Help me learn from my mistakes

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by aeroeng, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    I'm looking for new ideas on how to handle potential explosions (learn from my mistakes). Last Friday, my difficult child and older easy child were playing computer Risk. Loud, but getting along. difficult child did not understand that if he did not take a country he would not get a territory card. He spent his turn fortifying the countries he already had. When the computer did not give him the territory card, he became very angry. This is his main problem: the inability to deal with frustrations. In a real game easy child might let him re-do the turn, but the computer won't. This got him bubbling. easy child quickly concurred the world and the game ended.

    I grabbed both kids and headed home. In the car difficult child stated that when we get home he wanted to play again with younger easy child and difficult child teaming up against older easy child. When difficult child is bubbling he is very aggressive and damaging to younger easy child's self esteem. I took the plan A approach and told him "no" he was not allowed to play Risk with younger easy child. (Was a mistake, plan B might have worked. He wanted a 2 to 1 game, I wanted younger easy child left out. A solution could have been found). difficult child became angrier and angrier. He started turning on all the things in the car (radio, heater, air conditioner, lights). I turned of the inside lights and covered the switch with my hand. He grabbed my hand and tried to pull my fingers back. We both struggled, and I pulled the car over into a parking spot. I called husband and stated that I could not safely drive home. We waited and husband arrived. difficult child had taken off his seat belt and slid back down in his seat with his feet on the front window. He lightly kicked the widow. husband was concerned the widow would break grabbled difficult child and pulled him out of the car. They struggled and husband yelled for me to call 911.

    Usually in this kind of situation difficult child is not capable of stopping regardless of the consequence. For the first time he did recognize that he did not want to accelerate the event. He said, "No I don't want the police, I will stop!" He was still mad, but did stop struggling. We got everyone home.

    husband needed to leave. He is a ski patrol candidate and needed to go to the ski slopes for the pre-test. He took older easy child and left. I knew difficult child would take all weekend to calm down and would pick on younger easy child. So I made arrangements for younger easy child to stay at a neighbor's house for the weekend. Now it is only the two of us. He kept following me around. Turning on the lights, turning off the lights, what ever would annoy me. So I left, and went to a movie. When I came back the house was in order and difficult child was sleeping.

    On Saturday morning he was still bubbling, and snarling. I went for a lovely walk around a near by lake (actually walked it twice). Came home difficult child snarled, but I could tell it was wearing off. He would say, "Please shut the door. No No I mean just shut the door." (Forgot the was mad and accidently added the "please" out of habit.)

    I went and got the groceries. Came home difficult child had calmed down. In the afternoon we went to a school function. He behaved perfectly and we had a good time. By evening Saturday I was not feeling well. Slight fever, headache and the yucky's. difficult child became very motherly and took extra good care of me. (Made me wish I could be sick more often).

    Now I think back and am trying to figure out what did I do right and what did I did wrong. How do I avoid the next one? How do I get out if I don't avoid it? We all know it is the parent's fault! (Said sarcastically). But if it's the parent's fault we can change it! give me ideas and help me learn how??
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I think the best thing you did was get the other children out of the house quickly, calmly and giving them a fun place to go.
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Reading what and how you and your husband and family handled the situation? I'm impressed!! Have to say GREAT job!

    You and hubby are on the same page - and have a plan. (call 911 if difficult child's behaviors escalate) difficult child sees this. (hence NO DO NOT CALL THE COPS)

    You recognized that he was boiling and how his meltdowns effect your other children, then got them out of the way.

    Your husband left - (dont blame him interview or not) and you dealt with difficult child - by ignoring the light on, light off thing. Isn't it interesting to see when they are angry what brings them out thinking it will really bother you? ugh.

    You took in a movie - and let him sleep - you did something to revive yourself in the middle of a tornado. Great!

    You came home, recognized that he was still bubbling, and took a walk or 2. At this point I'd be a marathon Then complimented him when he took care of you.

