Biting, hitting/pushing, pinching

Biting, hitting/pushing, pinching

Postby Snowcloud » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:25 am

Hi, Friends
I attended the Start-UP in December 2010, and have been in our Play room with our son for about a month now. My little guy is very sweet, so I'm not quite sure what to do when he bites, squeezes, pinches me (and more recently and more frequently push hitting me - he hits so hard that my body moves). I think the reasons behind these acts is for attention (the push hitting behaviour), sensory, frustration and affection. My husband tells me to pinch him really hard back so that he knows it hurts. I've got bruises and scars - and I don't want to turn off any potential volunteers.
Any suggestions? Has anyone actually tried to pinch their own kid back so that he/she would stop?

Thanks!
Snowcloud
 
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Re: Biting, hitting/pushing, pinching

Postby SusanHumphries » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:25 am

Hello and welcome to the message board

This is such a useful issue to explore and I celebrate you for wanting to find out the most useful way to help your child. The first thing to consider is that your child is doing the best he can with what he knows and that he does not filter the world through the same lenses that you or your husband do. He is dealing with a world that is highly unpredictable and over stimulating to him. The basis of the Son Rise Program is to nourish and inspire your son’s desire to make meaningful social connection. That means we want to model that the people in his life are user friendly, approachable, loving and trust worthy. This message would not be sent to him if you or anyone else were to pinch him back. To pinch him back would send him the message that he was being judged and physically harmed by the person who pinched him which most likely he would have less of an inclination to want to be around that person, withdrawing deeper into himself and further away from others.
When helping your child with a particular challenge consider what your intention is. Hold the intention that it is wonderful that you get to teach him more useful ways to get his needs met in the world and that you get to show him that you are loving and accepting him in his entirety.
We believe that our children will go to hitting, pushing, biting etc. when they are trying to communicate something. Be a happy detective, investigating with loving curiosity how is this serving my boy. What happens before he pinches or bites and what happens after? Was he getting control? Was he exclusive and then interrupted? Are people celebrating and responding to the more useful ways he communicates? Is he seeking a reaction? Not in a malicious way is he seeking a reaction but more in a way that is it exhilarating to see, like an animated cartoon character or a Christmas tree lighting up. Watch people’s reactions when he does this they may raise their voice, their eyes go wide, their skin may change color, they may throw their hands up and smoke might billow out of their ears :lol: . Are you giving him enough space when in you are joining him or playing with him? Are you interrupting his ism? Another thing to consider is he may be experiencing a surge of energy that he needs to get out of his sensory system. You mentioned that he does this to display affection, model more useful ways to play, offer squeezes, tickles, and hugs.
Once you have a better understanding of what may be triggering your son to express himself in this way you can adjust yourself or the environment to set your son up for success. He is using this behavior because it serves him in some way. He is smart and a master at taking care of himself.
Now you have your intention and you are more in tune of what is happening before and after, let’s review what you can do when your son is using this behavior. The first thing is to do your best to hold a place of being calm and loving on the inside. On the outside you will have a reaction and expression of dull and flat. Remember, what we give reactions to will grow that behavior in our children. In a regular calm voice explain to your child that you do not understand what he wants when he hits and that he can show you or tell you. You do not have to be a punching or pinching bag! Take care of yourself. Offer your child an alternative. Tell him when you bite and hit it does not feel good on your body and that you are going to take care of yourself. When you see him coming to bite offer something other than your flesh, like a chew toy. When he is hitting place something between the two of you. We will use the big yoga ball and place in between us. If he pinches a lot you can tape your skin. The entire time you are dull not raising your voice. The point is to not give a big reaction to this.
There are times when the children we work with will get to us and bite us. In these times we will in a very gentle way push into the bite and when the child releases then we move away so that we are not accessible. When you are calm your body is relaxed and the bite does not hurt as much. Remember he is doing the best he can with what he knows.
Be clear with your child if you see that he is using it to get something you are setting a boundary on. For example, if he is trying to get a cookie and you only are allowing him one cookie a day then you have to be clear that biting and pushing is not the way to get what he wants. Here you will have to stand your ground and really get behind your boundary by following through and believing you are strong and that this is the best thing for your boy. This means that he does not get the cookie and you are with him, lovingly letting him know that no matter how much he bites and hits he will not get the cookie.
When your child is gentle with you that is what you react to with a celebration. You are guiding your child in your celebrations, explanations, and what you model to him in your own behavior. Have fun.
I suggest that you write back and let us know when your child tends to use this behavior. That way we can give you more specific techniques. We suggest for you , your husband and your perspective volunteers to watch William Hogan’s webinar on aggressive behavior
http://www.autismtreatmentcenter.org/contents/other_sections/autism-aggressive-behaviors.php

With loving and joyful support,

Susan Humphries
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Re: Biting, hitting/pushing, pinching

Postby Snowcloud » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:44 pm

Thank you so much for your response, Susan. Both my husband and I watched the video where William discussed aggressive behaviours. At first my husband seemed a little doubtful, but after discussing our plan of action, we agreed on a strategy that did not involve "punishment." We understand that he is doing the best that he can with what he has so far. I believe as he learns better ways of communicating or expressing himself that aggressive behaviours will diminish. We had three major problems to deal with: his younger sister, me and him in playroom and him with others outside of playroom.

