what should I have done??

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by amy1129, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. amy1129

    amy1129 New Member

    So tonight was a really BAD night for us. It started with my difficult child and easy child outside playing and our neighbor came out, she is a year older than my daughter. I thought they were all playing nicely and then I heard difficult child screaming at them. He didnt want to play basketball, he just wanted to shoot the ball and the girls wanted to play a game. He was screaming at them that he hated them, they never do what he wants to do...etc As he got louder I had to go outside and do something. So i said to him, just come inside with mumma for a bit and to come down and then you can back outside, he got louder, went in the garage and it turned into a chase, he was throwing stuff at me. I tried to have the girls for moment but they were frozen watching us. I had to threaten him with not being able to go to tball game that night. He came inside, and continued to scream YOU HATE ME, i dont want to be inside, i said ok well get yourself calmed down and you can. after about 15 minutes of throwing his shoes, messing up throw rugs and kicking the floor he went outside and they all argues again.

    Its time to come inside and get ready to tball game and go to a fast food place before. He took his shoes and socks off, threw them at me, took off his shorts, threw them....all while screaming and crying. I said, calmly, ok so lets go get ready for tball and put your uniform on, NOPE, he took off his underpants and stuck his butt up at me. I lost it and yelled to pull up his underwear up. he did, but was still in a rage. I dragged him to get dressed, he fought me tooth and nail but i got him dressed, hubby and easy child were waiting in the car. he was yelling i hate tball, he doesnt, he wants to quit etc. carried him to car and off to get dinner still crying he says i dont want anyone to see me crying, i dont want to eat.....we get to food and is now saying i want to run away and go live with another family...i hate you guys....i got him food and of course it wasnt what he wanted but if i didnt get him anything i would be yelled at, no winning.

    by the time we get to the game he is better.....but hubby and i talked and wondered what we should have done, should we have not forced him to the game that he was depended on for the team, should I have literally got him dressed and carried him to the car. I dont know what we could have or should have done different here.

    any advice?

  2. keista

    keista New Member

    No personal experience with such situations, here's my observation:

    Today you approached it as you have to do XYZ. These are fun things for difficult child, but also considered responsibilities (to the team) So you continued on hoping that difficult child would calm down before the game, and he did. Unfortunately, you threatened the loss of the game, but he got it anyway despite never having calmed down. This sends a message that he can behave any way he wants and ultimately gets what he wants - food and his game. I've learned to be careful of what I threaten to take away. I learned early on that if the punishment would be no TV for a week, I ended up more punished than my son (he'd be pestering me instead) but if I said it, I HAD to do it.

    Plan for the next time, and see what happens if you indeed cancel his participation of the game. It may get worse at first, but may ultimately help in curbing his behavior the following time if you threaten the loss of the game. If you had already planned on take out, go get it and bring it home. If he refuses to "place an order" don't get him anything. He can have a PB&J if he decides he's hungry.

    Backtracking to the basketball thing:
    It doesn't sound like he calmed down at all, but got to go back out. Again he got what he wanted without doing what he was supposed to do. If he did calm down before he went, but got right back to yelling, I would have brought him right back in again.

    I bet you didn't have to think this much with your easy child? Just that threat of taking a privilege away made her listen/behave, but that's because she was/is a easy child, she has a different temperament, and more easily understand right from wrong, good behavior from bad, I want this and Mom expects me to do that so I will so I can get this, etc.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would have kept him home. Obvioiusly he likes t-ball (so it's a consequence) and I don't think he was needed so badly if it was anything like OUR t-ball...they didn't even keep score.

    Beyond that, if he was so worked up, I would have felt he needed to have a calm night. He was already worked up, then got more worked up at the food place...I just would not have put myself, the rest of the family, or the difficult child through it. JMO
  4. Chris Honey

    Chris Honey New Member

    Our difficult child does some of the same issues at 14. The only benefit with having a child doing this at an older age is it doesn't make you look like a terrible parent. People look more at a teenager throwing a tantrum, then the parents. We still have a hard time finding rewards & consequences for these types of behavior. One of the things that works for us when we need to go someplace, letting him know if he behaves, he will get such n such (food is his big motivator so usually Subway, or McDonalds). If he can't manage to behave during that time no reward. I don't always use a bribe however and will use an *or else*. The problem in our situation, and don't know if the same for you or not, not every punishment works as expected. With a situation like you described, I would try maybe a timeout in difficult child's bedroom. A child can stay in their rooms all day, but as soon as you send them there, they want out. Give him time to calm down, and then when/if he does, then you can approach going to the game, or if took longer for the cool down, explain that you're sorry they couldn't make the game, and you know how much he loves to play, but he needs to calm down, and follow directions to be able to go next time.

