Meltdown Disaster... or at least it feels like it.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JulienSam, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. JulienSam

    JulienSam New Member

    I had to run errands this morning with- Sam. First he wasn't happy with the clothes I picked for him, but refused to pick out others for himself -- he didn't want to go all the way back upstairs. Then once I got the new clothes, he didn't want to get himself dressed -- so for the purpose of getting out the door sooner rather than later, I dressed him.

    At our second stop I bought him a bag of M & M's -- and said I would get him a Sprite at Wal-mart if he made good choices. This is usually a pretty good incentive for him. We made it through Wal-Mart without any problems, and I also bought him a small container of goldfish crackers to have at lunch.

    Next stop Meijer (another big box grocery/dept. store). I didn't even get through the Health & Beauty Dept., let alone get anything else on my list. He saw a Spiderman toothbrush and HAD to have it. I said no -- I had said as we were walking into the store that I had already purchased enough for him today -- no more. He refused to put the toothbrush back -- I stood my ground. I told him we were leaving the store -- I'd get groceries later (even though we have NOTHING to eat at home for lunch or dinner). He still wouldn't put the toothbrush back and actually ran out the door with it. I followed him, leaving my cart with the few things I was actually able to pick up, and told him I'd call the police myself if he didn't go back into the store & put the toothbrush back. He did go back into the store, I grabbed the toothbrush, threw it in the cart, grabbed Sam and carried him outside of the store.

    He did the passive resistance thing in the parking lot once I put him down -- laying down & refusing to move. So I picked him up again (he's a BIG boy -- probably 60 lbs.), managed to get the car unlocked & put him in his booster seat with seatbelt. He proceeded to undo his seatbelt & get out of the car -- twice. I finally got him to come back over to the car and put him back in -- this time he stayed but kicked the heck out of my seat.

    Of course during all of this he's pinching, hitting, punching me. My wrist still hurts -- I don't know if it's from picking him up or him hitting me.

    Called husband on the way home -- crying of course. I just can't take living like this every day. It seems like the past few weeks things have been getting worse -- or maybe I'm just worn down. Or both. I didn't want husband to have to come home for this because he already took yesterday off to give me a break. Luckily he does have an appointment. on our side of town early this afternoon & can come home after that.

    Called the pediatrician. office --- I just don't know what to do. We're not seeing a therapist at the moment -- waiting for the school evaluation to come back (which we'll hear about tomorrow at our case conference). What I'd really like to have happen --- someone to come, take him away, make him better & return a sane, loving child back to me. Sounds terrible, I know. And easier than it really is.

    I know I've been a decent mom -- my daughter is a wonderful child (of course each child is different, but I can't imagine my parenting would make that much of difference in how each behaves). I'm just worn down, and don't see an end in sight -- let alone any kind of improvement. Plus summer break is right around the corner -- a nightmare in the making.

    One bright spot about today -- while Sam was starting his meltdown in the store, a lovely woman gave me a sympathetic look, and tried talking to Sam (You shouldn't be like that to your mommy), and said that they do grow up, she promises. Yes, if only this were a regular child's tantrum -- but it's starting to look like it's only going to be worse in the future. But it was nice to have a complete stranger sympathize.

    Where's my rock to crawl under?:angry-very:

  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Julie, you are not a bad mom. What happened today is about something going on in your son's brain that has yet to be uncovered. Once it is identified and the appopriate interventions are put into place, things will get better. Honest.

    Until that time, I have a few thoughts for you:

    First, talk to him in advance before entering any store about what you will and won't buy for him and for the family. And then stick to it (don't add any extras for good behavior because he will get the message that you will keep buying things for him).

    Second, try to limit your errands to one stop a day if at all possible. Often the sensory stimulation of more than one store is just too much for our difficult children to handle.

    Third, have you considered getting a weekly babysitter so you can do your errands in peace? Or do you have a grocery store in your area that will deliver for a small fee (definitely worth it to avoid difficult child meltdowns)?

    FWIW, my easy child/difficult child 3's meltdowns over things I won't buy for her emanate from two different feelings: 1) depression - she needs instant gratification to feel better about her life; and 2) anxiety - she is fearful that if I don't buy it now, someone else will and her opportunity to have that object will disappear.

    I don't handle the situation any differently from how you did, but just understanding where she is coming from makes it easier for me to believe that her behavior is not about being a bad parent or a bad child.

    Hugs to you.
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I'm sorry it was such a hard time, Julie.

    One of the most difficult things for me to come to terms was that because I had a difficult child, I was going to have to live life differently than other families in order for us to cope. Most moms do take their kids out on errands and shopping for clothes but when difficult child was young I found he couldn't tolerate those activities very well. We mostly stayed home and I adjusted doing my errands alone on evenings or weekends. I bring home clothes for him to try on as well as order online where he can help make selections. When I did take him out, it was for one stop because he couldn't handle multiple stops. If we were going to someplace like a mall or big store, both my husband and I would typically go so one parent could focus solely on difficult child. I know of adults with sensory and certain medical issues who can't handle stores like Walmart so it's not going to be likely that a young difficult kiddo is going to take it stride. I know that's not what you want to hear, but sometimes it's just easier on everyone if you agree to make adjustments in your schedule to help keep the challenging child in environments in which he can maintain.
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Oh, Julie, I know, it's so hard. Hugs to you.

    I couldn't take Miss KT anywhere at that age, because of the same things that Sam was doing. I've carried her screaming out of more places than I care to count, sideways, under my arm, so her kicking feet and biting mouth couldn't get me. I ended up doing pretty much what SRL did, went shopping while she was still at day care, brought clothes home for her, and if she didn't want to get dressed she went out the door in PJs. At that time I was a single parent working a 50-plus hour week.

