I have responsibility over my 5 year old brother quite often, enough so that he calls me mom, and I deal with this almost daily and it's extremely frustrating and I don't know what to do, when I ask my parents they either want me to scream at him or beat him. And I disagree with that type of discipline, so I'm asking here. He hits me too hard when playing, or is pretending to be a dog and bites me somewhere and it hurts, or he will be somehow causing physical pain or uncomfortability to me and when I tell him "Please stop, it hurts gabe" he laughs and keeps doing it, despite how serious I make my tone, whether or not I'm looking into his eyes, or if I'm even trying to show through my face I'm in pain. He thinks it's a game and finds it funny. He will do this to my younger sister too, nothing really makes him stop. Now he is behind when it comes to verbal communication, he cannot really communicate with everyone back and forth in full sentences. I feel like this is important to note when addressing this issue since I cannot really have a deep conversation with him about how when someone says "ouch" or "stop" he should stop doing that to them because it hurts him and that's not nice or funny.

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    Is your brother neurotypical? Not being able to use complete sentences at five seems pretty unusual. This is pretty important information for the question, I think, as this makes a big difference for what sorts of things might help. If you think he is not neurotypical, but haven't had him diagnosed, make that clear, as opposed to a diagnosis from a doctor or similar.
    – Joe
    Jul 22, 2021 at 14:48
  • I believe he is not neurotypical based on his behaviors, but he's not been diagnosed because my parents do not believe he is neurodivergent. I try to approach a lot of issues I have with him in a way I would a neurodivergent child.
    – Cheyenne
    Jul 23, 2021 at 2:41

1 Answer 1


Has Gabe been evaluated for his language delay? That can certainly play a part in him not understanding to stop. I have a kid with a language delay who had similar issues. I would put on an exaggerated sad face and say "Ouch!" (The less words, the better) Now, if he is autistic, he might not be able to read your facial expression. So keep that in mind when you are doing this. Also keep in mind that it might take a really long time for him to understand.

Along with the ouch, I would also stop all play immediately. Nothing happens after the hitting or biting. I started with 2 words: "no hit". I think even 5 words are too many for some kids with language delays. It sounds like gibberish to them. We started with single words and built up to "please stop, that hurts [kid name]" over the period of, well, years. Be consistent with your boundaries and conveying that he hurts you, and expect it to be a process.

Now the most important part. If he hasn't been evaluated for a language delay and neurodiversity (autism or ADHD or similar), he really needs to be. The fact that you say your parents will just beat him for hitting is worrying. Will they initiate an evaluation? Generally, evaluations can be initiated through his school or his pediatrician but that really depends on where you are. With my kid, as his language improved thanks to intensive speech therapy (and other therapies), we were able to use other discipline techniques such as timeouts.

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    He hasn't been evaluated, but I'm sure as soon as he starts school the school will notice. my parents don't believe he has any type of issue so they won't created. whenever I suggested he might have autism they turned it down instantly because he is "too social to be autistic".
    – Cheyenne
    Jul 23, 2021 at 2:38
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    dont believe automatically that they will, both mine are very Asperger and the school either didnt see it, or pretended not to to avoid making any special accommodation Jul 23, 2021 at 11:14
  • I have heard the "too social to be autistic" a bunch and that is really a myth. Someone can be autistic and social. There are impacts on social abilities and ability to read social cues, but that doesn't mean that they don't seek out friendships. My experience was about the same as bigbadmouse, except when language was a severe issue. As soon as my kid's differences weren't soooo obvious, they tried to dismiss it. What you could tell your parents is that an eval doesn't always result in a diagnosis so there is no hurt to get evaled.
    – Emmy
    Jul 24, 2021 at 20:29

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