Advice on 5 year olds behaviour

Hello all, I’m new year and would greatly appreciate some advice. My son is 5 and functions very well and is able to attend mainstream schooling. I also have a 3 year old who does not have autisim. Now he is getting older I am finding discipline a bit of a challenge... I find my daughter relatively easy to deal with as she is now at the age where she understands consequences. We have been using a star chart which has been amazing to motivate good behaviour in both of them. Recently however I have started to use them as a negative reinforcement tool- ie taking away a star if one of them crosses a line. 

This evening my son got upset because my daughter was dancing and he didn’t like it (don’t quite understand why but he was getting upset in an autism way). Normally he would tolerate it to a degree but tonight he was tired on the back of a stressful day of school and he deliberately gave her a strong push. 

In our house we have zero tolerance to hitting etc so I immediately took away a star from my son. 

Now down to my dilemma... my daughter would cry then get over it but my son is very black and white and when something goes wrong he can only remember bad things and thinks that everything is terrible. If something doesn’t go his way he will sob for a prolonged period crying about how his ‘life is so sad’ and that he ‘wants to go back to the start’ (be a baby again) or even ‘die!!’ This is extremely upsetting for me to hear the latter and I feel like the worst mum in the world. At the same time though I don’t want to tolerate violent behaviour and my 3 year old shouldn’t have to put up with being shoved. She is starting to notice that I manage his behaviour differently to hers which is bringing up further challenges. She will imitate his behaviours or point out times I have dealt with matters differently. 

Any one in a similar situation? How do you manage discipline in your house with your children having such different outlooks? Is negative discipline always a no no for children on the autistic spectrum?

sorry it’s so long!!

  • Hi, 

    I understand it is difficult when siblings start fighting mine are girls 8 (asd ) and 7 (nt)  as well as a 15 month old boy. Alot of children struggle with negative discipline, that is why is is not really encouraged. By all means discipline but taking away what they earn for the good behaviour doesn't generally help, as it lessons the message of the rewards

    My eldest would have also lashed out at the situation you described (has done many times) we have a zero tolerance to aggressive behaviour as well and we have a safe area for her to put herself in when she starts to get agitated, giving her time to calm down before she lashes out. If she does lash out we have set rules about her losing something else like TV privilege for a day as they are set rules she is a bit more accepting of this. Although this is still negative discipline it is not having an impact on the good things she has done so she still has something to look forward to. 

    The behaviour section on this site has some good tips