Things I have learned... things that work.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by totoro, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I was thinking about this topic the other day. Things I thought I would never do with my child, things I could not imagine thinking!

    I wanted to start a thread that maybe could offer advice to each other and newbies about things that work for us or that we thought we would never do but maybe actually work! Things you maybe would only do with a difficult child. Or could of only thought of because of your difficult child! LOL

    For me today was one of those days... the topic of anger and consequences.

    K was so good all week, so it was bound to happen that today she would fall apart. A lot of times when she holds it together really well, it comes out really bad when she is safe...
    So today she woke early, hypomanic... we tried to go to the store together. husband had to take them out to sit in the car, she couldn't handle it.
    She was so out of it. The look.
    I gave them a snack and suggested lying down for awhile. OK 10 minutes later, she is up wondering around. Spacey, mumbling.
    Grandparents are showing up tonight so I wanted her to be OK...
    I suggested maybe she try to lay down a little bit longer. With a book, music again... something. She was so out of it, eyes glazed.
    She lost it, it turned into one of those full violent rages. Trying to brake down her door, tearing apart her room... screaming like a banshee.
    This went on for over an hour.
    THe horrible words... the just kill me all of it.

    So the thing I have learned is that, my child is not in her right mind when this is going on. I can not become angry. All that I can do is be ready to hold her and soothe her when she crashes. I can protect N and myself, but I can not judge K at the time. I tell her what I want from her once, I tell her that I am here for her. I then walk away... to do battle with a manic child is like hitting a wall... over and over.
    I have learned to save the talks for after the mania. I have learned to hold my anger and frustration and tears inside.
    Because these things do not help my child when she is in the middle of an episode.
    These things may change as she gets older, but for now at 7 this is what she needs from me.
    When I hear her breathing change... when her screams slow down. Then I know I can come in and grab her and just hold her. I rock her and tell her it will be OK, that we will figure it out.
    She is not off the hook for her violence, we discuss what she could do differently. Tonight we were supposed to go out to dinner, not happening now, (we were not going anyway because she wasn't doing well! tee-hee). She is sad that we will not be going. But for K, she beats herself up so much more, that I do not need to do much. She really is hard on herself.

    I am still learning how to do this better. But for us and dealing with a child with a Mood-Disorder, her not seeing that we are angry is vital.
    I look back at my childhood and when I was having an episode I can still feel my Adopted Dads anger and rage towards me.

    What do you know? What has worked or what is your philosophy?
    I don't think I would have ever reacted this way with a easy child child... to lots of things!
  2. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    There are SO many things, I could, and I believe I will, write a book about what to do.

    You hit upon a key point for me though. To not judge, or respond to these kiddos with anger. To hold, and to support them is what they need more than anything when their mind's are spinning and unable to process what to do other than rage.

    In retrospect I think I would listen less to those around me, and do more what my gut told me to do.

    And, always, I will hope. And believe in my son. I will always be his biggest advocate.

    Hugs to K. And you. If I think of anything else concrete, I will elaborate.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I back both you and Steely up on this- I'm still trying to master it, but I'm sure my son doesn't always intentionally "go to the other side" of things. Totoro- your description of how you handled things is similar to how I tweaked the Explosive Child concepts to work for us. I realize that my son is a lot older, but it continues to amaze me how "teaching" him and helping him through things works so much better. But, it isn't the typical "just be best friends" attitude so I find it difficult to get others on board many times. I might write more later on this, after I've given it a little more thought.

    In the meantime, I'm glad your day went well and this is a good discussion starter!!
  4. Jena

    Jena New Member


    so do you find that certain things or anything triggers it at all? or can it just come straight out of the blue? my difficult child is more oppositional, she doens't go into full blown episode she calls me names, slams doors, stomps feet, broke a toy twice. yet you guys are right, it is a much better idea to hanlde it that way. clearly i'm still working on it.

    it's difficult to hold them responsible and not react while their acting that way.
  5. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    You guys are right. The best thing to do when they are manic is to make sure everyone stays safe and not respond with anger.

