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#91 of 96 Old 01-07-2008, 12:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by williamsmommy2002 View Post
Please don't use the word tantrum in response to our children. what our children do they most often times have no control over. That makes it unlike what most people think in a tantrum which is often considered manipulating. The word meltdown is a much better description of what is going on.
Thank you.

I did want to point out, also, that typical children grow out of tantrums, while autistic adults tend to be prone to meltdowns for life, even if other signs of autism are not as apparent. So it's not like you're training your child to "grow out of" meltdowns, or that it's something the child needs to learn for later--meltdowns seem to be a fact of ASC life, despite parenting strategies, although of course their frequency and impact can be minimized.

My marriage improved infinitely when my husband stopped taking meltdowns personally.
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#92 of 96 Old 01-07-2008, 01:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by williamsmommy2002 View Post
Please don't use the word tantrum in response to our children. what our children do they most often times have no control over. That makes it unlike what most people think in a tantrum which is often considered manipulating. The word meltdown is a much better description of what is going on.
Point taken, Williamsmommy and Individuation. I am not a native English speaker, and to me meltdowns and tantrums were synonyms until you mentioned this. Tantrum is the word used by the OP, so I just sticked with it. I have never thought tantrums to be manipulative and it does strikes me as weird that some people may think so. It is very clear that they are episodes during which you lose control and your emotions are just too big for you to handle and you are not in a position to think clearly enough to manipulate others. I have meltdowns - real ones - myself so I know.
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#93 of 96 Old 01-07-2008, 02:44 PM
 
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wow, this thread is super long... I read what I could of it, and I feel bad for the both of you.

pick and choose your battles. dont let silly things like having her cereal w/o milk be such an issue. Really... its no big deal. It doenst matter if she likes it with milk all the other times or not. Its not going to hurt to let her eat it dry.

and a for the hug thing... i dont understand what u mean that u feel violated when she "needs a hug or else"... kids on the spectrum or with pdd need attention at one point or another. Give in to her and hug her. She probably just wants to feel the closeness.

dont let things like these turn into a meltdown. You are the parent. She isnt going to turn in to a spoiled brat because you give in to her for these things... a lot of tears can be saved
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#94 of 96 Old 01-07-2008, 03:03 PM
 
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FWIW playful parenting methods do sometimes work with autistics. Not usually in mid-meltdown but at other times, for diffusing stress, it can work. It just depends on the individual child and the specific situation.
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#95 of 96 Old 01-07-2008, 03:25 PM
 
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A word about power struggles, since that seems to be at play for the OP:

I notice, first of all, that actual power struggles are just way less likely to happen with my ASC kid. He's extraordinarily flexible, for any kid, ASC or not, and so we rarely get into these situations. My non-autistic child, however, can easily be drawn into them, but I don't think this has anything to do with autism. What I just know to be true about power struggles is that only I have the ability to create them - not my kids. My children are small, innocent, and simply trying to figure out how to get on in the world. I, on the other hand, have been here a lot longer. I have tons of power with my children that I always want to be careful not to wield in a harmful way. It would be so easy to do, in fact, that I get super aware of myself whenever a situation starts.

I like to think of power struggles like this - all the best *strength in non-violence* philosophies (sorry - don't know what else to call it; brain feels like mush from limited sleep) incorporate the idea that when something pushes, you release to it, move with it, but while still maintaining your own strength. So, I bring this into my parenting. No matter how I'm feeling at the moment, I remind myself that my child needs me to contain his feelings, and I immediately become empathetic. I show my empathy, whether physically or with words or both (like, "You don't want to go to sleep; you're frustrated; etc"), but I maintain what I feel is important, like that he still has to take his nap because he's exhausted, or he still has to leave the children's museum when it's time to go, or whatever.

And, I pick what really matters to stay strong on. Like so many PPs said, milk in cereal just wouldn't be one of them. My ASC kiddo eats three things, only one of them that could vaguely be considered actual food, and as painful as this has been for me as a mother who wants to nurture her child, I have never struggled with him over it. It would only make things worse. Instead, he's in feeding therapy, and I just regularly offer him food, which he always refuses.

I don't want it to sound like I don't screw up all the time, or like I don't get fed up a lot and have to apologize, or am otherwise inhuman. To me, good parenting is often more about one's philosophical intentions. Another PP here said she thought you might be approaching your situation from a place that assumes your child will respond in a *typical* way (although, I don't think your approach would work with a typical child either), and this change in thinking about the situation really needs to be the first step you take.
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#96 of 96 Old 01-09-2008, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just started a new job and have been swept away with the work and life.

I have been a part of Mothering for years now--used to moderate and even worked for Mothering for awhile--and left the community because I struggled with two things: finding balance between the internet and my family and having a difficult time with the amount of emotional energy I was putting forth online.

It's hard for me to read a thread like this and not want to comment on each and every thing, especially when I feel it's not quite spot-on or would love to engage more deeply into a given suggestion or topic.

I have not read the replies since I last posted simply because I know my limits and with all that is going on in real-time I can't spare much toward getting worked up. Based on the number of PM's I've received, I think the reading will be thick, thoughtful and take some time to process. I'm committed to that but need to do so on my own terms.

I wanted to comment on an update, fwiw:

My mantra has become "Is this the hill...." and I've shared it with my dh (who, btw, is firmly ASC as well). We've reshaped our behavior and thinking in some small, important ways. Additionally, I've connected with her physically and emotionally in more and innovative new ways: deep pressure, humor, more (or less!) touching, and a calmer state of reaction to life in general. Oh! And I keep food on hand or available all the time, even when we're out (most of the day!).

And, most importantly, I've let go of some things and it seems to be really helpful.

Zoe has not tantrumed since the day I posted this, I think that's the most telling example of how well things are going. I've become the Administrator at a Waldorf school in a nearby town, so we're all in new digs. She loves her teachers and the transition has been fairly wonderful--and for Zoe, a transition being wonderful is a big step!

So, in short and without reading the final two or three pages of this thread, I say thanks to those of you who have offered support and kindness.

All the best to each of you--
Jesse
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