Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, May 4, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, as I am working my way through the Basic Guide to Your Challenging Child, I have got to the (fundamental) chapter on tantrums... And what, if anything, to do about them. I still seem to have the idea lurking in my mind that they should somehow be banished and that my son should "grow out of them"... I have been waiting a long time for that to happen and it doesn't. Mostly they are kind of intense crying episodes but sometimes, as tonight, they are more like full-blown rages. I went to pick him up from the activity centre (this is school holiday time here but as I have work he goes to a centre with lots of children, where they have fun outings, activities, etc). Outside there is a skateboard park (if that's the right name for it) where he likes to run up and down the skateboard ramps... Anyway, usually I am flexible about how long he stays but tonight I wanted to get back to make supper - after the usual warning that we are going in five minutes, then one minute, I start walking towards the car and J starts crying and getting distressed, saying he wants to play. Sorry, I understand, but we are going... This is not really CPS, it's just me imagining I can be like an ordinary parent with an ordinary child and... J starts exploding with pain and rage when I put him in the car seat to go (yes, after trying to discuss with him and get him in by other means), really over the top and for the next five or ten minutes he is shouting "You are NAUGHTY Mummy", "You are NOT NICE Mummy", "You SMELL Mummy"... as well as being angry he is also really, really distressed, tears streaming down his cheeks. I just let him cry - what else can be done? He is also very tired, which adds to the intensity of it all. Then, 10 minutes later, it is all forgotten, he is happy again, it's all in the past - ie it has ceased to exist... only I feel perplexed and battle-worn.
    What, if anything, is there to say about tantrums...? Do we just have to live with them? Do I take it that these challenging children do NOT grow out of them?? Is there any light at the end of the tunnel ? :)
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    All I can say is "Wow, only 10 minutes?" Mine has proven capable of raging for hours at a go when she's wound up.
  3. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    it sounds annoying, but it also sounds pretty close to typical for a kid his age.

    it sounds like he was overtired, overstimulated and overly self centered...like any other four year old would be in his shoes. maybe a tiny bit on the immature side, but i dont get a gigantic red flag from what you've said today.

    i am not trying to minimize it, but i know *I* personally get confused over whats typical and whats not, and i appreciate when someone impartial straightens me out about it...i tend to forget that kids really arent minature adults and i think i often expect too much of mine.

    hope tomorrow is better!
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Overtired, overloaded, overwhelmed... Face it, even adults blow up when we hit the wall - just that most of us are a little more subtle about it.

    His day is not ordinary - not a usual school day - way too much activity, way too much noise, probably could have shut down at lunch.

    I haven't seen the book you're reading - but the absolutely best two I've found are "The Explosive Child" and "Raising Your Spirited Child". Consensus between them is... YOU have to be aware of the load, and head it off before the kid hits overload. (which of course is easier at home, and almost impossible elsewhere because nobody else will ever see the triggers... so you have to guess, and work backwards, but you can do it).

    Adjust your expectations according to estimated overload... in this case, maybe you were asking too much, to want a short (5-minute) single-stage transition. Maybe he needed to sit at the side of the area, and just cool off, before making the transition? Others might also have creative ideas. I'm amazed at how often I have triggered melt-downs because the focus is on "me", and not the big picture.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Maybe if you were less flexible about the time he usually plays? One of the hardest things for me to learn with Miss KT was to keep to a schedule. I was in retail management for ten years, where flexibility is rewarded, and I have a child who (still) has difficulty with any changes in her expectations.

    Just a thought...
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the good advice. The "book", by the way, is not a real one but a fictitious title that I am "working my way through" as I learn, rather cackhandedly sometimes, to deal with my child. One of the confusing factors for me, I think, is that in France children REALLY are very heavily disciplined and well behaved. When a parent says go, they are expected to jump and mainly do... And you very rarely see children having tantrums in public here. So it is perhaps easy for me to start getting false expectations about what J "should" be doing... Interesting for me to hear that this is normal behaviour for a four year old. I've also just read all this stuff about how tantrums beyond the age of three are rare - yet every time J doesn't have what he wants or faces an unexpected change, he "makes a fuss" about it. Though he will NEVER go on for hours - is this really physically possible? Literally hours? He just gets bored of the tantrum after a while, I suppose, and wants to move on to something more interesting.
    The point about me having to be aware of the triggers is a good one. I was just thinking of "me" - and really just wanting , as well, to be like all these other parents who say "Right we're going" and the child trots obediently after...
  7. Jena

    Jena New Member

    yes some children have tantrums for hours, break things, destruction oh yes.......

    i agree with the others, why not make it more scheduled give him the same amt of time to play each day there.. make it ten minutes if need be if you have to do dinner etc. kids dont' deal well with well today is ten minutes yet yesterday you got twenty minutes......

    also yes being tired etc. can all add up to a meltdown. do you talk to him after this has happened or just let him cry it out and move on??
  8. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Was that written by someone that never had a teenager?
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Unexpected change... seems to be a fairly consistent trigger for kids around here... So many of the diagnosis we're dealing with are "developmental delays" - anything from AS to ADHD to all sorts of other things, fall under that umbrella... and one common thread seems to be that they often have difficulty with transitions and in particular with "unexpected change".

