Another Day another meltdown....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by dmf, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. dmf

    dmf New Member

    So, today is Monday and technically the first day of the school holidays here in QLD. The day started ok and everyone was happy....granted I hadn't asked him to do anything or said no to anything yet.

    Once asked to get dressed and have breakfast the tension started. Things were fine (with a little grrr under the surface) until lunch and I said no to him having a butter sandwhich. I asked him to put some form of spread or something on the sandwhich as was met with grunts, stomps and shouted no's.

    I ended up putting him in his room to calm down and this led to kicking, hitting and throwing things at his door whilst his brother was trying to sleep in the next room. When I opened his door and he rushed me, instead of grabbing him and putting him back in, I let him go and do as he wanted. Whilst he was out watching TV thinking he had won some all important war I am not too sure of the point of, I was emptying his room.

    I hated doing it, but I am so sick of having things thrown at me, the walls and the door. I had already previously emptied everything else, but today I ended up taking his desk, bedside table and even his bed frame. He now has his clothes (in a heavy set of drawers) and his mattress.

    He said I am so mean and so not fair to him but then was telling a teammate at soccer about it like it was a big joke. I don't know anymore. I am so worried about him, us all of it.
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You're a week ahead of us with the holidays. Qld is often a week this way or that, I've noticed.

    Why did you not want him to have peanut butter? A problem with kids like ours, is they need to understand reasons. Some people object to giving reasons, thinking that the kid has to learn some time to accept authority, but I've found that while you can eventually force the issue with some kids, it has the opposite effect with others.

    When they can see that there is a valid reason this time, and last time, they're more likely to accept you have a valid reason next time too. And your end result was that he felt he had won.

    My mother-in-law often would use that phrase - "He's won now." But she would use it at a time when I was not competing with my child, so it was not a matter of victory or otherwise. I eventually figured that if I ever got to the mind-set of thinking it was a competition between me and my kid, I had already lost the war.

    I note you did scrape his room out of potential missiles. But I'm not sure if he will get the connection.

    I would go back to what you wanted out of tat interaction, and analyse it - did you get what you wanted? How will it go next time? It is better to avoid the meltdown in the first place, than to need to rely on your safety measures as a priority. Not that it's wrong to have such safety measures, but I think you need more - you need to find ways to prevent the meltdowns happening. And that is mostly you finding a better way to get what you want from him. Also perhaps rethinking why you want what you want from him.

    The important battles - grabbing a kid who is about to run across the street in front of a truck - they are almost unavoidable. But we need to keep total number of battles to a minimum, which means that for most other stuff, where it really is no skin off your nose, let him have what he wants. For now. Teach him to accept being grabbed to sve him from a truck, or other equally vital things, and leave anything less important until he is accepting authority in urgent safety matters without melting down. Then as he is handling it, add one more issue each time.

    A nephew of mine would only eat Vegemite sandwiches. So his mother tried aversion therapy - nothing but Vegemite sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and tea. His siblings got a wide range, including roast chicken for dinner. She figured the boy would crack after three days. At the three week mark she gave up. He's 40 now and still loves Vegemite sandwiches! But trying to force him didn't work either. She had to negotiate. "If you eat your roast chicken tonight, you can have two Vegemite sandwiches in your school lunchbox tomorrow."

    The same thing can work with the peanut butter sandwich - "If you eat the carrot sticks I have for you, you can have the peanut butter sandwich that is here on this plate, waiting for you." It says to the kid, "I am so confident you will do what I ask that I have already got your sandwich prepared for you."

  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, I like what Marg has said here. I think one of the difficulties (there are perhaps a few :) ) of raising a difficult child is being able to let go of what we are "supposed" to do. Because what we are supposed to do is stand firm in the face of capriciousness, etc. And yet... when you really look at it, is it so important that he have spread on his sandwich? At a cost of his meltdown and your anger and frustration. Personally I'm still really working on learning to be flexible, to let go of my own pride and need to win. Some things we do need to "win" on. Others, perhaps most, we can just let go... it's just about intelligent management, I think.
  4. dmf

    dmf New Member

    ok, I should have been clearer. It wasn't that I have a problem with him having peanut butter, infact i would be THRILLED if he ate that. He was having a (very thickly spread) margerine sandwhich.
    I get that I need to pick my battles and yes, I am often human and just as stubborn as him, but wow is it hard! :)
    Normally when he is carrying on about food (like after soccer last night) I ignore it or give him the 'either eat this or have nothing'. He would rather have nothing than eat evil vegetables or anything that he doesnt want to.
    I dont know, i am just so tired of arguing ALL the time!!
    We have a psychiatric appointment tomorrow so that will be another bit of fun
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I remember being set to school with bread and butter, and money to go buy some hot chips to make a chip sandwich. A special treat. A dietary disaster, these days!

