Stopping a hysterical difficult child....how??

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Hanging-On, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    We all know that once our difficult child's become irrational, there's no way of getting through to them until they're calm. But I need some advice on the following. difficult child starts crying hysterically over the smallest thing, which is normally in his control to fix or do if he just did it. For example: this morning I woke him up for breakfast. He ate and then I told him to wash up, and brush his teeth because we had to get going. The ODD started, and his total helplessness started. So I took the wash cloth and started to wash in hands. Everything hurt or bothered him, but I continued as fast as I could. Then I go to do his face, which I know is a big trigger. He didn't want it, so I didn't push it. During all of this easy child is in the tub quietly having his bath. I told difficult child to start to brush his teeth, and I'll be right back. When I come back difficult child is in the tub with easy child....geez. I blew that one off. I handed both of them their tooth brushes and told them to hurry up. I left to go get their clothes. When I come back I say get out, and difficult child starts going off about how cold it'll be. I tell him if he dried up fast then it wouldn't be that cold. Well the huge hysterics start when I get him out of the tub. I'm trying to dry off easy child, and quickly get him dressed, but difficult child is just flipping out. I ignore it, while trying to tell him that the longer he just stands there wet he's going to be cold. He has it in his power to dry off, and put on his clothes (which will then make him warmer). But NOOOOO, he just stands their crying hysterically screaming at me that he's cold, and for ME to dry him and dress him. Ahhhhhh, I can't do both kids at once!! :nonono: And I'm trying to do tough love, because doing all of this type of stuff is not teaching him and helping him in anyway. But I can't handle the crying hysterics. It drives me nuts, and it pisses me off to no end. I mean the underware, pants, shirts, socks...everything is laid out for him. All he needs to do is just put them on. But no, he just stands there dripping wet hysterical. I know when he's at this point nothing gets through to him, but g-d help me I have to find a way. Do you guys have any suggestions? And by the way, all of doctors, counselors, therapists applaud me for making him do things, and they're impressed that I have him sorting the laundry, making the dinner table, organizing his room, etc. But I just don't know if standing firm, and making him follow through on something while having a hysterical breakdown is healthy. What do you think? Oh, I also think that if I wasn't in such a rush ALL THE TIME to get easy child to school and me to work, then I'd have the luxury to have the patience needed to help difficult child through these things. But I don't. Becuase of our life situation, he has to hoop-to just like a normal kid. And he is incapable of it, but life requires it. G-d this is driving me nuts. difficult child requires that these slow down, and I'm forced to move at lightening speed to get everything done. I'm doing him such a dis-service. It's tearing me up inside. I feel lousy about not having the time needed for him. :crying:
     
  2. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    My difficult child was awful in the mornings. SO awful that nevermind I did not even get home from work till 2 am, I had to start getting her up at 5 am to have her at school by 7.
    Maybe your 4 yr old could dry and dress himself while you dry difficult child? or maybe difficult child could bathe before bed instead of in morning. Lots of people prefer to bathe at nite before bed. SOme find it soothing, helping them relax and unwind to go to sleep, some find it a timesaver for morning, and yes, LOL, some find it warmer.
    I avoid triggers when I can by trying to figure out if there is an alternative way to do something. I know we here often say "in the real world" etc, but truth is in the "real world" people do have different various assorted options. what time of day to shower or bathe is one of those things. Personal preference.
    Good luck, starting off the day that way always sets me into a crummy direction.
     
  3. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    Another thought? Get them out and dry one at a time?
     
