How do you make sure they don't hurt themselves?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Jules71, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    My difficult child is having a major meltdown. I sent him to his room for an hour - he needs to calm down. How can I be sure he doesn't hurt himself?

    He is screaming and yelling and crying and throwing things. He is going to make himself physically sick. He has thrown up before from crying and being so upset like this. Maybe part of the reason things are so out of control with him is that for so long I have given in to so much in order to not set him off. I am done. I am sick of it. He is disrespectful and hateful and he thinks he is in charge and he is the boss and he does not have to do a thing we say. He is 5 yrs old!!!

    The last 2 days have been terrible. Yesterday he punched someone in the eye for knocking over his blocks. Today he punched someone in the stomach while standing in line. He also wiped paint on someones face.

    We have an initial appointment with a family & child therapist next week. I just don't know what else to do. He says he wants a new mom and he hates me. He also says he wishes he was gone or dead. I hurt so badly for him. It's killing me inside.
  2. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    If he is getting physical, take him to the ER or call 911. He can't hurt himself or others. If you call 911 and they show up while he is still in full blown meltdown stage, they will be witnesses for the ER.

  3. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    If you are really afraid he will hurt himself and you don't already have a psychiatrist, you do need to call 911.

    If he calms down, you still need to do whatever you can to prevent meltdowns like that until you can get some help for him. Probably you will need a psychiatrist to prescribe medicine for him. I would call your pediatrician and get some names tomorrow and start calling for the quickest appointment. Explain the situation to the psychiatrist's office to see if you can get in quicker. Normally, there is a pretty long wait. Maybe the pediatrician will be willing to give something while you wait for the psychiatrist.

    My "easy child" is taking Seroquel right now to prevent herself from hurting herself when she rages. It works quickly and keeps a lid on her anger/anxiety. Even with this medication, we are careful to try to avoid confrontations until we get her stable with some other medications.

    You really can't do "typical parenting" if you have a child in danger of hurting themselves.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    in my humble opinion, an hour is too long. The goal is to get the meltdown to stop. If he's in his room for five minutes, calms down and moves on, can he come out?

    A five year old really can not understand an hour. it's difficult to get them to behave for an hour even when they are doing something they like. They can understand three or five minutes. Set a timer and tell him it starts when he disengages for say three minutes, and that he doesn't get to re-engage when he comes out.
  5. SnowAngel

    SnowAngel New Member

    I hold my son until he calms down, which is not the most perfect answer. Can you call the place where you have your appointment and ask to be on a cancelation list in case something comes available sooner? Unfortunately, I am learning myself about rage and violance. Tonight my peanut went after the cat because he was mad at someone else. Not only do I lock up the knives and matches, but now I gotta watch out for the cat that weighs 22lbs and doesn't move so fast.

    I am sorry I don't have much advice. I do agree that if you feel he can harm himself you need to call 911. Do not feel guilty, you are helping him.
  6. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    He screamed for almost the entire hour begging me to let him come out. He was out of control. We usually give him 5 min time outs but this was way beyond taking 5 minutes to settle down. In fact he is at it again. This is terrible!
  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Be aware that if you call 911, you will likely lose control over whether or not he is admitted. You may need to call 911 if you cannot keep him safe but at least in our state, the hospital personnel can admit him for 72 hours over your objections if they determine that he is a risk to self and others.

    Can you get him to take a warm bath (with you supervising) or go on a walk with you?? Anything to calm him down...
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I also used to hold my son when he raged like that. A restraint of sorts, but I would also rock him and sing to him, and try to soothe him while holding him so he would not hurt himself.

    Do you have a psychiatrist you can call? Before medications were on board, our dr told me I could give my son Benadryl to help settle down. You could also try that.

    So sorry.........I hope he will be able to calm soon.
  9. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    A couple of times, when I put Tink in time out, she got herself SOO worked up, she was unable to calm herself down. Eventually, I decided that her being calm was more important than her getting the "lesson". So I went against what I normally do, let her out of the room, and just held her. Not restrained her, held her in a hug.

    This way, I know that she would not get sick (she came close!) or hurt herself (also very close).

    That is just a temporary solution. It may not work at all for you. There is nothing wrong with calling 911 if you fear for either difficult child's safety, or God forbid, the baby's safety. They very well may admit him. And that just might be the best thing that happens.

    Poor little guy. Hugs to both of you.
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hugs-I so remember my difficult child at that age and he sounds similar to your difficult child. Each day was so difficult. Maybe at this point hospitalization is what is needed so he can be stabilized. I'm glad you have an appointment next week but if it gets to be too much before then can you call your doctor and explain what is happening?
  11. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Jules, most of us here know how exhausting this is. If I could make a few suggestions, it would be to treat him like a child who is ill and you're waiting to find out the answers.

    Assume that he *can't* get control of himself, not that he *won't* get control of himself.

    When difficult child kiddos are in the state you are describing, they don't get the lesson you are trying to teach. Save lessons for calmer, more stable times. Right now go for safety and meltdown prevention.