    Please take anything I say as my thoughts, and me only trying to help. If they offer any help, than I'm more than happy. I'm in the trenches here myself, and learning everyday what works & doesn't work here. Hang in there!
  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    It's really easy for us to take a look at this replay and tell you what we would have done. It's a whole different ballgame when you're calling the shots.

    At this point I would have separated him to a different activity, without suggesting returning to the girls that he's just been screaming at.

    Right here I would have sent the neighbor girl home and sent daughter to her room, or both over to her house to play. Neither need to be a witness to this, and neither needs to be hit with something he's chucking. If he's out of control, it's important to remove them for their own safety. They were also the trigger to the rage, and it's pretty typical for a raging child to return to the source of the rage for another go round.

    It's a good idea to find a routine to help raging kids settle down, and fast food and a tball game are both highly stimulating, public situations. A routine like sitting in a bean bag chair watching a movie in his room, and eating a calming snack is one idea. If the child has sensory issues, sipping a drink from a straw can be calming. If another adult is home to watch siblings, loading him up in the car and driving around until he's calmed can help because it's removing him from the scene.

    I would have done one of these, and ONLY if he'd calmed himself down sufficiently would we have gone to tball. I wouldn't have taken him to a restaurant--might have carried in dinner if I was desperate. It's tossing him into one stressful situation after another instead of really giving him some downtime somewhere to calm down. If you can develop some kind of calm down routine for the raging that he likes, the hope there is that you can start to head it off at the pass, and eventually that he'll ask because he recognizes that he's starting to lose control.

    Have you read The Explosive Child yet, and the thread at the top of this board about adapting it to younger children? It talks about prioritizing, and for very difficult explosive kids, only being insistent on critical issues, like safety. I understand the team thing, but at this age I wouldn't put tball in that category.

    Just some ideas as you deconstruct the today and think through what you might have done differently. Most of us have made plenty of mistakes and tried lots of strategies until we found a combination that worked, or at least helped.

    Sorry it was such a hard day. Hang in there. Tomorrow's another day.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2011
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    :choir:Amy1129, I just thought to add a "Good for you" for asking questions and seeking out strategies that your kiddo might respond better to. When we insist that a child with behavior challenges makes the leap to where we expect them to be, things don't go well. When we try to understand where they are, come alongside them, and seek out ways to bring them up to where we want to be, that's when forward progress is usually made.
  7. Confused

    Confused Guest

    Hi amy1129,
    Wow, sorry you had a bad day! I understand your situation and have been there! Still there! So, honestly, I have handled it both ways. I have dragged him to school upset or the Dr( for issues other than his acting out.). I was dragged out when I was a child to go to school, hated it,never forgot it,so why did I do this to my child? I didn't do tantrums all day when I was little, it was a problem with the teacher and I got a "phobia" of school and hated it since( although still off and on in college:rolleyes:) .The thing is he throws tantrums off and on and him being in school, was a break for me! Also, because he missed many days of school due to illness/and his tantrum days, he was tarty, so every three tarty, was an absence. So missing over the limit he would of failed Pre-K! He likes school but just wanted to do what he wanted,when and how. I was lucky the school worked with me! But, I have learned unless its an emergencey, I would let him miss Tball too! He has missed practice and many swimming lessons because he didn't want to go for whatever reason, and last minutes say he wanted to go! We refused to take him, it would of been half over anyways. During his tantrums I do send my daughter to another room, but not always in a calm voice! It takes alot out of us and sometimes when things are built up or we just want them to be "somewhat behaved", we might make a wrong decision! I have been told to hold him down when he bangs his head/bites himself, not only does that make him madder,I get hurt! I do intervene when I need to when he's doing that or near our pets.Hope things are better for you today!
  8. seriously

    seriously New Member

    In addition to the other good suggestions you've gotten - I would put a lock on the garage door and/or keep the doors locked and the big door shut from now on. Garages can have dangerous chemicals and tools, etc. Now that he's done that once he's very likely to do it again.

    In the house, if you haven't already locked up all the medications including over the counter ones, I suggest you do that right away.

    I beg to differ with SRL, with whom I normally agree. In my experience, driving around with a raging child in the car with you is NOT a safe activity and should not be done. If I am driving and difficult child 2 starts raging or getting out of control I pull over immediately and refuse to drive any further until he's calmed down. If you find yourself in this situation, another tip - do not get out of the car and leave him in the car alone or you are likely to be locked out with him destroying the car while you watch helplessly.
  9. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    You can beg to differ with me any time, seriously. :)

    This is just where knowing your child comes into play. Removing mine from the scene and offending people and driving around for awhile with a calming snack was often the quickest way to calm down, that followed up by quiet room time. (Longer car rides often lulled this one to sleep, so that makes sense that it would be calming.) Had there been any danger I would have ditched that plan in a hurry!
  10. amy1129

    amy1129 New Member

    again, you guys are great with the advice, suggestions and your stories. I cry everytime I read your responses and I dont know if its cause I am scared or just knowing that I am not alone. Either way I cant thank you enough.