    For example - at 14, K1 doesn't really have an issue with having a sub (substitute teacher) at school... IF he knows about it at least the day before. So... teacher being way for training, etc. (one took 2 days off to get married...) and telling the class that this is happening, doesn't cause problems - but, teacher being off ill for the day, is a major left curve.
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    We have a loose schedule - that is we do the same things in more or less the same order most days, particularly around bedtime - but I really don't want to get into a rigid one. Firstly because it just would not be practical with our lifestyle - for example the summer holidays (all of July and August) are coming up and we will go to Spain and then Morocco, as we always do in the summer. And there, all schedules are out the window! I cannot enforce that his Moroccan family do things my European way - it would not be reasonable or realistic. Just some compromises, that's all (like trying to get them to brush his teeth - shocking as it sounds to us, many Moroccans do not do this regularly...) And then, I would prefer that J could somehow learn to accept to go with the flow a bit more - this is what will help him in life, not doing things to some rigid programme. To be able to learn to cope with change without exploding... I would really like him to have those skills. Not that the way I went about things the other evening was helpful in teaching them to him. But there are ways.
    He was so sweet this morning... I woke up sneezing and not feeling very well and he insisted on "taking care" of me - going to fetch tissues, covering me up with a blanket, patting me on the back and saying "You go to sleep, Mummy!" And then later, when I'd got up, we played a game (it will sound strange!) where he just goes off into peals of delighted giggles and it is really so sweet to see - he says "Do you love me?" and I have to say something along the lines of "No, sorry" or "Hmmm, let me think about it - no, I don't!" and he just finds this enormously amusing. All of it, I hasten to add, is accompanied by my kissing him and giving him hugs as I say I don't love him...
    At times like that... he really is a Gift from God.
  11. keepongoing

    keepongoing Guest

    I remember going to a seminar on raising kids with special needs and a parent asked what to do in a tantrum and the presenter said that once you are in a tantrum your chance has already passed. Not much to do but wait it out and since most kids at that point are overstimulated the less you do to add to stimulation (by talking for example) the better. Even with a fairly loose schedule you can do things to help him understand how his day will flow. You are doing great by doing the 'In five minutes..." you could help him sequence by also saying "First you have five minutes to play, then we are going to the car". Some kids can not move on until they are finished with an activity and having to stop before they are all done causes a lot of anxiety and meltdowns for them. We stopped a lot of meltdowns by either not having our son start something we knew would take him longer than we had time or by just honoring that he needed five more minutes (or an hour) before he could move on. Ironically it ended up saving time because the meltdowns often took longer then just letting him finish.
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Funny thing about tantrums is that they seem not to be inevitable... In an identical situation, I can sometimes "head off" the dreaded outburst by just using a different tone of voice... For example if I sound very lightweight and calm, J will often respond with equal calm. Or if I get the right tone of authorative firmness, he will also accept things without a fight. Talk about walking on eggshells :) What seems to set him off particularly is my getting annoyed and impatient... He has therefore clearly been sent to help my spiritual development :)
    I'm not even sure it's transitions that he objects to so much as just not being able to do what he wants - eg play rather than go home to boring bath and bed...
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    From "THE book"... most people believe that "kids do well if they want to"; the alternative is to believe that "kids do well if they can". My experience is that the best thing to do when I find myself thinking that "he could if he wanted to"... is to go bang my head on the wall... OR go re-read "THE book". Seriously. It might not be the transition - it might be some other trigger, and you have to find out what it is. For example, some kids can't "leave" an activity until it is "done" - for example, a game isn't over until you know who won... so, it isn't the transitioning in that case but the incompleteness that causes the problem...

    In two weeks of pouring over "THE book"... we've dropped resistance by multiples. Had a fairly good idea going in what some of the base issues were, but didn't have any validation on that and/or any approaches that work...

    Everytime things do NOT work (i.e. tantrum etc.), it is just an opportunity to rewind the tape (for yourself) and find another trigger, another trend. Its worth the effort.

    <smile - its almost Monday!>