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Aggression Towards Younger Sibling
  • My eldest is 6.5 and going through the diagnosis process. Our main struggle at the moment is aggression towards us but mainly his younger sister who is 3.5. He wants to play with her but has to control all aspects of the play: what toy she and he have, how long they have the toy for, what Ella says, what her toy/doll etc does and Ella gets incredibly frustrated but if she doesn't go along with what he says he slaps, punches her, squeezes her head or face, spits etc. I can't keep them apart as Ella doesn't understand and wants to play with her brother but I've no idea how to handle this situation. I've tried talking with Dylan afterwards, I made a calm down box, distraction but once he starts nothing will stop him spitting at me or hitting out at me if I try to talk to him or tell him off for his behaviour. It's making family life miserable for us all and usually leads to full on meltdown as the more we try to explain why it's wrong or get him to stop the more wound up he gets.
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 907
    Hi Welshgirl21, I'm sorry to hear that the situation is still difficult for you.

    You may find that when you start to notice that your son's behaviour is changing towards his sibling the best thing is to either try and distract your son onto something different, perhaps introduce his calm box, and/or remove your daughter to ensure that she is safe if things don't then change.

    When a panic attack starts it can be all consuming and actually the more we try to talk to our children to calm them down, the worse it can become. Personally we've found the best tactic is to say very little, and to just offer the odd reassuring word. Our daughter likes to hide in a stretchy tunnel to help her calm down, so when I've judged that the peak of the incident has passed I often just pass her the tunnel or leave it nearby without saying anything. We never talk about what has happened until I'm 100% certain that we are back at the bottom of the curve in a calm moment and sometimes this can be the next day.

    I've included a couple of links here which I hope you may find helpful moving forward:
    meltdowns - https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/families/managing-meltdowns
    siblings - https://www.pdasociety.org.uk/families/siblings

    I hope this helps you but please do keep posting so we can continue to offer you support.
  • webbwebb
    Posts: 2,448
    Hi just wanted to add a couple of things but first a short story - There was once a young lady who couldn't wait to have children. She dreamed of playing with her children in their home, out at the park and taking them to toddler groups.
    She had run Creche's, toddler groups, play schemes and Cared for 3 Downs Adults as a carer. Having her own children would be wonderful.
    Life is not a dream, sometimes life is not what we imagine it will be.


    She had 3 children all of whom were on the Autistic Spectrum. One of whom had several heart defects and had open hear surgery at 5 mths.


    She tried to play with the children all together on the lounge floor with all their toys but it didn't last 2 mins before they were all crying, hitting and biting each other!

    They tried to go to the park but none of them had a sense of danger and would get hit by the swings or fall off the roundabout.

    They tried to go to Mums and Toddler groups but all 3 found it too noisey, too crowded and they began to cry.

    This lady was me and my lovely but autistic children.
    I had to find a way to help them to play and be happy (and not injure or kill each other)

    For me it was about changing our home to create play spaces around our home ie the kitchen became the Playdough or painting space, we got rid of the dinning table so that the dinning room became a soft play space and the lounge, well they are always places to play :)

    When 2 or more of the children were in one room, I was there! And like Rhan says, it is about spending time with them on the floor and understanding what their triggers are that sparks their frustration/aggression.

    My chores were done when their dad was at home to supervise them or when they were in bed.

    One of my son's had his own toy boxes - Grey Ones that no one was allowed to play with. They were his toys and only he played with those toys.
    Our children didn't spend lots of time all together as in the evenings or weekends we would split up ie Dad would take one child and I would take 2 or visa versa

    When your children are both at school it will be easier but for now it is about finding a way to keep your children safe and emotionally healthy.
    Your daughter may need you to keep her closer to you (maybe in the kitchen) whilst your son plays with his toys. He has had to share all day at school and may not be very tolerant with his sister.

    Your son's emotional, social and development skills may be delayed due to his ASD/PDA and may not be the 6.5 you may expect?

    I agree with RhanH that if a child has a Development Disorder/Disability we will not be able to talk them down from a Meltdown and telling them off for some thing they can't understand may only make them more angry.
    It may be best to separate the children, comfort your daughter if needed and talk to your son when he is much calmer. Bathtime was usually a good time in my home.

    Paula
  • June67
    Posts: 598
    Thanks Paula, your story reminded me of how it was for us too; we dreamed of what being a parent would be like. We too tried all the standard things and felt lost as we seemed not to be able to do it. We constantly questioned ourselves and our abilities and lost all confidence but kept on trying, then finally we realised there was nothing wrong with us or our boys; they were just different and needed a different type of parent. Yes we have struggled and grieved for what might have been but what we have is worth every tantrum and meltdown. Having our boys they way they are has challenged us so much but we have developed as parents and people by being in their lives and liberating ourselves from being the same to being just us is the best place to begin. I didn't know I was so strong, flexible and determined until I began to fight for them and work in ways that helped them. Sometimes thinking outside the box is not enough, sometimes you just have to throw the box away and invent something better. We often get it wrong but that shows us we're trying and have chances to learn more, as long as we have kept everyone safe and moved on a tiny bit we are winning. I agree space and resource (toys etc.) management is key to staying sane. As they grow we face new challenges but you know what we are never stuck in a rut as life is always interesting.

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