Big daddy of a meltdown

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well... long story short. Took J to his karate class after school but the teacher didn't show up. So, with the usual ritual whining (I don't pay any attention to it now, it passes in a flash) that he didn't want to do it, J and I went for a walk by the river instead. Lovely sunny afternoon, beautiful surroundings and the first half was J happily "fishing" in the river with a big stick, running about, happily chattering, playing Pooh sticks, etc. Then, after about 25 mins, everything suddenly changed. He saw some litter, an empty wrapping, and it made him think of a toy - he asked me to buy him a toy and I automatically said no, without listening. In fact it was just one of those little bottles of bubbles that you blow with a plastic handle... and that "no" of mine turned into an increasing avalanche of complaints and demands, to do with toys, and television (god I hate the bloody thing, wish it had never come into our lives it is such a constant stress with J wanting it all the time) that then cascaded into a real meltdown, with J doing something he has never done before - repeating a phrase over and over, looking really distressed (after wild anger and insults directed at me), saying (I translate) "It sucks, it sucks"... Finally it calmed down when we were in the house and I managed to make him laugh about something.

    Today was not a typical day because he had school rather than the play centre (they were "making up" a missed day). He hadn't seemed particularly tired but was, I think. I took him to buy something to eat after picking him up from school but he didn't have enough protein in him probably. I don't know. This kind of thing scares me, for both of us. Sometimes I get scared that all this is getting worse - I mean most of the time it 's actually better, but when it's worse, it's worse, if you see what I mean...

  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Reschedule the neuro/psychiatric asap. You are doing a wonderful job of trying to appropriately parent but you are running blind. That's not in your best interest and certainly not his. I'm sorry you had a rough day. DDD
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I don't think the neurospsych (rescheduled for the end of April) is going to tell me that much more, alas, DDD. I've asked for everything possible to be tested and apparently that is just an IQ test and test of cognitive functions. That's all they can do at this age. It did strike me a while back... he is currently on a course of homeopathic remedies for the ADHD and the homeopathist told me he might have some severe reactions. Related?
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    They don't have any interventions?

    I'm afraid he's going to get worse if he isn't given interventions and extra help. Is there ANYWHERE you can get appropriate help that isn't related to IQ?
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes but... what will get worse? What interventions? Honestly, I'm not trying to be obtuse or difficult, but what is going on? I read that these meltdowns are part of ADHD - I read it from other ADHD parents on the French forums. He's in school with neurotypical kids getting no special accommodations whatever; I imagine that has an effect on him. He got tremendously angry tonight, was really roaring at me with the rage of a full-grown man, not a little boy. He's adopted, it's probably (very) relevant...
    The best thing I can do for him is put him in a school where there is less pressure and more human warmth. A couple of the things he was shouting in his meltdown was that no-one is kind to him and that he has to do what people say all the time, all the time...
    What help, where? Seriously.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Let's see... for starters...
    - transition #1 is that it was a school day, not his usual play center today
    - transition #2 is that his after-school routine was also thrown off (teacher no-show)
    - trigger #3 (transitions are always triggers) - perhaps the food quality/quantity/etc.

    That's just the stuff you KNOW about.
    And then you get a meltdown.

    Which, if I didn't know better, I'd say would kind of be expected if he were a spectrum kid...
    But we don't know that.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    He's not autistic. Please believe me, he's not autistic... the trigger was the "no". He was fine with the teacher not showing up, fine with there being school not play centre... it was the no, unleashing all this stuff about how he's not allowed to watch television (rule is he can't have television during the week, always been that way), about how he wants a DS, etc. Some anger about not getting what he wants, about being told no... I can't get at it more deeply than that. The hunger for nutritious food and the tiredness were factors, yes - but why be happy and fine for half an hour and then suddenly not? If it was really an issue wouldn't it have been an issue from the beginning?
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Probably because he is differently wired.

    What they call ADHD in France they may call something else here. Doesn't really matter. in my opinion he does need outside help. He can't have outbursts like that all his life. Picture him thirteen and tall and blowing up. in my opinion it should be addressed now, before it gets worse. But, hey, I'm into "better to be safe than sorry." :) I still think he has tons of potential if he can only learn to control himself, which may take tricky teaching, more than you can handle. None of us can do it alone. That's why we're here. And you may notice all of our kids are in treatment because we don't want a sixteen year old who puts a hole through a wall or abuses drugs. Doesn't always work, of course, but gotta try, right? :)
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    They really said that's all the testing they can do? I have a hard time believing that France does not have an equivalent for every test the USA has. There are emotional rating scales, adaptive behavior scales (that I'd what I think could give you some interesting information) problem solving protocols, gosh, tons of things.....