    Consistency and a strict schedule helped my difficult child through the roughest times. It always helped my difficult child to know what was next. Like we come home from day care, she unwinds with her building blocks and legos (This was when she was younger) then we eat dinner, take baths, read a book or watch a show, then bed. Certain days we went to the store, she always sat in the cart even when she was getting too tall. It kept her occupied and away from things she would throw fits for.

    That's all I can think of right now, I'm sure there is probably more I will remember later.

  6. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Jennifer~ I think like Stella said, for us it is consistency, schedules and that if we do anything off schedule or that is elevating we need to be prepared for her breakdown.
    Life is a trigger for K. So we have to work on helping her deal with life and deal with her *engine* when it starts getting too high or too low... what can we do to help her? What can she do too help herself?
    For us because K was and is so young, it is a daily thing and part of her growing up experience.
    I never thought I would spend my days watching a child for the *look* in her eye... or if she was moving too much while watching t.v. Or wandering around the house spacing out talking to the fairies in her head.
    But you do and you adapt to things, each new thing.
    Not always as fast as we would want, or as gracefully as we would want! But I think we all do... some days are definately harder than others.
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I don't deal with mania, but have and do (but now, thankfully, to a much lesser extent) with rages.

    There is no being rational when she is in a rage, so I don't even try. I learned that pretty quick. She needs to get it out and her safe place to get it out has always been her room. Afterward, she is able to talk about whatever it was that set her off. I learned how "not in her right mind" she was when she doesn't remember the rages or doesn't remember the severity, etc. Her therapist explained it that her thinking side and her emotional side of her brain don't work together, so when she's in the emotional side there is no (rational) thinking and when she's in the thinking side she can't connect the emotional. Prior to Wynter, I never would have been able to understand it.

    I have had some success with making that connection with her, but it has been through sheer trial and error, racking my brain to find ways to get across and with repetition.

    I've also learned to pick my battles on a much different scale than with easy child. Some things will just have to be dealt with and learned on a different time table than with a easy child.
  8. adearing01

    adearing01 New Member

    I am happy to hear others are looking to new, unconventional ways to help our difficult child's
    I just started reading a new book called Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control. Has anyone here heard of this and the ideas behind it. I just recently started trying a more loving approach to his behaviors and letting him know that I understand he is not behaving that way on purpose, and I am here to help him deal with his rage. I feel this has helped form a small bond between us. I never bonded with him as an infant.
  9. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    I've learned to watch for the triggers out of both of the tweedles & go into warrior mum mode. :warrior:

    Over the years, as you have, I've learned what to watch for in both kt & wm (though wm isn't as much of a concern for me because of group home) & switch gears quickly.

    Meltdown mode, rages or mania are not times to lecture or judge anger ~ that anger (at least in my tweedles) was seldom remembered. As they aged & learned more self calming skills, I still don't judge the anger, I do, however hold them more accountable for their actions during these times.

    toto, it's an ever evolving exercise and/or balancing act with our difficult children. You've done well the little time you've been here - I've seen a growth in you. :warrior::bigsmile:
  10. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I think I have learned to lower my expectations but it saddens me to do it.

    I've learned to ignore more then I ever thought I would.

    I'm still learning to not care about others' opinions and still take my difficult child's to places that benefit them even if it is embarassing to me.

    I think I always knew that a child dealing with extra **** needs extra hugs and acknowledgment that you see them working harder then NT kids.

    I think I look hard for opportunities where my kids can find a feeling of success like cooking at home, art, whatever is their thing.

    As far as dealing with the anger thing, I am torn. On the one hand the real world will hold them accountable and won't care "why" If you believe they can control it to any degree, I can understand working on it at the time it is happening, I can often get my difficult child back in line by mentioning the consequences of his behavior. It will make him stop and think and change his action. If you think it is beyond their ability, then to intervene at that moment would just be adding fuel to the fire. I think some kids have both situations and it is difficult to know which one you are in, in the moment. Either way, I know it helps my difficult child to speak in a neutral tone, I can usually do that.

