In the middle of a rage, what do you do?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Josie, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    difficult child 2 was playing a computer game tonight when it was time to turn the computer off. The game was about a cat and the cat was unhappy because it needed to be fed, etc. We gave her a 5 minute warning but she was getting so anxious about the cat that it was obvious there was going to be trouble. husband told her she wouldn't be able to play the game any more if it was going to be such a problem. (Clearly a mistake in hindsight.) She went ballistic, running around, jumping very high in the air and landing hard. We were afraid she would hurt herself. We can't really restrain her because that makes her madder and is dangerous in itself. She kept asking if she was going to be able to play the game again.

    To me, the answer is clearly not anytime soon since she isn't going to be able to stop without raging if the cat isn't happy. She was already headed to a rage even before husband said what he did. (He didn't know this or wouldn't have said it). I'm not sure if the cat is ever happy enough to suit her or if that is the hook to keep them playing. I can't see lying to her and saying she can play the game whenever she wants but saying no just makes her madder. husband wants to tell her whatever she wants to hear so she'll calm down. I'm afraid to do that because 1) I'll just have the same problem tomorrow when husband isn't here probably and 2) then she won't believe us the next time and that will fuel its own part to the meltdown.

    Tonight we let her calm down on her own and avoided the question. I'm sure it will come up again tomorrow. Hopefully she will be calm enough to be reasonable but I can't count on it.

    What do you do in this situation? Tell her what she wants to hear? Tell the truth and risk an injury? Call 911?

    We are going to increase her Seroquel from 25 mg to 50 and we see the psychiatrist on Wed.
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If in the middle of a rage my difficult child asked a question like that I would tell him we would talk about it later. After he was calmed down (probably the next day or the next time he wanted to go on the computer)I would talk to him about why he was losing the computer game. I would also give him a definite time limit of when he would get to try it again.
  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I'm with Sharon. I don't engage in the middle of a rage. There is nothing rational going on in their little minds at that time.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    In our experience it was just a total losing battle. Time limits only made it worse. M would fret and worry and plan all day how he could get the most out of his 1 hour. As he got older we tried "as long as your grades are good and your schoolwork is up to date." We got the shabbiest work possible out of him, and he could ace any test and pull his grades out of the toilet and he knew it. It was an obsession to the point of addiction. In hindsight, I should have taken it out of my house when I knew it was a problem from the get go. Deals just plain didn't work.
  5. drained1

    drained1 New Member

    is this the difficult child who is 9? i am not one to be able to say things work BUT do you have a video camera? tape her during one of her fits. then when she is calm show it to her, most likely the next day, you know when your child can take in new information. it works on my easy child and when my difficult child was younger it worked then. now with her age it only causes more rage but before the blessed teen years, her viewing herself in what i labeled the "hyperspaz" shocked her.

    also, like i said i use this on my easy child. normally on the 11yo or a good old fashioned tape recorder. (still have mine from college days) 11yo easy child starts mouthing off, i go grab it, she shuts up cuz she know dad will hear and there is no she said/mom said.

    no i dont do it as often as i should, but i consider the camera and tape recorder the big guns.....they all push to far at teh wrong times. well, we all did. so the camera and recorder is also a way to stop me from flippin out right back.

    just a thought.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I always do my best not to fuel a rage. I'd have told her it would be discussed later, too. Neither of my difficult child's can be reasoned with on any level during a rage.

    I'd follow thru with some sort of punishment. Maybe she can only play it on weekends when there aren't as many time issues?

    My kids only played their video games on weekend or during school vacations. During warm weather it was only on rainy days. Warm weather was for outside activity. It helped. None of them are "hooked". This was the same for TV too though. I sort of combined to two rules from the first day I bought the game system.

    As for addicted.....

    Witz, when I get time I'm going to read that article. For ME. lol I have a computer game I've been playing for the past oh, almost 10 yrs. Every night. Only miss if there is something wrong with the computer. And if there is something wrong with the computer, it had better be fixed pronto or a new one bought yesterday or there will be no peace until it is.

    That said, the game is my stress releaver. It's my safety valve. I can barely tolerate TV these days, and a person can only fill so many hours reading. Plus if I read a book I'm interested in, it doesn't relax me. Instead I don't want to put it down til I know how it ends. lol

    I know that when Travis was in school, the video games were his relief valve too. A way to let off steam and get rid of stress. He's more of a casual player these days, but then his life doesn't have a whole lot of stress in it either.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Lisa, me too as far as computer games.

    The point of this article is more along the line of does the person playing lie about it? Are they always thinking about it even when they don't play? Have they cut themselves off from other activities? Especially with kids, are these their only social skills - ei: do they not have other friends or feel like their computer game is a instead of friends?

    I think that as adults, hopefully we have other skills that we have developed. I think it's really hard for kids who might have problems already with social skills and find such total acceptance from the game that they don't find at school or in the neighborhood. I wouldn't have wanted to try anything else when I was a kid, either.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If it's the 9 year old, it makes more sense.