    Everytime my son has an episode, my mind goes mushy, I think what should I do now, what would the social worker say to do, what should I not do right now? I feel like I dont know my son anymore even though he hasnt really changed at all. Maybe its me I dont know anymore. Between trying to "do the right thing" with my son and keeping my cool while he is exploding, yet keeping the boundaires and rules I have in my house, its hard to know what to do and when to do it and how to do it.

    I have noticed that he is not consistant with his tantrums, He reacts differently to the same situation, sometimes he doesnt even throw a tantrum. But I can tell when he is going to explode by his prior actions/mood and I try to approach him with caution but that brings me back to the point of I feel like I am giving in to him and he is getting what he wants and constantly walking on egg shells around him.....my social worker begs to differ here, she says he is not intentionally doing this to get what he wants, he is too young to figure this out.

    by the way Saturday was better but the night was horrible. He worked in the yard with dad all day, and me a easy child (which I am starting to think she is not so perfect) went shopping and had fun. So the plan was to grill burgers and go out for ice cream, but stupid me forgot to buy hanburgers and it was too late to cook anything so we decided to go to Chili's and then out to ice cream. Well I knew this wasnt going to be pretty so I approached it with caution, like saying they could get a soda at the restaurant, easy child child was all over it. Not him.....he threw his socks and sneakers at me and I just ignored him, continued to say, this is the plan lets take a shower and get ready. he did all that I asked, yelling and growling all the way. We got to the Chilis and he was much better. they ate, got their soda etc. Then I think the soda got them all crazy cause they were beyond silly......got their ice cream and headed home. hubby asked easy child to help him with the pool cover and they went out side to do that and son got so bent out of shape that daddy doesnt let me do anything, he thinks I am stupid, he hates me, why does easy child get to help him....i want to do it.....screaming and throwing clothes etc. I ignored him to the best of my abilities, but windows are open and lots of people outside. I tried to explain to him that easy child was bigger and more able to help daddy, that you were helping daddy all day, its easy child's turn, and your naked right you cant go outside naked (in a funny voice trying to see if he would see that and laugh with me) but that just fueled him. our puppy gets concerned when kids are crying so he always goes and checks out the crying child and licks their faces, well difficult child apparently hates that and pushes and yells at the dogs, i hate you ______, get away from me or I am going to punch you.....I immediately got in difficult child's face and said actually yelled dont you ever touch that dog, if you do you will be grounded for a week. he got my point and ran to his room and cried. came out still naked with pj's in hand. we all ignored him until he got dressed then was ****** when he asked for a snack and I said you know the rules, no snacks after 9pm, another tantrum.....i couldnt take it anymore and put him to bed. Sunday was pleasantly a good day, with 2 minor and quick tantrums.

    Phew, I think I need you guys on speed dial to get advice on things as they are happening.

    Oh have any of you taken video of the kids doing what they do? I have thought about it because like I said, no one believes me when I tell them these stories.
  11. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Don't you always think it's a hoot when professionals make comments like this about children? Come on, even babies get it figured out quick that if they cry Mama will come and hold me or feed me.

    I think one of the hardest things to tease apart is how much of the behaviors happening are because they can't, they won't, they're responsing to a situation, behaviors that once had a legitimate reason have morphed into habit, etc. etc. etc. Often it's not clear cut but a combination, or that kids respond differently to different people in a similar situation (ie act out at home but not school).
  12. keista

    keista New Member

    I'm gonna vote the side of the social worker. If you can tell that the mood/behavior is going to get dicey, do everything you can to nip it in the bud. If by doing that, you manage to avert a tantrum, then everyone gets peace, and at a later time it can be discussed. It is certainly counter intuitive to 'normal' parenting, but you are not parenting a 'normal' child here, so the rules are different. If you notice the oncoming moods behaviors, it's possible that difficult child does too, if not you can discuss it with him and see if he can start learning to notice them, and then participate in self regulation. DD1 had/has a difficult time with that because she either doesn't notice, or does not WANT to notice (she really hates her bad moods/episodes etc), but with careful observation from me and teachers, and gentle coaching, she is starting to become aware of when things get bad inside for her and is starting to remove herself from the situations.

    Just an FYI. In our house the kids do get limited sodas as treats, but they NEVER get caffeinated soda after 3pm unless that is the absolutely only beverage option available. Helps curb crazy behavior (and sleeplessness) for everyone.
  13. seriously

    seriously New Member

    When you have some time to yourself, sit down and think through the last time he blew up on you. Think back over what he did and you did and how things went.

    Decide what outcome you wanted - both a longer term skill he needs when he grows up and an immediate goal if those are two different things. Maybe the longer term goal is that he learns to recognize and verbalize when he's upset or frustrated. The short term goal is that, when he's upset, he goes to his room when asked.

