"Mama, I don't know HOW to calm down." - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 21 Old 02-16-2011, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
Doussou's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 94
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

DD, 5 y.o., has always been on the spirited side, shall we say... She will flip her lid at (what I see to be) minor issues, and literally cannot/ will not calm down for up to 30+ minutes. An example from today was this morning when we were all getting ready to get her to school and I asked her to "please pick up your socks." It happened again this afternoon when I told her that she couldn't use the "bigger" paints, but that I would be happy to get her her water paints. She starts crying and yelling, working herself up more and more with every minute. Then she typically asks me to hold her so that she can calm down. The problem is, this does nothing to help her calm down. She will cry and whine for 30+ minutes.

 

I have tried talking to her (when she was calm) about creating a "special calm down space." Nope, she ONLY wants me to hold her. Which, as I said, doesn't work. I have tried walking away, which creates a much more escalated out -of-control scene. At this point, I am holding her with anger, clearly not helping things. And there are plenty of times that the anger comes boiling over, and I add yelling to the mix (something I work on every day). If she is "calm" enough, she will sometimes ask to do deep breaths with me to calm down fully, but if I ever suggest it, no way. I really believe she's struggling with her emotions, and really doesn't know what to do with them. And neither do I. I want to respect that she is "out of control" in her own head, but I can't figure out how to help her or help her help herself. Oh, and if her father comes in and intervenes, the tantrum is over. Like a light switch turned off.

 

Holy cow, that was long! Thank you for reading, and any and all thoughts are appreciated!

 

Doussou is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 21 Old 02-16-2011, 06:10 PM
 
littleplum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 88
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

You appear to be contradicting yourself.  You say that if you hold her, she calms down in half an hour, but if you don't then it takes her much longer to calm down.  Then you say that holding her does nothing to calm her down. 

 

It sounds like it just takes her a very long time to decompress.

littleplum is offline  
#3 of 21 Old 02-16-2011, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
Doussou's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 94
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Well, that sounds confusing, doesn't it?! Yes, if I hold her she will eventually calm down, but I feel like 30+ minutes seems a bit lengthy, and quite honestly, having someone incessantly cry/whine in my ear for that long drives me absolutely batty. My issue, I realize, and believe me, I'm working on it. I guess if 30+ minutes to calm down is within the "norm" I'll just have to deal with it, but it seems excessive to me. It also interferes in everyday routine stuff, like putting the socks away this morning. So I hold her for 30+ minutes and she's that late for school?

Doussou is offline  
#4 of 21 Old 02-16-2011, 06:42 PM
 
stellabluz's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: California
Posts: 356
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

This sounds very similar to my daughter. When I first suggested deep breathes she resisted a lot. Then I tried just doing them out loud, and loud enough to have them be heard by her (but not to annoy her :) After we learned how to correctly breathe for relaxation, we kept trying.

When she heard me doing them alone with her while everything was in upset mode, over a course of time, she eventually tried them herself and now I hear her do them when this happens.

An idea... I had to take myself away from her chaos and focus my energy into a calmer one, in hopes it would s-p-r-e-a-d.

stellabluz is offline  
#5 of 21 Old 02-16-2011, 06:46 PM
 
stellabluz's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: California
Posts: 356
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

For what it's worth as well. My daughter is "spirited" and "sensitive" to the point that I think she is highly sensitive and this is what causes our extreme melt downs and fits. I really enjoyed "The highly Sensitive Child" by Elaine Aron. There are a few threads here that might give better clue to what that is all about.

stellabluz is offline  
#6 of 21 Old 02-16-2011, 06:47 PM
 
jtbuko's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: front porch swing
Posts: 1,060
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

We've never dealt with extreme anger that lasted that long, but we did get a book called Angry Octopus that might be worth checking out. The Octopus looses his temper and a friend helps him calm down by tensing and relaxing different parts of his body. At the end there is a wrap up about how it doesn't feel good to let the anger control you (or something to that effect). I think the author is Lori Lite (sp?), and I am pretty sure we heard about it here on MDC. It was easy to find online.


mom to a 7 year old lego fanatic and a 5 year old cross dresser
jtbuko is offline  
#7 of 21 Old 02-16-2011, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
Doussou's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 94
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by stellabluz View Post

An idea... I had to take myself away from her chaos and focus my energy into a calmer one, in hopes it would s-p-r-e-a-d.

