Violent Meltdowns - 5yo dd - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 06-11-2012, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My little girl is an amazing child - when she's not melting down, she's kind, insightful, creative, playful, and intelligent.

 

When she melts down, she does any combination of these things:

-spits at me and her brother

- spits on the ground

- hits/ kicks/ bites/ pinches/ pulls hair - me and her brother

-throws things

-name calls (she called me stupid today for the first time - don't know why - we don't use the word on a daily basis)

-screams at the top of her lungs

 

They happen several times a week.  And can last over an hour. 

 

I've tried taking her in another room - encouraging her to use her words - take deep breaths - consequences (natural and, admittedly,  punitive) - I need help.  She refuses to try any self-calming techniques.  Sometimes she tells me she likes the way she feels when she's hitting/melting down/ etc. 

 

I'm at my wits end, and feel like an incapable parent.   

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#2 of 13 Old 06-11-2012, 08:45 PM
 
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I can relate. My almost 5 yr old son is very similar, and I have also tried a variety of things.

One thing you may want to try is stay listening. It is like a time-in with her so she can get those big feelings out, process them and move on. Dr. Laura Markham (who is an "expert" on this website's q&a) has some great info on her website, ahaparenting.com. Also, I recently read a blog post that.Resonated with me and deals with something similar: http://superprotectivefactor.com/2012/06/10/helping-my-daughter-become-who-she-is-meant-to-be/
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#3 of 13 Old 06-11-2012, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I appreciate your response.

 

I went out this evening and bought a copy of The Explosive Child.  She doesn't really fit the description of the typical "explosive child," since when she's not melting down, she's flexible, a great problem solver, and super-thoughtful.  I'm going to give the book a try anyway though - at this point, anything helps.  I have an 8 year old boy that just never did this.  He went through a hitting state from about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 years old, but never the throwing things, spitting, or yelling out insults. 

 

I need all the tools I can get.

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#4 of 13 Old 06-11-2012, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just went to ahaparenting.com, and found Dr. Laura's response to a three-year old and his meltdowns.  Wanted to post here to share:  http://www.ahaparenting.com/ask-the-doctor-1/preschooler-temper-tantrums-yells-at-parents-to-shut-up

 

I found her response helpful and heartening, and will use her suggestions tomorrow - if needed.

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#5 of 13 Old 06-11-2012, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, one more.  This Q&A with Dr. Laura helped me so much!  I cried in a few parts of the post.  Fits my current issue perfectly.

 

http://www.ahaparenting.com/ask-the-doctor-1/how-to-stop-4-year-old-from-hitting-mom

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#6 of 13 Old 06-13-2012, 12:16 AM
 
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I am more a lurker on these forums but I really had to pitch in here because *I* was the explosive child and to this day I remember how it feels to be so angry and helpless as a child. I had lots of fury fits as a girl and unfortunetly, my mom (a naturally mellow and calm woman) did not know how to handle them.

 

I don't know the solution but I'm still preparing myself for when my daughter (who seems to have a temper similar to mine) gets to that age. I think what would help the most is to name her feeling. "You are very angry, very furious. You are so mad you want to hit someone. We don't hit people, hit the pillow". What hurt me the most as a kid is being told I should not be angry and how I need to calm down, which basically (still does now) made me even more wild. Pretty much every "bad" feeling I had was denied instead of confirmed. And worst of all, no one really bothered to understand what made me upset in the first place. They just wanted it all to be over.

 

I think (and that's only my pure opinion) when you try to get her to do self-calming techniques, the message she is getting, is that she is not allowed to be angry and it needs to be resolved over as quickly as possible, probably making her even more furious.

 

Here's some insight from a similar situation: http://www.janetlansbury.com/2011/04/positive-parenting-in-the-tantrum-zone/ (I like Janet's website even though I don't agree with all her ideas).
 


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#7 of 13 Old 06-13-2012, 10:09 AM
 
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this sounds like my son...he has been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.  we go to occupational therapy once a week.  the book "the out of sync child"  is considered the bible of spd.  this disorder can manifest in many different ways and different with every child. 

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#8 of 13 Old 06-13-2012, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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LilyKay -

 

Thank you for your insight.  I, too, am a naturally mellow person, and haven't known how to deal with "it" until now.  Your response further validates everything I've been reading the past few days, and I've honestly already seen a difference in her.  She's even told me she can't calm down, so my challenge right now is to help her figure out how.  If it's true that the biggest emotion behind a meltdown is fear, she needs help - comfort - love - through the experience.  She has a strong spirit and I promise I will protect it, not break it. 

 

Montanamomof3 - I'll check out the book.  I was talking to a librarian friend of mine recently, and we had a lengthy discussion of how kids are "out of sync" and "disconnected" so much these days.  We work in a highschool together, and we see proof of disconnected kids in the disconnected teenagers they become. 

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#9 of 13 Old 06-19-2012, 11:56 AM
 
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Graye - you don't say what triggers these meltdowns.  First, I'd recommend an ABC Chart - 

 

A = antecedent - what led up to the meltdown

B = behavior - what behavior was exhibited during that particular melt

C = consequences - what were the consequences of her behavior.