    I am sure, we are all in a difficult situation and will make many mistakes but our love for our kids keep us moving forward.
  11. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Linda Thank you! I have learned so much from this board. Every time I read one of the KT or WM stories I hold onto them... much for the insight.
    HOC~ I fully agree about the extras... I don't want my kids to feel *special* but I need to lift them up at the right times.
    I try to let go of the embarrassing feelings also! Even though it is SO hard. This is the first year we are actually going to the movies! We even went to Chuck-e-Cheese for the first time a couple of weeks ago, it was slow but we did OK!
    I think because a lot of us deal with depression with our kids also, we need to be able to give them the support also. HUGS even when I don't feel like it. I try to make a conscience effort to stop and tell the girls they are doing a good job randomly...
    Pick your battles... I learned that one real fast!

    One thing that husband and I try to do, and I don't know if we would feel it was so important if we had easy child's? Is the need to make them do things on their own. By themselves. They never want to be alone or do things on their own, K more so than N.
    K gets into her, depressions and I don't force her to be alone then. But I want her to know that she can be alone and it is OK.
    Talking to other members here whose kids deal with this really has made me aware of how hard it can become.
    I know Steely was even having a hard time getting M to go out of of the house for awhile. I don't know if you, Heather have that problem with Wynter ever?
    Just thoughts.... Always thinking!
  12. Good and effective listening skills. I'm learning that difficult child is listening, even if he can't respond at the time. And that letting the silence be and shutting my mouth instead of trying to ask a question a different way to "explain it" is better when talking with difficult child.

    We don't lower our basic expectations for difficult child just because of his issues; he may not be able to meet them all - but he wants to achieve as much as anyone else. He may just need a different way to get there.

    One thing we've learned is that one parent has to maintain a positive outlook if the other is in a bad spot (such as a lot of work stress) - and picking up more of the difficult child work during that time.

    I've also learned that what "kind-of" works with difficult child; works brilliantly with easy child. No need to change parenting skills.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have learned to watch my child's breathing and HOW he is sitting (sometimes thank you seems to just vibrate in place as he plays with his legos or watches a movie). Not only to keep an eye on the asthma (kids with sensory issues really don't register the tightness in the chest that other kids with asthma do). And then simply give the asthma medication, the brushing, or whatever else with-o even saying "let's do your brushing". I just get the brush and go to him.

    Early in Wiz' career in daycare, a woman told me to ALWAYS make my child come to me. NEVER go to him unless he is hurt or ill. I learned that this can be a great recipe for a rage or meltdown. iF it is a matter of getting a prn or other medication into the child, or brushing therapy done, it is just SO much easier to walk over to my child (any of htem). they keep their train of thought, go along with what they need, and we ALL ahve a better evening.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have also learned the power of PROTEIN!!! No matter what we are doing, or where we are going, if the kids start acting out the FIRST tool I pull out of my arsenal is PROTEIN. Most groc stores have cheese sticks for under 50 cents each. Or we get a $2 cup of popcorn chicken, or a chicken leg for each of us, or some other form of food that is high in protein and can be eaten NOW. With the cheese sticks, when we buy the indiv ones we go to the register and pay for just the cheese sticks (the empty wrappers are tough to scan), and then go about the rest of our shopping.

    husband does not do this. He ends up placating the kids later in the shopping trip or coming home with a major attitude (His is worse than theirs' by that point). Sometimes the placating can be over $10 for a book or toy, where my protein is about $2-$3. AND I get the whole list done (usually) AND we are in a good mood whne we get home.
  15. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    Like House of Cards, I've learned to lower my expectations. I've learned to pick and choose which behaviors I need to respond to. I ignore what I can.

    When either one of my difficult children are in a rage, the first thing I do is to make sure everyone is safe. As long as safety isn't an issue, I totally ignore them until they're finished. (I'm lucky because most of the time my difficult children will rage in their rooms). There is an angel watching out for me, lol!!!

    My difficult children know in advance what the consequences will be for their negative actions. Like Linda, (Timer Lady), I don't judge their anger. However, I believe it is necessary for them to be liable for the consequences of their actions. As someone else said, the world isn't going to go easy on them because of their issues. I try as hard as I can to prepare them for life in the "real" world.

