My Little Runaway

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Christy, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. Christy

    Christy New Member

    It seems like my difficult child's latest coping mechanism for when he is emotionally overloaded is to bolt. He has "run away" from home a few times, he ran out of the therapist office last week, he ran out of his tae kwon do class and across the parking lot, he ran away from me at the shopping center, a few moths ago, I stopped the car to calm him down as he was kicking and throwing things at me and he left the car and ran down the road. I needed to call the police to catch him that time. Tonight he was with his IBS (intensive behavioral support) worker. He was at the office for a group session. When it was time to leave, he bacame upset and bolted out the door. One worker went after him while another called 911. He ran around the block (busy dowtown area) and they got him back inside. The police talked to him but he is not fazed by this. One one hand, at least he is not violent like he has been on other occassions, but this is a very unsafe behavior. Consequences are after the fact and don't seem to have an impact and it happens too suddenly to predict. I have a psychiatrist appointment next week and I definitely think a medication adjustment is in order but behaviorally speaking, does anyone have any ideas on how to deal with this?

  2. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

  3. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Easier said than done! But yes, that does make sense.
  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Since this has happened several times, is he able to identify warning signs leading up to when he runs? You can ask him, "Can you tell when your body is almost ready to make you want to run?" "What do you feel like leading up to that?" "Do you think when you feel like this that before it gets to make you want to run you can find a quiet corner and try to help your body to calm down?" What obsticles keep you from leaving the situation early enough? (Don't want to interrupt leader or teacher. How can we overcome that? Give leader/teacher a sign that I need to be alone for a moment?)

    What are coping skills your son is working with? My difficult child is suppose to think of a good memory and relive it in his mind - every detail of sight, hearing, smell, feel, taste. He needs to also do deep breathing exercises. These and other skills take time to learn well enough to remember to call on them.

    He may need your help for awhile to work through his plan to not run. Make your plan when he is calm and have him write down the steps. So, when something does happen, try to get his attention on the plan that HE helped make, that HE wants to follow.

    Watch for his warning signs - I know you say they just happen, but that may be they are just such subtle signs that you have not recognized them yet. Maybe difficult child can help by telling you when he is starting the processes that leads to running?

    Good luck - I think running is very scary - I hate not knowing where my difficult child is and when they just start running with no focus on where they are going? not good, not safe
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Bt explained it to difficult child like this...

    There are 3 parts of your brain. The first part (pointing to the base of her skull) is the part that doesn't think. It just makes you do things. Like running away or fighting when you are angry. The second part (pointing to the middle of the back of her head) makes you happy or sad. The third part (pointing to the top) is where you make choices.

    Then she asked if he knew what had to happen to make the third part work, and explained the third part needs LOTS of oxygen to make it work, so when he feels like he should run or fight, he has to BREATH, big deep breathes like he's smelling yummy pizza.

    We have yet to actually get from fight-or-flight to logic completely, but she's been giving him this speil for a year, and it IS sinking in. About half the time I can get him to attempt to breath and move past the issue. Just in the past couple of weeks, he has shared this "calming" technique with other kids in his class. I think its getting somewhere with him.
  6. jal

    jal Member

    Christy -

    It is difficult - my difficult child is a flight risk too. He would run from daycare, school and just recently yesterday jumped the fence at daycare and ran (busy downtown main street -in a small town). He even runs from our house when placed in his room for a time out. Hard to pinpoint if/when he will do it at times, but I have found mine tends to run when he is in trouble and his behavior has escalatedto the point you can't even speak with-him.
  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    kt is a runner.....I hate runners. Terrifies the bejeebers out of me. Okay, got that out of my system.

    The first thing we did was to go through our home & replace our deadbolt locks with the deadbolts with keys on the inside. Most of the time the key is in the lock, however when we see kt's anxiety spilling over into dangerous behaviors we pull the keys.

    We also always have our cell phones on our person because kt grabs all the phones in the house & hides them. We can tell kt is at a running stage when the phones go missing.

    Crisis team number is programmed in our cell phones.

    Saying that, as I note kt's anxiety level build I start her on self calming exercises. Deep breathing, she loves yoga, etc. The most helpful to kt is a bath or a long shower.

    If she is able to speak rationally I ask her if her body feels the need for a PRN medication. Sometimes, she knows & asks before things get out of hand (long years of therapy on that one).

    Crisis team is called if self harming or running happens.

    Christy, all I can offer is the above & to help your difficult child become self aware of his body, i.e. how the anxiety hits him. Tummy pains, palm sweating, clenched fists, pacing, etc. Then start using self calming techniques.

    I would also offer that difficult child needs to learn to talk about how he is feeling. Expressing his concerns. Many times I'd hear the same fear over & over from kt; it took years to get kt to sleep in her room in her bed. Patience is a virtue when it comes to overwhelming anxiety in a difficult child.

    I'll be keeping your difficult child in my thoughts; that things settle down in his mind.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    Can any of the medications he is on be used on a prn basis when you see his anxiety rising? Or can something be added to be used prn?

    I hate when one of our kids runs away. It is just so scary and so dangerous. Maybe in some situations he should have a cord tied around his wrist and tied to your purse, just for safety? At least until he can get a handle on the anxiety and on the fact that this isn't something you can have happening? Just a thought.

  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Very scary. One thing my difficult child is not is a runner (he did a bit when he was little and one time almost on to the Interstate but that was years ago).

    Others have given good ideas. I hope the psychiatrist can be helpful as well. Hugs.
  10. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Thanks everyone. I can always count of coming here for new ideas. Unfortunately, there is often little to indicate he is getting upset. It is an immediate reaction most of the time or at least unexpected, an overreaction.

    Sara, Thanks for posting the wikepdia link. I read over it and remembered I have a workbook on anger that has a section on this. I will look it over and work on some of the exercises with difficult child.

    Adrianne, I like the idea you of making a plan while he is calm. This is something we will do and I will remind him of the plan when we go places.

    Shari, I will definitely adopt the three part brain discussion. difficult child really gets into talking about the brain and how it reacts. I think this will provide him a concrete explaination of what is going on when he feel this fight or flight sensation.

    Linda, I think deadbolt locks are in our future. I will program mobile crisis in our phone as well (although from my experience, our crisis team is not very fast acting). I also need to get better at having difficult child practice self-calming techniques. He knows them from therapy and his IBS worker practices them with him but he is still unwilling to use them when he is upset. If we practice them more perhaps it will be more second nature. I hope.

    Yikes jal! Your son actually jumped the fence. Thank goodness he was okay. I will have to take not to see if there is a particular trigger that produces the running response in my difficult child. I know some of these instances have to do with him feeling that others are treating him unkindly... His feelings were hurt because the neighbor and I were talking and not paying attention to him, I wouldn't buy him a toy from a gift shop, his TKD instructor was making him do something too difficult, IBS worker wouldn't let him have a snack...

    Susie, he has Zypraxia as a PRN and I carry it with me but I have never been able to be proactive enough with it. It may be helpful if I can get better at predicting what may set him off.

    Thanks Sharon. I appreciate the support.

    Thanks again everyone for the help!
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    just wanted to lend my support. You've gotten some great ideas.

    I tend to walk out when I'm stressed, so I know the feeling. I tell everyone where I'm going of course, but it's still running away, in a sense, when you don't stand and argue or discuss like an adult. Sigh.

    Now I'm going to have that song running around in my head all night ...