I am growing more and more aware of dirty looks, the eye rolls and the whispering from people. So here it is, a news flash for those whom have nothing better to do than criticize my parenting...Malachi has sensory processing disorder! His hitting, the yelling, the licking, the refusal of foods, the throwing, the hair pulling and yes, even the grunting is all from the sensory issues he has. It's not because I don't discipline him. Now that you all are enlightened STOP with the childish behavior.
A little more explanation may been needed for some of you...so here it goes.
Malachi is a good kid. He typically doesn't hit to be mean, it's usually for the sensory input he gets when his hand smacks your leg. It feels good to him, it gives him something inside that hes not getting in typical ways. He licks and pushes for the same reason. We are working hard to find things that give him the same input but doesn't include humans (or animals for that matter) getting beat up on. One things that we do use is a pillow. If we notice him hitting we guide him to a pillow he can hit. If he is pulling hair we give him pop beads he can pull apart. But please note...if you are in his face, talking to loud or if there are a lot of people around there is a good chance you are going to be pushed, hit or your hair will be pulled. This is how he was made and had absolutely NOTHING to do with me or Josh.
So here are a few helpful things you can do next time you are around Malachi...
1. When he is seeking sensory input by hitting, pushing or pulling ask him to have quiet hands. Please do not tell him no, as this does nothing but give him attention and reinforce the behavior.
2. Keep your distance. At times, Malachi loves a good cuddle but generally speaking he dislikes people in his space. So don't plop him right in front of your newborn baby because the outcome will be a screaming baby.
3. Talk softly and calmly. He responds so much better to someone who gentle in spirit.
4. Be positive. Malachi LIVES for attention of any kind. We have found that the best way to get him to listen is to praise the positive and ignore the negative. See point number 1.
5. Redirect. If you are reading a book and he keeps hitting the book...find something else to do. Whatever you do, do NOT continue with the same activity if you have asked him more than 3 times to have quiet hands.
6. If all else fails sing. Warm up the vocals and bust out your best twinkle twinkle little star or itsy bitsy spider. He LOVES to sing and responds positively to it as a reward for good behavior.
Above all, be patient with him. His behavior comes from a host of underlying issues (poor communication, the stroke and sensory issues) not because he is inherently naughty. Follow my tips and I promise you he will be a different kid!
Now that I got that out...where is my glass of wine?