Hitting is considered an aggressive behavior in autistic children, but it is more often a form of communication. Read on to learn how to identify what the hitting means and how to stop your autistic child from hitting.
How to prevent hitting in children on the spectrum
Understanding why autistic people hit to communicate
Invasion of personal space
Autistic and similarly neurodivergent individuals value their personal space. A reflex in autistic children is to push out unwanted sensory input.
If you enter an autistic person’s space without permission, you have removed their autonomy. Autonomy is the ability to self-govern oneself. An example is if you tried to force an autistic child to hug you and they reacted similarly to a cat that doesn’t want to be held.
Hitting you is their way of enforcing their boundaries. From an autistic perspective, you were in the wrong and they were in the right.
Oftentimes, non-autistic parents invade their autistic children’s space during autism meltdowns or autism shutdowns. These meltdowns are perceived as tantrums because of the hitting, but it is a survival reflex.
By respecting your autistic child’s personal space, you can avoid being hit. You do not need to be right in front of them in order to make a point.
Autistic, ADHD and similarly neurodivergent individuals are often overstimulated and overwhelmed by external stimuli.
There could be an immediate sensory aspect disrupting their self-regulation, which is easy to pinpoint.
More often, however, there is a distant sensory aspect that is harder to figure out. You will need to investigate every aspect of the environment they are in where they are hitting.
At a previous job, my anger instinct was to slam my hands on the table. My office was hot, my coworkers were “scared” of my rocking back and forth stims, and the servers in the room buzzed loudly.
When I was on the sales floor, these feelings didn’t go away. I wanted to throw product, which I couldn’t do. I couldn’t do anything I needed to properly self-regulate. My issue wound up being my employer’s constant technology issues that I couldn’t fix myself.
Although it was not ideal, I had to remove myself from the situation completely in order to avoid self-injurious stimming behavior. It took me months to realize this was the top root of my issue.
Have patience, and you will eventually find what is causing your autistic child to hit. In some environments, you may be able to remove stimuli or move them to a sensory-free room where you slowly reintroduce stimuli.
If the behavior is happening at school, work with their teacher to determine what is happening in the classroom overall during the behavior. Sound can set off autistic people in a snap, especially if they’re already overwhelmed.
How to redirect children with autism who hit
Don’t immediately explain why hitting isn’t okay. Wait until they’re relaxed and not hitting. Don’t require eye contact while you explain, either.
Consider sensory options like Playdough, Kinetic Sand, Mad Mattr, or Thinking Putty. It gives autistics something to hit without harming themselves or others, and without destroying property.
How to teach autistic children not to hit
Reading books that teach emotional regulation and how to identify feelings will help equip autistic children with the tools they need to communicate their needs. Since hitting is communication, you need to help them find alternative ways to communicate their needs.
An autistic child may find a classmate’s constant jokes disrupts their senses and default to hitting, which they may have learned means to stop doing something. (This is one reason why you shouldn’t spank your autistic children, as they cannot distinguish why it’s okay for you to spank them as punishment but it’s not okay for them to hit someone as punishment.)
Figure out what stimuli is causing the hitting, since it is most commonly a reactionary behavior than something done out of malice. Then find a solution to prevent it in the future.
With everything, respect their personal space. If you get hit because you entered their personal bubble, it is on you. They could have been trying to stim, and you were too close for them not to hit you.
While autistic people may struggle with spatial awareness when it comes to them invading other people’s personal space, they do not miss the fact that someone else has entered their personal space. Stimming includes hand flapping and arm swinging, which can be mistaken for hitting. Stimming increases aggressively the more stimulated an autistic person is.
Autistic children who are hitting themselves are typically directing their frustrations caused by the above reasons inwardly, onto themselves. This is most common in autistic children who undergo Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy.
Every autistic person is different. If you need help identifying why your autistic child is hitting, comment below with your situation for a more customized answer.
Christine Xiong says
My son is 15 year old and he just begin not hitting people but objects after he turned 14. When he has his meltdown, he destroy anything and everything in his way. I cannot figure out his triggers. It just happen randomly. I have been dealing with this for a year now. He has never done this before. He is like a different person when it first started. What is your recommendation to stop this behavior? Thanks!
Izzy Lively says
Meltdowns never happen for no reason. The triggers could be literally anything, which could take a while to determine them. During an autistic meltdown, we have zero control over our emotions. We struggle to regulate ourselves. What is your son doing before his meltdowns?
