Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, May 1, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I am getting more patient with my son's meltdowns (only taken me a few years). Last night coming home after after-school play, at 6.30, he was clearly tired, having slept an hour less than usual the previous night. I drove back home from school as I was on my way back from town and we passed a little boy who is in J's school and who lives near us. As soon as we got out of the car, J declared he was going to play with this boy. I said firmly that no, it was time to go inside and have bath, supper, etc. Cue: meltdown. Shouting and crying, and trying to run away, but whenever I shouted his name he stopped. He sat outside my neighbour's house having his meltdown and she came out to look at him and then shut the door - but I don't even care any more. What's clear to me now is that these meltdowns are NOT happening because he is naughty, which would be the take of about 99 per cent of people here, the remedy being that I should be much tougher and more authoritarian with him... It's not to do with that. I just rode the storm, allowed him to make his fuss but insisted that we were going inside. Which he eventually did, where he calmed down and I was soon reading to him. What is happening to me now is that I feel compassion for him in these moments rather than anger and it is helping us both.
    Just need to work on my anger when he is defiant/oppositional without known cause now :)
    This morning he was so sweet, started "reading" some of his books to me with great pride - basically he knows some of them almost by heart because we've had them so often. Really I tell myself to live each day of this age to the full because it will so soon be gone, this innocence.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I really think you are making great progress. It is not easy but you have a goal and you're working for it. Good job. DDD
  3. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Beautiful, Mailika! I'm so proud of you! Looking on with compassion and following through with the decision-very good. J had only himself to struggle with at that point. I know that with our children once we engage with them/begin the battle the focus is immediately drawn away from the original request/demand and instead the focus becomes winning instead of working together/compliance. In a way, I think it can be comforting for our children to know that they can storm about and we will remain calm and follow through no matter how volatile they get. He will forget the particular demands of each situation, but he will always remember your demeanor and your reactions. How lovely it will be for him to reflect in future on what a patient, loving mother you were and he will realize how trying he was during those times (mind you, he might be 30 when he realizes it!)
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Wow Malika that is so awesome. You are so right to enjoy this now. I am basically having the same issue with Q and yeah, it is much trickier when they are bigger. (the wanting to play and melting down when he can't) I think feeling compassion when they are being super defiant is uber hard. Especially when they are aggressive.

    Isn't that "reading" just about the most sweet thing ever? I especially love it when they do predictable stories like Chicka Chicka boom boom and Brown Bear Brown Bear...those repetitive stories. just so sweet.
  5. Malika you did a fantastic job!! Love that you were compassionate with him.

    One thing I found with my difficult child when he was younger was to speak to him in calm moments about deep breathing and calming himself (we started this at about age 2) before he gets so angry that he can't communicate. And we practiced it too. That way when a situation arose he would be more receptive to the deep breathing exercises because he knew they worked. I also had to work very hard to anticipate the meltdowns and be very watchful to try and catch him before he lost control. This made a huge difference for us and might work for you too.

    Great job Mom!!
  6. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Malika....I wrote a long reply on your other thread.....regarding SI and overload........I agree with you....he was already over the amount his little body could handle and maybe also hungry and thirsty.....maybe think about giving him a snack and something to drink in the car on the way home....I know this helps a little with my oldest....keep his tummy full and battle is half won! Allso maybe play some soothing music.....?I find it tricky to sometimes differentiate between a meltdown and temper tantrum.....For me a temper tantrum follows when a child dont get its way or because of anger.....and can stop it when asked or when not receiving the attention anticipated....Where as a meltdown can start by feeling anger or some emotion....then not having the abbility to regulate that emotion and it escalates into a meltdown.....or meltdown can follow after sensory shutdown/ overload......During a meltdown the child can not stop the behaviour.....sometimes dont even remember what they did afterwords, can not control their emotions or actions......This needs to be just allowed to pass and the child, surroundings and other people need to be safe of hurt or damage.......I agree that the stimuli for meltdowns needs to be controlled....For us it also helped when we started realizing that we dont have to be afraid of sosn meltdowns! That we can live through them and life will go on afterwards!
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Malika, a snack on the way home is an excellent idea. Go for one with protein if at all possible. It really makes a difference in how a child can cope wehn they are tired. I used to always have peanut butter crackers in those little packages in my purse, the car, any bag we carried for the day, etc.... I don't know if they sell the meal replacement and snack bars that are balanced in protein in France, but they have many brands of them here. We stick with Zone and Balance brands because they have a balanced amt of protein so they are not so high in carbs and sugars (some of the brands have a HUGE amount of sugar in them - candy masquerading as health food! Those are a HUGE mistake with an overloaded child because 30 mins after they eat it they crash from the sugar and the meltdown is 10-20 times worse! But with a protein balanced snack on the trip home, we can and could often reduce the meltdowns.

    This snack also is handy because at times thank you just gets so hungry that he cannot cope iwth anything. He always did, but it is actually worse with the growth spurts of puberty. now he wants MORe food than before! But it means he can go ahead and get a shower, do what he needs to do rather than just fall apart and be done after an evening activity.
  8. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    So proud of you! Changes will start with you and slowly, hopefully, J will also change his own behavior/reaction by following your example. Leading by example, so easy in theory but so hard in reality.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Malika -
    Old advice... If you don't like what you see in your child, go look in the mirror and figure out what you have to change in you to get the desired result.

    You're doing that. It works!
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, hunger definitely a factor in these episodes also... I gave J supper as soon as we got inside and he cheered up as he was eating. I do usually take him a protein snack when I meet him from school but that day a bit different as I'd been in town (forward planning, I know :))
    I don't want to give a false impression. I am not endowed with saintly patience at all times and I don't even know that it would be healthy if I were. Take last night for example (don't have to go very far back in memory...) We were outside our house before supper, playing with a ball - J wanted to go out because my neighbours were there with their little girl, which is always a big draw for him. Anyway, supper was coming and I gave him the usual warnings - 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute... then supper was ready and he was making an enormous fuss, crying and shouting, about coming in. I made him come in and shut the door and he continued the tantrum. I have far less patience with this and spoke to him with anger in my voice - when I do this, he stops being angry himself and starts crying plaintively. Finally when it had gone on five or 10 minutes, I just lost it and shouted at him that enough was enough! Interestingly, he then basically stopped and came and ate supper and there was no more talk of going outside...
    Oh Buddy I empathise. J wants to be out playing at night and of course the summer light does not help... he kicks up a storm when I refuse and it is at these times that I think being in a house away from others with private grounds, with children coming by invitation only, would be so much easier...
  11. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Just a side note on
    Maybe not always? I don't know if it is true for J, but sometimes V just has to explode. I can try to eliminate all known trigger but eventually he will find one I had not forseen. If he has been overstimulated (and once can't always prevent it despite the best planning), EVERYTHING and ANYTHING will trigger him.
    Maybe that's why you are able to be super patient sometimes and othertime you snap a little faster. Intuitively you make the difference between the 2: one being out of his control, the other one you know he could excercise some control if he wanted to.
  12. family mum

    family mum New Member

    i(Sorry, I just can't figure out how to unsert quotes)
    What's clear to me now is that these meltdowns are NOT happening because he is naughty, ... What is happening to me now is that I feel compassion for him in these moments rather than anger and it is helping us both.
    Just need to work on my anger when he is defiant/oppositional without known cause now :)

    This is amazing, good for you. That is a big part of the success plan, to remember at these moments that their behaviour in largely outside of their control, even if it seems so deliberate.
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Now that's progress! Bravo.