    Quin scores borderline average on IQ tests but his adaptive scales (how they function in real life) are super low in most areas.

    I bet in j's case there could be some interesting strengths and weaknesses that could help guide areas to develop under it all.

    I hear you though, where then do you get someone who can help you work on those things?

    Have you ever done the skills assessment in the explosive child?

    No is such a strong trigger for lots of explosive kids. Why that is so varies out seems.

    Black and white thinking
    not able to problem solve
    Stuck in an idea and can't shift their thinking
    Emotional reasons
    On, and on....

    I think too sometimes they vary...they can handle no if overall they are in a good place but if it is the last straw? He might have used up all of his reserve dealing so well with all of the other changes in his day.

    My adhd nephew was very explosive when younger too. Was the sweetest most caring boy (still is) when he was overall on balance. Being thirsty threw everything off. So did changes in schedules, some textures, certain clothes (no jeans, no long sleeve shirts). He is for sure not on the spectrum. Has no narrow interests, no repetitive mannerisms, no social problems ever, but for sure adhd and mild sensory processing disorder (SPD). He really has matured but is still impulsive and he scares me the most of our kids for abuse of drugs. He is soooo supervised now because he has already been busted trying pot. Too bad so sad dude!

    J is very lucky to have you. I hope after talking to you the neuropsychologist will add protocols that can help give you more insight as to what out going on.

    What kinds of therapies? True sensory integration therapy if that's an issue. Social skills sessions at his level, feelings work....monitoring his"engine" and learning what to do to keep it at a certain level (they are taught that in kids terms, using visuals etc)..

    There are many young child strategies to help them start to develop internal control.

    I hope you find such a place!
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    All I can say is... he's an awful lot like I was at that age...
    Who knows what I am, but I was still having regular melt-downs at 16.
    Have been known to have them even at 50.

    I've gotten better at making them socially acceptable... and not needing them so often.

    Like Buddy said... there could be dozens of underlying causes - some of which you kind of know, some of which you don't.

    The "turn-on-a-dime" reaction? Wouldn't the hunger have been a problem earlier? Not necessarily... the right food keeps your blood sugar even - the wrong food gives you a spike, and then... 60-90 minutes later, you "crash"... which kind of jives with the timing you gave.
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Buddy, I knew you would help! (Not that the others have not helped but Buddy is the Queen of Counsel, for sure :) )
    I am going to ask the neuro-psychiatric whether these tests exist in France and whether she can give them. I am beginning to have a sinking feeling about it though...
    I am SURE (gut instinct) the school is something to do with it - ie the right kind of alternative school IS therapeutic because it is not just about the (stupid) head learning. Beyond that I fear I just can't see who or what is going to help with J's anger outbursts. I wish I did.
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Okay, I have sent off an email to the neuro-psychologist explaining some of the things that can be tested by a neuro-psychiatric in the States and asking whether this is also available in France... will keep you posted.
  13. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    How about looking it from other direction. Do you remember the last 'big daddy of a meltdown', you had yourself? How did that happen?

    I had last one just a week ago. A trigger was that husband has brought wrong kind of a tool from hardware shop. And very well built, over 100 year old hardwood floor that doesn't want to get undone (at least without harming the pieces.) I did the whole kicking, screaming, crying tantrum, built up the anger by repeating five favourite swearwords as a litany and ended up splitting my toe nail in two when kicking a wall. Okay, that kind of meltdown from grown woman makes absolutely no sense if you think it is just because her husband brought home a hammer that is different size than the one asked or even because the floor is being very resistant to deconstruct (okay, that is not a right word, I think, how do you call it, when you are taking something (like floor) back to the pieces without breaking the pieces?) But when you look a bigger picture; very stressful times with my child, boatloads of rage over people hurting my child horrible way and not even having any shame or regret over it later, guilt over not being able to protect him or even notice what had happened, sleepdeprivation because of violent nightmares over the topic, stressful kitchen reno on top of that etc. it may start to make a little bit of sense. And I too was acting just find before husband brought that wretched hammer, which we already have five identical ones and not a one of the size I would had needed.

    Now, back to J. He too is having very stressful time. There will be huge changes in his life soon. You are leaving the home he has been living very, very long time (in his timeline), leaving everything familiar to him. While he does know where you are going next, there will be lots of new things also there. And then the uncertainty on there to go after summer. Then there is his personality. He is a little boy who feels very big and whose strongest suit is not the impulse control. Add to that basic stress your current situation is causing a stress over small changes in his daily routines, maybe a blood suger thing and then feeling he isn't heard and not getting something he wants and he does have plenty of reason to have a huge meltdown.

