Another explosive tantrum

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Roxona, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    Yep, SS10 had another explosive tantrum last night.

    This time he received a write-up at school for being disrespectful of property and person and being defiant. I let his dad handle it completely. Dad's standing rule for bringing a write-up home is going to bed after dinner. SS10 went into meltdown mode. He screamed at his Dad and then started complaining how everyone is out to get him and how life isn't fair to him. He did not threaten anyone this time, which is a positive note.

    After about 30 minutes of his Dad listening to SS10's woes, I asked Dad to see me for a second in another room. I told him that he was only feeding the fire by sitting there and beating a dead horse with SS10. He says he is just trying to get him to calm down, but I think it actually makes it worse and last longer. SS10 feeds off of negative attention and will prolong his consequence as long as he can by sucking his Dad into into his miseries and beating that poor darn horse over and over for hours and hours. I told him that all he had to do was tell SS10 that he loves him, but that he knows this is the consequence for his actions and that he will discuss other things with him tomorrow. My husband thinks this is too harsh. He is worried SS10 is going to hurt himself and thinks if he just keeps talking with him maybe it will all stop.

    After my husband ended the conversation (less than 5 minutes after we talked), he left the room and said good night. SS10 keep yelling and demanding over and over for his father to come back in and talk to him. Dad went downstairs and melted with sadness in his chair. He is so worried that his son is losing his mind and that he is not going to be okay.

    I asked him if he had heard from the children's hospital about being assigned a therapist. He said no. I asked him if he had called them to find out what is going on. He said no. I asked him why. He said it could take a couple of weeks. I asked him why. He said he didn't know. I told him that SS10 has had "another" explosive tantrum and the he is SS10's advocate and needs to call them ASAP to move this along. Waiting for someone to call you back is not the answer. I told him that if I was the legal guardian I would be calling every day until I got the answer I was looking for. I told him that I would never let my child sit there spinning out of control without doing my best to seek help for him. Yes, I shamed him there a little, but my gosh, nothing is going to get better if he just "waits and sees."

    So, I have two questions...

    1. How would you approach SS10's tantrums?

    2. What are the consequences you apply for bringing home a write-up from school?

    I am always looking for better ways of doing things, and I am at loss here as to what might work better. All advice is appreciated.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    We never punished at home for something that was punished at school. It was talked about, to figure out our kid's side of the story and help us determine if the school responded appropriately - often not, either too harsh OR to soft!

    It's so tough because you don't know what you are dealing with. I'm more like you - I'd have been pushing every doorbell and knocking on every door long before now.

    I prefer to give some space and then come back and talk a bit, repeat as necessary. Some kids need to be held tightly, to feel "external control", not as punishment, but in order to feel safe. Some kids tantrum because they simply are overloaded and need time away - not as punishment, but just space so they can cope.

    Can he give you a POA so you can speak on his behalf? Might get some things done faster...
  3. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I would rethink the current punishment. I tried not to double punish for school offenses, except if it was for not doing school work...then they had to give up Tv, or phone, or friends until work was caught up. But they had to work in the living room, not locked away in their room. Then offered rewards for getting work a game, or pop some pop corn and watch a favorite show together. I think I would try to have stepson work towards positive time with dad or you. Even if it is following a consequence for bad behavior. Which it sounds like he will take any attention he can get by what ever means... Maybe sending to room with instructions to write an apology, or talk about ways to do better, maybe role play with him...let him be the "mean teacher making demands" and you play the child and show him a better way to respond. Like "I really don't want to do xxxx can I go to the quiet spot and calm down first, and then I will try it?" "I feel like punching something, can I run around the playground until that feeling stops?"

    There are lots of "social books" for kids his age. A librarian could help you find some. It usually deals with a story about a kid with a challenge or problem and ways they try to deal with it, to show what works and doesn't work...

    Can you find a hobby for him? A sport? A club? Even giving him his own few feet of garden and plants to take care of? Build a simple model car? It sounds like he has few friends and needs an outlet to find new interests.

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  4. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Roxona, What exactly does "going to bed after dinner" mean at your house? If that means he got no screen time (tv, computer, games) and he had to stay in his room, then that is appropriate and reasonable. He may be mad about losing his privileges, but when you are disrespectful at school, oh well.

    I think for younger children, misbehaviors at school should be handled at school. The time delay is what makes SS10 feel that everyone is out to get him and life is unfair. How often are the write-ups sent home about him? If they are infrequent, I can see giving him a consequence at home. If they happen weekly or more often, then SS10 is receiving double punishments so much that he feels he can't win. I think you don't want to be punishing him more for behaviors at school that are not within his control. You and your husband know him best. Does going to bed early help him behave better the next day?

