Anyone else feel quite like this?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Big Bad Kitty, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    When Tink decides to have a meltdown, first of all it is only for me. Nobody else.

    Now for the visual. She drops herself onto her bottom, flops her head down with a thud (now she is laying on her back), and proceeds to tantrum full-tilt 2 year old style. Legs kicking. Feet stompin the ground. Arms flailing. And the first word out of her mouth is "noooooooooooo!" AND, it is always cutting me off. That is, I never even get to finish what I am saying. She thinks she knows where I am headed with my conversation, and she is off to the races.

    Then there is the audio. After the first "nooo" is a sound that is indescribable. It's a scream, a screech, a shriek, a does not sound like it should come from a human. It hurts my ears. My hair stands on end. My fillings rattle...

    Seriously though, when she starts yelling, my insides get messed up. I have to stop myself from lunging. I rarely stop myself from yelling, though I try. She gets sent to her room, where she throws everything she has and bangs on the door. I cannot stand it. I feel my blood change temperature inside my body. I can feel it. I know that there is nothing I can do to stop it, that it has to run its course, but I absolutely can't stand it when she gets like that.

    I am really pretty good about most things that I have no control over. I let most things go, give them up to God, and accept things for what they are. This is one thing that I am having a hard time with. And it is a physical reaction. I just can't stand it! I don't think I am going to hurt her, but she gets afraid of me when I yell. She says I am making that scary face again.

    OK, I don't want her afraid of me.
  2. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Not knowing the full situation but just a thought. When she says something that starts to be gfgish or starts one of her tantrums throw one also. If nothing else has worked it might be a wake up. I may be way off base but if it is only happening at home then you don't have to worry about embarrassing yourself in public. I don't know if that will get through to her or make her worse. You can only know that. Bu I did something like this with one of mine and it helped.

  3. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    Little smarty pants.
  4. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    husband is like that. Youngest easy child says she doesn't like it when he is "Yelly Daddy." He gets so mad he is scary looking to even me. Often times I stand between him and difficult children because he just looks scary. I don't really think he is going to do anything physical, but he is so scary looking, the red flag raises in my head and I want to protect them just in case.

    I get angry too, but it affects my stomach and head. I get a severe headache and I feel sick to my stomach. I will be down for the count if its been a very hard day with kids. husband will come home and I will go to my room and to sleep to get rid of the sick feeling.

    Only youngest difficult child still throws tantrums like this. It happens more at school than home. I attribute that to a bunch of different things, but I did witness a meltdown this summer. He was screaming so loud and so angrily (is that a word?) that he was spitting/foaming at the mouth. I just looked at him like he had four heads and stayed seated on the couch. I called husband up and let him listen to it over the phone.

    I don't know how you do it BBK! If I didn't get a break because of husband or my Dad, I'd be in a padded room. (((hugs)))
  5. weaselqt

    weaselqt New Member

    Ahhh - the scary face! I HAVE HEARD THAT ONE!! I didn't want him to be afraid of me either - and I still make the face - I can see it in his reaction - but now as he has gotten older, his reactions turn back and he now has a scary face - a face of hate. THAT scares me! I would NEVER hurt him (although I have wanted to!) - but when he gives me that look of hate - with empty eyes - I am scared. Not scared he will hurt me - but that he truly hates me - THAT is my biggest fear! Really, my BIGGEST FEAR!
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I can remember my therapist telling husband and I when M was about that age to just disengage and walk away. With us it was really hard because we lived in a tiny two bedroom apartment and it was hard to get away. I did what I could to get away when I was able. I think at this point in time, I would try to put my ipod on and ignore her, if I were in your shoes.

    Her tantrums are effectively shutting you down when you are trying to make a point. It's absolutely working. So, why keep trying while she's shutting you down? Let it go, and if the issue needs to be revisited, you can do it when she deals with you appropriately.

