An hour after Killian got to school yesterday I received a text from his teacher that I needed to come pick him up from the office because he had punched a child in the face.
Mom guilt and embarrassment floods through me. I start thinking: Why does my son have to be so violent? Things were going so well, why has everything gone to shit recently? Why can’t he just listen to me when I have told him repeatedly NOT to hit people and just use his words?!
(Thankfully the other child was not injured and “brushed it off” from what the teacher told me.)
I go in and get Oliver out of bed since I had just laid him down for a nap so we can go pick up my little deviant child.
When I pick him up he begins crying because he does not want to go home, he wants to stay at school. As we walk to the car I ask him why he hit Z in the face and he said simply, “Because he took something from me.”
You see, Killian has a very strong fight instinct. If someone does something that he sees as a threat against him then his knee-jerk reaction is to get that threat away from him as quickly as possible. Normally that results in a shove, hit, or kick depending on how his body is positioned.
I can not even tell you how much breath I have wasted on what seems to be in one ear and out the other talking to him about how he needs to NOT hurt people with his body. If someone does something that you don’t like, you need to tell them to stop and if they don’t listen then find a grown up. Unfortunately, Oliver takes most of his hits since he is 1.5 years old and lives with him. Killian just doesn’t seem to get that violence is not an appropriate response.
Now, I am NOT justifying or saying that what he did was OK. But, looking at it from my 4 year old’s eyes, it makes sense that he punched the kid. I mean, I get pissed when people take things from me. However, my brain is not only much older that his, but it is hard wired differently than his.
Did you know that between 25% and 45% of kids with ADHD stuggle with physical aggression? And everyone knows that people with Autism can be physically aggressive. Do you know why?
Because when they are off in their own little world, doing their own little thing, and all of a sudden a new stimulation attacks them and brings them in to the real world, it is scary!! Imagine sitting on your bed, headphones on, closing your eyes, and dreaming of being on a nice warm beach somewhere. Let that sink in for a minute. It’s so relaxing to be in your own little haven. So peaceful. Not a care in the world.
Now imagine that some asshole just thew a pillow at your face!!
How do you react?
Me? I’m pissed as hell!! I just screamed out a string of curses and chucked the pillow back at their face, calling them all sorts of obscenities.
That’s pretty much what it is like for a 4 year old boy with a brain that is hardwired to tunnel vision onto everything he is doing. When that little boy took away Killian’s toy, to him, it wasn’t just a simple toy. It was the ONLY thing that was happening in his life. Nothing else around him was even existing until it was wretched from his hands. His fight response kicked in and he threw a fist.
Again, I am NOT condoning this behavior. Just trying to understand where he is coming from. Which brings me to my next issue, and I will have to do another post about this at a later date. Empathy.
How in the HELL do you teach a toddler empathy?! ESPECIALLY a neurodiverse one.
When he punches his brother I will turn it around and ask him how he would feel if brother were to punch him? I have him look at Oliver, ask him to define what brother is feeling, then TELL him what brother is feeling since he says he “doesn’t know,” and then I ask, “How would you feel if I were to punch you?” He then gets huffy and says something along the lines of him punching me back or catapulting me. I then ask him again how he would FEEL, and really enunciate the word ‘feel’ and he will tell me the same thing. He would do something to me.
He doesn’t understand feelings when it is about someone else. He knows how HE feels and that’s really the only thing that matters.
So, today when I dropped him off at school I asked him to please say sorry to Z for punching him instead of using his words. He just responds with, “I hope that Z isn’t at school today. He is a bad guy. He takes things from people.” In his side of the story, the other kid is the bad guy and he did nothing wrong.
Now, is it OK to take things from people? No. Is it OK to hit people? No. We all know this. Except for the kids who have a stronger sense of fight and no understanding of empathy.
I really do hope and pray that one day my words finally sink in and he won’t live half his life in time out for beating up on his brother. And I also REALLY hope that brother will stop following Killian into time out right after he was just punched for taking a car or block away from his big brother. I mean, seriously kid. It’s like you’re just asking to get punched at that point. Just leave your big brother alone for 4 minutes while he is in time out. You really don’t need to go sit on top of him.
Anywho, I digress. I guess really all I wanted to say is that even though my son did not respond correctly, he is not a bad kid. He really doesn’t seek out to just randomly hurt people for no reason. He just goes from 0 to 60 like *snap* that.
I will continue to do my best in teaching him how to appropriately respond to these types of situations, but PLEASE, I beg of you, please do not label him as a bad kid or a bully. He is such a sweat and kindhearted kid. He just needs more time than others in learning how to deal with the world and people around him.
-The Lazy Mama