Handling Extreme Tantrums - Mothering Forums
Gentle Discipline > Handling Extreme Tantrums
Talula Fairie 04:31 PM 04-04-2009
What's the best thing to do for a really, really, really bad full scale meltdown?

I was reading The Explosive Child and it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know or give me any suggestions I didn't already try. See, the whole "Plan B" (basically just standard GD works with empathy and the like) work great, *unless* she's already exploded. Once she had a full scale meltdown, which is bound to happen at some point (she's 4), there's just no talking to her. So what can I do for her when she's like this?

We had a really bad one yesterday, and I almost made it through without losing my temper, but I finally did at the end and it was ugly. I took her to Mc Donalds (bad, I know, but it was a rare treat) and she saw a toy in the display case she wanted, but they didn't have it. I even exchanged the toy she did get, but it was a no go. Finally she was causing such a stink that I told her I would have to take her to the car until everyone else finished their meal. I did reason/empathize/ect but she would have none of it. Now, a lot of this was due to the fact that she 1. was so upset she refused to eat, so she was hungry and 2. she was very tired, becuase she hasn't been napping (and if I force her, that would be an explosion a day, so I'm screwed no matter what!).

I took her out of the restaurant, while she screamed, hit me in the face and the back, and had a complete fit. I put her in her carseat for her own safety (she had already started pounding on the floor, flailing around like a seizure victum, ect). She was telling me she hates me, calling me names, telling me she doesn't like me, telling me I'm a bad mom, ect. Then she would yell "HELP ME!!!" as if she was being hurt,and she was not. Her carseat was on properly, nothing was too tight, ect. After the help mes came "I want to go back to Mc Donalds" and then she would start in with the abusive language (which makes me feel extra guilty, becuase I think it's my fault she even speaks that way).

I stood outside the car so I could still watch her and collect myself. My husband arrived with my other child a few minutes later and we left. She continued to tantrum for the next 60 minutes or so (I'm guessing?). I did try to empathize with her some more, explained the whole situation, told her I understood she was very upset but what she was saying was hurting my feelings (whenever I tell her something like that she screams at me "NO!" shakes her head and tells me how wrong I am, then starts in with the "bad mama" "I hate you" ect).

We got home and I immediately took her out of the carseat. She refused to leave the car and was flailing around again. I picked her up as gently as possible, took her into the house, where she started flinging herself into the front door and pounding on it. I picked her up (gently, again) and removed her from the door, she just kept running back there and continuing with this. I felt that this was unsafe but I was at a loss for what to do. If I put her in her room, she'd just pound on that door and time outs just make it worse most of the time. She started alternating between pounding on the front door, and running round the house screaming like a banshee the whole time. Gutteral, loud, sounds-like-being-beaten screaming (which is oh so triggering for me, let me tell you). It was bad. BAD!!!!! I can't even describe the level of bad, it doesn't sound as bad as it was on print.

Later that night, I did discuss the situation with her, apologized for my own behavior at the end, and explained what she had done that was hurtful and not ok, and why that was. I empathized with her and told her I understood she was very upset and that it's ok to be angry, but it's not ok to name call and say things that are mean.

Background info:

These tantrums have been happening since she was about 1, and continue to get worse, although they are now less frequent since she started talking at age 3 (went from not speaking to speaking in full sentences). They used to happen every day multiple times a day and now we're down to maybe 3-4 a week, less if we never go anywhere at all (transitions are a huge trigger for her and she gets overstimulated easily). I tried to have her doctor refer her to be evaluated (pysch eval, development, ect), but he refused and brushed off my concerns (I hate kaiser sometimes!!). He insisted she is not autistic in any way "because she makes eye contact." I am going to try again, though.

I have a new doctor for her so maybe that will help. I also have explained the situation with her preschool (where she is always on her perfect behavior, saving her meltdowns for shortly after arriving home), and I think she has had some evaluation there, and that revealed no problems. She is not delayed in speech any longer, development is normal in every way except emotional. Her preschool has noticed that she needs a lot more one-on-one attention and is more work than most other children (duh! she's been very high needs since day 1).

So basically, what can I do when these things happen? IS there any way to really prevent this sort of thing, or at least prevent them from getting so bad? How can I support her at those times while still keeping her physically safe?

