emotional regulation w/o "stuffing" feelings - Mothering Forums

 
Thread Tools
#1 of 8 Old 09-15-2006, 12:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
Jewelie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
5 YO DD (dx SID) clearly needs to learn to calm herself or catch herself before she goes to this place of utter hysteria and I have to peel her off the ceiling and she's totally unreachable, out-of-control, you get the picture-How do you walk the line b/w enouraging emotional regulation but w/o teaching your child to suppress her feelings? I have always given DD the message that all her feelings are ok, crying is ok, even screaming if thats what she needs to do, though I get tired of that being directed at me. But OT made me realize she does need to work on emotional regulation and that there is a difference b/w "stuffing" her feelings and catching herself b/4 she goes to that hysterical place. In her efforts to regulate her emotions, sometimes I see her taking a deep breath and articulating her feelings or whatever but other times I can see that she's just stuffing her tears (I think b/c the message she is hearing from me is that its not ok to emote) which breaks my heart and is not the message I want to give her, (though I do get sick of being screamed at. )Anyway, in calmer moments when I try to talk to her about it, I struggle to articulate the difference for her b/w regulating her emotions/catching herself b/4 she becomes hysterical and stuffing her feelings, maybe b/c I'm a bit confused myself. Thoughts?

thanks,
julie
Jewelie is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 8 Old 09-15-2006, 02:38 AM
 
JBAmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 160
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
That's a very good question. I think you are a more sensitive mom than me. I actually hadn't thought about the fact that my DS may feel he must stuff his feelings. I do tell him it is O.K. to cry, and try to point out how that is different from hysterical screaming that has literally damaged my hearing. He also goes on and on, way too long. To me it looks like it is not a cathartic emotive thing, but more like he is out of control, and i need to help him get himself back under control. But I don't know, like I said - good question.
JBAmom is offline  
#3 of 8 Old 09-15-2006, 01:45 PM
Fay
 
Fay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Venus
Posts: 1,714
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think this is the million dollar question for our kids. I struggle with this a lot, in fact, I just had a very difficult morning with DS for this reason.

DS and I write a lot of stories about past emotional situations, both happy and sad. He prefers to focus on the sadness because of the strong physical reaction associated with it. We started with a really simple story, "Once upon a time, DS was sad. He cried. Mommy gave DS a hug, a kiss and a snuggle. Mommy and DS sang a song together. DS became happy again." The stories quickly became much more detailed, with more variations. I call them emotional stories instead of social stories. You can achieve the same effect by taking lots of photos at different emotional moments and just talking about the photos, "I remember the time you fell down on your roller skates, but you got up and started skating again. I was proud of you." These types of activities can help develop "autobiographical memory," the integration of past experience and emotion that help people deal with new situations. Sometimes it's the disconnection between emotion and cognition that causes these meltdowns.

"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?" - Andy Warhol
Fay is offline  
 
#4 of 8 Old 09-18-2006, 01:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
Jewelie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
thanks Mamas. I'd love to keep talking about this. Fay, sometimes I think they get stuck in a "loop" and don't know how to get themselves unstuck. 'don't know if thats what's happening but I've seen it.

I have used the stories sometimes too- thanks for the reminder. Thats how we have recovered from some of our more extreme phobias- they are fun and pretty magical.

JBA mom, I literally was in energy healing school for years so its kind of ingrained in me from that- my natural tendancy is to be pretty clueless I think. LOL!

so already this is helping me get clear. I'm reminded of something a wise mama said to me recently about how important it is to intervene with my daughter BEFORE she becomes hysterical (when she doesn't go there in 0- 60!). Often its building slowly and there is time to "reach" her and listen/help before she becomes unreachable. Of course these are still the moments when she & I have these conversations about I don't like it when she screams or how unnecessary it is bc if she would just tell me calmly what she wants, I am more likely to understand and be able to help her.

Or I'll say something like, "Deep breath...." which is something I say to try to help her learn to catch herself and calm herself b/4 she freaks out, that seems to trigger her "stuffing" moments. So what can I say to her in those moments, when she is ramping up but still reachable, that says, "check yourself, notice how you are feeling (maybe thats it!), take a breath and think about what you want to ask....."

B/c she is getting ramped b/c she thinks I'm not understanding or I'm not listening or not going to listen. So when I start saying, "take a breath" she's frustrated b/c in that moment instead of listening to her, I'm telling her what to do. But if she does not "take a breath" or whatever, she's slipping into hysteria which is not necessary & in fact makes it harder for her to get what she wants (and really sucks for all concerned). So she's kind of caught in a catch-22. Does that make ANY sense?