Meltdowns cannot be stopped or avoided, as this will only add to the outcome later on. It’s like when you shake a bottle of soda and try to open it without letting it spew. Cooling down a meltdown is a lot like that, and it’s not always for the best. Some sodas will taste flat when opened without spewing when it needed to spew.
The goal should not be to avoid/stop meltdowns — it should be to remedy the triggers. Pay more attention to his behavior before the meltdown. Read and watch videos by autistic people on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram (not their caregivers/parents/etc.).
A trigger can be as extreme as school stress/bullies or as simple as the sensory input of your voice.
As far as objects go, try replacing them with plushies, stuffed animals, etc. Give him a safe outlet for those emotions, like the garage door or his bedroom wall, to toss those soft items at. Get some toys that squeak, etc. Let him pick out what he likes. This way, you accommodate his need to express and regulate his emotions, and release them during the meltdown, instead of encouraging him to bottle it up and redirect that stress inward.
Make sure you don’t force the plushies. Don’t lie, but if you can share how you express yourself sometimes when you’re angry, do that. Autistic people tend to relate things back onto themselves in order to empathize, so anecdotes help! Don’t say, “We don’t throw objects when we’re mad,” or, “This isn’t normal!” Don’t address any of that. Your #1 priority is to first redirect him to a safer way to relieve that pent-up anger, then discuss potential triggers once he is regularly going to the safer route.
I say this to everyone, because it’s true: Autistic children/teens need therapy. Parents never think their children experienced trauma and tend to dismiss/invalidate when they share things. Your autistic child needs someone other than you to talk to about their life, especially since some of those triggers might actually be you. (This is not to come across as an insult; it’s just the truth.)
Autistic adults do not maintain much contact with their parents/caregivers/guardians after they gain independence, because the people who raised them tried to be everything.
You’re not failing as a parent by putting your child in therapy. You’re outsourcing/delegating the role of therapist to an actual therapist so you can keep your sanity and give your child what they need. Use the time they’re in therapy to spend time with just you (nails, hair, at-home spa, nap in the car, whatever you want).
Raising a child takes a village. You deserve a village, too.
So many of these types of articles talk about how to parent the situation, but the reality is that we’ve learned that already, it’s when he’s not under our direct supervision that’s the issue. We can’t teach the whole world how to remove triggers from him, and we can’t seem to explain the situation to him with any sense that he truly understands his actions.
How can he learn to live in the world if the world is what bothers him so often?!
Jane E. Lively says
You don’t need to teach the world how to remove triggers from your child. You need to teach your child how to remove themself from the triggering situation.
I’m 31 and only started learning about personal boundaries at age 30 because I started parenting myself. Please teach your child personal boundaries as early as you can. Giving them autonomy really helps exemplify this.
Children are often forced to remain in uncomfortable situations. This doesn’t help them, especially when they’re autistic. Adults, however, can leave situations whenever they want to if they have a means out.
Neurotypical people might not leave when they’re being abused at work, but I did. I had a car. I was willing to risk it, because the supervisor wasn’t even mine, but she was screaming at me instead of giving me the answers (I needed to know why she needed ME, of all people, when she was told NOT to take ME without my supervisor’s approval). She deliberately gave other people their breaks when I needed to follow a strict meal timeline for outpatient atypical anorexia recovery. MY supervisor had told me to tell her I needed to take my medicine, and the witchy supervisor dismissed that importance. During this week, I was covering for and to be treated like a supervisor as well, and left during an important work task I wasn’t supposed to stop in the middle of. I requested access to MY supervisor, and she denied it each time. I clocked out and explained things the next day. I didn’t get into trouble, but that supervisor did.
This is an example of a child vs. adult. A child would not be allowed to leave a situation that triggered them if they were not raised that it was okay to do so. I left because I was getting sick from holding back a meltdown.
Personal boundaries have done WONDERS for me re: anger triggers, and I have Tourette Syndrome with anger so severe that I was considered for intermittent explosive disorder a few times. I’m not medicated for my anger, either. Personal boundaries help me meet my needs and manage my anger.
Jane E. Lively says
To add on to my previous reply: Learn about neurodivergent living. Follow neurodivergent adults on TikTok to see how we live our lives, as we definitely do share about it. It does NOT look like non-autistic/neurotypical lifestyles, but it really works for us.