Magella's Avatar Magella 05:09 PM 04-04-2009
I think you can prevent many, but not all, of these meltdowns through the Plan B method. Remember, plan b is really meant to be a proactive approach-so the problem solving is going to come before you're in the midst of a problem. (Once you're at McDonald's and she wants a toy they don't have, you're already in the problem. You can still try plan b, but it's emergency plan b and as such it isn't always going to help.) So, first identify her triggers. This is so key. Meltdowns really are predictable. If you know, for example, that the toys at McDonald's are a trigger (b/c sometimes they don't have the one she wants), then you sit down with her and make a plan *before* you go to McDonald's (for example, you might talk and your plan might be that if they don't have the toy she wants she'll choose another one , or maybe your solution will be to go somewhere else, or whatever--you may come up with some really creative ideas). And really get down to concerns, rather than solutions. This can take practice, ime. It's easy to get stuck in putting solutions on the table rather than concerns, but it's much easier to reconcile two concerns--and addressing concerns is what gets you the durable solution. Also, one other reason plan b may not be working for a family is that either the child or the parent is lacking a skill that's needed in order to effectively participate in plan b. For my child, there was one issue where plan b just wasn't getting us anywhere. We finally figured out that she needed to develop better emotional regulation skills and better communication skills, and skills to cope with her anxiety, before plan b could work for us on this issue. (And identifying that she needed to develop those skills was also part of plan b.)

Once your child is upset but before she's sort of in "vapor lock" and really in a full meltdown, you may have a little window of opportunity to help her calm down. For my dd, there was a point where we could still reach her before she went completely over the edge, and if we caught her there sometimes we could engage her in something that required thought/concentration, and this would sort of pull her out of her emotional brain and into her thinking brain. It might be talking about something interesting, it might be math, maybe spelling. One parent I met would do things like look up at the ceiling and wonder aloud how many lines there were in it, and this would get her child to look up and start counting them. Once my dd noticed a shim under a piece of furniture, stopped screaming to ask what it was, and so I told her, then she asked what it was for, and I explained it, which led to more questions--and totally derailed her meltdown. Often there's a point near the end of a meltdown, too, where I can reach her and help her calm down either with this kind of thought-provoking stuff or relaxation stuff like deep breathing.

Once they go over the edge though, into a full meltdown, often there isn't anything you can do but be there, keep them safe (a safe room is a helpful thing), and just get through it. It's hard. I find that once my dd is in the thick of a meltdown, it's best not to talk to her too much. Just let her know I'm there, and that we'll talk when she's calm. My dd would freak out more if she were separated from me, so I used to put her in my room and either sit in the room with her leaning against the closed door, or put her in my room and stand in the open doorway--kept her contained in a safe place, and I was near.

You can get some good troubleshooting advice for the plan b/explosive child stuff at http://www.fcbcsupport.org/ which has a message board, and there's a thread on adapting the explosive child approach to young children at www.conductdisorders.com (look in the early childhood area). I think the explosive child approach is a little different from generic GD, and it takes many people quite a bit of practice to really start feeling like they're making progress.

Good luck. And, it's very common for explosive kids to appear fine everywhere but home. Sometimes that's because the school (or other) environment somehow supports them in a way that makes it easier for them to function without melting down. Sometimes it's because they feel safer (or less embarrassed) melting down at home. No one at my daughter's preschool or elementary school noted any problems, and yet psychological evaluations showed an anxiety disorder which plays a MAJOR role in her meltdowns. She has a tic disorder which exacerbates the anxiety. She's also a poor sleeper, which exacerbates everything. So if you think something is up, and your new physician brushes off your concerns, seek out an evaluation on your own if you can.
Dar's Avatar Dar 05:58 PM 04-04-2009
I agree with Magella.

I also think it can help to figure out what helps your child to calm down from full-meltdown. My child would get really physical during meltdowns, and it really did help her to be physically contained. If I did sort of a basket hold with Rain, she often fought for less time (still 20-30 minutes, but less) and then collapsed into me and sobbed. I would hold her on my lap, arms around her restraining her arms from hitting, and legs out front. I do not think a carseat - or any kind of mechanical restraint - should ever be used for a 4 year old, and it seems to me that this would make it tougher to get her into the carseat in the future.