Then when she is already hysterical, the question is, what to do. My tendancy is to, as someone here said "match" her emotional intensity (yell to try to get through to her) which is obviously the WRONG thing to do but so hard not to do in the moment. Anyway, the question is, how to help her in a way that brings her back AND gives her the skill to do that for herself.

let me know if you have more thoughts,
thanks,
Julie
Jewelie is offline  
#5 of 8 Old 09-18-2006, 04:13 AM
 
JBAmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 160
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree the key is totally to intervene and bring the child back down before they get to that tantrum place. Once they've reached that threshold, I have found that all reason is useless. But to catch them before they spiral off requires so much watching, and predicting, it just can't be done all the time.
I feel like my DS is making great progress in being able to stop himself from following through with an aggressive impulse, or from having a meltdown, he also calms faster once he has reached a tantrum. I credit it all to O.T. His O.T. makes a strong emphasis, and I don't know if this is unique or not, on having him engage in a cognitively stimulating activity while he is doing sensory activities. She explained that it helps his cognitive take control over his more primitive (reflexive, emotional, fight or flight) brain function. I think that is exactly what I see improving.
Another thing that we just started, and today is the first time I actually see DS using this technique is to try to change his thinking about things that happen. For him, many things are a big deal. The truth is that very few things are a big deal so he need to learn to take the things that bother him, make it a small deal, and let it go. It helps to repeat it a lot "let it go". We also use visuals, like "it's small like a bug, and he plays with a toy bug, and it is easy to let it go". And we use hand motions to show letting go. He didn't start using it until today, we decided together that a chart might help. He gets a point for every time he lets something go, then after so many points he'll get a game that he really wants. I'm hopeful because I see that he is excited at the fact that he CAN do it. I never appreciated before how much he wants to have control over his aggressive impulses and for him it is just too hard. It must feel pretty bad to feel that out of control so often. I picked up this approach from a book I am reading that has given me lots of new ideas for changing his behavior. It is Parenting Your Asperger Child. He does not have an official Dx of diagnosis, but the techniques make more sense for him than anything else we have tried.
As far as helping her calm down when you see her ramping up, I think it is best to remain as calm and loving as you possibly can. Sometimes I don't feel at all like giving a great big hug, but sometimes that does the trick, and as soon as I feel him mold into my arms, I never want to let him go.
JBAmom is offline  
#6 of 8 Old 09-20-2006, 01:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
Jewelie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
"His O.T. makes a strong emphasis, and I don't know if this is unique or not, on having him engage in a cognitively stimulating activity while he is doing sensory activities. She explained that it helps his cognitive take control over his more primitive (reflexive, emotional, fight or flight) brain function. I think that is exactly what I see improving."

I don't know how to do a quote- how you guys do that?

anyway, how does she do this? I read something one time about having them do puzzles but I didn't understand why. Our OT never mentioned this.

thanks for all your thoughts- I'm going back to re-read.

julie
Jewelie is offline  
#7 of 8 Old 09-20-2006, 03:19 AM
 
JBAmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 160
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
"anyway, how does she do this? I read something one time about having them do puzzles but I didn't understand why. Our OT never mentioned this."

She has him do a task, like a puzzle (or spotting objects in the room, doing verbal math problems, or even aiming at a target) while he is spinning on a platform swing or something like that. For our home sensory diet, I have the boys throw ice off the deck. She said, it would engage their higher level thinking more if they threw, aiming at a target. Does that help?

By the way, I don't know if I did the quote thing correctly. I just hit the quote button at the bottom of your last message, then deleted the portions I didn't need.
JBAmom is offline  
#8 of 8 Old 09-20-2006, 01:48 PM
 
Megamama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Gainesville, FL
Posts: 1,439
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My oldest (who is NT as far as I can tell) used to have temper tantrums and really huge reactions to things. Lots of HUGE anger and feelings, yk? It took time and patience to teach her to control them.

Can you find situations for your kids where they have to learn to regulate..like a soccer team or some other social activity? This really seemed to help Alexis. Oh..and the dammit doll..yes..my child had a doll she was allowed to throw, beat, hit, rage at, etc. when she needed to. Sometimes those feelings have to come out, or how can you regulate?

All I can say is, it took time. Alexis is almost 20 and still has a hard time regulating her own emotions at times. We still talk about it!

I'm kind of grateful I had her first..she taught me a lot about kids with really big emotional lives.
Megamama is offline  
Reply


User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 10,581

15 members and 10,566 guests
Deborah , Fluffer , katelove , Katherine73 , Kolkad , Lucee , moominmamma , ortiztjulia7 , r1baldwi , RRowe90 , sarrahlnorris , Silversky , Springshowers , sren , zebra15
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.