Help your son develop skills remote jobs look for, or help him use his talents to start his own business. Entrepreneurship is the top recommended income method for autistic adults, because once we get it going, it really does work for us. This world was not built for autistic people, and THAT is the problem, but autistic adults are self-advocating for accommodations and for allistic (non-autistic) people to accept us as we are, so the world WILL be great for autistic people to live in, too.
If his teachers don’t allow him to step outside class or a place for him to cool down/recover, that’s an accommodation issue. If he were an adult, he would entitled to that accommodation as an autistic adult, because he needs it in order to function. Autistic people REQUIRE accommodations to help us exist and survive. It’s why we’re entitled to them.
So: personal boundaries + accommodations. If the people around him don’t respect his personal space/boundaries/etc., of course he’s going to be frustrated/melt down a lot/etc. ‘Tis but a consequence of their actions. Teach him how to recognize signs of overwhelm/oncoming meltdowns and how to warn people (a phrase and/or communication card).
Mostly, though, you won’t get tips on how to prepare your autistic child for adulthood from sites not run by autistic people. #AskAnAutistic and #AskAutistics are two common hashtags on pretty much any social media. TikTok, Instagram and personal blogs (like mine, for example) are going to be your BFFs here. You’re not going to find an outright guide on preparing your autistic kid for adulthood written by an actually autistic adult that truly works because every autistic person is different. But you WILL find STORIES we share, and those are the most underrated resources ever. #ActuallyAutistic works on every social media site and is used by autistic people, if you just want to dive in everywhere.
good morning my son is 13 has asd, adhd, odd. along with high anxiety. when he hears no or is asked to do his hw n stop w electrics he goes in to complete melt down very disrespectful words hitting n says he hates himself n everyone hates him. he shared suicidal ideation 2x n was evaluated n deemed safe. I now found sexual content being watched n he identifies as pansexual. which I support his identity. but don’t know how to stop the behaviors n low self esteem n feelings of not being wanted or loved. I feel like a failure n it breaks my heart.
Jane E. Lively says
Are you going through his browser history? Because honestly, please don’t. Children are entitled to privacy as much as adults, but privacy is crucial to child development. I have PDA, which is different from ODD because it’s an unfortunate inability to comply. I try, but I still wind up not and getting upset. Have you tried parent management training, where you — as the parent — are taught to watch your reactions to your child’s behavior?
By default, many autistics are NOT compliant. Neurotypical society functions off blind compliance, which autistic people are not. We ask why and don’t understand why we have to do things because it doesn’t make sense. Depending on your state, you might have a right to opt your child out of homework altogether — studies show that homework is redundant, especially since school is essentially supposed to mimic employment. Bringing your work home with you = bad boundaries, but school conditions kids to do this.
I’m not saying that you should opt him out. It’s just an option you have that could help you resolve this entire thing altogether. If you want what I would do with my child, I wouldn’t have them do homework at all. Alternatively, if they needed to learn how to study because they wanted to go to college, I’d opt them out for the rest of the year and pursue behavior training to learn how to best help my child.
Opting him out, if you have that ability, might be your best bet so that 1) the both of you do not bicker and add tension to the relationship and 2) you can learn how to raise an ODD child. @jenorourkemft on TikTok has a lot of great tips on ODD kids and is a great place to start. Even if you hate TikTok, it’s got a lot of neurodivergent tips you won’t find on Google.~
I really appreciate getting to hear from an autistic adult on this topic, because I feel like whenever I try to get information on it, the article either completely neglects to discuss hitting in anger or isn’t by someone with autism. You also cover the topic fairly thoroughly, which is so helpful.
I am in a pretty closely knit family and my sister has three young children, the two youngest are autistic. Her middle child is 5 years old and has recently started hitting frequently when she is trying to get someone’s attention and when she is angry. We haven’t been able to figure out if there are specific triggering stimuli, yet, but the only consistent precipitating factor for the angry hitting is being redirected from something she really wants to do (or if her siblings, who are 7 and 3, have a toy she wants or they try to take a toy from her). Generally, my family and especially my sister try to let her express herself or play in any way she would like, as long as it doesn’t damage property or hurt herself or others, so when we do redirect her it’s frequently because we’re trying to protect her. Your suggestions for addressing the behavior are really helpful and I’m going to investigate triggering stimuli with my family, giving her a space where she can be away from any overstimulation/express her anger safely, and try to discuss alternatives to hitting with her when she is calm.