  4. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    Hey Dreamer,

    I've tried all different scenarios. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. One of the problems is that we get home between 6pm & 6:30pm. difficult child has to take his medications at 6:30pm (because they knock him out and make him sleep forever. So to try and get us out on time in the mornings, the poor kid is forced to take these things early). Then we fix dinner, and I try to get them to take a bath while I'm doing that. Sometimes they will, and sometimes they won't. I completely understand them not wanting to come straight home and get ready for bed right when we walk in. They want to play, but we don't have the luxury of time. We get home say 6:15pm, and difficult child HAS TO BE in bed asleep no later than 7:30pm so when I wake him up the drug hang-over isn't that bad. That gives me no time to do anything thing with him, but try to feed him. Then in the morning, I push the envelope in waking him because I know he's still drugged up. So I wake him at 7am, and we have to leave no later than 7:20am to get easy child to school. I mean I have NO TIME to waste on either side (bedtime, and morning time). It stinks, absolutely stinks. I've told the doctors about this, and yet his medications aren't changed. I mean difficult child could sleep 13-14 hrs if I let him. But right now he's sleeping 11.5 hrs, and it's still not enough. So this is why this morning was like this. Even if I was a stay at home mom, or PT worker; I can't see it help because easy child has to be in class by 8am. I need another "Me" to be able to change anything, and I'm not in a Sci-Fi movie where I can clone myself. Although I wish I was. (and if I was I'd also zap off a few pounds, and make myself younger......lol). At least I still have my humor. :smile:
     
  5. Andrea Danielle

    Andrea Danielle New Member

    My difficult child has issues coming out of the tub sometimes too. I have to turn it into a game. Make it fun. I get big towels and get him to jump into my arms so that I can warm him up with the towels and I do it in a really playful way. He does dry himself sometimes but when I sense it is one of those days I need to change my strategy and just go for the fun in order to keep things light. I find it easier than trying to go head to head with him over drying himself or getting himself dressed. Also with the dressing himself part, he usually does it himself but there are times I need to turn it into a game too and do it for him. I know, it is really challenging to keep fun and positive when you are rushing out the door hoping to get to work on time :smile:

    Good luck!

    Andrea
     
  6. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    Hanging-On,

    I think Dreamer has a good point. Both of my difficult children take their showers in the evening. I have them get as much done as possible the night before - We leave their backpacks in the mud room. When they're done with their homework, they are responsible for packing their backpacks before they have reward time. I must have any notes, papers, etc. from the school that need to be signed as soon as they come home. I also have them take out their clothes for the next day in the evening. I think having them bathe at night would probably save you a great deal of time.

    When difficult child 2 is in the middle of a "melt-down", asking him to do something only aggrevates the situation. The only thing that seems to help is if he is totally ignored until he calms down. Your difficult child is alot younger than mine. Maybe if he is "melting" you could help him get dressed. Then when he gets home from school, have a talk with him about how he is getting to be so big and how proud you would be if he got himself dressed in the morning without help. My difficult child 2 responds extremely well to praise. In fact, with my difficult child 2, you can manipulate him into doing what needs to be done with lots of praise.

    Maybe you could have him get dressed by himself on the weekends, school vacations, and in the summer when you aren't as rushed. Do you believe in sticker charts for good behavior? If so, then maybe making a sticker chart for what has to be done in the mornings would help. You could put it on the refrigerator where he would see it often. Or, you could make one to put on the wall in his room. If he got so many stickers on the chart during the school week, he could "earn" a reward. In my house, my difficult children "earn" reward time for good behavior. During reward time, they are allowed to play computer games, watch movies, etc...

    I also think its great that you have difficult child do as much as possible for himself! Like you, I don't think we're doing our difficult children any favors by doing too much for them.

    Another thought, if you didn't have to work, you could let natural consequences happen. For instance, if difficult child didn't get dressed, he would be late for school. Maybe you could think of natural consequences for difficult child on the weekends. If he wants pancakes, maybe you could say that if he dresses quickly you'll have time to make them. If he is too slow, he'll have to have cereal. Or, you could fix him pancakes and if he is too slow, they'll be cold by the time he gets to the breakfast table.

    Just a few ideas. I think I'm rambling... I understand your frustration!!! I've been there many times. Hugs. WFEN
     
  7. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    Hanging-On,

    I didn't read about the time difficult child has to take his medication until I already responded. That is a tough situation!!! I think I would still try the bath at night though. in my humble opinion, mornings are even more stressful than evenings. At least in the evenings, you don't have to worry about being late for work...

    If the doctors were in your position, I'm sure the medications would be changed ASAP :grrr:!!! I think, if I were you, I would talk to his doctors again. Poor you! Poor difficult child! Poor easy child! It isn't fair to any of you!!!