So, on Monday we decided we would make a special space for our daughter so to separate the children. She seems to cry and tell him "no", so in response he pushes or throws her since he doesn't yet talk. She seems paranoid every time he passes by and immediately falls to the ground "no! don't hit me!" This strategy seems to work so-so. Our son can actually see her over the gate that we've used to separate them, and he communicates to me by taking my hand and saying "I want" (approximation) to the gate. He will still hit/push her when I'm holding her or if she's around me. It's tricky trying to fix supper with one screaming paranoid child and another that wants to attack. I try explaining to my daughter (she's 3) that the more she screams, the more likely her brother would attack her. I want the two to be best friends. How could I help them in being gentle and friendly to each other?

As for me in the playroom, we have decided that neither my husband or myself will have roughhousing with him anymore. We will model gentleness all the time. We will not retaliate. Instead, we will redirect. Our reaction will be a neutral as possible. We will protect ourselves with distance. We will make a note of what happens before and after the aggressive behaviour so that we might be able to find out what his motivation is for behaving in such a way. I will pick up my child only when necessary; so will not let him "ride" on me - he loves pinching my throat when he is close and when my hands cannot protect myself.

In the last couple of days, I've noticed myself having to hold by from gritting my teeth together when squeezing his fingers, toes, etc. - I'm realizing how much I used to clench my jaw together when lightly squeezing him or pinching him for fun. I think that he's picked up on the gentle message, although he seemed to want to grab my throat more after I modeled "gentle" by stroking his throat.

Our Little guy also pushed a couple of kids and one teacher at our daughter's school. I'm not sure what to do but just explaining that he just wants to get attention, and he's not being mean. What other things could I do?

Thanks so much for the advice. I am excited that our program is taking off, and that issues are being addressed with love. Have a wonderful day!
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Re: Biting, hitting/pushing, pinching

Postby SusanHumphries » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:05 am

Dear Snowcloud,
I celebrate you and your husband for taking the time to grow yourselves to help your son. In our quest to help our children grow we must also look at ourselves with a willingness and excitement to change ourselves. I suggest that you and your partner read Happiness is a Choice and Power Dialogues as a way to really grow your selves in embracing a more comfortable attitude when dealing with your family dynamics and you own internal discomfort.

The answer to many of your questions is having your son in the playroom. In the playroom your boy will experience more control, a place where he is celebrated, loved and a far more digestible environment in regards to his sensory experience of the world. When our children push and hit they are seeking some kind of control. They may want a reaction, they feel overwhelmed and are in “fight or flight mode,” they may want space from those who are unpredictable, as many 3 year olds are as well as uncomfortable adults. The more time your son gets in the room the more he can relax in his environment the more he can socially connect. I love your sentiment of wanting your son and daughter to be best friends. For now, focus on getting him in the playroom where you can help him learn more useful ways to communicate his wants and not wants. The more control he gets the more he will be able to deal with his external environment. School is another environment where he does not get much control. As you are getting started I recommend that you definitely do some room time with your son directly after school. Many people start with a part time program 2- 3 hours after school and 6 hours on Saturday and Sunday. The other thing we have heard parents try is setting up the room with a simple video baby monitor and sound and allowing him to play in their separated from his little sister while you prepare a meal. You would monitor all that he is doing on the video and by listening while you cook. The room would have to be set up where you would feel absolutely confident he is safe. For example, he could not climb up the on shelves, windows are secure, etc. Of course you would want to leave him with his favorite ism toys. Ideally you would want you would want someone who supports the Son Rise principles in the playroom with your son whenever you need to tend to daily chores. Do you have volunteers or can your husband have a session during the time you are prepping dinner?

I think it would be so valuable for you to get further direction by looking into the variety of support services we offer [url]http://www.autismtreatmentcenter.org/contents/programs_and_services/continuing_support_services.php
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:D
With supportive and fun thoughts,
Susan Humphries
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Re: Biting, hitting/pushing, pinching

Postby Snowcloud » Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:22 pm

Thank you again for your thoughts, Susan.