I was hoping that you could give some suggestions for if redirection doesnt work in the moment? On one particularly difficult day, she seemed to be hitting every time she was redirected from an activity, for example she likes to go to the bathroom to hang off of the shower curtain or climb on the counter and pull things out of the cabinet, we had been redirecting her out of the bathroom and to toys she likes. She began hitting and even when we would try to redirect her or encourage her to go in another room if she needed less stimulation, a good portion of the time she would come back to keep hitting whoever had made her angry. It’s not such an urgent concern if it’s with adults, but this will also happen with her siblings or cousins (who are all young and while I can’t say that they have never hit, they are more open to redirection and have not done it so frequently or persistently) and it makes me really concerned and sad for them that they may have to be afraid of her and be afraid of being hit by her whenever she’s upset. We also want her to be able to socialize, form healthy relationships, and have kids engage with her without fear. I know that the whole thing wont be solved overnight, but is there any way we can protect the other children from being hit?
Jane E. Lively says
What helps me when I’m super angry is throwing plushies at the wall. No matter how hard I throw them, they don’t cause damage. I’ll also throw pillows on the floor or hit pillows (not so much anymore).
With the bathroom drawers, it could be a sensory-related thing. A plastic bag or bucket of toddler LEGO blocks produces a similar sensory input. It could also be a sign of boredom, or a form of communication. Does she get a chance to communicate her needs after the hitting, or is she immediately disciplined?
I babysat this toddler who slapped my face. His sister and brother immediately went “:O OOOH, YOU’RE IN TRUH-BULL!” I gently grasped his hands and just held him there in my lap, closed my eyes, and took a moment. My glasses sat sideways on my face. I inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly, then opened my eyes and said, “Baby, no. What’s up? You need a fresh booty? Hungry, bottle? Num nums?” He shook his head at all of them, so I was like, “Do you need to jump? Jumps?”
Turned out he just had a lot of energy. His siblings were like, “:O But why didn’t you spank him?” to which I replied, “I can’t teach someone not to hit by hitting them right back.” He got to expel his energy with their trampoline — one outside and a toddler one inside.
I would presume it’s about needing to expel some energy, in your case. Or some anger. My toddler cousin, to whom I’ve been a mother figure since she was born, fell into this slap-happy stage where she had a lot of pent up anger. I’d pick her up and take her outside — really great to do in fall, because they can literally cool down. It’s a quick change of environment, and literally every child I’ve done this with seems to immediately chill when they’re taken from inside the home to outside the home, in the front yard.
I say, “You need to yell? You can yell.” And then I go, “Ahhh!” like a really bad Monsters, Inc.-style growl. The kids usually copy, but they laugh a little bit, so I’m like, “Really? Is that all you want to do? Do you need more? Do you want to be louder?” And they usually go louder. After, I tell them to let me know if they need to go yell outside — or even just sit outside for a bit.
But also? Don’t be afraid to be firm. A year later, this same child hit me every time I didn’t let her do what she wanted. I’m all about gentle parenting, but I will still be stern when necessary. She pouted and wanted to go home — I couldn’t take her home because I can’t drive at night — because, “If you don’t let me do what I want, Wiz, then I will go home!” In the morning, she didn’t want to go home. >.> I had a gentle, little chat with her while getting her ready to go home:
Me: Hey, you know how you hit me last night?
Her: Yeah. You didn’t give me what I wanted.
Me: Would you like it if I hit you?
Her: (sobs) No. Why would you hit me?
Me: If I wanted something, but you didn’t give me it, would it be okay?
Her: No, Wiz! You can’t hit people!
Me: Then why did you hit me? (points) It still hurts.
She was raised on kiss-your-booboo, so maybe that made this easy because she was like, “Oh!” and kissed it. The conversation seemed to stop that behavior real fast, like she didn’t understand before but having it turned around to her helped her realize what she was doing.
I bought her this book I had at my apartment called “The Rabbit Listened”, as one of her Christmas presents. It’s about emotional regulation and overall a great book, even for adults. But it might help open that communication up, especially since autistic kids are often Gestalt learners and learn from media/entertainment (books, TV, movies, music, memes, GIFs, etc.).
Try to monitor what she watches on TV or phones/tablets. YouTube Kids lets you review their history AND block a video + videos like it so they can’t see it again.