    Good luck!
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I sooooooo understand what you're saying. I would get to that point and I would yell and difficult child would cover her ears, look scared and scream louder...which up to that point I hadn't thought possible. She melted down almost exactly like what you describe with Tink. I HAD to disengage...for her and for me. It scared her when I lost control and yelled, it made the situation worse and the physical reaction I had (heart racing, breathing hard and fast, filling sick to my stomach) would take my energy for the rest of the day.

    When she melted down she had to go to her room. When she was younger and wouldn't go (she would purposely go limp as a noodle), I would carry her to her room. Sometimes I had to hold the door shut. Eventually, I didn't have to do that anymore and now she goes to her room when I tell her. Once I did get her to her room, I completely disengaged. Wasn't easy. With all the doors and windows closed I could hear her at the mailbox at the street. I would call someone. It didn't matter what we talked about, it was just a distraction. I would sit on the porch or turn on the tv...anything to distract my attention from my screaming, raging kid.

    I don't even try to talk to her when she's in that state. It does no good. She's not in a rational state, so nothing I say is going to get through or make any sense. Once she has it out of her system, we talk.
  8. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    OMG I sooo remember those days with my son. I would stand toe to toe with him and just give it back to him as good as he would dish it out. I look back now and am sooo thankful that I've been able to change how I set up situations which before would automatically lead to a rage. Also, I worked hard on changing my response to his reactions. Sure, my son still rages and still cries and still tantrums, however my reaction has changed which makes it easier for me to deal with and I've noticed it also has reduced the amount of time he rages.

    One of the biggest changes I did was to stop verbalizing with him. I'd get into these big discussions with him. His therapist had the best advice for me. After I've given him a direction and he begins to argue about it, whatever, I stop, look him right in the eye, and state "What did I say?" I refuse to say anything else until he can repeat what I said. I found out that for my son, he wasn't hearing most of the verbal message. Wow. He was missing like 60% or more of it. Oh big Wow. It really made me change how I gave him directions and change the length of sentences I'd speak to him at once before requesting him to rephrase it for me.

    My difficult child's therapist helped me and my SO understand that my son likes the stimulation of an argument - for many AD/HD kids a good heated argument and temper tantrum is just as stimulating as a face paced video game! Basically he'd argue for the sake of argument - and he knew that I'd get into it with him. It's kind of funny, after I stopped getting into verbal confrontations with him, he started engaging in them with my SO - he wasn't getting his fix with me so he started on the other adult in the household!

    The other big change for me was when my difficult child began to read. Now I can post lists for chores, lists for directions, etc. It has taken so much pressure off of me - I can just state "read the list". Having a list of "rules" helped too - gave me a quick "what's the rule?" out instead of engaging in negotiation or debate.
  9. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    Both the things Babbs mentioned worked here too. Less words and no moving past them until they did what was asked or understood what was asked. As well as the second, lists of instructions for chores etc. My youngest difficult child can't be given more than 1 step instructions on anything and they always have to be specific. I can't say, go clean your room, I have to say, go pick up all the dirty clothes in your room. When he finishes that, I have to say, go put your blanket and pillow on your bed. Then go pick up your cars and so on. This is actually how I typed out instructions for cleaning the playroom. Cleaning the playroom is a weekly chore and has step by step instructions like, put the movies away in the cabinet they belong in. Pick up the shoes and put them by the door. The instructions helped tremendously.
  10. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    There were so many times when I would almost fantasize walking away and not returning. The tantrums made simple matters so much more difficult. I found their behavior demoralizing and disrespectful.

    A little worry/fear of authority isn't a bad thing but it has to be in perspective of the age and infraction.

    I really had to sit myself down and talk myself through it. This difficult,screaming, obnoxious child was my sacred duty. It was my job to raise him to be a responsible, independent, moral person. He wasn't doing the tantrums "to me" but exploding in frustration because he didn't know a better way to show his emotions. I try to step back and not think of this fit as aimed at me. Mostly, he doesn't have the tools to channel the frustration to problem solve.