    Having problems with transitions and change of routine and change in general doesn't mean he would have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) traits. It means he is a small kid. Maybe little immature for his age, maybe even not that. maybe bit sensitive, but that too can be just part of his temperament. People are different.

    There is of course very little you can do to underlying stress just now. He will find home there ever you will end up moving, but telling him that doesn't make a difference now. maybe acknowledging and talking about his worries over it, missing your home, village and people there may help a little. maybe creating and enforcing all kinds of small, portable routines would help him feel safer. For example we did an evening prayer with our boys much more for the feeling safe and routine reasons than for any religious reasons. It was a routine, thing that always stayed the same and gave them lots of comfort when they were younger. That kind of thing doesn't need to be much. But just saying good night isn't a special routine, that is good manners. But saying "good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite and if they do, then take your shoe and knock ‘em ‘til they're black and blue!" and giving him a peck on the forehead could already be a great (and very portable) comfort routine. I would also emphasize any comfort objects, foods etc. he may have and really create all kinds of small, easy, portable routines that could help to ground him when you travel and wherever you are or decide to build a home to.
  14. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    autism is a spectrum and there is all different levels of it...high functioning kids are very often not diagnosis's until much, much later because they are often smart enough to overcompensate until it gets too hard. j may or may not be one of those kids.

    I meant to post to a different thread of yours but got sidetracked....from a few things you said, I think you might want to look more closely at language/processing/word retrieval type issues (if it is, in fact an issue, it would explain some of his frustration!). I often think some of the things you post about j are very age appropriate and typical, but when you described some of the things he says, I thought there were enormous red flags in his phrasing/language....its very, VERY possible that has more to do with him being multi-lingual or nuances between French/English and how things are typically said in the usa, but in my opinion, I found it unusual, and it was really the first time I thought it about J. particularly coupled with the fact that he has educational difficulties.....and i'm not sure a rural, average speech therapist has enough experience to tease out the problems, let alone treat them.

    hopefully the np evaluation will give you more direction and a course of action.
  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    That's helpful, SuZir, thanks. I always prefer it (and feel somehow more in tune with reality) when people take a broader, more human view of these things! Yes, maybe stuff is going on for J around the move that he is not necessarily talking about or able to talk about. He does occasionally say he wants to stay here (but without much anger or intensity) and asks whether the house will still be ours, whether we will take our things and his toys with us, etc.

    I have received a reply from the neuro-psychologist. For those who want to practise their French, here it is:

    Que ce soit ici en france ou aux états unis, le titre de neuropsychologue n'existe pas, nous sommes en fait des psychologues spécialisés en neuropsychologie. Par ce fait nous ne sommes pas que des passeurs de QI et de tests cognitifs. Pour n'importe quelle pathologie, que ce soit TDAH ou autres je recherche également a comprendre la sphère émotionnelle, affective et psychologique de chaque enfant. C'est ce que nous ferons également en plus des tests lorsque vous viendrez me voir, grâce a un entretien détaillé avec vous puis seule avec Jacob. Comme cela ca me permet d'avoir une vision globale des difficultés a la fois sur le versant neuro et psychologique.

    And for those who don't want to practise their French, here is my translation:

    "Whether here or in the United States, the title of neuropsychologist does not exist. We are in fact psychologists who have specialised in neuro-psychology and we are therefore more than mere administrators of IQ or cognitive tests. For no matter what pathology, whether ADHD or something else, I also seek to understand the emotional, relational and psychological background for each child. This is what we will do in addition to the tests when you come to see me, through a detailed interview with you and then alone with Jacob, enabling me to gain insight into both the neurological and psychological aspects of the difficulties."

    Again, any thoughts?