    We had the same sort of problems when difficult child 3 was younger. We would give time warnings but we would be prepared to moderate it a little, along the lines of, "How long do you think you need, to get to finish, or a save point?" We would then give them t hat time limit (usually set within reason, once they realise you are going to let them get to a logical stop point). if the time they gave was way too far in the distance, we would say, "You know the time to switch off is 8.30 pm, if you know the game is going to take you way past that time then you shouldn't start it."
    But a bit of leniency does relieve the anxiety that they won't be permitted to finish the game.

    Witz, we don't have "you can play for an hour," instead we have "you can play until such-and-such a time," but we also rank games according to what time of day they may be played. Less need to now, but we've had a few games which we had to ban difficult child 3 from for a while, because they got him too worked up, or gave him nightmares, especially if he played them in his evening games bracket (after 7 pm).

    We never had computer games set to grades, because we stopped homework so early. But when difficult child 1 was still doing homework (and later, schoolwork at home) I did require a certain quantity of work to be completed at a certain standard before I gave him back the missing parts (RF modulator, usually). This was a restriction he had agreed to himself - we negotiated.

    We have found that negotiating these arrangements with them, as much as possible, has helped them realise that our aim is for them to do well and be OK. But we keep our negotiation for times when they are calm and medication is fully on board. Last thing at night is not the time.

    What we would do in your situation - exactly what you did. BUT next morning, we would have sat down and said, "Last night you weren't coping too well. You were getting really anxious about a fictional cat, at a time in the evening when your brain needs to be winding down for sleep. Now, we're not saying that you may never play that game again, but we do think that perhaps you need to stop playing that particular game by ...[name a time you think is suitable]".
    Be open to negotiation. Listen to her. She is likely to insist it's not a problem for her at all, and want a later time. You can reply with, "Honey, we care about you and don't want you to have trouble disengaging. And you did last night, so that time was clearly too late. How about we just try this for a few nights? What other game can you play after that, that won't get you so worked up? There are some really good brain training games, and some good puzzle ones where you're not racing the clock. Which ones do you think would be good to let you play a game but still help you settle down for bed?"

    Trial it. If she really insists hard on being permitted to play the cat game, then there are two things you can do -
    1) Talk the game through with her. How can she more effectively satisfy the cat, without getting so stressed? Is it a no-win situation, or is it something she CAN do when she gets better at it? Nintendogs is a doggy example of puppies being dissatisfied until you meet their needs, but you aren't set up for failure with it, you can do it fairly easily. difficult child 3 was actually encouraged to play with his Nintendogs game, by his psychologist, who said it was really good for his social skills and empathy development.

    2) Tell her you will give her three nights' trial with playing the cat game at the later hour. You do not think it is a good idea but you want to give her a chance to try to control herself. However, if she cannot do it, she will have to accept your alternative from then on, for another month (or negotiable time). When she is older and more able to control her stress in response to computer games, then she can play it later. And if she can show she can handle it earlier in the day, she may continue to play it at other times providing she is getting her other chores done, of course.

    By involving them in the decisions, they are learning self-control and judgement, often at a younger age than they would be asked to.

    We found that our boys do seem to be addicted to games, but by being open about it and setting certain PRACTICAL rules that they help establish, we get honesty and cooperation.

    When difficult child 3 would get nightmares from a particular game, we had to have rules that he was not to be in the same room as anyone else playing that game. As he got older, he would briefly watch and seemed OK, so we taught him that if he was playing it and finding it stressful, he could always pause it and walk away.
    He now plays that game without any problems. It's a fairly primitive game which doesn't progress until you choose what action to take - a D&D type of thing called Mission Thunderbolt. It's actually taught him to take control of his anxiety and to not panic - if his character is in crisis, he simply stops making ANY move and the game automatically pauses while he considers the options.

    difficult child 3 is less anxious because he knows we are not merely setting unfair rules arbitrarily. He knows he can be part of the discussion and decisions, as long as he is also reasonable. And a ban as punishment is usually something he's agreed on ahead of time. Usually though, we don't ban games as punishment because we see them as part of his coping strategies. I think it's the same for a lot of difficult children - they use games to burn off excess mental energy as well as to escape. But in our house, they also have to get their own tasks completed. Games must stop at 7 pm so the evening routine can be followed - chores, bath, dinner, bed. If these things are completed before 8.30 pm, he may go back to gaming until then. After that, he may read or with special dispensation play a gentle puzzle game or educational game. He may also play in the morning before school, as long as he gets everything else done and stops at 8.30 am to do half an hour maths revision online before school.

    When we stopped difficult child 1 from gaming because in his case it really WAS interfering with getting schoolwork done, I used a similar tactic - I asked him to set the number of hours a day he could play. Naturally he set what he thought was an outrageously generous time, but I knew that he had no clue how much time he was gaming. So I let him have his way - and within a couple of days he was climbing the walls with gamer withdrawal and agreeing that he was playing way too much, to have underestimated like that! He was 16 at the time, old enough to be reasoned with and to be motivated to do well at school.

    I hope this helps.

