might be triggers.

My ds often looks like he's being deliberately nasty, I don't believe he is though, and as he's getting older he's more able to explain that he doesn't want to break something or hurt but he has an irresistible need to explode and get that extreme feedback you get from punching or snapping or tearing. You could work on feelings and good ways to respond. Make sure dd isn't subtly winding him up, it happens.

Some of what you describe is fairly typical ASD type reactions, which I've found respond well to sensory interventions and the methods of Ross Greene who wrote 'The Explosive Child' and Dawn Huebner's 'What to do when your temper flares' might be helpful. These websites might be useful:

Lives in the Balance

Challenging Behaviour Foundation

Things like needing a wee or being hungry or thirsty can increase temper problems. Again, common for children with ASDs to struggle to recognise physical needs.

PolterGoose Fri 11-Apr-14 18:33:23

this book is really good for explaining how people use language in non-literal ways.

All in all, I'd be looking at building up the underpinning skills (like emotional recognition/regulation and use of language) so he's less likely to respond 'nastily'. So much aggressive behaviour comes from frustration and inability to communicate needs.

twainiac Sat 12-Apr-14 22:58:33

Polter, thank you again for your wise words!

In general play fighting isn't allowed as I know he just doesn't 'get' it. I do understand lots of his other behaviour, and 'the explosive child' book has proved very useful. However, this isn't aggression through frustration etc, it has no sensory feedback for him either as quite often he is very sly e.g sticking out his foot to trip DD when he thinks no one is watching. He is just nasty to her. Not sure that he does it with anyone else though..... therefore, maybe it is issues with DD that he is unable to articulate, jealousy perhaps? And yes, she does sometimes wind him up - she's certainly no angel, but generally she is nice to him and it's so sad to see him constantly treat her so bad. Not sure where to start with sibling issues.... I will take a look at the last book you recommended, I guess working on those skills in general should help. Will also check out the websites.

Many thanks

sunshineandshowers Thu 17-Apr-14 20:02:38


My DS is exactly like this! I have no ideas to help, other than to say it does my head in. Sometimes I feel I am going out of my mind. Why do they do it?!

zzzzz Thu 17-Apr-14 20:27:47

I think it is a much bigger issue than just the tripping and hurting. To change it everything will have to change.

Start by thinking what your child (in this case your ds) gets out of having a little sister? How does he benefit? Then work tirelessly to make him recognise those positives. So for example if dd does something good let that be positive for both of them and vice versa. Draw attention to all the good brothering he does and always correct violence. Weirdly threatening to seperate them may work. Point out you ncouldnt do X without both of them, that he would have to do Y all by himself. Make them do. Jobs together.

twainiac Mon 21-Apr-14 10:51:41

Zzzzz, thank you.

I have been racking my brains to find some positives to him having a sister ( in his eyes) - and I can think of none! He does sometimes ask her to play with him, but generally everything they do together he would be happy to do without her. Oh dear......
I will try and reward them both for her good behaviour, that sounds plausible, and they do already do some jobs together but I will make a conscious effort to do this more.
Thanks for the tips!

Oh, and contrary to what I said before, perhaps some of it is sensory. Sometimes he grabs her really hard and tenses his muscles, difficult to describe, but i think he likes the sensation. Maybe we could find another outlet for this, no idea what though!

Oblomov Wed 23-Apr-14 20:58:34

ds1(10) , diagnosed aspergers, is like this too. I'm sorry I don't have any advice. but I just wanted to post, to let you know that you arent alone.

Acciosanity Sun 27-Apr-14 18:18:45

DS is awful to his little sister. Breaks my heart.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now