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How do you deal with your child hitting you?

(14 Posts)
runikka Fri 31-Jul-09 14:23:26

Daniel has started hitting us quite hard, many times a day.
To start with, we tried to ignore it and saw it as a sign of wanting attention/communicating (he is non-verbal ASD and almost 5). However, more recently he is starting to hit very hard when upset, frustrated or doesn't get his own way.

It has come to a head today where he has got upset in the car, gone into full tantrum mode and escaped his seat belt and launched an attack on me whilst driving.

I really dont know how to deal with it. He started by hitting us on the arms so we used tap him back on the hands, getting harder to show it wasn't very nice but he got more frustrated and hit harder. We've tried ignoring it but he really hit his little sister and some other children at school. We have tried removing him from the situation but he doesn't connect it with hitting and continues to hit in frustration.

I am 5 months pregnant and just so worried that it is going to get worse and worse. What if he takes his frustations out on the new baby I have already had a few near misses where he has (accidently) kicked me in the stomach during a tantrum.

Any advise would be much appreciated.


Nyrrem Fri 31-Jul-09 15:41:31

Hi runikka

I haven't got much in the way of good advice but didn't want to leave you answered. I had similar problem with my ds (4.7) when I was pregnant, (my dd is now 8m). If his tantrum got to the stage where I knew that I couldn't diffuse it. I would lock myself in the bathroom to stay safe until his temper had passed. That was until he dismantled the bathroom lock... On the bright side it was a stage that passed.


busybeingmum Fri 31-Jul-09 17:09:28

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busybeingmum Fri 31-Jul-09 17:45:18

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SirSupportman Fri 31-Jul-09 17:55:46

Agree with what Busybeingmum has said, particually about not hitting back and saying NO instead of NO HITTING. The stratergy we use at our school is to ensure that they cannot cause harm to anyone else by blocking them and using our SCIP training. This envolves using protective stances and holding them by the fore arms when hitting out. Not sure how someone would go about getting this training though.

In addition to just saying NO, we also say "You need to have kind hands", or kind whatever they are using.

Obviously the best stratergy is to try to avoid the challenging behaviour in the first place, by looking for the triggers and avoiding them.

busybeingmum Fri 31-Jul-09 18:42:49

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PipinJo Fri 31-Jul-09 19:24:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

runikka Fri 31-Jul-09 19:56:00

Many thanks for the replies.

I agree hitting back is not the answer, though we'd never do it to hurt, it is just mimicking a bad habit. I will try the restraint methods suggested. However, sometimes you can just be sitting nicely and he will come up and hit really hard and then laugh. He particularly does this to his little sister, who understandably gets upset and gives the reaction he seeks, making him laugh even more.

I have been looking at getting a crelling harness for travelling but missed the boat to order one today. Have looked on ebay but there is only one for sale at present.

I think his diet is key to this as he suffers really bad bouts of tummy ache which have improved on a gf/cf and yeast free diet. He self-limits though and at home eats very little other than gf toast, bacon and hula hoops (mainly toast). At school he had developed a much better diet including chicken, potato and some vegetables and tends to be much happier on it. We will be going cold turkey, so to speak, on the toast soon in an attempt to get him to eat a more varied diet at home. I guess the hitting out is really going to be an issue during that time and want to deal with it first.

donkeyderby Fri 31-Jul-09 19:58:45

SirSupportman has mentioned Scip training. Unfortunately, this is not available to parents.

I have heard of another control and restraint training - Maybo I think it's called, but I could be wrong. Our LA is investigating changing to this because there is a possibility of parents being allowed to be trained up.

My ds was violent at times towards his baby brother. We had no option but to constantly supervise them and dh and I divvie out the care so we could take one each. Dh went p/t and takes unpaid leave in the hols. Things have improved but they can't be left in the same room for long.

We also went down the hitting back route which was not helpful. Distraction works much better - telling silly stories etc. I also tried tickling him mid-attack, as it seems to render him helpless, but he hates it and it doesn't always deal with his aggression. Make sure you have somewhere safe to put the baby if necessary, e.g. behind a stair gate in a play pen etc.

in the end, you may just need another pair of hands, so Direct Payments/respite may need to be a priority if you can access them

Supportman Fri 31-Jul-09 20:05:14

Didn't know it wasn't avalible to parents, shame as its a good technique to use. BTW gone back to my original name now.

marmoset Fri 31-Jul-09 21:43:44

Hello runikka - lots of good ideas here.

Just adding my experiences in case of use - I'm pretty sure that my ds1's hitting is linked to an inability to communicate as it has surfaced from time to time at different stages of development. Ds1 now pre-teen and quite stroppy with it at times but i think that's hormones!

We have had various attempts at this and for a long time, one key word, discoverd after lots of different attempts -'gentle'- stopped it, when said in a calm, reassuring voice, followed by a cuddle. Now entering teenage stage and trial and error has led to a new set of verbal prompts which starts off with 'do you want a row?' (he answers 'no') and ends with 'say sorry' ('sorry') and another cuddle.

We also have a 9m baby now and Ds1 is actually very sweet with dd but I wouldn't leave them alone because he does cuddle too hard at times so maybe think about some practical ideas like can you fit a play pen in the kitchen when you are cooking until baby gets into high chair, do you think a cabin lock on baby's door would give you some reassurance (up high where ds can't reach) and getting extra help where poss. I also have a baby monitor which detects movement (one of these Angel ones) so that I can be alerted if ds1 picks her up from the cot but he never has.

Basically, you are just toddler proofing the baby but from an older child - I had to do very similar things when my two boys were small as there was only 15m between them.

PipinJo Sat 01-Aug-09 00:05:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

busybeingmum Sat 01-Aug-09 08:45:31

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sickofsocalledexperts Sat 01-Aug-09 17:40:44

Runika, you are in such a tricky situation and I do feel for you but I think that a child who is hitting (anyone, but especially other children or the mother) should be punished. And I don't mean hit, as I don't believe in hitting children, but I do mean that they should learn quickly that this behaviour is totally unacceptable. I think I have probably bored on about this on mumsnet before, but we used to use hairwash to stop my ASd DS (who was then non-verbal) hitting, biting etc. Find something he hates, and it has to be something physically obvious to a non-verbal child, as words don't work, nor does reasoning. Then every single time he hits, use this same punishment, with no words, no eye contact, nothing. The child will quickly work out the cause and effect and may start to edit their own behaviour, which is the only way to control aggression in the end. The punishment could be time out, but that never worked for my son as his autism meant time out or the naughty step was just another place to play alone, which was of course his preference anyway. I think we've gone too far in today's child-centred world at trying to reason with kids: some things, like aggression, are just plain wrong, autism or no autism and the earlier you teach that the better. It may take a couple of weeks, but with my DS he no longer has any aggressive instinct, and since he will quite soon be taller than me, and stronger, that is a very good thing!

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