  9. aslmovies

    aslmovies New Member

    Consistancy is the key. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for...they know your buttons to push and they know the most tender ones. On the other hand sometimes you might want to pick your battles, but determining that can be tricky.

    Try different things to do to deal with the anger. Something that doesn't work for one might work for another. Unfortunately there are no definitive answers, just choices.

    A friend of mine used to have a child that would go into a rage and she splashed water in the childs face, it shocked her out of it. Then there could be communication.

    What ever avenue you choose, good luck!
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    We have set times on games but I do try to be flexible. The games themselves by way of their designs rarely loan themselves to be shut off with the five minute warning. If the dog the kid has become attached to isn't fed, it runs away. There are certain things on games such as Animal Crossing that can only be "purchased" in their towns on Sunday mornings. If they're in the middle of a level they've worked hard to get to, they can lose that if they shut down without finishing the level. It's worth spending some time listening to what they're saying about the games they're playing.

    I sometimes will try and engage during a rage but usually it's a waste of time. It can make things worse.

    We don't punish for what occurs during a rage. If he was harming someone else or someone else's valuable property I probably would be rethinking that.

    Two things that helped:
    Set aside a place for when they're heading for the rage. We set up difficult child's room when he wasn't doing well with a routine (snack, show, bean bag, heating pad, etc). It wasn't long before he started asking to go to avoid the rage.

    The other thing that helped us was to get him out of the house. Driving around town, drive thru for a snack or soda, bookstore cafe, etc.
  11. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    kt cannot stop a game unless her family or whatever in her game is in a good place; safe, well fed & such.

    We have begun limiting kt's computer time. In home therapist has been helping kt to plan ahead (when she starts her game time) & remember that the family has to be in a safe, happy place by the end of computer time. kt actually has a notebook next to her computer where she works this out (husband knows the game) & plans out things before she starts. We allow shut down time on occasion.

    Saying that, this has been successful at least 80% of the time. And this has taken months to implement/utilize.

    I'm quiet in the midst of a rage. kt knows that if she steps over a line that the crisis team, then 911 is called.

    I know that kt's wall is up when she is raging; she cannot hear one thing I'm saying. I redirect physical actions. I rock (sensory movements by me seem to help), gently touch her when she allows to help her stay connected or reconnect, if you will & wait it out.

    The aftermath is the time to work out different coping skills & consequences.

    Good luck
  12. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I've always said that when difficult child gets to "that point" he hears the Charlie Brown adult voices "waa waa wa wa......."

    I think you are right to set a clear time limit for her. Perhaps you could also tell her that if you observe her getting really upset, the game will be shut down immediately. If she reacts like she did last night (the full blown rage-although she may not remember it as you do), she will loose the privilage for the rest of the day and entire of the next day.

  13. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    Thanks everyone. It's all good advice. The real problem is I am scared to let her play it again. She is obsessed with animals, even pretend ones, and can't stand for anything bad to happen to them. She can't even throw away a napkin with an animal on it or watch me do it. We were working on this in therapy until she got sick. I am afraid she will not be able to stop playing with this "cat" when it is time. She really could have hurt herself when she was raging. It was that bad.

    Somehow I don't think I can bring myself to play the game and get the cat happy when she is done playing just so she can play. Some parents of kids with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) end up involved in their rituals just to keep the peace. So far this hasn't happened to me but I do not want to start down that path. Obviously, I would have done that last night if I had known what would happen, but it is not something I want to do on a regular basis.

    I might let her try again after her psychiatrist appointment on Wed., depending on what he thinks about all this. Her psychiatrist is also her therapist.
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911

    FOP -

    Is it the game that upsets her ONLY when the cat is meowing to be fed and she can't split her attentions to a.) stop the cat from meowing by working the game better and b.) get the cat fed so it stops yowling?

    Sounds to me like the game is the problem. The game is fun until the cat continually meows - and trust me I have days where I come in from work and my arms are full, dogs are wagging and greeting, cat instantly goes into rubbing and yowling to be fed, can't get the door open for all the stuff in my arms, stuff falls out of my arms, dogs step all over it, cat still yowling and rubbing and my coffee cup drips all over pants I 1/2 way managed to keep clean, and the phone is ringing, and now someone is in the driveway tooting the horn - and I think at that point "WILL THAT DANG CAT SHUT UP?" - out of all the things going on - right down to the coffee stain the thing that sticks out is the cat non-stop yowling for food as if her fat hiney was going to die right then and there - (I digress cats are very narcissistic) But isn't that odd?

    So that's why I am asking - and wondered if the game were played WITHOUT speakers, OR the volume down - would it make a difference?

    Just another view.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think I would probably say little during the rage, as it really does no good. Does she have a real animal to care about? How is she with it?

    We dealt with obsession/addiction with my oldest. It was awful. I totally understand your reluctance to let her play the game again. Will she freak if the game is "lost" or will she play another game? I might "lose" the game if it was that bad a rage.

    If, at any time - rage or not, her behavior is dangerous or out of control enough she could hurt herself or someone else, then you NEED to call 911 for help. It means she needs professional help. I know it is hard.



    ps. rages stink.