    Work backwards and see if you can come up with a plan of what you want to try the next time that situation happens based on the goals you have for him. Write your plan down. make it simple - as simple as you can so it will be easier to remember it.

    You can also decide on a goal(s) for yourself when the situation comes up. Maybe your goal is to keep a level tone and not yell or plead or whatever. Maybe your goal is to remember and use the plan you have decided on in advance. Maybe your goal is to get husband to switch hit with you when he's home.

    Does husband help you when he's home? If not this absolutely needs to change. I do not mean to be sexist but kids react differently to men than to women and you need to use that to your advantage. But husband cannot be an armchair parent - sitting in his chair yelling at the kids to do something repeatedly until he finally gets up and goes to angrily threaten them into doing what he said.

    If you haven't read Ross Greene's The Explosive Child I suggest you get this and read it. I think it will help you to figure some of this stuff out.

    It sounds to me like you feel paralyzed when he suddenly explodes. Your emotions are in turmoil. If you're like me you are feeling all kinds of things when your kid is exploding

    self-pitying (why me)

    Part of your job is to do a reality check about your own feelings when you are NOT in the middle of a crisis. This will help you let go of those feelings and free yourself up to deal with what's really happening in the moment. For example:

    Dread - OK so his tantrums have been pretty bad at times but they don't go on forever; they could be much worse; you will get better at coping effectively and regain a sense of control over the situation

    Anger and pity party - You are right to feel like you have gotten the short end of the stick. A lot of other parents got "easy" kids. But you're a grown up and you know that life often isn't fair. You know that your son is depending on you and husband to teach him the skills he needs to cope no matter what his challenges might be. So you get to suck it up and deal with it and perhaps find a therapist for yourself so you can process these feelings with someone who knows how to support you.

    Guilt - you deal with guilt by taking control of yourself and the choices you make in dealing with your son. So you made mistakes in the past. Can't do anything about that except to figure out how to do better in the future. You get to feel guilty if you

    1) refuse to admit to yourself that you could be doing a better job as a parent
    2) know that you could be doing a better job but refuse to do anything about that
    3) indulge yourself in anger and self-pity in the midst of crisis. Pity parties in posts here are absolutely allowed.
    4) spend more time worrying about what other people may be thinking about you/your family than you spend thinking constructively about how to cope effectively.

    Foolish and embarrassed - You have to let go of worrying about what other people think or say because you have NO control over that. You can only control yourself. People will think what they think. And you would be surprised at the number of parents out there who are sympathetic and have been through stuff themselves - no matter how together they might seem to you.

    You are doing a great job. You are looking for help and using the advice and info you have gotten to help your family. That's what a grown up does.
  14. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I am sorry you had this day. I think you are wonderful to want to learn different stratigies. I see a few things that could be done differently.
    He was shouting at the girls so going back out to play with them should not have been an option. He was in the garage throwing things I would have sent the other girl home telling her I was sorry but it was not a good time and that she and your daughter could play another day. Afterall they were a part of his initial outburst and you do not know what they might have said to him when you were not there. Then I would have sent difficult child to his room or a chair to calm down ( I am assuming that a basket hold is not something you can do) and when he was calm made him help clean up the mess he had made. There would have been no t-ball and if you felt deprived and punished because you wanted to go then maybe call in a sitter for difficult child and go without him. His evening activities would have consisted of reading a book or someother quiet activity in his room. No electronics including TV and wii. Playing with cars or blocks or puzzles or wordfinds etc. are good calming activities. -RM
  15. april1974

    april1974 New Member

    Seriously- Thanks so much for writing that, The explosive child is one of the books I took out of the library today, it's 2nd on my list to read

    Amy-I have had my own temper tantrums in response to my ds, I am putting my brain to good use and educating myself on what I should do & shouldn't do...I'm trying to remember that the basic need my kids need is love even when they are "bad". It's so hard and I've had my own pity party going on in my head that I need to snap out of. My kids get zero pop, zero kool-aid(ok I lie I have koolaide jammers in the pantry BUT they only get them once in a blue moon) I don't want to reward good behaviour that is expected, acknowledge it YES and I do, and I don't want to punish my son anymore for bad behaviour he may or may not be able to control...I want to discipline and educate him...let him feel his emotions and what they mean..the why? and what can we do to manage them....anger is normal human behaviour...it's how we express it...your son didn't want the girls to play with him....the learning opportunity could be once he has calmed down to say in his own words "I want to be alone and don't want you girls to play basketball with me" the girls also need to respect his space...gosh does any of this make sense? sometimes it's hard to explain a thought on a computer. I think kids, like adults, want their feelings to be validated, they need to know it's ok to feel what they are feeling, but need to learn how to chanel it, how to use words to get his needs met.