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Oh, the Melodrama!! Advice for really emotional kid?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

DS is soo dramatic.  His emotions and expressions of emotion are HUGE!!!  Sometimes this is wonderful, like when he greets me with "Oh, Mommy!  I love you more than anything in the whole wide world!" complete with sweeping arm gestures and great big hugs. 


Other times it's heartbreaking, like when I'm trying to be silly with him singing "On top of old smokey. . . and then my poor meatball rolled right out the door"    DS starts sobbing with big alligator tears "oh, your (sob sob) poor, poor meatball."  greensad.gif


But his reactions to frustration and not getting what he wants are the wost.  They trigger immediate anger in me and bring out my worst parenting.  I have to find a way to calm him down and understand him so I can calm down. If something frustrates him for 2 seconds he starts screaming and fit throwing , and completely looses his mind.  If he gets a cheerio in his lap he has a nuclear melt down until it's fixed.


There is no middle ground - he's either ecstatic, super sad, really angry . . .   I go to bed feeling shell shocked many nights.   Any book suggestions, or tips from real life to deal with this kind of overemotional kid?

post #2 of 9

How old is DS?

post #3 of 9

Mine is like that, too, only it's not consistent. Sometimes he's the most even-tempered, go-with-the-flow kid and other times he will completely lose it if you ask him to wash his hands. It was way worse a year ago (he's 4 1/2 now).


Like you, it's the sudden, explosive reactions to minor frustrations that push me right to anger and really poor parenting. And then I'm on edge and intolerant most of the day after that. It's like having some mild version of PTSD.


One thing that has helped is to read parenting books (and this forum) during breaks. I try to read a little every day, and while most of the content is the same and very repetitive, it has helped to reinforce the idea that when LOs are this upset, it's time to break out the empathy and active/reflective listening. So instead of yelling back at him, I say, "Wow, you sound REALLY angry/frustrated right now." Then we talk and take deep breaths together to calm down, and I let him tell me all the ways I've wronged him. It took me a LONG time to get here. I have such great defense mechanisms that when I'm feeling under attack (even if it's by a two year old) my brain shuts off and the fight instinct kicks in.


I'm not proud of it, I don't like it, and for a long time I've felt like there's something wrong with me for getting so angry at such a little kid. But when it's all day, every day, and I'm wired how I'm wired, it takes awhile to change. Now I'm much better with the complete meltdowns that come out of the blue b/c they're so out of place, but I still have to work on my frustration level when things are more mild but still contentious b/c I get sucked into defending myself. One thing at a time...

post #4 of 9

honey welcome to the world of a 3 year old (from your siggie)


a lot of issues like this requires just waiting out the time - growing older takes care of it or makes it very manageable.


what he is doing is normal. perhaps a little more if he is a spirited child. my almost 10 year olds dramas have gone down but not gone away completely. 


having a spirited child myself i found prevention was the answer. every single time she had her extreme reaction i could always link it to one of the three golden rules. enough sleep, enough exercise, full tummy (at ur son's age dd ate a series of small meals rather than 3 meals and 2 snacks). she always had access to food. some of her friends also did this when they were overwhelmed - either too much activity or too many sensory inputs. as she grew older she also need enough intellectual challenge and also enough social interaction (she is uber gregarious).


i was always scared to serve my dd ice - which she wanted, because she cried over them melting and she losing her friends.


i also did nothing when she was right in the middle of it because she was so gone that no reasoning would work. just empathy and sitting with her holding her was all i could do. or just be around her. just there. many times though i have to say she was sooo ridiculous that i felt like laughing. i cant tell you how many times she has thrown herself right on the road and laid there full body kicking her legs and screaming. 


fine what works for you guys. and then repeat, repeat, repeat. the threes are going to be more about his expressions. 4 is going to be about him getting it. yes they do get it. 


the key about surviving the 3s is taking care of yourself. doing whatever it takes to make sure you are NOT at a frustrated place. 


at 3 we spent a LOT of time outdoors. dd really needed that and so did i. 

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Yeah, he's 3 and that's definitely part of it. But I think he's a little more on the extreme end.  In fact, he got sent home from daycare for, well being dramatic all day and losing it too frequently. :(

post #6 of 9

I think your son is more on the extreme end, too, sorry to say. Would it help to take a look at his biochemistry? Here's a great place, Pfeiffer Institute, that does that. Maybe they can recommend someone in your area. I assume you're taking a look at his diet. Is he eating any foods with food dyes or food additives? Do you know about the Feingold Diet? Any blood sugar issues with your son? I hope you can reach out for some sensitive help in figuring out your son. Your going to bed shell shocked does seem extreme too. Good luck!

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

thanks for the suggestion!  He's not really hyper active or aggresive at all, so I really hadn't considered that diet could effect emotions.  I suppose it could.  

post #8 of 9

It definitely can. For my son, too much junk (like at a birthday party) makes him very sensitive and very hyper. So he gets hyper and can't listen, then can't handle the consequences and really loses it. Screaming, defiant, helpless, soggy mess, poor thing. So I guess it could be just about anything he's sensitive to, it doesn't have to be junk food. If he has an allergy or sensitivity to something in a "healthy" food I would think it could cause the same types of reactions.

post #9 of 9

I was very like this as a young kid, and there are still memories to this day from that age that remind me of just how upset I would get over things. 


It could be short term or it could be just a part of who he is - the sensitive person. 


For me, I needed to learn how to step back from the world a little and be less affected by it's goings-on. It took me until only a few years ago to really start to understand this about myself and start to let go of things. 


The best thing for me was always "undoing" the emotion. Looking at why I was feeling that way and breaking it down, until I saw that it was no big deal - i.e.. The meatball isn't real, it didn't really roll away and it's only a meatball and you can make another!


Hope that helps!

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