I kept waiting to write this entry, fearing that writing it would doom us to a fallback phase in Wesley’s behavior. But – I really want to write about it so I’m just going to do it already and accept any consequences that come my way. Blog Karma Be Damned!
Since my last entry about Wes’s awful behavior, things have been MUCH better. He hasn’t hit/kicked/spit on/punched me since then. Not even once. This is a HUGE step as we were in a phase where he was aggressive towards me several times a week.
So, Yay! Progress!
We talk a lot every time he’s frustrated. We talk a lot when he’s angry. We hug a lot when he’s upset. I think I’m learning to recognize the cues and see what he needs easier than before. And he’s trusting that I’ll help him which means he’s not resorting to hitting. All in all? Much better. MUCH MUCH BETTER.
However, he started immediately hitting himself as he stopped hitting me. He would slap himself in the face, or punch himself in the head. This was a new thing and it upset me terribly. I tried several things to try to stop him, everything from physically restraining him to begging him. We talk a lot about that too – but it was still an instinctive thing – a reflex I was having trouble breaking. He just did it when he got frustrated. No preemptive thinking, just an instinctive urge to hit that he was turning upon himself.
Until this week. I finally found something that has broken the reflex. Not entirely, but he definitely is doing it less and he catches himself before-hand and almost immediately his mood changes as he realizes what’s about to happen.
What did I do to break the reflex? I started kissing him.
I told him that every time he hit himself, I was going to kiss him 100 times. So, for a few days I did just that. Okay – not quite 100 times – but I kiss him until he can’t breathe from laughter. Then I say, “99…100!” It would break his cycle of frustration and stop the hitting. And now? I can see it happen, he’ll be frustrated and go to hit himself, and then he’ll remember what’s about to happen. AND HE’LL LAUGH. He’ll preemptively laugh about what MIGHT happen if he hits himself. It breaks his fit of anger and frustration to the point where he stops before he starts, and then he laughs which is a HUGE step. It used to take a good 15 minutes to get him out of that cycle once he started, and now the Giggle Factor settles in almost immediately because he knows he’s about to get tackled with kisses.
I did have to draw the line though when he started hitting himself just for the fun of it so I’d kiss him. I explained this was a technique that I only used when he was really frustrated, but that if he just wanted 100 kisses, he could just ask for it anytime.
So…Yay! You all have helped me so much I thought I’d share a little bit of success to maybe balance things out a bit.
Of course, he’ll start hitting me today just because I wrote this entry about how he had stopped, but at least I got to enjoy it for a little while.