    I'm sorry I don't have any really good advice. However, as I said in my first response, I wouldn't try to make difficult child do anything when he is "melting." in my humble opinion, given the lack of time, this is only going to make things much, much worse!!!

    I hope others come along with better suggestions... WFEN
     
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Which medications is difficult child on at night? Depakote, Clonidine and Trazadone can all cause sleepiness. They may very well be too much for him to handle together.
     
  9. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    He's on ALL of them at night. Then mornings are: Lithium & zyprexa (which is now Abilify). Then 12noon is another dose of Trazadone. I mean the kids on 5 different medications, 3 times a day.
     
  10. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    So he's on Abilify at night, too? For sleeping, he needs either Clonidine OR Trazadone OR Abilify. You don't need all three. I'd seriously ask for a medication review ASAP.
     
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    First of all, I solved this morning problem by showering and dressing my son at night. It really helped! Secondly, I'm wondering if your son has ever been tested/evaluated a neuropsychologist. His issues and triggers sound a lot like my son, who is on the Spectrum. In fact my son's first diagnosis. was ADHD/ODD and he also had a co-diagnosis of cognitive disorder not otherwise specified (it turns out my son has a normal IQ--but back then it appeared he had a delay of unknown origin). Did your son have any speech/articulation issues? Does he play well with other kids? My son was misdiagnosed first with ADHD/ODD then with bipolar. He really doesn't have either, although they can be co-morbid. If he is on the Spectrum normal parenting strategies won't work. medications don't solve it either, although Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids can be on medications. What they really need is a lot of intervention. I'm going to post an online Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) test so you can take a look at it. It's not diagnostic, but it's pretty good if you're honest in your answers. Good luck solving the early morning issue!
    http://www.childbrain.com/pddassess.html
     
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    You've gotten some really good advice and ideas here.
    So sorry it's so stressful for you! I know the feeling of being rushed (don't we all?) and how it's amplified with-our difficult child.
    I agree that the 3 medications at night are too much.
    Good luck!
     
  13. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    WM,

    difficult child is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). He's Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, Cognitive Disorder-not otherwise specified, Mood Disorder-not otherwise specified, ADHD, Severe Sensory Integration Dysfunction. And I totally agree with you, he needs tons of intervention, which is why I'm fighing everyone. And why I'm so pissed that I'm pushed to limits with time, because I need to be working with him too. It's just so frustrating, and there's no solution.

    The thing is that difficult child goes hysterical over everything, EVERYTHING. I don't know what to do when he does that. This morning was just an example.

    Oh, and yes he's had a Neuro-psychiatric exam (by the school) and he says that difficult child has scored 1,2, and below 1 on all 5 sections. So his Excutive functioning score is very low. The school district Neuro-psychiatric wants his therapies to be increased dramatically, and his academics to be reduced.

    We have a Oct'07 Neuro-psychiatric exam (through the hospital). That appointment is scheduled 1 yr after the hospital referred us to them.

    I just feel that if I had more time with difficult child (other then 15 minutes in the morning, and 1 hr at night) then I could really work with him and things would improve. Maybe slowly, but they would improve. I've seen it in the past. He just responds and improves when things go a bit slower (when it's stressful thing, or an anxiety thing for him). Other times he can move along fine.

    Hope this answers some questions for you.
     
  14. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No new advice to offer just wanted to say I'm sorry things are so rough. Hugs.
     
  15. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    Tonight, right when we walked in the door, I had difficult child take a bath. Fortunately, he didn't fight me. But this doesn't answer the question of what to do when he goes off on some situatiom. I can tolerate his rages better than his hysterical crying.
     
  16. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Originally Posted By: Hanging-On

    Oh, and yes he's had a Neuro-psychiatric exam (by the school) and he says that difficult child has scored 1,2, and below 1 on all 5 sections. So his Excutive functioning score is very low. The school district Neuro-psychiatric wants his therapies to be increased dramatically, and his academics to be reduced.