    Even though Miss KT is almost 17, I still can't run too many errands with her.
  5. Sunshine1966

    Sunshine1966 New Member

    Hey Julie,

    I feel for you! I've often thought about saying something to a parent who has a child acting up in public only to empathize and show them that they are not alone. I can so relate to these horrible experiences in public places where you can feel all eyes on you. I've hardened myself to caring about what others are thinking but it certainly stresses me out. I had a recent event in Walmart where my difficult child wanted Lightning McQueen pull-ups. Well, he wears underwear during the day and only Good Nights pull-ups at night since we're still working on that end. I tried to explain that he was a big boy and I would get him some UNDERWEAR that were Lightning McQueen but he was fixated on the pull ups. He ended up melting onto the floor, screaming and screeching. I had to pick him up and walk clear through the store with him yelling and crying. It was awful and stressed me out so bad. I've gone through different times when I just don't bring him to the store with me - just don't set him up for a meltdown since its a difficult area for him to deal with.

    It helps me so much as I'm sure it does you too to read through others accounts with their difficult children and know that we are not alone.

    I love my difficult child so much and have so many special moments with him so I just try to remember those times when the going gets really, really tough.

    I'm praying for you!

  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have been through EXACTLY what you described (it was like a flashback for me!). You have my complete sympathy and hugs!!

    Have you read "The Out Of Sync Child" by carol Kranowitz AND "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" by the same author? They helped us very very much.

    I strongly suggest an occupational therapist evaluation for sensory integration problems. The therapy is very helpful for many things.

    Please, please, please don't call on the cell phone while driving, ESPECIALLY when you are upset. It drastically increases your chances of having an accident.

    I found I had to keep the child locks activated in the back and often had to get out of the car with my son in his car seat to call husband in a crisis. I also had friends who would help - for a long time we went to a friends, got the kids busy, and then took turns going out to shop. Sometimes it took several days, but it was MUCH easier to watch my kids and my 2 best friends' kids while we moms took turns going to shop.

    Sending lots of hugs, and you ARE a GREAT mom - a bad one would not worry about her kids, or let them get whatever.

  7. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    When you do have to take difficult child shopping, does he sit in the cart? I had my difficult child in the cart for as long as possible - I told him to enjoy the rides while he is still small enough to sit in the cart. It also took away stress of him wanting to go one way and me wanting to go another.

    I involved him in the shopping experience as much as possible, I would talk about what I am looking for and what I plan to do with it. If there was a choice to make, I would ask for his opinion and explain what I did and didn't like about each option. For grocery shopping, the kids learn early what brand you get and they can help take the item off the shelf (I also taught my kids to look for expiration dates on the milk.). He was in charge of storing the items in the cart with himself and unloading the cart at the check out.

    Whenever you can make a game out of something, the better chance of keeping difficult child's attention. Get your creativity juices running. Make a treasure hunt out of shopping and ask him to help find the treasurers. He is five so reinforcing colors and numbers can help. I need a red apple, which one of these is red? Can you pick out two cans of corn for us?

    For car rides, do you have a tape player in the car? Can difficult child choose a tape or CD to listen to while in the vehicle? Tell jokes, play an "I spy" game?

    Like everyone else, I agree shorter outings or ones without difficult child are best. I also know how hard scheduling your life in that way also is. You are so fortunate to have a husband able and willing to participate.

    How did your case conference go?

    Yes, you ARE a GREAT mom. If you were not, it wouldn't hurt so much.

    I think I am learning that meltdowns like a bad cold just have to run their course. Try to stay as calm as possible. Let difficult child know that you know he is not feeling right during the meltdown. "I know you are angry/mad/sad/whatever. Let's just sit here or find a place to sit until we calm down." That is so extremely hard to do because their meltdowns throw us into the depths of frustration where all we can think about is "STOP" and we try everything to stop the meltdown or ignore it which often just adds to it. Kids pick up on our frustration and it scares them, "If mom can't stop this how can I?"
  8. libranaster

    libranaster New Member

    Oh my god I understand all to well how you feel last week was so bad for me you have no idea. I am lucky enough that my partner after having a 7 day a week job managed to change to a job that is 2 day shifts, 2 night shifts and 4 days off which is helping me but of course now he is stuck with insane 3 year old too and he is going around the twist too. I joined here last night because I am at the end of my tether too and was feeling the same way like I needed my son to be taken away because I just don't feel like I can parent him.

    Last week was just he started screaming and hitting and fighting on Sunday and he didn't stop till this morning :crazy1: needless to say I am so out of it I am seeing pixies. My poor house looks like the scene from 9/11 after the towers were hit. I swear to God I have a terrorist in the making. :devil2:

    Now some of the stuff he did started out as cute or funny but now after 3.5 years of his screaming, clingyness and just the plain torture he can dish out I am as flat as I can be and this week I went from wanting to move out and leave the kids on Tuesday to wanting to give him away by Thursday and just completely giving up on the lot by Friday. Oh and I take that back he had stopped screaming his sister has just gone to play with him and so he is screaming again. :angry-very:

    People wonder why some mothers go nuts and drown their kids in the bath tub sometimes it crosses my mind when the screaming has been going on constantly for 5 or 6 days.

    Try to hang in there and it sounds like you are doing the right thing seeing a therapist and all you can't do any more than you are doing and the best thing is when you get to a point of being on the verge of exploding from the madness try talking to people who understand it should help.

    You do the best you can with what tools you have to help you and thats all you can do.