 

After a week or so you should be able to see a pattern.

 

One other thing you may want to consider is... a food sensitivity.  My son who is the calmest, gentlest child would have epic meltdowns.  All the ABC charts in the world couldn't figure it out.  However, his wonderful teacher realized that it was happening shortly after he'd eat.  We had heard about the Feingold Diet from his developmental pediatrician.  This diet removes food dyes, artificial flavors and salicylites (sp?).  We decided to remove food dyes and see what happened.  What happened was magic.  No food dye = no inexplicable meltdowns.  Just normal ones :)  Usually a food dye sensitivity shows itself as a behavioral problem.


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#10 of 13 Old 06-20-2012, 08:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graye_pearl View Post

LilyKay -

 

Thank you for your insight.  I, too, am a naturally mellow person, and haven't known how to deal with "it" until now.  Your response further validates everything I've been reading the past few days, and I've honestly already seen a difference in her.  She's even told me she can't calm down, so my challenge right now is to help her figure out how.  If it's true that the biggest emotion behind a meltdown is fear, she needs help - comfort - love - through the experience.  She has a strong spirit and I promise I will protect it, not break it. 

 

Montanamomof3 - I'll check out the book.  I was talking to a librarian friend of mine recently, and we had a lengthy discussion of how kids are "out of sync" and "disconnected" so much these days.  We work in a highschool together, and we see proof of disconnected kids in the disconnected teenagers they become. 

 

I just wanted to clarify that Sensory Processing Disorder is not the same thing about kids being "disconnected". It's a problem with the brain-body connection of the brain - my son has SPD and is hypersensitive to a lot of stimuli. Occupational therapy helped reduce his oversensitivity (plus helped him with the motor planning issues he had). Many kids with SPD are perfectly well connected -- so please don't read that as a criticism of your connection with your daughter.

 

Given what you've posted, I'd try a lot of behavioral stuff first. I'd also give the reminder that when she's in meltdown mode, it's usually best to talk as little as possible until the storm has passed. This is not a time for reasoning or pointing out what's going on. Validate the feelings, and be quiet. For both my kids (my SPD child and my neurotypical child) talking while they're having a fit made them much worse. Think of yourself as the tree in the storm. If she's hurting you, that's not OK. But other things, I ride out. (FWIW, for my kids, it was better to walk away than hold them if they were hurting me.)


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#11 of 13 Old 06-20-2012, 09:08 AM
 
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I'll chime in that holding either one of my kids when they're melting down makes things much, much worse.  Learned by experience.  Just in case you try and it seems to escalate things, don't feel like you're "doing it wrong" or anything.

 

I love the analogy of the tree in the storm.  My major problem is withstanding the verbal barbs my nearly 6-yo daughter hurls when she's freaking out.  It feels wrong to not address it while it's happening - and it feels wrong ot just "sit there and take it", but I also know that in the moment she's not hearing ANYTHING I say and it only drags things out longer and escalates if I try to engage her in any way.  I am not exaggerating when I say it hurts my heart to see the venom that can come out of this otherwise nurturing, fun loving little girl when she loses it. I also feel like it's not great modeling that I just endure her wrath, nor to make my 8-yo son do it - but again if he tries to engage her at all to explain a misunderstanding or problem, it makes it so much worse.  I feel like I'm teaching my son that he has to just sit there and be screamed at (say if we're in the car, for instance), and teaching her that she can just unleash on someone and they will not do or say anything about it.  It's a true dilemma to me.  Afterwards, I always talk with her about more constructive ways to let her anger out and give her other ways to say the things she's feeling that aren't as hurtful or menacing, but they have yet to ever be utilized.  sigh.


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#12 of 13 Old 06-25-2012, 10:49 AM
 
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I know where you are coming from thefourofus. I try to allow my 5 yr old his emotions but it does feel wrong to allow him to lose control of his tongue and be insulting and kick at toys. This behavior is disrespectful not only to me but the other kids who must feel worried and a little unsafe around all that emotion.

Last night when he had a tantrum I endured it until he yelled he hated me and started kicking toys. This has become my persona boundary and I told hi, he would need to go to his room. I said over and over "you can be mad but you can't do those things" he became very upset ( a different upset) about going to his room and I told him he could stay with us if he could calm down. He did calm down but I still felt punitive. It's a fine line protecting the family and protecting him emotionally. Now that I have read lily Kay's experience I will try not to use that phrase calm down.

My son hates feeling powerless and he hates to be told what to do so " no" is a big trigger often. We are also weaning him off of his daily 2 hrs of cartoons because he is so addicted. He said cartoons help him feel better. I nursed him until he just turned 5 and he almost seems to have substituted cartoons for nursing in terms of self soothing. He would still be nursing if I hadn't stopped due to my own boundaries with it. Just thought of this today and I wonder if he is still having trouble learning to self-soothe. don't know what to do about that though!

I am trying to give hi, as much control as possible but there must be more tools I can use so I will go back over this thread and check out the links
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#13 of 13 Old 07-02-2012, 01:41 PM
 
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My 7 YO is like that, however she has been diagnosed with Bi-polar Disorder as well.  Even being on meds she still has a lot of fire.


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