    My difficult child still rages although not tantrum like. I still try to diffuse and try to help him problem solve whatever the issue may be. I don't always respond calmly and my son's certainly seem to have a healthy fear of mom's anger but I don't feel out of control and I don't feel that I have an unhealthy response to my children. I want to do what is best to raise healthy, responsible kids to adulthood.
  11. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I wonder, should I be trying to redirect? Or just let her have her meltdown? I mean, is it harmful to her well being if she continues to act this way and I just walk away and let her?

    I know, I sound like a typical mom of a difficult child, over analyzing everything. I suppose I yell out of fear at least as much as out of anger. It scares me to see her lose control like that. I don't like to see it. I want to know that she can stop it. And, as a side note, I've seen her stop in mid-meltdown if someone were to offer, say, icecream? Which brings up a whole new topic, can she actually control herself??

  12. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    See, that drives me batty! My difficult children can stop their meltdowns in the middle too. So it makes me wonder, if they can stop it this time, then why can't they always control it? My husband and I talk about this often, if we can make them stop, then they are capable of controlling it. Which erks us on a whole different level. If they can control it, then why do we feel like we're walking on eggshells to keep it from happening? This is a merry-go-round that we get sick on way too often.
  13. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    I still joke that my son saves his "best" behavior for me. Day care and school has NEVER seen the rages in the extremes like I've had to cope with. As a child of divorced parents, my son has had to not only cope with his AD/HD but also all the trauma and emotional garbage that comes along with not having both parents. Changing my response and how I addressed issues with him helped - but I also had to remind myself repeatedly that he acts out with me for a few other reasons.

    He knows I'm not going away. But he's afraid that I'll disappear like his dad did. On some level he's testing those limits to make sure that I'm not going away.

    On some level he also knows that I love him, I'll always love him, and so he can let go of the frustration etc with me and I'll still love him. It :censored2: for me and my frustration level, but I've also had to step back and remind myself that it's a normal stage of grieving for children of divorce.

    Kitty, have you ever tried using the "neutral" face with her? When she starts to tantrum, back off, count to 10 (or 20 if you need it) and when you speak to her again make yourself have a "flat" affect face. Try to keep a poker face on - no emotion etc. This is a technique that I've used with kids that I work with at school - it lets them know I'm not angry and helps me stay calm with them. It's hard to do with your own child, especially at first, but it's a good trick.
  14. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    :mad: Just wanted you to know I understand. As I told Terry on a similar post ~ Tantrums are the worst form of hell in my book. In fact, for me, it is like entering a torture chamber - I will do anything just to get my kid to shut his yelping, screaming, terrorizing self. *sigh*

    It is so hard........but you have gotten lot's of good advice here. Sending hugs your way.
  15. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Putting on my ADHD/Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) hat for a moment, I want to share what it was like from inside the meltdown, FWIW. I used to have terrible tantrums when I was younger, right into my teens and 20s (still do occasionally, when stress levels just get to be too much). When I see the same behaviour in my difficult child, it frustrates and saddens me, because I know how it feels, and I know what he's doing.

    Right before the meltdown happened, there was always a period of building frustration. As the frustration level got higher, my ability to talk coherently would get lower and lower, which made the frustration even worse. Eventually, it would get to the point where I felt something like an electric jolt in my head. It was at that point that I was either able to calm myself down, or I would lose it completely, and be in a full throwing-things-and-screaming tantrum.

    The key is that, in that moment, I could have stopped myself. It was an act of pure self-indulgence to let myself go, but go I would, and then once I was in the middle of the tantrum, it was much harder to pull back from it.

    My difficult child is the same. If he's not getting his way, the frustration builds up, he loses his words, and before I know it he's shrieking like a banshee and flailing his (now very long) arms and legs, and I bundle him off to his room. Interestingly...once he's in his room, he stamps, bangs the walls and throws things for a while, and then inevitably, he falls onto his bed and sleeps for hours. There is definitely a big element of self-stimulation in the arguments and tantrums.