    Not surprising that his executive functioning is low condsidering that most, if not all, of the medications he is taking can effect the cognitive functioning. If he's effected by the drugs so strongly that you have to give them by a certain time so that you can have him functioning in the morning and then he gets a major tranquilizer (Abilify) and an antidepressant used as a sleep medication (Trazadone) during the day, it's surprising he functions in school at all.
     
  17. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    Sara, you've brought up a point that has been said a few times. That the medication's are making him cognitively not function. Part of me just says I should just take him off the medications and see what happens. But I remember how he was before the hospital and all these medications. I'm just not knowledgable of drugs and what they do and if they're needed. I don't know, I'm getting a very bad headache in my eyes and I can't think right now. So I'm going to close for now. Thank you everyone for your thoughts today.
     
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Al I can add to what's been said, is for you, as much as you can, to use times like bath times and meal times also as quality time for you. Play with them in the bath as you help them wash. Get them to wash each other's backs. Blow bubbles. It needn't take much longer, if any time, but if the time is more enjoyable for ALL of you, you all feel less stressed and you enjoy the time together. Sounds like you're all too busy trying to keep to an impossible schedule, set by the medication. Life is just not fair to you. This may be a way of grabbing back some of that balance and control that's been taken from you.

    You continue the games when they get out of the bath - if the weather is cold either have a heater in there or dry the kids one at a time. I wouldn't insist on him doing it for himself when he's feeling drugged and rushed. Weekends are plenty time for that. You can make a game out of drying the kids, as someone else suggested.

    The trouble is, it's hard to feel inventive when life is rushing you on at a horrendous pace.

    Task-changing can also add to meltdowns - getting in the bath is task-changing, so is getting out. Making it a game can make it easier. Getting the kids to race each other is another good game. First one to be dry, first one to have clothes on, first one to have shoes on, etc.

    I used to work full-time with three kids under school age. I was able to spend my lunchtimes with them and play then, plus I would feed them their lunch to make sure it was a healthy one. Sometimes I'd bath them at lunchtime at the child care centre. It meant I could "top and tail" them and put them to bed when we got home. I would cook the evening meal t he night before and reheat a serve for each kid as soon as I walked in the door. Then after they were in bed, I would get cooking with the next night's casserole. I had time, then, to cook without interruptions. The flavours would mingle well during the day in the fridge and it tasted even better the next night.

    I would certainly raise the problems with the doctors as soon as possible - the whole idea of medication and treatment in general, is to work within the framework of the patient's lifestyle and needs. If the medications work but make life unlivable, then it's not good.

    Marg
     
  19. givnmegryhr

    givnmegryhr New Member

    I have 3 children that do the hysterical crying thing. Only one has been diagnosis'd with BiPolar (BP),adhd,odd. He gets angry more than he cries,but it does happen occassionally and we still go through the I'm cold thing after his shower. It cycles depending on his mood. Sometimes he can dry and dress himself and others no way. I try to tell him he is a big boy and he can do it,but sometimes that doesn't work. He insists I wait in the next room . He was making us take him to the bathroom and that comes back and goes away too. With 4 kids I know what you mean with not being able to give him more time, although my difficult child demands it. Luckily, I guess, he is the youngest.
    My girls do the hysterical crying thing too . My younger daughter does this alot when she is really tired. There is nothing you can do,but take her to her room and lie her in bed. She might fight it but talking to her quietly ,staying calm, not giving a reaction seems to work the best. I heard something the other day, forget where,but it really struck home. It said, you can't change how our kids behave, but you can change how you react. I would suggest getting up a bit earlier, even to give you some time to yourself before the kids get up. Then too , you will have extra time to deal with difficult child.
    I hope this helps. Good luck, I know it's hard to keep your feelings in control . I'm still working on it myself!
     
  20. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    The trouble is, it's hard to feel inventive when life is rushing you on at a horrendous pace.

    Task-changing can also add to meltdowns - getting in the bath is task-changing, so is getting out. Making it a game can make it easier. Getting the kids to race each other is another good game. First one to be dry, first one to have clothes on, first one to have shoes on, etc.


    Good points, Marguerite!
     
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