    PS to confuzzled: Yes, that's interesting. In terms of his English, I have often thought such a thing myself. But his French is absolutely standard and does not contain any of these oddities, so I kind of lean more towards the idea that as I have been basically his sole source of English, he has never ironed out the particular ways he says things. Some of his phrasing is a direct translation of French. As for autism to be or not to be: some people say that ADHD is on the autism spectrum. I can kind of see that, and accept that. But in the standard sense of autism, no, he is clearly not on the spectrum.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Not all kids have tantrums though. I don't think most kids go ballistic at being told "no." Of course, I'm not an expert, but I've been around a lot of little kids in my life, both at home and work. And I was a tantrum kid an d in no way was I a typical kid. My siblings were appalled at my meltdowns and they never had any. Some of mine included, "If you don't do XXXXX I'm going to keep R. and A. up all night." And I meant it. I was so out of control by the time I said that, I couldn't calm down. Why was this? Not sure, even though I am ME. I had certain triggers, and even I wasn't sure what they would be, and once I got started, the rage ramped up within seconds to the point w here I couldn't calm down even if I had wanted to. Rage however is a very very potent emotion and once you feel it, until you have subsided, you don't WANT to let it go so it snowballs. In my case I know I had a mood disorder even when extremely young, although in those days they never diagnosed it. But it wasn't "normal."

    My brother and sister and most of my kids have/had normal childhood reactions to being told "no" or being frustrated. They may frown or cry for a few seconds (and I do mean seconds), but the only one who had full blown tantrums and aggression was Sonic and his interventions stopped that, which is why I feel they are so important to do.

    Extreme tantrums and aggression toward other is not a normal part of being a young child. The aggression toward other kids I had with Mr. 35, and I had him in therapy by age five. I knew it wasn't normal and it scared me because I was afraid he had inherited stuff from me (he had).

    If you don't know the root cause of why a child is acting out, it's really hard to help him/her. And nobody wants a teenager or an adult who has tantrums and rages. I also still did as a young adult, Insane C. I knew we were a lot but, seriously, I couldn't control myself even then and I felt like a total loser because I wanted to control myself.

    I do think a transfer to a more amicable school would help J. There is nothing more frustrating than a school that refuses to accept you and thinks you are just a naughty child. been there done that. It can cause you to stop trying and to act out at school or to cut classes. Nobody wants to be seen as bad. It is often a prophecy for the child.
  17. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, take your point, MWM. J doesn't go ballistic at every no. Just at some - usually at the end of the day and particularly regarding television, to which he would be seriously addicted if I did not outlaw it on school days. Also, it just occurs to me... I don't have any mood disorder or definable "condition" but when I was a child I had BIG rages and meltdowns. Not regularly at all, but when very upset about something. I have the sense I had intense emotions that I could not deal with. So the spectrum of "normality" is, I would guess, perhaps a bit wider than you are suggesting.

    Do look at my post below about the neuropsychogist, all, as I am very interested to have views! Thank you :)
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Malika, I don't believe that's what a neuropsychologist is in the US. The ten hours of testing really seem to cover almost everything here. They are psychologists with extra training in how the brain works. Regular psychologists, at least in the US, do not do the kind of comprehensive testing they do and often do not know how. We've been through enough of them!
  19. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    People have different kinds of temperaments. It is just a difference, not disorder or pathological issue. There I live temperament types and how that influences to child development has been one of the main topics in child psychology for last ten years at least. Temperament is inborn and it greatly influences child's behaviour and what will be their challenges and what is easy to them and also how they are to parent.

    Not all kids have tantrums and there are big differences in level of natural tendency to violence in kids before they are socialised. But that doesn't mean that kid with tantrums and tendency to violent behaviours would have a disorder, something wrong in them or even 'different wiring' (well if we don't consider different temperaments different wirings.) Also kid who is shy and slow to warm up to new people or situations is not faulty, disordered or anything like that. They just have different temperament. There just is variance in normal human behaviour. Challenges in raising kids with different temperament types are different and people with different temperaments are also different in adulthood, but we can't really make a norm from one temperament type and decide that shy or fussy or active or whatever kids are abnormal and just have to have some disorder.

    EDIT: Let's add that I have one child with feisty temperament and one with flexible. My feisty one has some temperament traits that are so extreme that they go from normal to pathological (especially his sensory threshold and also his activity is at least close to pathological and he is extreme side of normalcy with others) and when you add social skills issues and some Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) type traits and anxiety, you get a difficult child. I myself am a mix, my husband is flexible. All of us are capable for temper tantrums time to time when things are stressful enough. difficult child of course is most prone to them.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Suzir, I'm going to agree to disagree with you. Violence is not normal and in my opinion does almost always mean there is something wrong in my opinion :) Even a person with a foul temperament does not usually get violent and I do agree that we are all born a certain way. At any rate, regardless of whether we see it as a disorder nor not, a child who gets violent either has to change how he deals with anger, frustration and disappointment or he will end up in some sort of trouble. I have often read (and this is at the descretion of the person who wrote it) that impulsivity and violence in a child means the child is at greater risk to have problems as an adult.