Great idea. Take myself away. Inner focus. Great reminders! Glad to hear it eventually worked for you.
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by stellabluz View Post

For what it's worth as well. My daughter is "spirited" and "sensitive" to the point that I think she is highly sensitive and this is what causes our extreme melt downs and fits. I really enjoyed "The highly Sensitive Child" by Elaine Aron. There are a few threads here that might give better clue to what that is all about.


Thank you, I'll definitely check it out.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by jtbuko View Post

We've never dealt with extreme anger that lasted that long, but we did get a book called Angry Octopus that might be worth checking out. The Octopus looses his temper and a friend helps him calm down by tensing and relaxing different parts of his body. At the end there is a wrap up about how it doesn't feel good to let the anger control you (or something to that effect). I think the author is Lori Lite (sp?), and I am pretty sure we heard about it here on MDC. It was easy to find online.

This book sounds great! Thank you  - off to check it out on Amazon!
 

Doussou is offline  
#8 of 21 Old 02-16-2011, 07:33 PM
 
applecider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,991
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We have similar issues so I'll be checking back for more advice!

                                       DS 7 ~ DS 3

applecider is offline  
#9 of 21 Old 02-16-2011, 08:07 PM
 
mumkimum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Ohio-land
Posts: 2,863
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Was also going to suggest the angry octopus book (there's also a cd for it).  I recently picked it up hoping it helps out dd here.

 

What seems to help me is somewhat scripting out what I do when I'm dealing with a very upset dd.  Talking in an almost whisper tone, making sure that I give us a break from each other if I'm getting too angry about it.  

I'm trying to work on watching what I do when I'm frustrated/angry myself (which is, btw, not at my best lately either so a really bad example in the first place) so that I'm modeling good behavior.  

 

I've been realizing that this stuff does need to be taught somehow and that I need to find a way to do that - so feeling out for the best methods and trying to come up with a solution that works for our personalities.  

I talk to dd1 about it alot and ask for her imput about how she thinks we could handle certain situations (before or after the fact) and through doing that we've come up with new ways to deal with our conflicts that actually work out for us best.

mumkimum is offline  
#10 of 21 Old 02-17-2011, 09:58 AM
 
Mittsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: somewhere over the rainbow...
Posts: 613
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My dd(almost 6) really appreciates hugging a favorite toy, and her ipod to listen to music when she goes to "time-in".


treehugger.gifhippie.gifhomeschool.gifnamaste.gifnovaxnocirc.gifcrochetsmilie.gifblahblah.gifenergy.gifgoorganic.jpggd.gifteapot2.GIFbftoddler.giffamilybed2.gif
 
Mittsy is offline  
#11 of 21 Old 02-17-2011, 11:37 AM
 
elluin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Posts: 96
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doussou View Post

I have tried talking to her (when she was calm) about creating a "special calm down space." Nope, she ONLY wants me to hold her.

What if you create this space for the whole family to use and when your daughter is upset you can hold her there? Right now it sounds like she needs your help to calm down, but incorporating a positive space might give her some options for dealing with stress on her own in the future. It also might help you both to step away from the situation to your family's calm place.
elluin is offline  
#12 of 21 Old 02-17-2011, 12:04 PM
 
simplemama32's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Southern US
Posts: 400
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

While you're holding her, could you lead her through some sort of mental or visual exercises?  Like a "calm-down" meditation?  If you search Amazon for books on "child meditation" some really interesting-looking ones come up that may be helpful.  Or if she's willing, maybe try asking her to draw a picture of what she's feeling. 

