My million dollar question...HELP PLEASE !


New Member
I haven't finished The Explosive Child yet, but so far what I'm getting from it is a new way to avoid and/or handle explosions.
Our diagnosis of ADHD is brand new and we're furiously trying to identify resources and research. We're in the process of checking out therapists for behavior/parenting modifications. UNTIL then..........

Can you ladies PLEASE tell me how you handle breaking basket A rules????????????????????????????????????????

Owen is CONSTANTLY hitting his sister and other kids during play dates. I have yet to read in TEC what appropriate/useful consequences are for hitting, etc. with an explosive 3 year old.

What works for all of you?

I dont' want to break his spirit, but we need to choose a method and begin being HYPER-consistent......HELP PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!

p.s. owen is VERY motivated by food/treats so I can use that as motivation for a start behavior or warning for non-violent behaviors but I feel there needs to be more "intense" consequences (time out?) for hitting/hurting people........

Thanks so much


Well-Known Member
Some of us (myself included) learned to do a basket hold to contain a young child in the midst of a violent meltdown. You need to learn how to do this from a professional, though, as you want to be certain you aren't potentially harming your child. I used to carry Duckie to her room and hold the door closed until she calmed down. Or, carry her out "football" style if in public. The important thing is that Basket A is for non-negotiable things only, you never let this stuff slide. Basket B things depend on the situation as to whether or not you will risk a meltdown. Basket C stuff just isn't on your radar yet, and won't be for a while. By minimizing the number of meltdowns in a given day, you will start to have more opportunities to parent your child rather than do damage control.


Whenever my difficult children are in aggressive mode (mostly with each other), they need to be separated. In our house, that means they go to their rooms for a cooling-off period. We don't look at it as punishment. We see it as "your emotions are getting in the way of your acting in a socially responsible manner so you need to go to a place where you can cool off." We also created a "cozy corner" in my 8-year-old's room with a big teddy bear, books and art supplies to use to calm down until she feels she is ready to rejoin the group.

With a 3-year-old, you most likely will need to stay with him until he calms down. If he is hitting at someone else's house, it means the playdate is over and you need to take him home. That is consequence enough (and with some repetition, he may learn that if he wants to stay and play, he can't hit).

Hope that helps.


New Member
Hi MissVic,

Wanted to welcome you to the group, sorry it took so long.

Just want you to know I've been exactly where you are right now. I'm raising my 4 1/2 year old grandson with bipolar, adhd and sensory problems. School also diagnosed him with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) a few months ago.

As TM says, the basket hold was used more than I care to think about. Be sure and learn how to do this properly to make sure you don't get hurt in the process. It has been one of the best deterrents but let me tell you, be prepared to do it wherever. Yes, you will get the "looks" from people who have no idea what you are dealing with. Just ignore them. If you would like to PM me I would be happy to talk with you in more detail about this.

If your child will stay in time-out then that is also a great alternative. At that age, mine would not.
Remember whatever method you choose, be consistent, otherwise you are wasting your time.

Hang in there,



Two ways are to restrain the child in a basket hold or confine the child in a room in which he cannot hurt himself. You MUST stay outside the door while the child calms down (or risk charges of abuse) for shutting the child up unsupervised. Using a room is not OK if the child is a head banger unless the room is also padded on the floor and as high up as the child could reach.

Children will initially stop tantruming only from exhaustion but learn quickly that there is no escape and stop for this reason. Later they will stop because they would like to be free and start to exercise what adults call "self-control." Most people do NOT talk to a tantruming child but it is necessary to explain that AS SOON AS the child stops, he will be released. Do not use these restraints as a "set" time out. (You can still use a "time out chair" for Basket B issues if you want to.) In a basket hold or a room, the ticket out is self-control --nothing more.

The problem with both these methods is the first is difficult (but not impossible)to do in public and the second is impossible to do except when the room is available. It is best not to drive alone with a child who is potentially out of control (unless he cannot get out of his child restraint.) If he tantrums in the car, STOP and use a basket hold. Be careful when you open doors--I once lost a tantruming child out of a van (professionally, not personally) and it was really scary until he could be contained.

TEC requires some modification for use with young children. I think there is an archived thread in the ECZ regarding this topic. However, no matter what the age of the child, you must always enforce Basket A, teach Basket B, and forget about Basket C. This is not "being indulgent." This is based on the sound principle that you can only teach so many things at once and can only be consistent about a finite number of things. You are correct: consistency is the key.

What happens (this is personal experience) is many Basket C issues never come onto the radar because by the time there is "room" in Basket B, the child has matured out of the behavior on his own. This means that things that are bothering you now, may not be an issue in a year or two. That may sound like a long time, but once you get on track and feel as though you are helping your child, it is easier to tolerate certain behaviors as not currently "worth it" and hope that maturational development will take care of them.

You are in a difficult situation and should get training in basket hold in my opinion.