    It's tricky. I only had serious write-ups on Ferb a couple of times from the school. I typically had him write an apology letter to the teacher and other child if there were another child involved. The last time I had to do that was . . . last year. Ferb and his buddies were being disrespectful to a younger teacher. I gave the teacher permission to give Ferb a detention. Plus, I had Ferb write an apology letter and then checked to be certain the teacher received it. (I am so evil.) Ferb loved this teacher who quit and took a different job. That's what I call a natural consequence of teens behaving badly.

    I have more to say about this negative attention loop, but I have to give Ferb a ride to class.
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  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think everyone here gave good advice. I also had tantrums as a kid. Bad ones. I remember well that punishing me for them didnt stop them because I never thought about the punishment the next time it happened. A tantrum is usually a lack of control and you "lose it" and cant think.

    I also remember that the only way for me to calm down was to leave me alone in a room and let me calm. Talking made it worse no matter what was said. I needed NO stimulation.

    I never threw tantrums in school, but often at home. But school was very difficult for me on every level so I often had meltdowns at home due to the stress of school.

    Your step needs to be evaluated ASAP. Your husband cant help him if he just hope it goes away. He and bio. Mom need to push hard for an evaluation and services.

    Good luck.
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    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    With Miss KT, I usually let school stuff stay at school, unless it was a serious offense. Since SS10 was well aware of the consequences, oh well, he needs to learn to deal. I agree that your husband was feeding into the tantrum by sitting and listening, basically rewarding him for misbehaving.

    Your hands are pretty much tied, though, as you know, because your husband won't get on the stick and push for that evaluation and therapist.
  7. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    The only way I've ever found effective for dealing with tantrums, and mind you this was with much younger children, was to walk away.

    I think paying attention to it feeds into it.

    My friend's daughter was a kind of tantrumer. Meaning that she didn't actually have the full out screaming, kicking tantrums I think of when my kids had them, but she would sob and cry and whine when she didn't get her way. You know, the whole. "It's not fair, you are ruining my life" thing. She was about 10. My friend used to very calmly, no emotion say to her, "We will discuss this later when you are in control of your behavior." and walk away. She always laughed and said, "Don't feed the drama llama."
  8. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    Please forgive me for this, but you and your husband seem to be on incredibly separate pages in regards to parenting. I am wondering if you have tried marriage counseling to deal with this?

    I also think that if you going with the tactic of making him deal with the discipline, you have to let him deal with it totally, without interfering. By pulling him aside and telling him not to feed into it, you are still, indirectly, making the decisions. This may be reaching, but in a way he is still putting the responsibility on you.

    He is easing his guilt by saying, in a way, "It wasn't my idea to walk away and leave him crying, I was just doing what Roxona wanted."

    I think the next time, if I couldn't stand to listen to it, I would, either, go out for a while, or I would put on some headphones and Netflix.
  9. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    We have two types of "write-ups" that come home. The first one is the daily behavior report which tells us how he did in class that day. His teacher is responsible for assigning the punishment or consequence. We only discuss what happened and how he could have done it differently the next no additional punishment.

    The other one is a pink slip write-up which we see 1-2 times per month. This is for more egregious behavior where the school is notifying us of what happened and leaving any correction for us to handle. Generally, my husband and I discuss what happened over the phone out of earshot of SS10, he decides what the correction should be, and then he discusses it with SS10.

    I used to parent his kids a lot because my husband wasn't parenting/doing anything about the behaviors. It was causing me a tremendous amount of stress, and because his dad and I haven't always been a united front, SS10 thinks I'm the wicked witch of the west with all the rules. A year or so ago, I got fed up and told my husband he needed to parent his children or our marriage wasn't going to work. He's been working hard on it ever since, and it does reduce my stress somewhat to not always be involved.

    I don't know that giving me POA is necessarily a good thing. That would give Dad even more reason to throw his head in the sand and ignore the problem.

    I have tried all of these things many times with no effect.

    His problem isn't that he lacks enthusiasm for different activities. He would love to do everything you mentioned, but his behavior makes it difficult to do anything with him. I've tried cooking with him, and gardening and playing games and going places and having tv movie night. Every single time he turns it into a chaotic fight fest. And you're right, he doesn't have a lot of friends. He's been so hard on all the kids in our neighborhood that no one wants to play with him. In fact, they are starting to retaliate against him. Last week all the kids circled him on their bikes and spit on him! This was in retaliation because he spit on one of their friends on the bus that week.

    Going to bed after dinner means you go to bed. No tv, computer, games, toys, reading. Nothing. Dinner time varies slightly, so usally it means he goes to bed 30 - 60 minutes earlier than his normal bedtime.

