When a child is dangerously out of control...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Autismkids, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. Autismkids

    Autismkids Member

    The other day my son was on top of my daughter just pounding on her. As I walked over to get him I was very quickly debating my options. I will not say the final act, because it was rather mean, but both kid's safety were being compromised by his behavior.

    What do you do when something has to stop, RIGHT NOW, and you know you have to go for the "shock factor?"

    In my case, the options I had considered- Picking him up; He was likely to kick daughter on his way up. If I had yelled; It would have just made him even more mad. It wasn't safe to ignore this one. daughter wasn't in a position that she could go lock herself in my room. Any of these options would have ended with him destroying the bedroom, screaming for who knows how long, and kicking the walls.

    In the end, DS was quietly crying on his bed (for maybe a full minute) then he played his nintendo ds for 15ish minutes, and came out of his room fine. So in the heat of the moment, protecting everyone's safety, my choice "worked." He didn't destroy his room, he didn't trantrum anymore. But it wasn't nice and not something I would choose had I been able to sit down and think about my options!

    Separate situation but sort of related- During an occupational therapy evaluation when DS was about 2.5 he started having a tantrum. I tried holding him on my lap, but didn't do that great of a job and he managed to wail his head on the side of the table. That knock stopped the tantrum immediately. The Occupational Therapist (OT) even noted it in the report. He didn't cry, didn't get mad at me for holding him "wrong," just simply stopped and had his snack.

    When he was 19 months old he was having a tantrum because he couldn't ride in his little car (with no language, I'm assuming this is it). We were walking out the door for work and daycare. He started screaming. He threw himself down on the ground and hit his head, and stopped cyring. I just ushered him back up without giving any thought to the head smack, as this wasn't the first time. So he starts walking in front of me and blood is pouring out of the back of his head! He required staple closures and didn't cry during the procedure.

    Knwoing he has severe sensory problems, and sensory has to be takken into account even if the behavior is "brat-driven," what would you suggest for stopping a behavior in the heat of the moment?
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I read this post several times...

    And I want to respond in a way that will not hurt your feelings. So here it goes...and I do apologize if I sound harsh:

    It sounds like you are saying that head injuries cause him to stop raging/tantrumming. While this may be true--you know very well that it does not make it "Okay" to smack him upside the head when he is out of control. I think you are asking if this small injury is OK if it prevents larger injuries or saves other people. Sorry--still not OK.

    So what to do?

    I think you need to talk to the psychiatrist/therapist first. See if there is a medication that can help control these rages so they don't last for hours and hours if you yell...

    Does the doctor recommend that you call 911 for assistance next time this child is dangerously out of control? Perhaps he needs to be transported to psychiatric hospital next time he reaches that level?

    I have also heard that ice cubes work as a good "shock factor" when you need to snap someone out of what they are doing. Could you have placed ice on the back of his neck?

    Just a few things to think about...

    Hope today is a better day for you and your family.

  3. Autismkids

    Autismkids Member

    You didn't sound harsh at all, and honesty is what I'm looking for!

    I was just giving the examples to show how severely he can get himself worked up and try to find a better way to stop the current behavior, and then deal. I didn't smack him, or hit him in any way.

    After thinking about this today, a lot, I think I need to make him a crash zone again. I had a small corner of my house blocked in and padded when he was younger. When he went off, I would put him in there. He needs one again.
  4. maxeygirls

    maxeygirls New Member

    I've had to find my own technique which I sometimes call 'shock and awe' but it's one my mother said she used when children in her classrooms got into situations like this. Keep in mind this was 30+ years ago but the limitations of reaching out and grabbing a kid were still there. At one point she had a kid pretty much snap in science class and to even get close enough to try to pull him off the other student would have resulted in her own injury. She grabbed a glass, put about an inch of cold water in it and splashed it on the student's face. Now this kid was much older than yours but still the reaction was powerful. He just stopped, looked up at her and sort of moved away.
    I tested this theory with my difficult child about a month ago when she was having a terrible day and pretty much had it in her mind to see just how much she could torture one of the cats. She had him in a dangerous situation where if she continued with what she was doing she could have severely injured or killed him but if she didnt move away quickly he'd claw her open in self defense. I had a spray bottle nearby so I grabbed it and shot it at her right in the face. I had already tried to talk to her, gently move her, yell at her, she was off in difficult child-Land. The water made her jump back, the cat escaped and she looked at me funny but never once yelled "you hurt me!" like she does when I grab her arm or pick her up. About 2 minutes later she said her apologies to the cat, then to me. So far it works for those tricky situations but I'm careful only to use this method when someone is about to get hurt and I can't stop it the typical way. I'm just throwing a suggestion out there, may work or maybe not.
    I do understand the head hitting thing though, I've seen it with other difficult children Ive seen but I'm not sure why. Oh and yes I've used the glass of water trick on another child who was in my care frequently for several years. The tantrums were so intense although not violent that the child would become sick and also hyperventilate. Worked in that situation too, the only difference was the mood didnt just vanish, the child would cling to me for about 20 minutes afterwards.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ive heard of kids who have been tossed into a cold shower before...fully dressed to shock them back into self awareness. Dont know if it would work this young or not. Not advocating one way or the other.

    If he is a headbanger or extremely sensory oriented, maybe he needs the weighted blanket or cocoon type thing he could roll himself up in. I would be extremely worried about him headbanging without some sort of padding or helmet. I just dont know.
  6. agee

    agee Guest

    My son responds very well to physical redirection, so I know what you're talking about. The problem with a child like this is that because you know some kind of physical shock will stop the behavior there is a great deal of temptation to use what you know will work.
    I don't know what to suggest to you. I just know how you feel.