How do you guys deal with agression? — The Bump
Special Needs

How do you guys deal with agression?

Hi ladies -

 I know a few of you have been through this. DS gets very aggressive. Many things cause it: we have to stop an activity, light too bright, sounds too loud, I am too close. But he hits me in the face or claws me.

He broke my nose twice this year by head butting me. I broke my front teeth when he threw a metal toy truck in my face. I have scars on my face from him scratching me and he even scratched my cornea once.

I tried this:

-Hand over hand prompt to gently touch me

-Saying NO firmly

-Timeout

-Sessation of activity (which lead to a lot of behaviors to avoid a task)

-Crying (I know, why would I think he cares?)

-Stomping his feet and saying MAD when he is frustrated

Some of them work, but as I sit in my office with a fresh scratch on my nose, I wonder if there is a better answer to this.

TIA!!

Re: How do you guys deal with agression?

  • I can't remember how old your DS is.  Can you remind me because my answer varies a lot depending on age?  Also, what are his communication skills like?  Are we talking about wild flailing or intentionally coming at you?

    With both of my guys I've had a lot of injuries (scratching, bloody lips from headbutts, sprained ankle, etc).  I'm 5'2" and around 115lbs.  Both of my guys were over 3' at 2yo and weighed 30+lbs and are insanely strong.  Its not a good match.  With DS#1 he would have tantrums over basically everything, although I didn't know at the time what the deal was.  In short, I learned to anticipate every little trigger and circumvented most this way although I was not in a good place emotionally.  With DS#2 he had a lot of motor planning issues that caused him to be very clumsy and uncoordinated and I sustained a lot of injuries this way.  It sucks, is exhausting, and made me sad, angry, and feeling pretty helpless.

    I'm not proud to say I've done everything on your list plus yelling and I've even hit back (it was a instant reaction - not a planned discipline strategy that I apologized over.  Sad day in our house )  A lot of it has improved with age.  With DS#1 I never have any problems with this now that his communication skills and impulse control have caught up some with his giant body.  I use some of the methods from the book that Auntie recommended now (this wasn't practical for us until around 4) and just talking to him and our tantrums are generally quite rare and nothing physical.  I had a bad day a couple of weeks ago and was crying and he came and hugged me and gave me a kiss and told me "its all better now", so some day he might care.  Keep the faith.

     With DS#2 I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  His tantrum related outburst are better now that he can communicate more (he was totally non-verbal at 2 and now has hundreds of words and is doing short sentences).  In general I don't engage with him when he's like this as long as he's safe, primarily because it doesn't usually help anything if anything it tends to drag out the tantrum.  If I think he needs deep pressure I will use pillows like body armor and do it that way until he's calm enough for some big hugs. 

    If we are in public and I have to get him out of somewhere, I generally carry him like a log under my arm.  Its the fastest way to get him out of somewhere and he can't really kick or head butt me that way.  He's got some sensory stuff going on right now with loud sounds and I've taken to carrying his earphone things with me all of the time, just in case, although I try not to use them.  Again, I know most of his triggers now so I'm just very careful about controlling them and making sure I'm not pushing too many buttons at once.  He's also more likely to hit just to hurt and we generally use time out for that with varying degrees of success.

  • Thanks Auntie. Since he is the first baby I have ever had or even been around, it is hard for me to tell if it is aggression or impulsivity. DS is 2 yrs 4 mo. so immature for sure. Thank you for teh links and the book,

    I hear you on the future and I am scared. Not sure how I feel about meds at this point though - maybe when (and if) he ever goes to school?

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  • Thank you Bugmommy!! DS is 6 month younger than you DS#2 :) So yes, still young.....And he is big and strong too!

    He is functionally ecolalic, can most of the time tell you what he wants (if asked)and he definitely knows what he is doing. Usually I get this deer-in-headlights look and then he hits me. Most of the time he makes excellent eye contact before he lashes out, so I am thinking this is him taking out his frustration. If I am not right in front of him, he will throw something. He is sometimes too rough when we play too, and I do not reprimand for that. And with 35 pounds of solid baby, if he throws himself at me, I am in trouble :)

    Earphones I have not tried yet, what kind are you using? Also - thank you for giving me hope!

  • Finally, he only does this to me. He bit one therapist a few months ago but that was it. He would throw things, but never at them , and he never claws them or hits them. He sees 6 different therapists weekly.
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