I am the parent to three boys ages 11, 9 and 6. My youngest child has PDD-NOS (pervasive development disorder) on the autism scale. He is full of love but any parent with a PDD-NOS child knows that life can be very difficult at times. Even in normal day to day living, things can get escalated when you have a PDD-NOS child. It's not your child's fault but any means. They can't help that they were born that way. But as a parent to a child with that diagnosis, that doesn't always make you feel any better. I love my son but some days I feel overwhelmed and I just have to work through whatever is going on the best I can.
One thing that I've noticed is that the siblings of a PDD-NOS child often are affected by having a sibling who has special issues. Maybe they don't get the attention they normally would have from their parents if their sibling had no conditions or perhaps it is hard for your other child to live with their sibling because they, themselves, never know what is going to happen with their sibling.
My 6-year-old with PDD excels in school (he just finished kindergarten) and acts perfectly. Seriously, he is a model student. He is polite and follows the rules. That is due in part to how shy he is around strangers. But once you get him home -- it's a completely different story. Gone is the shy-mannered little boy, replaced by a very lively boy who always pushes the limits and sometimes even tries to hurt his brothers if things don't go the way he wants them to. This article will detail a few suggestions that may work for your family.
#1: Be Firm
It is easy to give in to what your child wants. My son can go for hours when it comes to getting his way. Honestly, yes, sometimes it is easy to give in to preserve your own sanity but that is enforcing their behavior in getting their way. If your child wants something that belongs to a sibling, don't make them give it to them. Your other children are entitled to have their own toys that the other child doesn't get to play with. Perhaps your PDD-NOS child strikes out against a sibling they have an issue with. Be firm and set up rules immediately. It can be hard in the beginning and it may take a long time but eventually your child will learn that they can't have their sibling's toys and that they can't hurt someone who is not doing things their way.
There has to be consequences, even for a PDD-NOS child. Once my son took a toy and hit his brother with it because he was angry that his brother wouldn't do what he wanted him to do. I took my PDD son aside and put him timeout. The toy that he had also went into time out until the next day. Hurting a sibling is not acceptable and there has to be consequences if your child does it.
#3: Give Non PDD-NOS Siblings Free Time
Kids are resilient but it is still hard for a child to understand why they have a brother or sister that is different. I know that as a parent, I need a break from my kids sometimes so imagine how your non PDD-NOS children feel. Let them have some time that is only for them away from their sibling. Maybe it can be a special trip somewhere in town with a parent, an hour of playtime outside without their sibling or some playtime in their room when their brother or sister is not allowed in the room.
#4: Seek Help
If your child has PDD, the odds are that you're already seeking help from a doctor or other organization to help you and your son or daughter but if they are actually hurting you or their siblings, then it is time to seek additional help (or make that first step if you're not receiving it). If you can't try to curb that behavior, it will get worse and sometime they could take the step to really hurting someone. Having a child with behavior problems is tough, but if there is anyone you could get to help you with their behavior, it is worth it to you and your family.