How can siblings cope with violent mood swings from autistic family members? — Scope | Disability forum
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How can siblings cope with violent mood swings from autistic family members?

YoungCarerOverHere Member Posts: 45 Connected
edited February 2015 in Autism and neurodiversity
Hello guys, it's not as bad as it sounds but my brother, 13 years of age, who has autism and ADHD and various learning disabilities seems to be having violent mood swings. Typically, it's just been towards me (not my sister or mother) and I feel like it's because he sees me as weaker? I could easily stop him if things got out of hand but he contuously slaps me and hits out at me. What can I do about this??????


  • socksoff
    socksoff Member Posts: 31
    Hi there - that sounds rough for you and given that your brother is 13 I suspect that his behaviour could be hormonal!  My son is 12 (with autism and severe learning difficulties) and is getting more physical and sometimes lashes out at my daughter.  It is hard to manage and she does take it personally although I don't think he sees her as weaker.  For my son anyway, he likes a reaction and if we walk away quietly and refuse to connect with him or say that we are 'sad' because of his behaviour then he will sometimes calm down and even come up and sign sorry to us.  Of course every child is different and this may not work at all for you but any ideas might be worth a try.  If I get cross with him he tends to get even more excited and wants to provoke me more - such fun!  Anyway, I hope that you are OK and getting enough support.
  • YoungCarerOverHere
    YoungCarerOverHere Member Posts: 45 Connected

    Thanks for replying! It is hard to not take it personally but I do think he may be looking for a reaction so I'll give it a go! Just wondering- what do you reccomend he can do to release his distress (because I think that maybe he lashes out at me to calm down if that makes sense, especially before and after school?)- thanks again xx My mother is great support. I'm not sure what I'd do without her really x

  • Jane_Alumni
    Jane_Alumni Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Not nice for you!
    There are a couple of organisations who also might be useful to contact for support (of course you might already be aware of them) Sibs and, if your brother has severe learning disabilities, then the Challenging Behaviour Foundation might be able to give you some ideas. 
  • socksoff
    socksoff Member Posts: 31
    That's great that your mum is so supportive.  I think the after school thing can be tricky as he's probably been coping with lots of different things all day and then he gets home and wants to let rip! I have just got the exercise bike out of the attic (not much used lately!) to encourage my son to do something active when it's dark or wet outside (like most of the winter!).  He also sometimes likes deep pressure so we have a bag full of big brushes and massage things which can calm him down.  We also play chase games and hide the star (stars are his current obsession!) which means he is physically doing something rather than just sitting on the ipad - which he might rather do.  I hope that helps and if I think of anything else I'll post.  I'm sure you're doing a great job with him and he's lucky to have such a caring and tolerant sister.
  • YoungCarerOverHere
    YoungCarerOverHere Member Posts: 45 Connected
    I can relate to his school pressure but he isn't really one for running about- and to be honest I'm not particularly in the mood after school to get hot and bothered running around after him more than usual! Typically the hitting goes on in confined spaces like in the car (I sit in the middle back seat in between my brother and sister to stop them fighting) and we've tried to get him interested in a "twiddling toy",if that makes any sense whatsoever, without any luck. I try not to react as it upsets my Grandad who drives us every day. Thanks for the advice though! most appreciated! x Thank you
  • Beth Murawsky
    Beth Murawsky Member Posts: 1
    Hey - Just wondering if your brother demonstrates aggressive behaviour at school as well. I'm asking because I work with children who have autism as well as children who have complex disabilities. During interviews I have met with parents as well as siblings and we've worked together to come up with strategies that would work at both home and school. Ultimately a big part of my job is to help support the family and try and make things easier for them at home. Does your brother have access to communication? All behaviour is communication - sometimes my students lash out because they are trying to express themselves other times the aggression is in response to sensory integration issues.
  • YoungCarerOverHere
    YoungCarerOverHere Member Posts: 45 Connected
    My brother is medicated whilst at school but he has resorted to violence a couple of times previously- I wasn't around to see it though..grrrr... So I don't know whether he was to blame or someone else. Once he was hitting people with his umbrella for example. My brother can speak and communicate normally I believe but he does bring attention to himself by being over familiar with strangers x
  • CarersTrust
    CarersTrust Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Hi there,

    Some great advice here, from people who've clearly experienced a lot!

    Just wanted to add a little thing, though. You said your mum's been great, but also you try not to upset your grandad... and that got me thinking. You'd be amazed how often we hear on Babble (our young carers' website) from young carers who try to avoid worrying those around them, like not letting their family/relatives know they're upset. But the thing is, they almost certainly do already know, because they know you! So we'd always say you have nothing to lose by sitting down with one or two of them and explaining a little about what's going on and how you feel about it. Sometimes between you you can work out some little changes or plans—perhaps about who does what with your brother, or what times you get to have to yourself—that make everything more manageable. Give it some thought, anyway :-)

  • 35warwick61
    35warwick61 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    So hard for you , my eldest was bullied by my youngest and it has affected him badly in his life shouldn't have to cope with this but you sound like you can talk to your mum and get support on here eldest was a prisoner in his own home really and I regret this ...keep sharing your feelings with mum and in here ...walking away is a good idea , but clear No messages too ...noone should have to be abused sound a kind and caring young lady be proud of yourself ..lots of hugs


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