Active Member
The adaptations for young children is stuck at the top of this board, the second thread down. Go up to the thread that says "Question About The Explosive Child" and there should be a lot of specifics there.

If you can find ways around restraint that is always best because it's inevitable that the child will become too much to restrain. From about age 3 on up my difficult child escalated rapidly with restraint and I regretted continuing to try it.

With your difficult child being 3 and the baby being 15 months I would highly recommend emphasizing preventative measures. Constant supervision, keeping them in separate rooms, taking the little one with you when you leave the room, etc. are what you want to shoot for until you get a little more grasp on the reasons behind the behaviors and find ways to deal with them.


New Member
Thanks for all the above advice, it's so helpful and validating to connect with other moms who know what I'm going through. Such a relief.....

We had our first appointment with a behavioral therapist/psychologist yesterday. It was just husband and I, she will see difficult child next week. She suggested we continue using our laundry room with a baby gate for time out BUT we tell difficult child that the time out timer doesn't start until he's quiet. She cautioned that the first time few times we do this he may tantrum for hours, but I tried it yesterday and he was fine (he was in a VERY rare compliant mood yesterday.

I have another question about the all of the advice above.....most of you mentioned a basket hold/carrying the child to their room, etc. I wasn't sure if this was the same advice you'd give me if difficult child is NOT in the midst of a tantrum. difficult child hits playmates/his sister for no reason. He's not tantruming or angry at anyone, he'll just tackle her or put her in a head lock for no apparent reason (husband and I agree that it seems that difficult child exhibits lots of his negative behaviors out of "boredom". He'll walk around the house, ignore all of his toys, look bored, then decide that pushing his sister down is a good idea.....)
soooooo.....if he's hitting not during a tantrum, just "because", is it reasonable for me to put him in the laundry room with the baby gate (laundry room is just off the kitchen/family room so he'll be nearby) and tell him his time out will begin when he's quiet?

Also, what are your suggestions for handling him when he pees on the floor (on purpose) during time out? I plan to ignore it and then have him help me clean it up when time out it finished. I'm hoping that by giving him NO reaction to it he'll stop).

Also, psychologist yesterday suggested we do reward chart since difficult child is VERY motivated by treats. She suggested taking a VERY small time period initially (say 5 minutes) and give him a star for every 60 seconds he "behaves". Once the 5 minutes are over and he has 5 stars, he gets a treat. Opinions???????????

Thanks in advance. The fact that so many of you have already tried these and other methods is just so helpful. Hindsight is 20/20 and I feel so grateful to have the benefit of all of your experiences.



New Member

My difficult child has tantrums and he also has rages. For him the baskethold is reserved for the rages when I can tell he is going to physically hurt someone and he is completely out of control. I know the difference between the two and can ususally always tell by the look on his face or little noises he is making at the time. A tantrum is something like a normal little kid would do if he didn't get his way. You know, fall on the floor and make carpet angels, yell or even try and hit. But a rage, they are totally different. This child is out for blood at this time. That's when the baskethold comes into play for us. It is not something that I do lightly and reserve for times when I truly know he will not respond to time out or anything else.

The behavior you are describing from your difficult child is what I would give a time out for.

The peeing on the floor, I would be inclined to ignore and when time out is over I would not let him leave the spot until he cleaned it up. All of it. That sounds like an attention getting thing to me.

If the chart/sticker thing works for you then by all means try it. My difficult child is not chart/sticker material yet, maybe one day.

Good luck


New Member
Thanks, Donna.

difficult child can get close to rages but that's usually a response to punishment/time out!

Here's my scenario and my question:

-difficult child hits his sister, There's no warning to avoid punishment because I don't give warnings for violence.

-I wouldn't use a basket hold because he's not currently tantruming/out of control (yet!)

-I put him in the laundry room for time out (door is open, light is on, baby gate is keeping him contained)

-I tell him that his time out will start once he's quiet (is this useful for helping him learn self control or is the "quiet" requirement of time out for basket C ?????)

-He starts freaking out while in time out, spitting, shouting, possibly kicking the gate, etc. NOW do I do the basket hold or do I just leave him be until time out is over?

-once the timer goes off I tell him that his time out is over when he's calmed down.....

is this what all of you were thinking of?

THANKS ! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/worried.gif


Active Member
I am going to lock this thread because I'm growing increasingly uncomfortable with members here giving advice on the basket hold. There's probably none of us here who haven't had to restrain a child from time to time but that's a different thing than applying it as part of a management program. We are parents, not professionals and this technique should only be used by those who have been trained by professionals. Incorrectly application of this method can lead to possible harm, including restricted breathing. I'm even more concerned about using so so early in the evaluation stages.

I hope that no one will take this personally because a lot of good information has been shared in this thread but I'm going to ask that anyone wanting further info on this technique direct their questions to the professional who is working with their child. Miss Vic, please feel free to continue any other aspects in another thread.