    I think you may need to quietly sit and make a list of all the problem behaviours, all the things you have fought about, and then work out a priority for them all. Then skim off the top 5 and leave the rest for a while. If you try to fix everything, you end up fixing nothing AND being angry and frustrated (both of you) into the bargain.

    Do try to find that book in the library - The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. Or failing that, Google it and read what you can on it. It should help, fairly quickly to a small extent. More help takes a little longer but I found this book made my life a lot easier. You tend to think of books and new techniques being too hard to think about to concentrate on, but this one helped me shut off a lot of the stupid nitpicky stuff I had been given to try (and which did not work).

    The more complicated a solution, the less chance you have of sticking to it.

    All the best with the psychiatrist today.

  6. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Hi...sorry to hear about your difficult day!!!

    I went and bought me the "explosive child" from Green.....I'm only at chapter 3 now and already things are starting to turn for the good!

    What I realized and also identified in your post is that I used to meet my son head on...Now I started to realize that my child is not trying to behave like this (explosive) on purpose but because he doesn't know how to handle things differently! So this made me relax a bit more...not taking his attacks personal....and also afterwards trying to discuss alternative behaviour.

    Something I also read was that you must create 3 baskets with rules....Basket 1 can be rules that can be changed...basket 2, slight bending and basket 3 the rules that can't be negosiated (that can cause harm for example)...(Sorry I might have this wrong...have n't read all of it yet).....So maybe not to feel like a failure or that you have "lost a battle", just because you CHOOSE to bend one rule, like what he can eat.

    Hope all of this makes sense? Huggs
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hugs... I used to love butter (oleo) on tortillas. In fact I still like it, it's just not quite so thickly spread anymore.

    Has he tried - peanut butter and butter? Does he like honey? If so - peanut butter and honey (as he clearly is not an infant). Just something else, something different. Butter & honey? (The honey will make the bread slightly crunchy - I love that.)

    Just a thought. Honestly, oleo is terrible for you, but I've noticed my kids like it, in fact they use about 5 times what they should. I buy large tubs of supercheap oleo for them, and Olivio for myself (it tastes better and is more than 1 molecule from being plastic)...
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Dmf, welcome.
    I just wanted to commisserate. I just posted my own thread along similar lines. Once you instruct him to do something he doesn't want to do, it's all over.
    I see that others here actually have useful comments, which is great, but right now I'm too emotionally spent to be of any use, other than a long distance hug to a mom who understands.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Step, have you ever tried peanut butter, honey and sliced banana? And for DMF, bananas would be more affordable than for us down in Sydney. We're paying A$12 a kilo and more for over-ripe bananas. Brisbane and Gold Coast should be able to get bananas for a lot less.

    DMF, this can also be a sensory thing for the lad. He might feel he needs the extra grease to slide it down. easy child 2/difficult child 2 was like this (still is), only eating foods with a creamy texture. While difficult child 3 still refuses anything with a creamy texture. For dinner last night we had steamed jacket potatoes. The rest of us had butter or sour cream on them; difficult child 3 refused either option, preferring his potatoes plain. He generally refuses all butter/margarine spread unless he's having Vegemite. Then it is spread as thinly as possible, with butter also spread thinly. He will also have a thin smear of butter on cobs of corn.

    So kids are different in how they react, for sensory reasons. Does he fuss about his clothes in any way? For example, prickly knitted garments, or the labels inside shirt collars? I used to have to unpick the labels from some of difficult child 1's shirts, especially if they were sewn in with a nylon thread. Simply cutting out the labels was not enough, usually. Sometimes the label itself is made from a different fabric and they feel the stiffness and hate it.

    I found when I had kids who were very fussy about the texture of clothing, I did best when I bought their clothes form op-shops, because those clothes were pre-worn and often a lot softer. Also when difficult child 3 chewed his clothes a lot, if I only spent 20c on a t-shirt I didn't get so angry when he chewed holes in it after one day. Mind you, I did go buy him a baby teething ring at that point! He's actually chewing on it right now... at 17 years old. But he knows not to do it in public, it helps him cope and it does save his clothes. When he knows he can chew on it if he needs to, the need to chew on it reduces. So he is in control of how he uses it, and it teaches him self-control.

    Sometimes our kids really do have some unusual needs, and it can make life a lot easier to give them the freedom in areas that are not going to matter to you in the long run. Choosing what will matter - that can be tricky when your brain feels burned out.