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How do you discipline the sibling (NT) of your autistic child?

(5 Posts)
Eulalia Mon 07-Mar-05 17:23:48

dd who turns 3 next month seems to be running wild. I feel I can't discipline her properly as ds imitates and often hits her if he picks up she is doing something wrong. Sometimes of course she is doing something wrong and other times it could be she is holding her spoon 'wrong' but we all know about that

Anyway I feel that dd should be more sensible. When I see her with her peers at toddler groups she doesn't sit still, climbs all over everything. Her road sense is terrible. She undoes her car seat belt etc etc.

I can't blame autism for everything and I do realise that I've not got the energy to be firm but I do have them both 7 days a week.

I was out at a mother's day meal yesterday with mum and sisters and dd was awful, running around and of course ds just copied her. I feel that she isn't helping him and vice versa. They fight a lot when left together, ds takes her toys etc and hits her. I seem to have zero advantages of 2 siblings, rather it is like a twins both around age 2 but of course one much larger than the other.

We are covering behaviour in the Earlybird course but its much furhter ahead and dh and I had a bit of an argument about ds and his hitting and both of them in general so any advice would be gratefully received.

dinosaur Mon 07-Mar-05 17:38:43

I used to get this with DS1 and DS2 as DS1 was forever correcting DS2 for various perceived rule breaches and joined in all too enthusiastically if we ever told DS2 off about anything.

However I'm not sure I can be much help as DS2 fortunately was quite a compliant little soul when he was younger - he was only one when DS1 was three and a half and at his worst - it's a different story now with DS2 but DS1 has become much more tolerant in his old age.

Would your DD respond to incentives for good behaviour e.g. a sticker for each half-hour period of "good" behaviour and if she gets a certain number that "buys" her a small treat? Or would she understand the pasta jar thing - lots of threads about it? I'm trying to think of something that DS1 could perhaps help you with - maybe with stickers himself for e.g. good listening to you or DD?

Eulalia Tue 08-Mar-05 09:28:34

Thanks dinosaur. Trouble is dd isn't naughty in a deliberate way she is just a bit lively and its hard to pin down. For example I have a friend whose boy is quite obviously naughty - when we go out anywhere for a coffee he will smash things like the cruet set or flower arrangements! At our restaurant on MD the kids didn't even touch the tables just ran along the seats. I think it was to do with the layout more than anything. Also ds is physically the size of a 6 year old and while it may look cute for a toddler to run about it certainly doesn't in him.

At home dd will throw things - she sees ds getting annoyed when his sticklebricks don't fit together and throw them. To really stop her doing it I'd have to get him to stop doing it as well. Impossible! Actually considering she gets very little discipline she's pretty well behaved.

As for ds hitting dd all the time... well I don't know, we'll just have to ride this one out. I know it was really getting to dh and he was quite rough with ds pulling them apart. But sometime it is like that - I have to literally drag ds off her and I can't always be there watchign them as I have to go to the kitchen. ds also seems to get quite upset if she hasn't been 'disciplined' by receiving a hit! dd is also getting more defiant with ds and will deliberately keep on making a noise that he doesn't like. I know he finds her irritating and it will be much easier when she's older and can start to understand autism.

dinosaur Thu 10-Mar-05 12:39:59

I know exactly where you're coming from with the hitting thing, Eulalia. I used to be very well intentioned about not physically pulling DS1 off DS2, but when confronted with yet another biting situation or whatever my urge to protect DS2 (who was very little then) just took over and I ended up dragging DS1 away (because he would never stop if I just asked/told him to).

My two still fight but nowadays it's quite often DS2 who starts things and DS1 doesn't really retaliate any more than you would expect any sibling to, imo. DS2 is nearly as tall as DS1 and weighs nearly as much as him, so he can look after himself really.

I probably have the advantage in having two boys who are closer together in age in that they do play together a lot now (in between fights!).

What behaviour strategies work best with DS1? Woiuld he respond to the pasta jar thingy?

Eulalia Thu 10-Mar-05 16:54:13

Thanks dinosaur. I was at the Earlybird course today and asked about this. They suggested stating to dd alternatives ie rather than saying "don't do X", say "let's do Y instead" so that I don't have to put on a stern voice that ds will pick up on. They did say it was easier said than done but it will make me think about things anyway.

I think ds does know he shouldn't hit dd in many instances. He went through a phase of saying "sorry" but seems to have stopped that. I think maybe because dd is becoming more complex to him - sometimes retailating which is confusing for him. I think he genuinely can't stop himself from hitting her and has done it already before he realises he's done something wrong ifywim. HOwever the school say he is getting better at stopping himself there so I guess it works better with his peers.

Pasta jar I doubt would work - he's not good at relating abstract things like that to behaviour.

Today I ended up giving them both a sweet out of desperation (not something I do often) - they both got red noses and they were wrapped in a little plastic bag. ds for some reason wanted dd's plastic bag as well as his own. No way was I going to let him have it and he just wouldn't let up and dd was getting upset too so out came the distraction. Worked a treat but obviuously not to be used too often.

I was watching that prog on BBC2 last night about badly behaved children and it actually cheered me up. At least with autistic children you don't get any of that premeditated cheeky kind of behaviour. dd looks a total angel compared to them (so far anyway). Felt sorry for the deaf girl though.

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