I don't think this would work with all kids, but I think for Rain, attacking me was a way of asking to be contained, because her feelings had gotten too big and scary for her. It was sometimes physically exhausting for me, because she was a big, strong little kid (at 6 she could physically lift me off the ground and take a few steps), but she needed it.

But yeah, prevention is really the key. Taking an already-tired kid to McDonalds was probably not a good plan...

Rain was also always perfect at preschool, and kindie...

Dar

ETA: I think language goes in Basket C. There are clearly much bigger issues...
mamazee's Avatar mamazee 05:59 PM 04-04-2009
My daughter had tantrums like that. In facd, a nurse friend said she thought one WAS a seizure. But no, it was just a tantrum.

Yes, there are things that you can do to at least cut down on the number of tantrums. Diet, trying not to out when the child is tired, warn before there will be a transition, warn about what you will buy and won't ahead of time, etc. But sometimes there will be a tantrum.

I didn't "do" anything about tantrums. I waited them out. I would have just taken my dd outside instead of dragging her all the way to the car, though. The farther you have to go, the more physical it is. And your child having a tantrum as you watch outside a store is normal. Dragging a screaming child into a car looks scary to people. I think you're less likely to have people think it's anything more than a tantrum if you just go far enough that your child isn't disturbing everyone else. After that, I didn't do anything except wait for it to be over and make sure my dd knew I was nearby for her.
Talula Fairie 06:04 PM 04-04-2009
This particular meltdown has never happened before. Now that I am thinking about it, I wonder if suggesting we go buy a toy somewhere would have helped it. Buuuuut, at the same time, it's not practical to give into her every whim. Sometimes the thing she wants isn't attainable. What do you do then? There isn't always a viable alternative.

Also, at the time, I was hurt and embarrassed over her behavior, I mean, people were staring with the "what a brat!" looks.

You know, it's hard to tell when she's tired and when that will cause a meltdown. Short of never leaving my house past 1pm, what am I supposed to do? It was suggested to me to stop forcing her to nap, so that means I have to be trapped in my house or face her wrath? That doesn't seem like a very good solution.

I can't handle holding her for an extended period when she's like that, I can't trust that I will be gentle. It also makes her worse, I have tried that actually. If I hadn't put her in the carseat, she would have run back into the restaurant or ran into the parking lot. She would not have just stayed in a safe place and melted down, unfortunately. I really needed to put her somewhere safe and then take a breath to collect myself. Also, it couldn't have looked that scary because another parent who was sitting in the van next to me asked me if I had a light after watching the whole scene. I was like uh....yeah. The pregnant lady totally has a light!

Also, eventually she would have had to be put in the carseat. I couldn't' have very well sat outside Mc Dondalds for an hour waiting for her to calm down, and I know her. She'd have started up again anyway (assuming she'd calm down!) as soon as I got near the carseat.

Like I was saying, sometimes plan B does prevent or help a meltdown. This one kind of came out of nowhere. Prepping has never seemed to help with transitions (however I am willing to keep trying), but I agree that next time, it's a good idea to discuss the possibility of them not having the right toy and use plan b more proactively.
Magella's Avatar Magella 08:54 PM 04-04-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talula Fairie View Post
She was telling me she hates me, calling me names, telling me she doesn't like me, telling me I'm a bad mom, ect. Then she would yell "HELP ME!!!" as if she was being hurt,and she was not. Her carseat was on properly, nothing was too tight, ect. After the help mes came "I want to go back to Mc Donalds" and then she would start in with the abusive language (which makes me feel extra guilty, becuase I think it's my fault she even speaks that way).
I just wanted to touch on this. When my dd first started in with this language, the "I hate you" and "you're mean/a bad mommy" and so on, it was hard to hear. But you know, I realized that this was the only way she could, at those times, express how angry and frustrated she was. Once I realized this, I could let it go, and work on giving her better words when she was calm. It isn't your fault that she says these things (so many kids do, it's not at all unusual), and I would encourage you to refrain from thinking of it as "abusive language." She is only expressing herself as best she can, when she's in a state of being completely overwhelmed by emotion in a scary way. She's feeling really powerful emotions, and using really powerful words to express them. (What I mean is that I think it's helpful to let go of thinking of it as "abusive language" because doing so helps me be in a better, less frustrated place so that I can handle these things more calmly and effectively. Reframing can be such a powerful thing.)

