Originally Posted by Stephenie
We do work really hard at prevention, but not everything can be prevented. Something as simple as cutting the tip off of his carrot has set him off before. Or saying I'd make him X for lunch and finding out it's gone when I get to the cupboard.
The problem with time ins for us is that usually, he's just hurt his sister. I don't want to leave my injured 2 year old to go be with him while he calms down while she cries alone. You know?
RE sensory needs, we do work some of that into our day and he's really good at telling us when he needs input of some kind (IE he wants to push things or needs to spin) but I could try more. We're on a waitlist to get him back into OT, but he's had it before so we're fairly knowledgeable.
What I really want is a way to reprimand him in some way that's useful.... maybe that sounds wrong, but we spend a lot of our lives walking on eggshells trying to make sure he stays calm and it still doesn't work... I know that we can not prevent all of it. We just can't. It's caused a lot of issues for him and our whole family and I really want to get a handle on it so that he can be seen for some of the many wonderful things that he is instead of this one part of him. I need a method of coping with the behaviors when they do happen that sends a clear message to him that it is not ok without setting him off further, something to do in the moment he's just knocked his sister over, bit me, etc before the tantrum comes.
I will check out the books. Thank you both for your recommendations here, I don't mean to sound ungrateful. I am just having a very hard time with it all at the moment.
I know. This is hard. I spent a lot of time exasperated and upset when DS was your son's age. It's A LOT better these days, as I've learned strategies, and he's learned strategies. DD is older and it was still awful seeing her punched by her overwhelmed brother. I'm sure it's far worse when she's a toddler.
I don't think that there's a short term solution that leads to him being able to moderate his behaviour - he needs to learn self-regulation strategies. He's not choosing to irrationally over-react - it's a rational reaction from his over-sensitive POV. When DS got older and had better ways of describing how he felt it was very interesting. This wasn't an issue of vocabulary, but rather of emerging self and other awareness.
For the time-ins, I would try introducing them when another adult is there so that one can help him chill while the other attends DD, or when he's freaked but hasn't harmed anyone If it works when you're alone with the kids, bring DD with you and cradle her in your lap (this may not work, but worth a try). By the time DS was 4 or 4.5, he could be directed to the bottom step and he would go as he knew it would help him get through the storm of emotions. I could stay with DD and attend to her, and then join him. By the time I got there, he'd usually have calmed a bit and we could engage in social, empathy and self-regulation coaching "ok, I understand that you felt that way, but hitting is never acceptable. how does your sister feel do you think? what could you have done differently (this is a range of pre-loaded strategies)? ok, what could you do now to make it right with your sister?" Note, all of this talking happens once the storm is largely passed.
Another thought - when DS meltsdown (he largely internalizes now rather than externalizes), it's usually a final straw sort of thing. The "minor" thing that sets him off is usually the proverbial straw and he's already amped up about something that happened earlier.
If he's falling out of regulation regularly, I would up the sensory activities to see if it helps. GL. This is hard and frustrating stuff.