Do your kids hurt each other?

      10 Comments on Do your kids hurt each other?

Elliott and Emmett got into another fight this morning. Elliott got shoved and was coming downstairs to get help.  Emmett was afraid and was doing everything he could to stop Elliott from telling me what happened, including putting his hands around Elliott’s throat. 

When Elliott got downstairs, Emmett ran down the steps, completely freaking out and punching himself in the face. 

I know kids will be kids but this doesn’t feel right to me and I’m concerned. 

Elliott’s fine but Emmett bent his glasses by hitting himself in the face and that scares me. 



I don’t know how to pull everyone out of this and into a better place. Everyone is beyond stressed out and life doesn’t seem to want to cut us any slack or take a break from the constant onslaught of crap it keeps heaving our way.

After talking to both Emmett and Elliott about what happened, I still don’t know what really triggered this event. 

Perhaps they are both overstimulated from Easter already? Maybe they are upset because Gavin’s not here? Most likely, it’s a combination of many things most of which are outside of our ability to control.

Do your kids ever lash out at each other? How do you handle it?

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  • NicoleTozier says:

    I don’t have kids of my own yet, but I do work as a nanny, and while I have not yet discovered the perfect solution, I know what it’s like to have two or more warring children. Now, none of my three have autism, but the two I have the most trouble with are the boys(4 yrs & 6 yrs). I swear, they cannot be in the same room together without fighting, and when something happens, it’s surreal. Like watching some scene out of a movie, with someone’s out-of-control kids, and you wonder how it got that bad? What bad parenting could lead to behaviour like that? Except, they’re not someone else’s, they’re yours, and it’s not a movie, it’s your life, and, of course, there’s that overall lack of control. Our latest incident was with the 4 yr old, B, throwing a plastic bag at the 6 yr old, J. So J rolls over, pins his brother to the couch, and just starts punching him as hard and as fast as he can. I couldn’t run over there fast enough. And then J decides that what he did was justified, and he’s going to scream and cry hysterically because he is in trouble when, in his eyes, it’s B who should be getting punished. There was another one a couple of months ago where I took B and J to the park, and B decided that this other little kid was in his way, so he was going to move him. He did so by punching the kid in the throat. Now, I don’t know that B intentionally went for the throat, I wasn’t looking at the time, engrossed in a conversation with J, so maybe he was just being his normal, antagonistic self, but either way, it was completely the wrong reaction, and I felt so bad for the other little guy. MY little guy, on the other hand, well, I was feeling somewhat less than sympathetic towards him. I’m quick to resort to a punishment, whatever I feel the situation calls for, but so far, it hasn’t done a lot to curb any one of their tempers. I don’t understand why I am having such a hard time communicating to them that violence is wrong. :/

  • GKMooreBanks says:

    tarasview reality_autism My, my – I think all brothers and sisters and sisters and sisters and brothers and brothers do at some time.

  • rmagliozzi says:

    yes. Oldest almost kicked the youngest in the face over toys at the haircutting place the other day. I honestly completely seperate them for a full 24 hrs when this happens, though thank God the little one will fight back. Self injury is thankfully not something they do, at last not yet.

  • BRRBTR says:

    Rob,
    Our daughter hits, spits and bites when she is unable to figure out how to show her emotions (or something!?). It IS very frustrating for us, knowing that something is wrong, but being unable to know what it is due to her inability to express herself. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for HER, to know she feels something inside, but not to have a way to let others know – short of hitting and biting. Sometimes it’s even when she’s overwhelmed with happiness! Sometimes it’s when she is sad or mad. Other times – well, we have no clue. 
    I’m not sure where she learned this behavior – except that it started after she was in elementary school. She’s 25 now (so we’ve been at this a while) and we still don’t have much of an answer. There will be months and months where she is the absolute happiest “kid” you ever saw. Then, for some unknown (to us!) reason, that all goes out the window and she seems to have a hair-trigger on her outbursts. We are kind of in one of those times right now. I can feel for you – not knowing the triggers – not being able to prevent it – not really being able to stop it – only able to (or attempting to) deal with the aftermath! Sucks.
    Sometimes we can see it coming – she gets a look in her eyes. Sometimes we can redirect her – most times, not so much. Other times it comes on so quickly and it’s so bad that we are afraid she will hurt herself, one of her PCA’s or one of us (she’s pretty strong), so I have to attempt to reason with her and if absolutely necessary, restrain her. It’s one of the hardest things I have to do. How can our sweet angel (90+% of the time) have this inside of her? I guess it’s just that she can’t get it out in small doses and it builds up to a point where it has to come out. And then, boy does it! It is absolutely draining, physically and emotionally for us – and usually for her, too.
    Thankfully, she usually does feel remorse afterwards and is apologizing on her own, more so now than in the past. Sometimes we have to talk with her about it before she will apologize. Sometimes, we just have to leave it alone, knowing from her actions that she is sorry but that she can’t really express it. We don’t want to get her emotions all messed up again by dwelling on it – and the causing a repeat meltdown.
    When these times happen, I try to remember that she’s not “bad” or mean, she’s not evil, she’s not ever really in control of what she’s doing. That doesn’t make it acceptable or even understandable. I have to realize and accept that it’s not very likely that I can “fix” it, either. I pray that God will give her that peace that exceeds our understanding (Philippians 4:7). That passage really takes on new meaning when you have a loved one with an emotional, cognitive or communication disorder. We can’t understand the turmoil within them, nor the peace that God can give them – but we can see the direct evidence of both. Prayer also give us a quiet time for God to speak His peace into OUR lives and to give us a bit more strength and wisdom for dealing with those meltdowns.
    There aren’t any easy answers.
    There may not even be answers.
    But, there’s always faith, hope and love.
    With these three things and God’s help, ANYTHING is possible.
    I pray that God will grant you an abundance of all of these and that His peace will fill your home and your lives!

    • lostandtired says:

      BRRBTR thank you very, very much 🙂

    • rmagliozzi says:

      BRRBTR  I would look into PANDAS and also lyme disease for your daughter. My autistic son is 9 and has both, and would go through these crazy cycles like that. He’d be great, and then regress and it would be sheer hell. Very aggressive behavior as well. Autistic kids with lyme or PANDAS are the ones who regress in cycles like this, typically.

  • hudginsvicky says:

    Rob, children fight. And just like anyone else, when tensions are high, or there’s a lot of excitement in the air, they may get on each other’s nerves and lash out. Boys especially are programmed to be physically aggressive. If you lived on a farm and they had acres of land on which to run and play, that might minimize it, but you don’t.  If you had chores they could do to wear themselves out, they might be happy to sit and quietly read a book, but maybe you don’t. So they have a lot of stored up energy. They also probably get sick of each other from time to time. 
    Secondly, try to forget society’s need to make everything “nice” and appropriate. Children don’t understand those rules, and even if they did, they don’t care. They’re just acting like normal kids, to a degree. That said, I do agree that Emmett’s response of hitting himself is outside the realm of normal. I think you have to carefully separate what is “normal” and what isn’t. Talk to your therapist, of course, but meanwhile I would ask Emmett why he’s doing that. Maybe he’s hitting himself because he’s frustrated, or because he knows he did something wrong, or because he can’t hit his brother in the face and he’s mad. Or because he saw Gavin do it, and kids mimic each other.
    My son used to pound his head on the pavement. It scared me to death. Eventually he stopped and there are no residual effects.
    It seems to me that everyone in your family is angry, sad, frustrated, scared, and about to come apart. Perhaps you need to clear out a room and set up some kid size punching bags. We did that for my son and it really helped with his anger. He also had a small trampoline in the house that he used to bounce on for hours. As he grew older we got a bigger punching bag and put it on the patio. After a while he didn’t need it anymore.
    I know you know this already, but children need to know that it’s okay to be angry and there are healthy, physical ways to express their anger. At this point they are probably both too young to really express everything they’re feeling. They don’t even know what they’re feeling!  
    Rob, I think the boys might be reacting to your own worry and stress over Gavin, as well as all the other burdens you are carrying. You have frequently shared your guilt and grief over the situation with Gavin, your concern over your wife, your financial worries, etc.  Rob, you need help before you snap. Children are excellent barometers of their parents’ mental health. Remember that if you’re going down in an airplane, you need to put your own oxygen mask on first.

    • America1 says:

      hudginsvicky I couldn’t agree with you more!
      Kids are incredibly perceptive, and when mom and dad are stressed they totally absorb everything going on around them.
      If all the stress and medical maladies could be compartmentalized, I’d bet you would see a marked change in behavior.

    • lostandtired says:

      hudginsvicky you make a very valid point. I have some in things in the works that will hopefully make a difference. I’ll be able to share more over the next few days. 🙂