And is it possible, do you think, that she was saying help me because she really wanted some help? What I mean is, at some point my dd was able to beg me to help her calm down. Not that I could (I tried), but she wanted it. I imagine that sometimes, when you're little and you're really having a whopper of a meltdown, it feels awful and you do want some help. And, she wanted out of that seat-maybe that's what she was getting at. I can imagine it was stressful and embarrassing though. I would have wanted to crawl under the car if my child were screaming "help me" in the car in a parking lot.

I think you handled it all as well as anyone could have handled it. Sometimes, you just muddle through and hopefully learn some little nugget of something that helps the next time.
Dar's Avatar Dar 09:10 PM 04-04-2009
There were definitely times when we didn't leave the house unless necessary, and if we did, I was careful to time it for a time I thought my kid would be in the best place, emotionally. If she's in the process of giving up her nap, that will be a hrd few weeks for you, and I would try to keep everything else as stress-free as possible.

I also think it's important for you to get past 1. worrying about what other people think and 2. being upset over her language. At that age, if my kid was yelling, "I hate you, bad mama" I considered it a good sign, because it was far better than her hitting and spitting on me. Once she gets past the physical stuff, then *maybe* you can worry about that... I never did, and it passed.

If you don't trust yourself to restrain her, could you maybe sit in the car with her and lock the doors? I'm not sure what kind of car you have, but in mine I can lock the doors so only the driver can unlock them. Even when I worked with kids in residential treatment, we didn't use mechanical restraints.

What are you doing for naps? Because being tired was a big meltdown trigger for Rain. When she stopped napping, I started pulling the living room sofa out and making it a couch every afternoon, and she'd curl up and watch a video... occasionally she fell asleep, but if not, at leasts he rested her body a bit.

Dar
mamarootoo's Avatar mamarootoo 09:34 PM 04-04-2009
i think there's good advice here, and i don't have anything to add, other than s. that sounds so hard

good luck!
Talula Fairie 12:01 AM 04-05-2009
I realize that about her language (that it's the only way she knows how to express how upset she is), and indeed, I even told her I understood she was saying those things because she is very upset. BUT some of what she said was abusive language. I did not write out the exact things she said (I'm sure I'd get a note from a mod and get my post deleted if I were to!), but swearing and name calling was involved, and that part IS my fault. She would not even know those words if I'd never said them.

I could not have done anything but put her in that carseat, really, I can't see what else I should have done. Let her hurt herself and fling herself into the car? Hold her and let her beat on me and get me and her even more upset? Let her run into a parking lot, back into the restaurant, or into the nearby busy street? She was flinging herself against the windows, pounding on the windshield, ect. It wasn't safe! I waited awhile (a minute maybe?) to see what she'd do before I put her in the seat.

It's not like I left her in there for a really long time or did it only to restrain her, it just so happened that I knew my husband and family was on their way and we were going to get going. It was literally two minutes before they showed up, took another minute to get everyone loaded in the car, and then we went home (5 minute drive). If I thought it would have been any longer than that, I'd have figured something else out. I think there's a difference between putting a thrashing, unsafe child into a carseat for what you knew would only be a few short minutes and 'mechanical restraints' She wasn't in a straight jacket, her hands and feet weren't tied down to a bed, ect (I would never even consider trying those things on her, and in fact, most of the time I make a point NOT to restrain her because it makes her angry. BUT in this case I didn't know what else to do. This is the same girl who once, during a tantrum in a parking lot, flung herself so hard against the pavement she cut her head open and we had a nice fun visit to the ER as a result). That's what happens when no one takes measures to keep her safe (that happened in the split second it took my husband to find his keys, btw). I didn't think that was something I'd end up having to defend...