Some other books that might help:
Breathe Like a Bear
Calm Down Time (Toddler Tools)
The Choices I Make
Have a Little Patience (Sarah Reed)
How to Accept No
I’m Just a Kid: A Social-Emotional Book About Self-Regulation
The Kissing Hand
Llama Llama Mad at Mama
The Mindful Dragon
My Body Sends a Signal
The Nervous Knight
Roaring Mad Riley
Teach Your Dragon to Understand Consequences
When I Am Angry
When I Get Upset
The more stories/vocabulary autistic children are exposed to, the more capable they are of communicating their needs/issues. Consider also the Sign About books (or a sign language equivalent in your country, if not in the US/Canada) — learning how to communicate beyond speaking is something I, and many autistic people, had.
Sometimes figuring out a trigger is as simple as the kid showing they relate to that character by emulating them (autistic scripting).
Samantha Avila says
I have a non verbal autistic 19 year old. I decided to take her in due to a situation in her family. The behavior issue that I am dealing with is aggressiveness and the violent behavior she has when she gets upset. I am not sure what triggers her but she will violently attack me and will pull my hair, kick, hit. From what I’ve learned she has done this to everyone in her family. How do you try and redirect her when she just comes up out of no where and attack me or someone else? For example I was working from home and she knows I work every day from home. She just came yp to my desk and started kicking it. She was on the couch watching me and was falling asleep then out of nowhere she started doing that, I tried redirecting her to see if she wanted to help me with doing laundry because she loves to help but she grabbed my hair and started pulling and hitting me.
So I’m a pre school teacher and we have a kid who has been diagnosed autistic. He’s a great kid but he has aggressive outbursts when he cant get his way. I would like to help him and the parents so he can have a better time around other children. The other children are afraid of him because of his outbursts. He is unable to talk and gets very frustrated when he can’t communicate what he wants from other children. So instead he pushes them to the floor or bangs their head against the wall or full on attacks them to the ground. When the other teachers go to correct him he has a full on tantrum and falls to the floor and cry’s out or throws toys till he can calm down fully. The biggest thing he does is he loves lizards and that’s no problem but he has been climbing the outside fence to get out to see the lizards. So I have to correct him bc he can’t leave like that. So he gets upset I step aside and let him have his tantrum and try to get him to do something else instead. He gets so mad he went over to a baby and shook the baby. So I have to correct him again and that upsets him more. I have been around autistic kids all my life. My best friend is and my niece and nephew are as well. My nephew at three was very similar to this child. We were able to correct the behavior over time. With redirecting and saying gently hands. But this seems to not work for this kid. If you have any advice I would love to hear it. I just hate seeing other kids afraid of him it shouldn’t be that way it’s sad. Thank you for your time
Jane E. Lively says
Katie, his “tantrum” is a meltdown. Autistic people have “outbursts” or meltdowns as a result of overstimulation and/or lack of autonomy.
If other children are scared of him, this should be an educative moment for everyone involved. This is the way to build autism acceptance — not to label natural autistic behavior as the problem and be done.
Autistic culture prefers “non-speaking”. He is communicating with you all:
All behavior is communication.
How are you correcting him? Do you tell him WHY he can’t leave? Autistic people do not just understand why they can’t do something because you tell us we can’t.
“Gentle hands” doesn’t work for autistic kids long-term. It only teaches us to mask. If you are not autistic yourself, then you are viewing intricate autistic experiences from a non-autistic perspective — and this difference matters due to what is called the double empathy problem.
Ultimately, none of this would be an issue if he was provided his autonomy, his teachers/caregivers understood that meltdowns are not tantrums, and he was treated with love. Right now, it sounds as if he is the villain when he is also a victim, as he is surrounded by people who do not understand or empathize with him — who do not understand that he IS communicating with them.
Being non-speaking as an autistic person is like being conscious during surgery when people think you are knocked out. This has legit happened to me at the dentist before, and it’s absolutely terrifying. I was unable to communicate beyond rapidly moving my eyes. They said, “Oh, she must be having a good dream! Always funny to watch when REM happens!” and laughed it off. My heart rate skyrocketed, as the machine monitoring me beeped repeatedly. All the communication was there, but they did NOT understand. I was in distress. They only realized something was wrong when tears started falling down my eyes because it was inconvenient to their dental work, as I became unable to breathe from my sobbing.
Meltdowns feel exactly like this. Communicating with speaking, Hearing people when I am a non-speaking, Hard-of-Hearing autistic person is the absolute worst thing because they treat me like I need to be committed. I’m an intermittently non-speaking autistic person.
