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Does being a special needs child mean the parent shouldn't discipline them at all?

Posted by Anonymous
  • 33 Replies

Does a kid having a behavioral problem or disorder like Autism or something like that mean it's impossible for a parent to modify a child’s behavior? Does being a special needs kid mean parents shouldn't discipline them at all but just let them run roughshod over their family and anyone else? Or does it just mean that discipline is far more challenging and therefore some parents just give in to whatever they want because they're too exhausted to try anymore?

Posted by Anonymous on Apr. 12, 2013 at 8:52 AM
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by on Apr. 12, 2013 at 9:11 AM
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I think the answer is both. But I will add a 3rd option. Some parents are scared to decipline. My son has autism and is fairly well behaved. But it is a challenge he has a language delay so doesn't yet understand everything. The only time he runs wild is if he is super over stimulated. And then he can't help himself but if we are in public I do my best to calm him. And was looks like a tantrum may be a meltdown instead.
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by on Apr. 12, 2013 at 9:24 AM

It depends on the child, the parent, and the situation.  Not all SN are audible or visual to every one.  Yes we get exhausted and may give in, yes we get frustrated trying to pick our battles.  Most of us do our best to discipline, but some situations and melt downs are not simple to control or correct quickly.  Most of us try to parent and discipline according to what works best with our children, but isn't that true for parents of non-SN kids?  I watch many unruly, rude, and bratty "normal" kids acting out and parents do nothing.  Just because my SN child is different, doesn't mean I don't parent.

by on Apr. 12, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Our 7-year old son is autistic; no, it is not impossible to modify his behavior, but compared to the rest of our children, sometimes it seems like it! We pick our battles with him; he will never behave the same as his siblings, nor do we expect him to do so.

He LOVES to go to Walmart; I usually take him by myself so that I can keep him on a "short leash" (metaphorically), but sometimes I have to take all of the kids (we have six). On those occasions, he is difficult to handle because he is so excited to be there and wants to expend that energy.

I assume that you don't have any children with "behavior disorders"; consider yourself fortunate. I adore my son (as well as my other children, of course), but autism sometimes really sucks.

by on Apr. 12, 2013 at 10:01 AM
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Of course kids with special needs need to be taught and have their behavior modified. That's what early intervention is about, behavior modification. BUT!!!!!  it is much more challenging than modifying the behavior of a child without special needs. It takes far more time and patience, and consistency. And yes there are going to be times when parents are far too tired to try anymore and kids will get away with things. It's called being human.

by on Apr. 12, 2013 at 10:08 AM

All of the above....


But, seriously... I do think that kids with special needs do still require some discipline and some structure.  I have worked with kids with varying degrees of special needs as well as varying degrees of discipline (or lack there of) from one or both parents.  The kids that I have worked with/seen that are completely off the wall are the kids that the parents use their child's "disability" as an "excuse" for their "behavior"...

I have even had some parents admit that by the time their child reaches 8 or 9 that, yes, they wish they had provided more discipline, consistency, and structure when the child was younger.  They also know that now they are in a "make your bed, now lie in it scenario"; and they don't know what to do or how to handle it.

by on Apr. 12, 2013 at 10:12 AM

I can't speak for autistic children because I don't have one, however i do have an ADHD child and you have to discipline and stay on them more than a reguar child because they need structure and routime on a daily basis for them to stay on track!

by on Apr. 12, 2013 at 10:14 AM

of course not!! it's our job!!! teaching them right from wrong

by on Apr. 12, 2013 at 11:19 AM

I have twin daughters one of whom has Down Syndrome. She gets the same discipline as her sister. Why wouldn't she? In fact, some of the sanctions for her are harsher than for her sister because it's harder to get the message across. If I would take her sister's MP4 player away for a day for a misdeed, I would take hers away for 2 or 3 days to make sure she noticed and was aware of the punishment. It takes longer and is more complex to teach her right from wrong but that doesn't mean we just give up.

by on Apr. 12, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Discipline and structure for all of our LO's is very important . . . I work at a non-profit that has a great article on their website about parenting/disciplining special needs kids - http://bit.ly/UM7MOq - maybe this will help?


by Anonymous 2 on Apr. 12, 2013 at 2:01 PM

It is a parent's job even more to discipline and figure out what works for them.  You just don't let a child become an animal and run wild no matter what. 

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