 

I recently checked a book out from the library about yoga with kids.  It had several great breathing exercises in it that went a little beyond the basic "deep breath in, deep breath out."  It's here, on Amazon.  I plan to try some of it with DS because he can get himself really worked up sometimes, too.  Maybe doing something like that, even going through an easy yoga routine together if you're so inclined, may help your DD. 

 


Mama to DS (5)

simplemama32 is offline  
#13 of 21 Old 02-17-2011, 06:47 PM
 
Think of Winter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: By the Shore
Posts: 2,339
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My 7 yr ds used to say "I don't know how to calm down" too.  I tried hugging, holding, deep breathing, but not much helped once he was over the edge.  Bach's rescue remedy is a staple around here.  It always helps us.  We use the pastilles, so no alcohol as in the drops.  He always wanted me there, too, and I couldn't always handle it.  I'd end up needing a time out from the screaming.  He could stay upset for a looong time.  I hope you find something else that works for you.  If nothing else, know she will outgrow it.

 

My 4.5 yr dd has had a couple of screaming tantrums lately, and as soon as I stopped engaging her, she calmed down.  Actually, I physically removed her from the situation, not something I enjoyed, but once she was out of sight of what she was screaming for, she stopped.  The more I try to talk to her, the angrier she gets.  But 5 minutes later she'll be completely calm.  Just different personalities.

 

After they've had a good long time to calm down (me, too), like an hour at least, I talk to them about how that felt for all of us.  It's a stage, it won't last forever, and if I can try to be calm and kind through it, I figure I've done my best.  Hang in there, mama:)

Think of Winter is offline  
#14 of 21 Old 02-18-2011, 10:34 AM
 
kcparker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: IC, IA
Posts: 1,614
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

One thing you can do is play-act when she is calm to practice what to do if she gets angry: breathing, progressive relaxation, 'melting' into mama, going to the safe space, whatever you come up with. You can act it out with her when she's calm and talk about how the next time she starts feeling angry, she can do this to come back to a calm place. Work with her to help you and her catch the tantrum before it blows out of control -- maybe pull her in close and have her do the breathing the instant she starts amping up. I think it's important to remember that when kids (or adults for that matter) are tantruming, they are in 'lizard brain' mode and not going to respond to reason or attempts to talk to them, so once she's worked up, it's going to be difficult to talk her back down. It's hard though - anger can be very cathartic, and sometimes if she's got some other inchoate mental stuff/developmental growth spurt going on (that you and she might not even be able to identify) - the anger might be the only way she can release the other stuff.

 

And, if daddy coming in and intervening shuts off the switch, where you get triggered and start going down the angry road with her, I'd say, by ALL means, let your husband come turn the switch off any time he's available to do so!


Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
kcparker is offline  
#15 of 21 Old 02-18-2011, 10:46 AM
 
littleplum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 88
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Doussou View Post

Well, that sounds confusing, doesn't it?! Yes, if I hold her she will eventually calm down, but I feel like 30+ minutes seems a bit lengthy, and quite honestly, having someone incessantly cry/whine in my ear for that long drives me absolutely batty. My issue, I realize, and believe me, I'm working on it. I guess if 30+ minutes to calm down is within the "norm" I'll just have to deal with it, but it seems excessive to me. It also interferes in everyday routine stuff, like putting the socks away this morning. So I hold her for 30+ minutes and she's that late for school?