Most of the "Help Mes" were screamed out on the road, actually. Thankfully, not in the parking lot. No, I don't think she really needed help. She was trying to ask to be let out of her carseat, which is not possible when you're on the road. I did try to console her in the car, and the more I said, the more upset she got and the more things she screamed out at me. I finally just resigned myself to say nothing. It went like this:

"Help me!!! Let me out of the carseat! I want to go back to Mc Donalds! I hate you! Bad mommy! BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD! [insert swear words and name calling]" then back to the beginning, like a broken record. Pretty much in the same order every time, too.

Jane has never, not once, never ever ever napped on her own. She has always had a difficult time transitioning to sleep, as a baby, she would cry for a half hour to an hour in my arms for every nap and bedtime from sheer exhaustion (I'd let her stay up until she melted down finally....I did try to get her to go to sleep before that point many times and she melted down anyway). If I don't lay down with her and make her lay on the bed through bribes, "becuase I said so" type language, ect she absolutely will not do it. Logic, empathy, pretty much any 'plan b' approach does not help with this. She will not lay down or rest for the most part, even though there is always a couch and a blanket nearby, plus her bed as well. Unfortunately, I think this child inherited my bipolar emotions (I would not be suprirsed if she ends up full blown bipolar as a teen) and my husband's will of steel. Makes for some wild times.

As it happens, we did go out to dinner today (it's my other child's birthday as well as my husband's birthday), and I prepped her beforehand. She was grouchy for the first part of the meal, and I was really thinking we were headed for another meltdown. I used all the plan b tricks, empathy, ect, and as soon as her drink came and her blood sugar started to go up she turned around. I also might have bribed her with a toy afterward if she acted well. Not my usual m.o. but I was desperate to have a nice meal. It was difficult and we almost had another meltdown in the toystore, but we (barely) managed to avoid it and everything was fine. I'm wiped out, though. Emotionally, dealing with her is really hard on me. When does it start to get easier?

Oh, and one last thing. I happened to tell the story of the meltdown to my dad who basically told me that children do these things because "they want control" ; advised me to spank her, then proceeded to tell me several horrifying stories from my past like it was ok that these things happened! I was like Not only was he defending his abusive behavior like it was just fine, but he was suggesting I should do it too! I about died, seriously. That's the last time I mention parenting stuff to him. Jeez no wonder gentle dicipline is so hard for me. I have to figure it all out of thin air! I had zero model as a child for good discipline practices.
Talula Fairie 12:19 AM 04-05-2009
Oh and I am definitely going to leave the house as little as possible, I already do that. But I've been sick for so long and the weather was crap for so long, we literally never went anywhere EVER. I remember once I realized after getting in the car to go to my therapist, that the last time I'd been in that car was the last time I'd seen her....two weeks prior! That's how rarely we went out. The thing is, we have less major meltdowns with Jane but the kids get stir crazy and fight constantly when they are in the house that much.

I wouldn't say she's in the process of giving up her nap, it's been at least a month or two since she was consistently napping every day. Ever since my husband started being home during the day (Jan 27th was when that started), she hasn't been napping consistently. Before that, I had a few short months where getting her to nap wasn't *as* hard and sometimes she even did it without protest (that was less often than not, though). Not if daddy is home though, it just doesn't fly. *sigh*

I'm not sure I'm willing to overlook hurtful language OR hitting. I think both need some mention after everyone is calm. I don't view one as any better or worse than the other. I always apologize when I say something that is not nice, and I think it's fair enough to at least tell her speaking that way is not nice.
alegna's Avatar alegna 01:22 AM 04-05-2009


Not a lot of other advice- TONS of good stuff here. My dd is like that as well.

I'll just toss out though- interestingly enough, my dd goes longer without meltdowns when I keep her TOTALLY and completely busy and out of the house.

Took me awhile- I kept trying to stay home to give her more rest, more regular food, etc, and it made things worse...

-Angela
Talula Fairie 01:26 AM 04-05-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post


Not a lot of other advice- TONS of good stuff here. My dd is like that as well.

I'll just toss out though- interestingly enough, my dd goes longer without meltdowns when I keep her TOTALLY and completely busy and out of the house.

Took me awhile- I kept trying to stay home to give her more rest, more regular food, etc, and it made things worse...

