Any of your difficult child's have a "special space"?


New Member
Well, we were on day 4 of post-psychiatric hospital discharge and the meltdowns started back up again. :::sigh::: That didn't take long. So, while husband was on difficult child duty, I decided to go up to difficult child's room and try something.

I cleared out his main closet, which is of a pretty decent size, and vacuumed it and then I put a large bean bag chair in there. I got a really soft blanket and put that in there as well and the closet has its own light and light switch. Well, by the time I had finished, difficult child was being really unstable in the livingroom, so husband brought difficult child up to his room and I tried to re-direct him so we wouldn't have to restrain him and I introduced/explained the "special room" to him.

In the psychiatric hospital day program and in the psychiatric hospital, they always advocated that the kids "take space" by basically giving themselves a time out in a separate area whenever they were angry, which our difficult child is not capable of doing because he really gets too worked up that he ends up in the quiet room. So, I was sort of going off a combination of the two concepts here.

I told him that I created this space just for him and that he was welcome to hang out in it at any time. That it had it's own light and it's own door, so any time he needed/wanted to escape from us or his brother (his brother is a big trigger for him), he could come here. Of course, he said that his brother could just open the door, so I told him maybe we could replace the doorknob with one that would lock. I then told him that he could bring in a book or just lay down with the blanket and relax and take some space. He could have the light on or off, the door open or closed. I even told him that if he wanted to paint the walls in there a special color we could go pick out paint at the hardware store one of these days!

Well, wouldn't you know he got right in there and layed down on the floor with the blanket and I asked him if he wanted the door open or shut and he said shut. I told him he was welcome to open the door and rejoin us at anytime and he came back downstairs calm and collected within minutes!!!!! IT WORKED!

I think he found comfort in the close four walls. I think it may have felt safe and familiar and special. (Is it bad that all I kept thinking was "now if only the walls were padded and the door had a lock?")

I just hope he makes use of it. He had several meltdowns today, but luckily he was somewhat redirectable and he was able to recover from them. He *was* unsafe (hitting himself in the head and throwing things at us), but they weren't *as* terrible as the ones right before our last admit ::knock on wood:: Of course, he hasn't re-entered school yet- that's tomorrow YIKES! and he hasn't started his day program yet- our in-take meeting is Tuesday YIKES! And husband is away on business until Wednesday night YIKES!

Wish me luck!



This is known as "creative parenting." You done good!

In a similar vein, we created a "cozy corner" for easy child when she was having a lot of metldowns last summer at the height of her anxiety (pre-Prozac). We put a life-size teddy bear in a corner with books and art supplies nearby to use when she felt the need to calm herself down. It's not used a whole lot now, but at the time, the "cozy corner" served a very important purpose.

I hope your difficult child's "special space" continues to provide him safety and security when he's feeling out of control. Keep us posted on how school and the day treatment program go. Hugs to you.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
I just love creative parenting. :grin:

You did a great job of thinking on your feet. I'm glad it seemed to help difficult child defuse.


Mom? What's a difficult child?
I hope this works!!! I did something similar for difficult child 1 and 2 in their rooms, it kind of works for #2, but difficult child 1 can't be alone very much, too much anxiety. Maybe once stabilized.

We actually are making a "healing garden" in the backyard, we took chicken fencing, made it into almost like a heart shape, put posts inside of the frame for support. We then planted Clematis, Morning Glory, Moon Flowers, Sun Flowers all around the frame we then took river rocks we had collected and framed the seeds we planted!

When it is done it should form a shelter of beautiful flowers they can sit in! We also have a sarong from Hawaii hanging for a door. The flowers are coming up!!! It is cute! We also put a bamboo mat on the floor.

I continually try new things, or I hear the word boring all day! Or the possiblity of restraint is much more!


Active Member
Well done! That is absolutely brilliant!

Each of our kids has found their own space. In most cases it's in their bedrooms, and in just about all cases, it's a dark, enclosed space where they can hide. difficult child 1 used to go sit up in our big gum tree in the front yard. If he dressed as a ninja, we would never be able to find him in the dark, except maybe for his silhouette. It came in handy on those Halloweens when our house was being targeted by local bullies - as they approached our house difficult child 1 up the tree would make certain noises (such as sounding like a 200 Kg possum, or a feral pig, or rutting stag) and these bullies would run. Funny, they leave us alone these days...

When we bought a new washing machine the boys kept the box the machine came in. They put cushions in it, cut a hole in the side and would curl up inside the box, sometimes watching TV through the hole. difficult child 1 did his homework in the cardboard box. We kept it until it fell apart from overenthusiastic use.

We now have a spare room. BF2 lives there for now, difficult child 1 (who arrived home today and seems to have totally forgotten it was Mothers Day yesterday) is out there playing computer games with BF2. That room is a refuge.

difficult child 3 has a number of refuges. Sometimes it's the dining room floor; sometimes it's my good couch (which I rarely get to sit on - one day I want to reclaim the living room); sometimes it's the garden; sometimes it's his bedroom. He does his schoolwork in any of these places, depending on which subject and how calm he feels about it.

But to plan ahead and build a refuge - well done! What about putting in a small bookshelf or crate to hold books, and a water bottle? We've found that if our kids take time out and read a book, they calm quickly.



Sounds like that works for you. We have no space available in our little house. I think if I were to ask him if he would like a special place (space) he would just say "anyplace away from you"


New Member
Great thinking!!!

We did something similar in school for the last couple of years. He had a room that he could go to whenever he needed in order to chill out, and it kept him from getting suspended. He sometimes needed to be directed by the teachers to go there, but it cut down on a lot of difficulties in class.

I am sorry that problems are starting again! I hope the special place will help to calm things down at home.

Good luck with the day program and school.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
I'm working on that special place for kt - right now it's her room & isn't working. In many ways, kt has taken over the entire house as "special".

Thanks for sharing this, Alison - gives me some good ideas.


Well-Known Member
I hope it works for you. Duckie uses under her loft bed or in her swing set fort. It seems to help if it's a smaller area. It becomes nest-like then I think. She seems to continue to escalate if there's too much space.


New Member
I think it sounds like a great idea - very creative. difficult child has a 'comfort room' at the psychiatric hospital, which he has apparently used a few times while he has been inpatient. He said there are bean bag chairs in there and there can be soft music - and you can set the lights on different settings. Only one difficult child is allowed in there at a time - with our without a staff member, depending on the situation and the difficult child's state.

We have tried to make our difficult child's bedroom his sanctuary. The munchkins are never, ever sent to their rooms as a punishment, so their rooms are a bit of a safe spot for them. And, easy child and difficult child have to ask permission to enter the other's room. And, we have attempted to teach them that it's okay to say no to the other and that the other has to accept it if either of them needs some alone time. difficult child is big on alone time.

With our difficult child, I would hesitate to let him have a lock on his door, but that's just me.

I hope that your difficult child continues to find refuge in his little get-away! Kudos to you for thinking fast on your warrior mom feet!! :thumb:

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
Excellent! difficult child's 'space' is her bed these days. She had the smallest room in the house until this past Fall and we decorated it carefully so she was nice and cozy in there. She has always loved her bedroom and it has always been her safe place. Her new room is more spacious but again, we chose soothing pale blue and simple decorating ideas that help her organize better. She loves her room and loves closing the door. She loves her bed.

Years ago, in the midst of a meltdown, the only relief was when I put her under the shower. She almost immediately would stop raging and then just take a 30 minute shower. She'd always come out relieved and happy. When she was really little, I'd see a rage starting and have H run a bath...eventually I'd just strip her and put her in a big bubble bath. It worked instantly!