Letting the storm pass

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    On the way back from roller skating class tonight (6.30 pm and J clearly tired after the day and all the exertion of the class - which looks great fun), it was as though he was spoiling for a fight. He began demanding things that he knew were not on the agenda - for me to buy him a toy, immediately, for him to watch something on the computer tomorrow (he watches only at the weekend) - and exploded into rage and fury when I refused. He tried his best to provoke me: "When I grow up I am going to be a BURGLAR!" (we had just had a conversation in which we had agreed it was better to be a policeman than a burglar), "I am going to SMOKE!" (we recently had a conversation about why it was not good to smoke). I was a "NAUGHTY MUMMY!" He tried to put the light on in the car, although it is not allowed to drive with it on, as he knows. I didn't react to it, really. I ignored the insults, stayed very calm. At one point I said "J, I think you are very sleepy" and he started crying quietly and then insisting "no, no". The whining-exploding continued all the way back home and then... at home, after one or two more insults, he went to the loo and then re-emerged saying "sorry" in a small voice. I asked him how he thought it made me feel when he said horrible things to me. "Sad," he replied. Then he was fine... supper (I had brought him a snack), bath, bed... he was calm and affectionate.
    It is clearly pointless trying to discipline him for his "rudeness" in the moment of its happening. It is like waiting for a storm to pass. I really don't need to get engaged with it, I think. Or even perhaps try to get him to stop. I don't "understand" it - neither does he, of course. Dealing with it this way, I get to keep my sanity, at least :)
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This is EXACTLY the way to handle it. During a meltdown he simply isn't ABLE to discuss it or behave better. You just can't parent them at that moment. Waiting for it to pass and then discussing it and the consequences if needed is the BEST way for both of you to survive. it isn't easy to do though.
  3. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    I agree, great way to handle it. Most of us probably can remember when our children were babies and overly tired or stimulated, they just needed to cry for a while . It is kind of the same. I would even go one step further. I wouldn't harp too much on how it makes you feel--again you could easily be guilt tripping the kid for behavior he can't control (think of the baby). I would maybe say, you know when you get tired, it is hard to not whine or whatever, so that's why I watch your schedule or whatever. Acknowledge the behavior and the fact that he can recognize it is is not desirable, but don't quilt trip him.

    It sounds like your calmness helped.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    It's really hard not to react but kudos to you for recognizing that "less is more". Personally I think difficult children get frightened when parents join the bandwagon and reassured when they are surrounded by calm resolve. Yes, I really do remember how hard it is. Good job and great insight. DDD
  5. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    BRAVO --- perfect. I know it is hard, but you diffused it. You ignored it; then in a brief moment you reflected his true emotion back to him, and he realized it, absorbed it, and became manageable.
  6. zaftigmama

    zaftigmama New Member

    I completely agree. My husband and I are always reminding each other to not give our energy to the storm, it only escalates from there. (and your son and mine sound exactly the same)
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Not really to make him feel guilty but just for him to understand other people's reactions to him. It's a suggestion from What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You... Sifting through the experts' opinions to see what works :)
    It does feel a more skilful way of dealing with his outbursts. It was made easier by the fact that he was seatbelted in the car and couldn't flail at me with his arms and legs, which is always an "anger trigger" for me.
  8. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    You did great. You might not be able to be as calm all the time at first (specially if arms and legs are flying around!) but that creates a percedent for the both of you. You know it works and that must be a great insensitive to dig deeper and stay calmer.
    I have to follow your example on this one. It is just so hard not to take things personal. When V acts up, I feel myself bubbling inside. Specially if it involves one of my other kids. Kind like mama bear wants to protect the child being bullied, but I can't forget to protect V in the process...
    Ours kids force us to grow and think outside of ourselves!
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  9. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I think that you handled the situation exactly the right way. You getting angry at him would probably only have fed into his behavior and made it far worse that it was. You done good, Mom!
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Coincidentally or not (perhaps not), J was very "good" today... Listened to me when I asked him to do things (this is a BIG thing in our world!), seemed less manically hyperactive than he sometimes is, was polite when asking for things.
    I realise that our behaviours are very intertwined. If I am patient, he copies me, for example. He has a lot of underlying anxiety, I think, and really looks to me to stay calm when things go "wrong" or not as we expected. As you say, Ktllc, it's a learning experience. :)