-Angela
That's interesting! I wonder if that would work on Jane. Because the more rest, regular schedule, ect, worked oh-kay....until anything changed the routine, and then it was back to the meltdowns, so really overall it made things worse.
dove's Avatar dove 01:36 AM 04-05-2009
we do better when we get out of the house often, also. it doesn't seem like it would make sense, and after a few trillion "scenes" i became numb to whether anyone gave us the hairy eyeball. i just don't care anymore. i'm there for my kiddo, and that's it.

and run, don't walk from the dr who tells you your kid might not be on the spectrum solely because she makes eye contact. he doesn't know what he's talking about. next time ask him what the all the diagnostic criteria for asd are. go see someone else. get an eval. you might want to try to see an OT for a comprehensive eval, also.
alegna's Avatar alegna 01:40 AM 04-05-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talula Fairie View Post
That's interesting! I wonder if that would work on Jane. Because the more rest, regular schedule, ect, worked oh-kay....until anything changed the routine, and then it was back to the meltdowns, so really overall it made things worse.
Yeah. It seems counter-intuitive. Nearly always when dd melts down I can say that she's tired. Yet if I keep her TOTALLY running (like no real down time, or very very little) she doesn't melt-down at all.

Part of our problem is that we've decided she *likes* to have these fits on some level. I don't know if it's attention (which she certainly does not seem to be lacking in otherwise...) or just that kind of over-the-top release, but she doesn't dislike the whole process nearly as much as the rest of us do.

Good luck. I keep hoping that she's "grown out" of them, but it hasn't happened yet.

-Angela
Talula Fairie 01:41 AM 04-05-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by dove View Post
we do better when we get out of the house often, also. it doesn't seem like it would make sense, and after a few trillion "scenes" i became numb to whether anyone gave us the hairy eyeball. i just don't care anymore. i'm there for my kiddo, and that's it.

and run, don't walk from the dr who tells you your kid might not be on the spectrum solely because she makes eye contact. he doesn't know what he's talking about. next time ask him what the all the diagnostic criteria for asd are. go see someone else. get an eval. you might want to try to see an OT for a comprehensive eval, also.
I know, I shouldn't care what people think, I'll work on that one!

Luckily the doctor who said that is not our doctor, just some random kaiser person we were told to go see becuase we didn't have a regular ped yet. Kaiser is notorious for being difficult to get a referral out of. Everyone told me (including local services) you need a referral from a doctor for the eval. Is there another way to get it? I think --no, I KNOW-- there is something going on with her that isn't totally normal.

I mean, some kids are just explosive....that's true, but she has other traits that have made me think she might be on the autism spectrum or starting to show signs of bipolar or SOMETHING. I'm not saying I want to med her up or anything like that, just that I'd like to figure out what's going on with her so I can learn to handle it better.
guest9921's Avatar guest9921 02:32 AM 04-05-2009
I empathize. My almost 4 year old is a lot like this, and I've had my share of awful experiences. [Think- hitting, screaming, biting, hair pulling, etc & urinating on himself. Yeah, that tantrum was lovely.]

His triggers are sleep & hunger. He, like alegnas daughter, needs constant activity. Physical activity is a plus - he just has so much emotional energy that he needs to Release it or he explodes.

No advice. I'm listening too.


Talula Fairie 02:33 AM 04-05-2009
Yep, sleep and hunger are triggers here too. The irony is that if she gets too hungry or tired, she will start refusing to eat and sleep, thus exacerbating the situation.

I think she does need more stuff to do. I was thinking about buying a homeschooling book just to have more activities and structured play. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Dar's Avatar Dar 03:14 AM 04-05-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talula Fairie View Post
Yep, sleep and hunger are triggers here too. The irony is that if she gets too hungry or tired, she will start refusing to eat and sleep, thus exacerbating the situation.
Rain used to do this too - and if I suggested that she might be hungry or tired she would get really angry, because she felt that suggesting that her emotions were related to her hunger or fatigue was dismissive of them (she was able to tell me this a few years later, or course - not at the time). So, we did snuggly video time instead of suggesting that she was tired, and I would make up a plate of some sort of eat to eat protein-full food - cheese and crackers, peanut butter on crackers, stuff like that - and just sort of set it out on the table in the room where she was playing.

