This is such a specific thing that I doubt there will be many been there, done that stories exactly, but maybe someone will recognize a larger pattern and have some suggestions.
My son just turned 3 and has a HFA dx. Most of the time he’s a pretty joyful, easygoing guy. My parenting approach is based in connection and empathy. But there’s a certain meltdown that I’m really not sure how to handle, and I’m wondering if this is one of those instances of needing to adjust my parenting philosophy to better support the specific child in front of me.
What happens is that when he has to make a choice (do you want to play with your trains, or help me make dinner?), and then we reach the results of that choice (dinner is ready and he didn’t help) he desperately wants to go back and make the other choice instead. The meltdown is painful and despairing (definitely not at all testing or manipulative). He’s very verbal and it’s very clear what’s upsetting him.
It can even surface days or weeks after the fact – he’ll suddenly bring up some seemingly inconsequential thing and not understand/accept that we can’t go back and do it differently.
I’ve tried empathizing (you wish you had helped with dinner instead of playing with your trains, you’re sad and mad because you wanted to help make dinner), just holding him, redirection, giving him anchors to ground him in the present moment (breathing, what we see right now, feeling the hug that we’re having right now). Everything seems to escalate the upset. It just makes him so miserable, and I'm at such a loss.
Edited by baltmom - 2/3/13 at 12:40pm