ALL autistic behavior IS communication. That child is in distress. Treat him as though he has a physical injury. As if someone close to him as just died. Meltdowns are episodes of severe distress caused by unmet needs, overstimulation, absolute frustration with a non-autistic environment and/or the inability to communicate with aliens around you. It feels like the weight of the entire world rests on your shoulders and all you can do is feel it, because every non-autistic person thinks you’re just mad that you aren’t getting what you want. It is absolute hell that we do not enjoy, but all we can do is feel it. And we hate it. We hate it more than sensory hell, but it happens also because of sensory hell.
Preschoolers are not yet capable of total emotional regulation. It is something even adults struggle with and continue to learn and work on. Do not expect a child to when you are not perfect at it yourself — but especially do not expect an autistic child to behave like a non-autistic child because they never will.
Behavior issues are a logical fallacy. They do not exist. All behavior is communication. What you have right now is a communication problem.
That kid needs compassion and mercy, and his peers need to be educated because that’s how you encourage neurodiversity. It’s scary, yes. But toddlers are capable of learning about meltdowns and understanding them on a level adults could never. A non-autistic toddler aware of an autistic toddler’s intricate behaviors (communication) is the difference between your situation and that non-autistic toddler helping a FRIEND self-regulate.
That is the difference between an autistic child growing up with an avoidant attachment style versus a secure attachment style. It could be the difference of them developing a Cluster B personality disorder. It could be the difference between growing up with tremendous trauma and growing up surrounded by peers who understand him and help him live some semblance of a normal life.
He will NOT get that through masking his autism. Masking = burnout, which can cause heart attacks and cancer. Burnout might actually be a subset of PTSD, a trauma disorder. Masking is trauma and a major cause of suicide in autistic teens and adults.
Stressed out autistic people are also prone to self-harm, including head banging and cutting, as a direct result of overstimulation and unmet needs.
Thank you so much for your input very helpful. He is a great kid. The other teachers do not see it bc they think of him as a villain. My director who is my sister in law and I see a child trying to communicate with us. We now give him a safe place to have his melt downs and that has helped. He will move on after the summer to a program that will be able to give him the help he needs. I do communicate to him about why he is not able to climb the fence. He still goes into a meltdown.I think what bothers me more is the other teachers are having a hard time with him more bc they have never been around an autistic child. Not their fault but I believe all of us would benefit from learning more about autism. We are looking to have someone come in to talk with us about autism. I love reading your posts and I will be sharing them with the other ladies at work. I do find myself correcting the other kids more than him bc they treat him differently. Like today a little girl got mad at him bc he wanted to sit down next to her and look at the book she was looking at. She got so mad at him. Screamed at him to go away. After the incident he wanted to say sorry. He was following her to hug her and she ran to hide. We have kids that will leave the room every time he comes into the room bc they don’t want to be around him. It breaks my heart to see it. So I talk to the kids and explain to them to be nice and that he’s a great kid. I feel like they afraid bc they see it in the teachers maybe. The director and I are the only ones that really interact act with him and show him love. I don’t fault the other teachers they just have not had the experience. Thank you again for all you do.
My 3 1/2 year old grandson is in the habit of hitting his little sister (for toys, etc.). We have tried redirection with using words, removing him from the area and using breathing techniques, etc.
He loves to play with other children at the park but, he has been singling out a random child to go over and kick (lightly) or push and he obsesses with continually seeking them out.
This habit has carried over recently to school as well.
I feel as though he wants the negative attention. He smiles and looks at us either before or after the action and says “sorry” .We’ve tried to also ignore this behavior but, it is difficult when he doesn’t realize his own strength and could accidentally hurt someone.
Where can we go to seek assistance with this behavior?
My 9 year old son freaks out sometimes (but not all the time) when his 5 year old brother talks. Depending on my 9 years old’s mood, my 5 year old can just open his mouth to talk, make a noise, or in some cases not talk at all and my 9 year old can not handle it. It sends his nervous system into over drive and he covers his ears, attempts to hit and/or bit his brother, and/or goes into a meltdown. I have tried telling him “ your brother is just talking!” or “don’t hit or bite, how about you just give him a hug!” I don’t feel that either is addressing the root of the problem. My 9 year old has communicated that my 5 year old speaking hurts his ears but there is absolutely no one else’s voice that does. Could it be a sibling thing? Could it be that they are around each other too much? My 5 year old is quite the talker, could it be the it’s built up intolerance with his younger brother? I honestly would like to be able to fix the problem so they can have a better relationship.