It sounds to me like 30 minutes is what she needs, whether or not you feel it is too much.  Socks can be put away later. 

littleplum is offline  
#16 of 21 Old 02-18-2011, 11:44 AM
 
intentionalmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: british columbia
Posts: 152
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

It sounds like for her; she really feels like she needs your presence to help her find her way back to her normal state.   It's like she is looking to you to be her rock that will hold her steady.  I think of the analogy of the tree blowing wildly in a storm; but how the ground holds the tree in place.   Perhaps this is an invitation for you to be that grounded place; but for her and for you.  An opportunity to just be with her in the way she needs; but grounded in love.  So perhaps holding her and stroking her back (if she feels comfortable with that), but maintaining a calmness. Knowing that this shall pass.  If you can do this, which I am not saying is easy; it is a way to help her feel a peaceful loving strength and a way to model for her that even when things feel out of control, there is a peacefulness/groundedness that we can tap into that lies within us.  To just try and breathe through it and perhaps imagine yourself as that rock holding the tree.  This may end up being a gift for you in the long run; where will you can learn to tap into that grounded place and also for her.   A way for her to learn of the strength that also resides in her.   When the worries get in the way ie) she is going to be late for school - it may help to think - and that is ok. This is perhaps a more valuable lesson for the both of you.  And if sometimes you can't do it - that is ok - you can also feel grateful for being able to appreciate a bit of what she is going through.  It may take time; but perhaps if you can look at it as an opportunity for you to grow as well - it may feel worth it.

intentionalmama is offline  
#17 of 21 Old 02-18-2011, 09:39 PM
 
clickclackmoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Gah!  My 5 yo DD is just like this!  And very resistant to suggestions and playacting too.  She seems to identify with her feelings of disappointment and rage and she resents any efforts to diffuse them instead of giving in to them. Today she told me 'I hate you' for the first time plus a litany of other gems 'you never do anything nice for me' 'what kind of mother are you?'etc.  And I just kept thinking (as the screaming dragged on and on and 2 yo DD covered her ears) of This Is Spinal Tap: "this one goes to 11".  My DD goes to 11 at the drop of a hat and then she stays there for ages. So I'm sending sympathy but not much in the way of useful advice.

 

I am trying to institute some deep breathing habits although they haven't taken root yet and she wants no part of relaxation exercises although I did get her to try them once.  Definitely watching this thread.

 

FWIW we talked afterwards about some things she could have said as alternatives to 'I hate you' - 'I feel as angry as a volcano' ('Mt St Helens?' she asks 'sure' I say) 'I feel as angry as a bull'  Time will tell if she's able to use it in future.  I also generally try not to talk to her until she's calm enough to talk instead of shouting but today I lost it a bit and asked her 'what kind of daughter are you?' - ugh.

 

 

clickclackmoo is offline  
#18 of 21 Old 02-18-2011, 10:19 PM
 
luv my 2 sweeties's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,157
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by intentionalmama View Post

It sounds like for her; she really feels like she needs your presence to help her find her way back to her normal state.   It's like she is looking to you to be her rock that will hold her steady.  I think of the analogy of the tree blowing wildly in a storm; but how the ground holds the tree in place.   Perhaps this is an invitation for you to be that grounded place; but for her and for you.  An opportunity to just be with her in the way she needs; but grounded in love.  So perhaps holding her and stroking her back (if she feels comfortable with that), but maintaining a calmness. Knowing that this shall pass.  If you can do this, which I am not saying is easy; it is a way to help her feel a peaceful loving strength and a way to model for her that even when things feel out of control, there is a peacefulness/groundedness that we can tap into that lies within us.  To just try and breathe through it and perhaps imagine yourself as that rock holding the tree.  This may end up being a gift for you in the long run; where will you can learn to tap into that grounded place and also for her.   A way for her to learn of the strength that also resides in her.   When the worries get in the way ie) she is going to be late for school - it may help to think - and that is ok. This is perhaps a more valuable lesson for the both of you.  And if sometimes you can't do it - that is ok - you can also feel grateful for being able to appreciate a bit of what she is going through.  It may take time; but perhaps if you can look at it as an opportunity for you to grow as well - it may feel worth it.


This is about how I handled my ds's tantrums.  He was much like your dd -- his tantrums would often last 30 minutes or more and the whole world pretty much had to stop when he had them.  He did not care to be held, but we often had to do so to prevent him from hurting himself or someone else in his rage.  :o(  I was able to glean from him that his out-of-control emotions were truly frightening for him.  The same may be true for your dd.  I did my best to model my confidence that he would calm down and eventually learn to handle his anger.  (I was not always perfect at this, but I mostly got that message across, I think.)  Usually saying nothing during the tantrum was the best course of action for him, but I would talk to him later about it. 