    I have found that , like Babbs mentioned, the deadpan face and responding to inflamatory statements in a monotone voice helps to keep difficult child from completely losing it. Although, when he gets no joy from me, he tries it on with SO. Over time SO has also learned not to react. Now, if we can just teach the rest of the family (sigh).

    I'm not sure if any of this is useful, but it might give you a hint as to what's going on in your difficult child's head when the meltdown in brewing.

    All the best
  16. lynnp

    lynnp New Member

    I agree, the worst form of torture and I'm afraid we have this pattern going where he KNOWS we'll do just about anything to stop a rage. Unfortunately that gives him way too much power which isn't good at all. For me it the awful physical reaction I get. Nauseous, jittery, I can't focus. It's hard to say rational!!
  17. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    It IS hard. You want to do whatever you can to make the tantrum stop, but so many of the strategies that we think will work, make things worse over time.

    When we used to try everything with my difficult child to get his tantrums to stop, he realized that he could use it as a tool to get his way. Like so many difficult children, he can be incredibly perceptive and manipulative.

    He even started threatening, if you don't <whatever he was demanding> I will "go berserko" (his term for his meltdowns), which really did open my eyes. From that day on, I stopped trying to make it better. Now, the minute the tantrum starts, I make eye contact, stand facing him, and point, straight-arm, down the hall to his room. He will mouth off and argue, but he goes in. (I guess he knows that, even though he's 6'4 and I'm 5'2, I WILL find a way to get him there if he doesn't go volutarily)

    By not talking, I rul less risk of falling into the trap of fighting back. The gesture is very clear...difficult child knows exactly what it means, so there's nothing to argue against.

    It has helped a lot.
  18. maisies_mummy

    maisies_mummy New Member

    yes been there many times! If I yell back difficult child shows no fear she gets even madder you wouldnt think it was possible. After the first NO comes, I hate you then the swearing. If I put her in her room she then throws things at the window to try and break it. I wish I had an off switch because I am not laid back enough to take it day in day out. If I walk away she just follows yelling and getting more wound up that she is being ignored.
  19. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    OK, now see, it is times like this where I don't think I am really a "warrior" mom. I'm more of a "weenie".

    I tried. God knows, I tried today. Even though I felt the physical symptoms when she started her meltdowns today (one of four) I made a point not to make a face. I did not raise my voice. This kid does not play by the rules! I had a doctor tell me years ago that the softer you talk, the softer the kid will talk, so that he or she can hear what you are saying. Not Tink. She screams no matter what. She tunes me out, does not know or care that I am talking. I have to speak between her breathing if I want her to hear me.

    By her 4th meltdown, she had just removed her bathing suit (just dot done running through the sprinkler) and I asked her to hand it to me. So she wings it at me and it hits me in the face.

    Now, haven't I ignored this long enough? So I undo everything I just did by cracking her one in the rear. I have told her a thousand times, hand stuff to me, don't throw it, but she won't listen.

    See, I can handle all kinds of crappy things that life handed out to me. I really don't know if I can handle her. She is only SIX, for crying out loud. I pray every day for the strength to take care of her. She drains every drop of energy that I have, and I don't have much to start with. I honestly don't know if I can do this with her for the long haul. And that scares me.
  20. ML

    ML Guest

    I have been told that I'm too tolerant. I let the "I hate you's" go and just try to disengage. My difficult child is a master at manipulation and I don't think we can ever "win" in these situations.

    I do occasionally yell back but I have learned that it escalates things for us. He'll start crying about how mean I am and why do I always have to be mad.

    We really are powerless during their rages except sometimes I think we can redirect (not always). My key phrase is "can I make you a cup of tea" which often calms him down. Then there are those times when we go on to argue about how much sugar he wants to put in it.

    Anyway, I do know how you feel.