Dar
Talula Fairie 03:19 AM 04-05-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Rain used to do this too - and if I suggested that she might be hungry or tired she would get really angry, because she felt that suggesting that her emotions were related to her hunger or fatigue was dismissive of them (she was able to tell me this a few years later, or course - not at the time). So, we did snuggly video time instead of suggesting that she was tired, and I would make up a plate of some sort of eat to eat protein-full food - cheese and crackers, peanut butter on crackers, stuff like that - and just sort of set it out on the table in the room where she was playing.

Dar
Those are both good ideas. I'm going to try that the next time I feel like she's headed for a meltdown or is really hungry.
guest9921's Avatar guest9921 02:25 PM 04-05-2009
Yes, my son refuses food when he's past the point of hunger. He also never asks for food when he is hungry - so it is Vital that I continually offer him food all day long.

And, if I ask him if he's hungry when he's already in that pit, he too will melt down more. I also do the 'leave food out' in an area where he can see it, without mentioning it.
I sometimes plop him in front of the tv to turn off his emotional brain long enough to get him to eat. By the time he's finished snacking, he's usually a new kid again and he's able to be engaged without flipping out.

Spirited kids are rough, man.
Megan_R's Avatar Megan_R 03:09 PM 04-05-2009
Hey! I'm from Sac too. My DD is three and we are going through the same exact thing! We actually just got done with one and thats why I'm on here right now! I brought it up to her pediatrician (Kaiser!) before and he basically told me to try the "Old Fashioned" Way! I was so surprised! He is doctor, and he was careful of how he said it, but I can't believe that that was his reply! As if a screaming child that is so upset the she can hardly breath needs to be hit! What Kaiser do you go to? What pediatrician?
Talula Fairie 05:15 PM 04-05-2009
I'm just outside of sac and I went to Kaiser Roseville on Eureka Road. I forget the ped I saw that day, we had just moved and we hadn't been assigned yet so it was just whatever random person they gave us.
mama_mojo's Avatar mama_mojo 10:03 PM 04-05-2009
DD1 is much like you describe. And, I will tell you, now that she is 7, things have MAJORLY improved. One week after she turned 7, she asked for a banana as her brother was finishing the only one in the house. I felt myself deep breathing and bracing as I told her we were all out. She demanded one; I empathized, and offered something else. She sighed and said, "Okay." That's it. We haven't had a fit like you described since then. And, I swear, prior to this, no banana would have meant a minimum of 45 minutes of tantrum, even if I offered ice cream, cake and strawberries as an alternative.

So, maybe it's not always true, but this is my second child to suddenly get MUCH easier right at the 7 year mark.

Good luck and you're not the only one. :
Talula Fairie 10:11 PM 04-05-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama_mojo View Post
DD1 is much like you describe. And, I will tell you, now that she is 7, things have MAJORLY improved. One week after she turned 7, she asked for a banana as her brother was finishing the only one in the house. I felt myself deep breathing and bracing as I told her we were all out. She demanded one; I empathized, and offered something else. She sighed and said, "Okay." That's it. We haven't had a fit like you described since then. And, I swear, prior to this, no banana would have meant a minimum of 45 minutes of tantrum, even if I offered ice cream, cake and strawberries as an alternative.

So, maybe it's not always true, but this is my second child to suddenly get MUCH easier right at the 7 year mark.

Good luck and you're not the only one. :
oh, thank you! This gives me hope.

One of the things that has definitely occurred to me is that she will be an amazing person when she gets older. Being more emotional means that she'll be more empathic towards others if we nurture this part of her...and being so strong willed and determined will suit her well for getting through life. It does make for a tough mix with a toddler though.
Hokulele's Avatar Hokulele 11:14 PM 04-08-2009


You just responded to my thread about DD's meltdown in a restaurant so I came here to read this. I'm so sorry this happened. I can imagine it happening here only too well.
prothyraia's Avatar prothyraia 11:52 PM 04-08-2009
If you're invested in getting a medical/psych eval (not saying you necessarily should, but if that's what you want to do) you could consider videotaping one of these explosions and showing it to the doctor, so they can't write it off as parental exaggeration.
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