 

I'm happy to report that he has, in fact, learned to handle his anger.  The tantrums really started to abate when he was about 6, and got more and more infrequent as time went on.  When he did have them, he started getting more control over them -- leaving the room, punching pillows or banging on walls instead of throwing things or lashing out at people, etc.  Now he's 8 1/2, and I am very satisfied with how he handles his emotions most of the time.  I think the fact that I approached his temper with the intent to ground him, protect him, and hold him accountable (I never "gave in" if the tantrum was in response to a resonable limit I had set), helped him get to this point. 

 

Finally, be on the look-out for "triggers".  For my son, the two biggest were being tired and being hungry.  We would sometimes not go on a planned outing if he hadn't slept well the night before, it was that predictable!  Sometimes a snack would be enough to avert a coming melt-down if we could catch it early enough.  (Once it got past a certain point though, it was like a tornado -- you just had to wait for it to pass!)  You (OP) are probably already aware of your dd's triggers if any, but for those with beginning tantrum-throwers, it's helpful to know when one is likely.

 

Good luck.  It's very hard, but hang in there with her and she will mature out of it.  I don't want to say "it will pass" because that's too passive.  In this case, I think you have an active role to play in helping her learn to calm herself and take control.  It just not a fast and easy thing for kids to learn, unfortunately -- it takes a few years.


Stephanie mom to Brianna (6/00) , Alexander (6/02) , and Ethan (9/07) .
luv my 2 sweeties is offline  
#19 of 21 Old 03-09-2011, 01:30 AM
 
canadiyank's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,964
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Check out the book http://www.amazon.com/Dealing-Disappointment-Helping-Things-Their/dp/1884734758/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1299659291&sr=1-1

Dealing With Disappointment. It is a short, excellent and *very* practical book that will help you develop "self-calming" skills and help you with identifying which ones will work with your dd and how to teach them. It is very step-by-step and chock full of great ideas. I need to read it again! 

 

I'm sorry - I'm not sure how to do the embedded links anymore, so I hope that works. It's "Dealing With Disappointment" by Elizabeth Crary. 


Meghan, mom to 11yo, 8yo, and 3yo 

canadiyank is offline  
#20 of 21 Old 03-09-2011, 03:39 AM
 
mary934's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 142
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

 

Hi,

 

I think we have to work on 2 fronts  -   helping her become a better problem solver so she avoids frustration  , check CPS - collaborative problem solving  video clips

                                                        from a great parenting blog with plenty of resources.

 

 

                                            -  http://allankatz-parentingislearning.blogspot.com/2010/08/cps-videos.html

                                                     

 

 

                                                        maybe ' mindfullness ' can help her calm down   

                                       http://allankatz-parentingislearning.blogspot.com/2010/12/mindfulness-for-children.html

 

I hope this helps ,

 

Mary

mary934 is offline  
#21 of 21 Old 03-11-2011, 08:55 PM
 
atmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Wilmington, DE
Posts: 68
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I am so happy I found this post!  My son is almost 5 and is very emotional and sensitive.  On the "good" side he is so sweet.  When he gets angry or frustrated he is like a hurricane.  Short tempered at the drop of a hat.  I will have to look at some of the books listed here.  I am trying to tell him that negative energy is a waste of energy and to channel it another way.  I am trying to get him to take deep breaths, take a break from what/who is frustrating him, etc.  I hope it starts to kick in soon...


Happy homeschooling homeschool.gif, cosleeping fambedsingle2.gif, babywearing femalesling2.GIFmama to DS 3/06 superhero.gif, DS 12/10 jog.gif,  and wife to DH hug.gif.

blogging.jpg   nocirc.gifcd.gif 

atmommy is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

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


Forum Jump: 

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