Autism Aggression; What To Do When Your Child Hits You!
Biting, kicking, and even punching are some of the things that most parents on the spectrum report as common conducts during meltdowns and tantrums.
Today we will analyze, the reasons for aggressive conduct, as well as effective tips to handle them properly!
Why Do ASD Children Hit?
For autistic children, aggressive behavior is a physical way of communicating when they cannot express their feelings in words. If they feel frustrated, upset, hungry or tired, their emotional state has a direct impact on their conduct.
This is why children react aggressively towards their parents or even siblings.
Aggressive behaviors are common and normal during early infancy, especially if your child has communicational challenges. The best way for you, as a parent, to deal with these situations is to understand what your child is going through and offer the support they need to express their emotions properly.
What To Do When Your Child Hits You?
Stay Calm: Although it might sound pretty obvious, the first step is staying calm. When you stay calm it shows your child that you are in control. Which, can represent huge support for him/her during a frustrating moment.
Never Punish/Yell/Spank: Keep in mind that your child’s behavior is not personal. It is not that he/she means to hurt you. If you react with similar behaviors, you will only reinforce the conduct in your child, and somehow he/she will learn that it is okay to express his/her feelings in that way.
Stop The Behavior: Stopping the behavior is the first step to properly managing anger episodes.
Gently grab your child’s arms to stop him from hitting you, and then calmly but firmly mention to him/her “ I see that you are angry but I won’t let you hit me”. A simple statement like this will show your child that you care and validate his/her feelings, but you are setting healthy limits.
Validate his/Her Feelings: Validating your child’s feelings is crucial for his/her connection with you. This way you are letting your child know that even though you don’t approve of his/her conduct, you understand the feeling behind it.
The following phrases will help you validate your child’s emotions while setting boundaries:
- “I know that you were very angry and this is why you hit me. I’m here if you want to talk about it.”
- “I see how upset you are. Let’s talk about this!”
- “Let’s take a moment to calm down and see how you feel.”
Teach Ways To Manage Emotions: After children learn that their feelings are approved, and negative conducts are stopped, they need to learn proper ways to communicate their frustration.
Asking him/her to take a moment to calm down, breathe, and even draw are some proper ways to teach them to handle their emotions in a good way.
You can use the following visuals for your child to help ease the task:
Remember, the best support that you can offer to your child is staying calm when he/she is not. Be patient and you will harvest amazing results!
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Remember, you are not alone!
How to respond in a peaceful and effective way when your child hits you