    In my opinion you did everything you could to de-escalate the situation, maintain safety for the other children, revived yourself, ignored obnoxious behaviors and rewarded him with a short term reward of attending the game.

    This is in fact teaching him coping skills to model. I used to HATE to see Dude attempt to play any game because even if we went over the directions? He wasn't listening, then when he felt jilted? OH brother did we all pay. Then like you, there was the meltdown. I did learn something that may help post game - and that was choices. After he blew up about the game despite loosing you compliment all the kids on something. You won - congratulations - YOU played very well, I liked your manners. Since you had the best manners - YOU get to choose - Front seat or back?

    Little things like that which seemed insignifigant to us had to be learned. We think we're being good parents and saying nice things like - Better luck next time - but to a difficult child its' not. To say nothing at all allows him to fester. So giving him a choice makes his mind pick a WINNERS seat. he had the best manners -HE got to choose his seat. It sounds lame but to a difficult child - it's something of a prize. If he persists in bad behavior still in the car you could say "Okay let's sing a song" - Which to you choose? And then next song you let another child pick. It's like their brains keep score on attaboys.

    I think you handled the situation brilliantly - but you asked for a suggestion so there ya go.
  4. We are mood dependent and use the avoidance strategy a lot around here and try to help difficult child just simply stay out of situations that will cause problems. For our son, if he is upset in Situation A, it will occur in Situation B as well. There will be no reasoning with him. It might be a different story the next day or several hours later.

    We pull easy child out a lot too just to give him a break as well as difficult child. I think you did the right thing.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you handled it very well.
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I think you handled it great. Really.

    The only thing I could maybe see doing different is husband pulling him out of the car. For my difficult child, that right there would light the fuse on the dynamite. But I wasn't there, so that's strictly a judgement call from the outside looking in, and frankly, even what husband did wasn't out of line.

    The only other suggestion I might have would have been to offer a game all 4 of you could play that difficult child can handle. A rematch with a different game. But again, not knowing your difficult child, that's another outsider idea that may totally not fit your situation.

    All in all, I give this an A.
  7. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    Thanks! I appricate any ideas I can get. Star your imputs are very valuable.

    It is not husband fault he left. At the start of the ski season he said that he should quit his ski patrol work, because he was needed at home. I did not want the madness to have that much control and knew how much husband wanted to be a ski patrol. I was the one that insisted he keep going. The pre-test is a requirement without it the year's work would be lost. Next week is the final test. Then ski season will be over and husband won't be needed until next year. I am very proud of him. He has already helped over a dozen people.

    husband said that he also regretted pulling difficult child out of the car. husband felt that if I got out of the car and he got in them maybe difficult child would have calmed down. But difficult child was kicking the window and he did not want it broken.

    I appreciate the support and ideas. - Thanks
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I have to agree with the other posters--I think you did great and reacted to the situation with tremendous presence of mind.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you did great,too. My only (minor) suggestion would be perhaps, knowing that "no" can be such a catalyst to a blow-up, the decision whether to play the game could have been put off until you got home, to avoid a blow-up while the car was moving. That also would have given you time to think it through before deciding.

    I realize, of course, that a difficult child is likely to want an answer NOW (if they're like mine) and that may not have worked, but just thought I'd throw it out there, FWIW.
  10. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I agree with all the others. Great job!

    I super liked that you pulled the car over. One thing that I have also done has been pull the car over within a few blocks from home and make everyone walk home leaving the vehicle behind because, "We can not be safe in a vehicle with this behaviour - everyone out." My kids were so concerned about the car - when/how would it get home? "I really don't care. I can not drive it with so many distractions going on. We will have to walk everywhere or take a taxi if this keeps up."

    You really do handle these meltdowns well. I have a feeling that you also are good at avoiding them but every once in awhile one comes at you out of the blue with no warning. And maybe there are a few that you know you are dealing with and just haven't found away around yet. Let us know some details and see what we can help with.

    Keep up the great work and I look forward to your support in situations we meet. I think you will have some good ideas for us also.