Happiness and any other way of being is indeed a choice. I support this belief from the literature I read and the lectures I listen to. As for my husband, I believe he's also doing the best that he can. Can you recommend something similar to the Power Dialogues that may be at the local library? I found the book extremely heavy and long as well as costly so I did not purchase it when I was at Option.

I spend 4 hours a day with our Little Guy inside the playroom, from 9:30 to 11:30, then we break for lunch. We go back in the room again at 1:30 until 3:30 at which time I have to pick up my daughter from school (I removed my son completely from school after I returned back from the Start-Up in December 2010). It's after this time, between 4PM and whenever my husband returns (and lately it's been after the kids bedtime) that my attention is divided. I don't think that I should lock my daughter out of the playroom after school to spend time with our little guy.

In past experience, my daughter would just cry incessantly to see that her brother is having fun with a parent (this is when my husband is in the room with our little guy, and I'm trying to occupy her, but she wants to be in on the fun). Besides, I also think my daughter needs to feel love and attention too.

We do not have any volunteers yet, but I'm hopeful that the time will be right when one comes about. Although finances are strained right now, I hope that I'll be able to receive some feedback from your support services soon. The idea of locking my son in the playroom while I cook with my daughter also seems to be a reasonable idea that I will try (we have a wireless webcam so I can monitor him). The idea of spending time with him directly after school in his room and locking my 3 year old out sounds trickier - besides we would still need to get dinner ready to eat.

Sending you warm and cheerful vibes,
Snowcloud
 
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Re: Biting, hitting/pushing, pinching

Postby SusanHumphries » Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:44 pm

Snowcloud

I hope you had a wonderful weekend with your family. I just wanted to emphasize that I am not suggesting you lock your son in the room. ;) I want that to be very clear for our other friends who may be reading our posts. I was suggesting this could be a place he could play where his sister was not in direct site. In further thought if he comes out and wonders around then the focus will have to be on keeping them separated. I read that you had a gate up, which is useful. I think you may need to at least separate them visually and place more of a barrier between them. For example, slide a table over to the gate and lay down some chairs, while you are cooking. Your children may still cry but over time if your son is not getting access to her to get a reaction and then your daughter can relax into playing on her own when you are cooking. I strongly encourage you to get volunteers for this time slot. Volunteers are an incredible support piece so take time to recruit them. There is guidance on this in your Start Up manual and post that you are interested on our Message Board.
If you do not find the literature in your local library and cannot afford to buy directly from us at this time then I recommend buying used copies online.
Have a great time and let us know how it goes.
With warm and fun thoughts,
Susan Humphries
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Re: Biting, hitting/pushing, pinching

Postby Andra » Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:16 pm

I have two boys, 6.5yrs-old and 5 yrs-old. My youngest was diagnosed with ASD at 3 yers old and he has a severe speech delay. Their interaction is good and normal I would say. They have those moments like the ones you describe - fighting each other, being too much one for each other - but they also have tender moments when they kiss, hug, care for each other. I suggestion for you is to cultivate those moments when your kids are getting along together. Speculate and create opportunities for them to get along. If their relationsship is dominated by fighting and gelosy, then they will not learn to tolerate eachother. But if they have fun moments together enough times, they will learn the positives of having a sibling.
My yougest son was always gelous of his brother when I was showing affection to his older sibling. And my older son was always gelous of his little brother when I was playing in a fun way with his younger brother. I am not hiding from the little one when showing afection to the older one and vice versa, I am not hiding from my older son when playing with my younger son. But I don't do it ostentatively, neither. But I always give them turns: when I play with the little one in a fun, tickeling way and my older son comes to me and asks me to do the same thing to him, I invite him to join in and I tickle both of them and make htem feel like a team, not like competitors to my attention / afection. In the same way if I have an afectionate moment with my older son and the little one comes and try to push his brother away and try to get in between me and my older son, I encourage him to join in and to hug each other. Every time one of them is doing something bad to the other, I encourage them to go and say sorry or appology (the little one, because he can't talk too much, I encourage him to express his sorry in a physical way by hugging and kissing his brother).
You have to create more and more happy moments between them so they can experience the good / fun / blessing side of having a sibling. You can't eliminate completely the not so pleasent moments, but if you mentain a balance between those moments and the positive moments they will learn to better tolerate each other.
If you tend to separate them too much, then they will have less opportunities to interact and know eachother.
It's good to have one-on-one moments with each of your kids but you also have to have the group moments (15-30 min. a day of doing something together, even just having fun tickeling each other, or dancing together, or jumping) and you, as a parent, can control how they interact with each other during that time.
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