Monday, April 06, 2009
As seems to be the norm with two very active pre-school age children in the house, fights frequently take place.
Actually, the majority of the feuds here are due mainly to Maya's being a very bossy big sister. The fact she is a tad jealous of her little brother also figures into this too, I'm sure.
Anyway, it is inevitable that no matter what toy it is that Kurtis reaches for, Maya wants it and she wants it then and there. NOW! Share? Not part of her vocabulary most of the time.
She either just moves over and grabs whatever it is Kurtis has and in her way of thinking, that is it. It's all over and done with but the shouting. And that shouting -no, make that screaming and screeching - begins as soon as she touches his hand because he knows what's going on and that Maya is taking his prized possession from him!
Then with his screaming, comes reprimands from whatever adult happens to be present -me, Mom, Dad. Usually takes a couple shout-outs to Maya to tell her to stop taking whatever she has snatched from him. Which then is followed by more screaming and shrieking on her part because she has now been so horribly wronged by those evil "peoples" -as she often refers to us, the adults in the house.
Tonight was no different. Kurtis had his little hand on what Maya calls "the little peoples" -those tiny characters that fit into her doll house or other toys along those lines -cars, games, etc. The fact she was engrossed initially in something totally different is of no consequence. She saw he had one of those tiny doll figures and she had to have it so along with grabbing it from him, she added a bit of insult to injury by giving him a smack too upside his arm.
The upshot of that was she was told to go to timeout -right then and there. (Timeout means she is to sit on the bottom step at the landing of the stairs, off the living room.) She refused to obey that command and her dad took her then, kicking and screaming all the way, to the stair step and parked her there. Which brought on more loud noises along the way and after he deposited her too!
While I agree that she has to learn, has to be disciplined about her behavior -not just to her brother but to other children in school or in the general public as well, I don't like to see her put there without also trying to calm her, to try to get her to listen and sometime then, hopefully in the not too distant future, to comprehend the why of the punishment so she will then grasp the reason as to what happens when one does not behave properly.
It took me a good while to get her to simply quiet down for a few seconds so I could talk to her, quietly, and try to explain that no, you don't just grab and take a toy from your brother -or any child -like she had done and also, that you shouldn't hit other children -or hit at adults either in situations like this as well.
It was, needless to say, a long drawn out process. I told her she was in timeout and as such, needed to sit on the step for five minutes. She disagreed with me saying "No, only one minute, Gram!" We discussed the number of minutes that had been assigned for her timeout for well over the five minutes she would have had to serve, had she just gone and sat down quietly in the first place.
A little later, Mandy tried to talk to her, quietly, in the bathroom but Maya told her she didn't want to talk to her but wanted to talk to Gram instead. I was pretty surprised by that request cause frequently I am the one causing her distress at being put in time out. But I went into the bathroom to see what was going on and she came over to me, arms open wide and said she needed to give me a hug.
Now I ask you -who can possible resist that anyway?
Well, the hug was accepted but in doing that, I also reminded her that no matter what, I will always love her but when she isn't a nice little girl -hits her brother, pushes him down, grabs toys from him and won't share, then Gram doesn't always like actions like that.
We keep asking her when she becomes the big bully sister, if she would like it if Kurtis or another child or if one of us were to hit her or kick, or knock her down, would she like that? And she understands that -at least for the moment anyway.
But this is not a problem that is specific to children with autism. It's generally a problem with most all children in that age range. They don't automatically know how to share, how to treat other children and often, their reactions -NT or autistic alike -are to push, shove, kick, hit, even bite.
The thing with autistic children is getting their understanding of why behavior like these is bad, wrong, etc., on a level they can some day comprehend.
And that -the time element -that is required, the repetition needed to explain over and over and over again, that a particular behavior is undesirable -that's the really difficult part.
But I do believe eventually, the comprehension will come and she'll learn to be a little more gentle with her brother. Hopefully that she will also transfer that knowledge over to her dealings with other children she encounters in her school group now and after she enters into kindergarten in the fall and begins her formal educational process.
No, it's not going to be the smoothest road ahead but it's the road we have to take, have to follow through with it if ever there are to be any positive results.