Slaps and Spats

Both Kit and Joey hurt me on purpose every day, multiple times per day. They each do it in different ways; Joey pinches and chins, which is a term I learned from his behavioral therapist and refers to digging his chin into me, hard, whereas Joey slaps me. Most of the time, I can just get through it—mostly I move away from the kids at those times, tell them that it is not okay to hurt people, and that I don’t want you in my lap if you’re going to hurt me—but sometimes especially slaps in the face really bother me. I don’t hit the kids, and I want only to use time in—but I have put Kit in time out a few times when we were just both at a point where we needed a couple of minutes apart. At those times, I put him in his room and tell him that I’ll be back in two minutes; then I come back and talk to him about how we need to be working together better than we are, and here is what I need from you (stop hitting me, quit rooting through the trash, stop shoving Joey, etc.): What do you need from me? And then we go back out together, and mostly things are better after that—at least for awhile.

There have been periods when the kids were less aggressive with me, and I know that there will be more of those in the future; I expect Kit to grow out of using violence with me altogether.

In the meantime, here we are. I’m not enjoying the hurting, but Joey has otherwise pulled out of his rough patch; he’s having a good time and really engaging at school. Kit and I are going on and hosting more play dates, and he is more and more often able to enjoy the company of other kids—although in a group of five or more other kids, he is unhappy. We had a lot of rain over the last few days, which is a rare occurrence in these parts, and both boys have been mesmerized. And I bought the boys matching Easter outfits and can’t wait to dress them up.

I hope all of you out there are getting some spring weather, and keeping well.

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3 thoughts on “Slaps and Spats

  1. (stop hitting me, quit rooting through the trash, stop shoving Joey, etc.):
    Sorry if this sounds simplistic but I’m going to pass on a piece of advice that really helped me. For all toddlers and preschoolers, but especially those with language delays, tend to be unable to process the “don’t” or “stop” part of the instruction. So, you may be saying “stop hitting me” or “stop shoving your brother” but they may be hearing just “hit me” or “shove your brother.” Similarly long sentences like “it is not okay to hurt people, you may not be on my lap if you hurt me” maybe entirely beyond comprehension. It may help to pick some very short two and three word phrases that are a positive instruction such as “gentle pats” and repeat the exact same phrase in the same situation again and again while trying to demonstrate if possible and reinforce when they do it correctly. It is hard but eventually it will sink in.

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