discipline advice!!(8 Posts)
Hi everyone, ds is now 21 months and so angry and violent. I have tried going down to his level and telling him its nasty when he lashes out and to stop it, ive tried walking away, tried putting him in his bed until he calms down too. But nothing has helped. Its got worse, im going to talk about autism with HV due to several factors but yesterday he took a wooden toy car ramp thing he has and smacked it across the side of my head and i needed 7 stiches, all because i went to change his nappy :"( he headbutted me in the nose this morning causing it to bleed because someone suggested if he wasnt playing nicely with his toy and was getting frustrated with it totake it away and replace it with another to avoid the melt down.
I really need help, i would never discipline by hitting his hand or a smacked bum so dont even suggest it. Nothings working! Is he too young for naughty step or time out etc? Since i tried for a couple weeks to put him in his bed to calm down he doesnt go to sleep the same (thinks hes being punished).
Need help urgently because i cant take this anymore
Oh bless you. I have two dc with autism (7,4). How is his speech? Could be with his nappy he didn't expect the change and lashed out. The world for kids with autism is very overwhelming even when you think they are coping it might well come out later. Do you use any visuals? He might not process verbal ques well. Maybe a stop sign. Does he go to nursery? Do they see the same behaviour. You'll find kids with autism don't have having their play interfered with or things taken without warning. Time out and naughty step might work on neurotypical kids but not neurodiverse. That said there is no harm in trying but you probably need to have him evaluated for autism. Then your strategies will vary. I'm on hyper alert with my kids. In case they grab at something they shouldn't. Make sure you use consistent language i.e. That's not kind. Also give him time to process it don't keep repeating it because he'll have to start at the beginning to process the speech.
What signs are you seeing?
What is his speech like? How is his understanding - can he understand simple instructions?
If you're not already, I would try telling him what's going to happen next so that he has time to process it. Talk to him all the time about what he's doing, what you're doing. Try and give him lots of praise if he's doing something nicely, there should be more praise than negative comments.
You are right not to use sanctions. Whether he has autism or not, at this age he does not have control over his emotions. Those meltdowns are probably frightening for him so hurting him would just make things worse.
Nothing is going to get better until he matures enough to manage his emotions better. In the meantime you just need to concentrate on keeping him and everyone else safe, being a calm presence and offering reassurance and comfort when he is calm enough to accept it.
Keep a diary of his behaviour and thing you have to change to avoid metldowns/overload to take to any appointments with you. It should help you to communicate the severity of the problem.
I second the above poster. Keep a diary and look for triggers to see what sets him off. Say he lashes out, write down what happened before. Give him a simple warning on what you're going to do I.e change nappy then give him a minute or so and then repeat. Keep things light and positive as I find mine pick up on stress or upset though I know it can be frustrating.
The thing is though i tell him its time to change his nappy and he runs for the wipes all happy at waits at the stair gate for me then he climbs the stairs to his room fine then i tell him again and he gives me the wipes and goes to get his cream, gives it to me then i lie him down to change him and he goes mental!
His communication is so/so... he can say dada, daddy, ball, bye, doggie ('doddie' to him haha) and GG (reference to his great gran). If you put photos infront of him and tell him to point at someone he gets it right, understands everthing we say and his hearing etc is fine, his eye sight is great aside from an intermittent divergent squint in left eye (which is slowly straightening out). He prefers to use his own sign language to communicate with us and speaks when he feels like it!
Were concerned about a few things with autism which fllowing an m-chat result showed he was at risk but its also things i would just class as developmental and typical :/ its all so confusing. His tempers are often when hes being clingy and i need to do something i.e. make lunch etc. Or he has to come out the bath- he is a water baby, if theres a puddle he MUST go sit in it and splash 😂. Or if he gets frustrated with a toy and he throws it and hits anything and everything in his way.
I tried ignoring it for a while waiting until he had calmed down and i played with another toy and waited for him to join me calmly and praised him for joining me and calming down but that quickly stopped working, ive tried his bed as a cool down area, ive tried taking the item away for 5 minutes then giving it back and crouching to his level and telling him that "if its not fun to play with then we play with something else for a while and try and build the tower again when we feel ready" type stuff but it just leads to pain on my behalf.
Obv behaviour like this does need to be taught that its not nice but unsure of any other methods that doesnt necessarily seem gentle if that makes sense
You don't need to teach him that the behaviour is not nice. All you need to teach him is that it doesn't perform a function for him. Make sure that you never allow yourself to be pushed into allowing something or changing your mind just to stop or prevent a meltdown/tantrum.
TBH true meltdowns aren't about behaviour. They are about a loss of control. That loss of control can happen when you say no or take something away but that was just the final trigger. You just need to teach him that you will be there to support him and make sure he is safe but your decisions won't change because he is kicking off.
If he every realises that screaming more, hitting harder, throwing things etc is the way to get you to change your mind, you life will have a much harder job on your hands.
You can also help by labelling his emotions for him and describing your own emotions to him. "I can see that you're feeling very angry. I will wait here until you are feeling calmer." or "I know you are disappointed that you can't do xxx but it is time to go home now."
A lot of that is very normal I'd have thought. You seem really stressed and understandably so and he can probably sense that. He's got to feel that you've got this when he's out of control, he needs you as the calm, steady one he can rely on. I would forget sanctions as such but would certainly remove a thrown toy and offer a soft ball or redirect altogether. 'I won't let you hit' etc, calmly and unbothered because you're in charge. So important to empathise with him- I find if I just say to my 20mo 'I can see you wanted the car', he visibly and physically relaxes-sometimes into teard- but he knows he's understood and it passes much quicker than if I had tried to distract. Don't be afraid of his tears or tsntrums- this is his only way, imagine them as the equivalent of a good cry or rant when you're stressed and let him let it all out while you wait calmly. Good luck.
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