Son’s behaviour towards younger brother

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Calgacus1
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12 Feb 2021, 2:08 pm

Hi,

So I was hoping that maybe some of you all might have some advice or tips. Our son is 11 years old, has aspergers. He has a younger brother just turned 7. Now a lot of the time he can be very kind and nice towards his younger brother, but we do see a fair amount of rough behaviour (bordering on the quite violent) and also a fair amount of manipulation. We’ve tried talking to him about his behaviour, setting strict rules, and doing our best to keep them apart, but nothing really seems to work.

Does anyone have any experience or ideas that might help with this?



Ettina
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13 Feb 2021, 6:21 am

Can you give more details on the specifics of the behaviour you're concerned about? Maybe give an example?



Calgacus1
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13 Feb 2021, 7:17 am

Ettina wrote:
Can you give more details on the specifics of the behaviour you're concerned about? Maybe give an example?


Well, for example, when we’re not right with them, there are often issues, like we’ve heard our younger son screaming and gone out and found our older son hurting him. When asked why, he’ll say it’s because he is trying to get his brother to do something, or to be quiet, or something like that. He also tries to quietly pressure his brother into doing what he wants, badgering him and threatening/negotiating to get his own way on things.

Obviously some of it is standard sibling behaviour, but there’s an extra element of roughness that is concerning. We talk with him a lot about being kind and about giving his brother personal space and so on, but often it seems that all we have to do is turn away and it happens again.



Juliette
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20 Feb 2021, 7:34 pm

Hi and welcome, Calgacus :). This is not at all uncommon.

Before you can work on skills with any child, the most important factor is establishing control. Any child who asserts power over his mother/teacher will simply continue to do so unless checked to the child’s detriment. The best and most affective teaching/management strategies in the world can be applied but be next to useless without a firm but kind role model in charge of working with the child, be that at home or in the school environment. Parents/teachers must be in charge of the boundaries of their child’s life while allowing children discretion to self manage within the boundaries.

Praise your 11 year old’s behaviour when he is behaving well, just as you would do for your 7 year old. Routine that can be relied upon by your children will in itself encourage good behaviour as children thrive on it. It’s part of feeling safe and secure. Autistic children will test that you mean what you say, so its important that your patterns of responding remain calm and consistent. If your 11 year old son is exerting control(pecking order control is common in children) this will continue unless checked.

The aim is to direct your 11 year old back to what he should be doing. There are certain management rules of thumb. Without raising your voice, maintain control and should his behaviour escalate, gently but firmly direct him until he does as expected. Should he need to go to his room due to loss of control, provide him with ways of letting off steam eg a punching bag, screaming into a pillow, a calming teepee with books inside(provided these aren’t likely to be torn in anger).

If your patterns of response make it clear to your eldest son that this behaviour toward his younger brother is unacceptable, and won’t be tolerated or allowed to go unchecked, he will learn over time, how to behave in a socially acceptable manner. Self control can be taught.



timf
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22 Feb 2021, 10:03 am

Asperger children can be cruel to siblings especially the older to the younger. Some of the extends from seeing others and what they do as something to be directed or controlled. They eventually grow out of this but in the mean time it can be helpful to have a response plan and stick to it.

We would investigate a situations by interrogation;

"Did you hit your sister?"
"Yes"
"Were you supposed to hit you sister?"
"No"
"What should you have done instead of hitting your sister?"
"Said, Help Please Moma".

This repetitive template helps establish what is expected. This is reinforced with a choice of consequence. We offered our children a choice between three swats on the back of the hand with a paint stirrer piece of wood or sitting on a chair facing the wall for five minutes. They always chose the the swats because it was dispensed with faster.

Many people come unglued at the mention of a physical consequence. However, it is the job of the parent to use external discipline with the child until the child has developed the ability to have internal discipline.