    Nothing helps him behave better the next day. He often does not go to sleep until after mid-night even though he goes to bed at 8pm, reads until 8:30 pm and then lights out. He sits up there and stews on whatever is making him have anxiety. He gets up multiple times to tell his dad "one more thing" or that he has some mystery illness and needs medicine. He reads using his night light. He plays with his toys. Some times he's not awake when I get him up for school. Most of the time he's up at the crack of dawn.

    This is what I am used to with J. J rarely got in serious trouble at school. When he stole, I made him admit his crime to the store manager and then carry a see through backpack for a year. When he hurt someone, I had him write apology notes. When he drew a map from the school to our house with marker on the school sidewalk, I made him scrub the sidewalk until most of the marker gone and write an apology note to the principal. Never did I have to deal with the issues I am faced with and ill-equipped to deal with now.

    My approach has been to send him to his room for a time out to cool off. He just views it as a punishment. I wait 5-10 minutes or until he stops screaming, and then, when he's calm, try to discuss the situation with him. His dad will sit in there for hours while the boy screams at him.

    I asked my husband if he called children's today. He said he left a message this afternoon. Bio mom died from cancer 3 years ago, so it will be up to me to push him harder.
  10. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    Hahahaha...Don't feed the drama llama...I love it! I'm going to use that for sure.

    You’re right, we have been on very different pages, and I try soooo hard to butt out, if I’m not going to be involved. I was a single parent with my 20 year old for most of his life, so I had to make all the decisions and do all the parenting because his dad was pretty much absent. It’s hard to let go of the reins when you’ve been doing it for so long, and the other parent just ignores the child and doesn’t do anything to stop the bad behavior.

    But, yes, I need to figure out a way to keep out of it.
  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Roxona, following along here and I just have one thing to say, you are AMAZING.......
    :hangin: Hang in there warrior mom

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  12. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    Thank you, Leafy! You have the best emoticons! I just love them. Especially this one: :warriorsmiley:
  13. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Yep. I agree. "Don't feed the drama llama" is a super expression. You can tell your husband that SS10 will calm much faster if there is no audience for this drama. The longer he talks to his son, the longer the experience will be.

    We experience this at school multiple times per class period. One minute a girl is crying because she forgot her homework. The teacher says to her, "You're fine. Calm yourself." Five minutes later a boy is losing it, because he got an answer wrong. He gets a similar response, "It's one wrong answer. Get over it." The less you say to them, the better.

    Roxona, I think there are some weeds that need your attention. :wink:
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  14. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Lol, they are not my emoticons, they are up there in the smiley face in the whatever you call that bar thingee, up there
    thats pointing up there, to the bar thingee:onesmiley1:

    And yes, do not feed the drama llama. Llamas are cute, but they spit.


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  15. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    I know, right?! It's too darn windy outside though...and cold. I'm feeling better now that I've unloaded a little. Think I'll make some tea and go sew something.

    P.S. ~ Holy mother of pearl I just found all the emoticons!!!! :flirtysmile3:
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  16. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    They are intoxicating, aren't they?

  17. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Roxona, here you are : :sword: :easter_eggs: I've been "dyeing " to use that one with the creepy little laughing eggs.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Roxona, you have exactly the right idea. A tantrum, once it starts, quickly explodes out of control and the child needs low stimulation and no talking to calm down. Every word is oil on fire, even nice words. A tantrum IS overstimulation. It has to burn out and die. I used to feel depressed, like killing myself, after a tantrum. I swore yo myself I'd never do it again, but in my heart, I knew it would happen again becsuse it was outside my control.

    I do not know and cant guess how this boy feels afterward. I thought I was crazy and hated myself, but your stepson may totally feel a different way. Without judgment, it may not hurt to ask him how his tantrums make him feel long AFTER he has settled down.

    He may not know how he feels. I did but we are all different. The more you know, the more info you have.

    It must have heen horrible for ss to lose his mother so young. Was he this way before she got sick?
  19. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    But, don't put all of your eggs in one basket.....
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  20. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    So far, he hasn't been able to verbally express anything really other than he thinks he's bad. I'll try to ask him how he feels after he's had a tantrum.

    His father says he's been like this all his life. I met him when he had just turned 7, and he used to be even more chaotic than he is some of things I've tried have worked.

    I wish I could understand being out of control or unable to control yourself. That's just nothing I have any experience with, even as a child. My father was out of control from substance abuse and mental illness. Mom was always away at work (2 sometimes 3 jobs). I was the oldest of me and my sister, so I was put in charge from an early age. If something didn't get done or was not to my father's liking then I got the lead buckle end of the belt. I learned very quickly to be in control at all times. I don't know any other way, so dealing with a child who cannot or will not control himself is a crazy maker for me.

    So it's known...because of what I experienced, I did not use corporal punishment with J, and I will not use corporal punishment with any of the other kids.