    The attitudes and actions of ODD kids frequently revolve around the fact that they want to be in charge and genuinely believe they have the power to do so. The sooner you understand this and accept it and learn how to work with that mentality in a way that doesn't assume that the parent is in control, the better the going will be. Everything in our parenting training and role modeling revolved around the idea that the child would naturally come around to compliance through the application of love, training, gentle pressure, and consequences. Nothing prepares us to parent a child who claims "I am the ruler of this house." like my difficult child once did. He was dead serious. Most of us wind up throwing away virtually everything we thought we knew about successful parenting and creating a new picture.

    Avoid punishments during this time until you get a grasp on what's going on--they probably haven't worked well up to now or you wouldn't be here. Stop doing things that aren't working and be willing to give up and change tactics in the middle of something that isn't working (such as the case with the time out tonight). This isn't a time to stick to your guns if doing so is only making him worse.

    Make prevention your priority. If you see him starting to lose it, try something to distract or to intervene to help the frustration. Sometimes something as simple as a Tic-Tac or a juice box can head off a major meltdown. Look for other things that work that you can put into place at the drop of the hat. For instance, removing my difficult child from the scene helped a great deal so when we saw trouble coming my husband and I had an arrangement that one of us would drop everything and take difficult child out for awhile--maybe to the bookstore cafe or to wander around Toys 'R Us (the location wasn't important, breaking the rage was). When difficult child was going through a very unstable period we had a routine we would go into of bringing a small portable tv into his room and letting him watch a non-violent show. I set him up in his bean bag chair with a weighted blanket, a juice box for sucking (all sensory calming) and a comforting snack such as crackers and peanut butter. The rule was that the sibs were to stay out (reduces likelihood of conflict). At first I would direct difficult child to this routine but eventually he would ask himself for it as he felt himself losing control.

    If things are really bad and you can't get an appointment moved up sometimes having your pediatrician call to intervene can do the trick.

    Hang in there--it's a tough time.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    I was going to suggest most of what the others have suggested.

    This appointment you have it for a full evaluation or just therapist? If just therapist, then the rages seem a bit over the top and I might opt to take him in to the ER if you have a good child psychiatric hospital near you. They can see him in action and maybe facilitate you in getting a thorough evaluation much quicker even if that means a short inpatient stay.

    Normally with a child of this age, you will be able to stay quite close to him at a hotel nearby and have quite a bit of contact with the hospital.

    I hope things can become calmer at your home in the meantime. I remember those days well.
  13. elisem

    elisem New Member

    Been there, done that...

    Is there a history of bipolar disorder in your family? Because my difficult child is the EXACT SAME WAY at times and is most likely bipolar (we're just now in the process of getting a diagnosis). If you can get any time in for reading, you might check "Bipolar Kids" out of the library or just look on the bipolar page on this forum--see if you think it's applicable. (I read about disorder after disorder and always difficult child had some of the dymptoms but never all until my sister in law was diagnosed bipolar and tried that one.)

    Is your difficult child in school yet? If there are problems there, and if you live in a state where kindergarten isn't mandatory, I recommend pulling him out and giving him some time to get stabilized. It probably isn't helping him to be trying to deal with this and adjust to a new school situation at the same time! It won't help you, either, trying to deal with school authorities before you have an exact diagnosis and know just how to advocate for your child. (Our difficult child's behavior improved so much when we pulled him out of kindergarten that we've just kept it up and are now in our third year of homeschooling.) On the other hand, some kids are actually better in school, in which case that might be the best place for him.

    Good luck, dear.

  14. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hey Jules! Any word? How's he doing? And what about you? Are you guys ok?

    Let us know!
  15. Jessica mom of 2

    Jessica mom of 2 New Member


    I have a 5 yr old difficult child and she has rages that come in spells. I just wanted to say "your in our thoughts and prayers!" We even had a time when our difficult child had to eat dinner in her time out corner because of her behavior and soon as she was finished she went straiht to bed! I am sorry you are having rough times!


  16. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Thanks everyone! I don't even know where to begin... or how to put this all in words.

    I tried the bath idea and it did settle him down a bit so that he was not screaming and crying - but he was really hyper and could not relax. After the bath he kept doing things to bother and annoy everyone - like just digging in and torturing us. He was extremely defiant and would not stop or do anything we told him.

    I can't even explain it - he was a total monster. Finally he did something that set husband off and husband blew up and flipped out (he has a very long fuse... but whoa!). Then difficult child was crying and screaming, husband was irrate, I was yelling at husband, and baby was crying. It was a big dysfunctional mess to say the least! I took difficult child for a ride in the car (we were both in pj's). When we got back we went to bed and nothing else was said about the whole thing. Ugggh. I think this is just wearing us all down.

    difficult child was extremely abnoxious all weekened and hasn't been sleeping as much. I called the new therapist's office to see if we could get in earlier but we cannot. I also asked if they could see him back to back after they talk with me and husband and they cannot. So our appointment is next Mon. with just us and then who knows when they will see him.

    Also, being that it's Monday - I am dreading picking him up from school and hearing from the teacher.

    We have our first meeting with the school this Thurs about determining if he can be evaluated. The school pysch wants us to withdrawal our request so they can try interventions first (I think because their time limit to have him evaluated ends on 10/25 and they are trying to buy more time - you can read more about this on the Special Education board). I got our paperwork and notes all in order and in a notebook. I hate feeling like you have to fight for what is right.

    Arrgghhh - Happy Monday all! Thanks for being here and for listening!