    I think the best advice I can give is to remain calm (at least on the outside). Don't raise your voice. Don't try to reason with an out of control difficult child. Ignore what you can. Talk to your difficult child only when he or she has calmed down.

    Also, I've found that my difficult children need strict schedules and lots of advance notice when their routines are going to be interrupted. difficult child 2 needs this more than difficult child 1. By maintaining a scheduled time for bed, getting up, doing homework, etc., I've been able to cut down on the number of "tantrums" difficult child 2 has each day. (As difficult child 1 gets older, his "tantrums" are decreasing. However, I think this has alot to do with medications)

    I think this is a great thread. Thanks Totoro for starting it. If I think of anything else, I'll (hopefully) be back later. difficult child 2 is making it difficult for me to think... Got to go. WFEN
  16. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    Suziestar, I have a 3 yo with sensory issues and asthma..I keep telling people that he doesn't wheeze, that I have to watch him very carefully because he will just do less with less air, you have to really know him. You are the only other person I ever heard say it so directly about the Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) and asthma.

    I will try to remember the protein too, but Major would be the one to need it and if it isn't carbs he usually isn't interested.
  17. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    I can't believe I'm back so soon!!! difficult child 2 is actually doing his homework without banging, swearing, etc.,,, A MIRACLE!!! One more thing I just thought of -

    When you have an unstable difficult child who isn't in a rage but is in desperate need of a tweak in his/her medications, here is a bit of advice that has helped me survive the rough times until the new dosage, medication, etc., has had a chance to kick in.

    difficult child 1 is both bipolar and an Aspie. When he is having a difficult time staying "glued together", I try to keep my explanations limited to a five or six word sentence. A therapist difficult child 1 once had told me that when difficult child 1 is unstable, he'll only listen to at most, five or six words from me. So, it is best to keep any necessary explanations short and sweet.

    This works extremely well when difficult child 1 is looking to get a "rise" out of me. difficult child 1 actually enjoys creating chaos. When I respond to him in a neutral tone using minimal words, it has the greatest impact. Once difficult child 1 realizes he can't engage me in an argument and that I'm not going to keep repeating my explanations to him, he usually backs off. He has actually told me many times that "I'm no fun." He doesn't realize what a great compliment this is, lol!!! This method has helped me remain sane many times.

    Unfortunately, difficult child 1 loves creating chaos even when he is stable on his medications. So, I have lots of opportunities to practice this skill. I know this method won't work for all of our difficult children, but I hope it helps some of you. WFEN
  18. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Great advice!!!
    One thing I thought of... because my inlaws are visiting and I try to keep things simple for all of us when things get hectic, which makes it worse for both of my girls.
    I keep little baskets around the house or easy to get to, filled with "handworks" we learned this from our Occupational Therapist (OT) because both of my girls have Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) but this goes for most Spectrum or special needs kid I would think.
    We have wind up toys, squishy balls, rubber balls, the balls with lights in them, little dolls... anything small that feels good in your hand I put in the baskets.
    So when I see K or N having an issue I just grab the basket and hand it to them.
    I am amazed how many times this works.
    Especially when they are watching TV. Because K can not sit still when watching TV, it is painful to watch her, she has to move, jump, bounce etc... she throws herself across the couch. So I have a therapy ball out in the family room and the basket within reach.
    Even when playing a board game, if she can hold something in one hand she can play without freaking out! Or at least wait for her turn with a little more paitence.
  19. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    T - ask me the question about Wynter leaving the house in a couple of weeks when I'm feeling better. I really want to talk to you about that, but I don't have the brain function right now.
  20. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    Your basket of "handworks" is a great idea!!! I wish someone had suggested this to me years ago. Even though difficult child 2 is almost 16 and a half years old, I think this will work for him too.

    It is much easier to stop a potential "issue" from developing into a full-blown "melt-down" than it is to deal with the "melt-down." This is the understatement of the morning!!! WFEN