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help me please!

478 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  kittn
can you have a child that is both spirited and explosive or are the mutually exclusive?

my ds3 (34 months) is a challenge to say the least. he is very bright in some ways but in other's doesn't seem to really "get it" he is wonderfully engaging, amazingly fun, and energetic. he also has no patience, hits, pulls hair, screams, throws things and gets so angry.

we have taught him to label his feelings. he tells me "I'm angry" "Sammy sad" and "i frustrated!" but then he continues to act out. it's only gotten worse since the new baby. i make sure we have one on one time and 1:1 nursing time/cuddle time, plenty of exercise I?ve tried screaming with him when he is angry to help him get it out, saying yes as much as i can, playful stuff, and getting upset (so im not perfect
quiet time (which doesn't seem to make sense to him yet) what am i missing? any suggestions
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I only have a minute, but I wanted to say that I have a dd I'd describe as spirited, explosive and highly sensitive. I'd also describe her as intense and challenging. She's a wonderful child.

Your son is a little bit young yet, but I recommend reading The Explosive Child. You may or may not be able to use their approach yet, but the book does a great job explaining what's going on inside "easily frustrated, chronically inflexible" kids-why it is they behave as they do. I actually found that it's been helpful with regard to my other kids as well, and I wouldn't call them explosive or easily frustrated and chronically inflexible.

Also, Raising Your Spirited Child is a great book, with a lot of ideas for working *with* a spirited child's temperment rather than against it.

And I do think that the arrival of a new sibling is just plain hard. Have you talked about his (very likely) mixed feelings about the new baby? How hard it can be to have a new sibling? I found this very helpful for my kids. And in fact, it's still helpful to give my kids the opportunity at times to talk about their unpleasant feelings toward siblings-how hard it is to have a little/big sister/brother or to be the little/big sister/brother.

Need help with a specific situation? Would it help to give more specific examples?
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im ordering the explosive child and i have read the spirited child. i guess its the explosive part that is so hard for me.

Like tonight we were supposed to go to my 9 year olds game. I had the wrong place so we needed to leave the park. He lost it even as I tried to explain it to him, talk to him, and reason. then we get to where the game should be and there is no game I also had the wrong day!! he had seen the playground and we had said he could go so we went. he flipped out again as we parked the van because he thought we were leaving again. so they go play then its time to go we give him a warning (all the kids really) I go to him and tell him. he lost it screamed bloody murder!\he fell asleep in the car (OK so he was a bit tired too)

We get to ice cream he stays sleeping. wakes up just as the ice cream came. DH and the kids got a huge 12 scoop sundae to share. Sammy starts flipping out throwing himself, spazzing screaming hitting just beside himself. finally I took him outside and got him to calm down and tell me that his brother AJ took the bite he wanted! Now it was OK since I had DH there but I dont always have DH with me when he melts down. Are there things I can do to avoid the meltdown before it happens?
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There absolutely are things you can do to avoid the meltdown before it happens!

A good place to start is by identifying triggers-in what situations is he likely to meltdown? What else contributes-being tired, hungry, stressed, food sensitivities? After you've kept track of this for awhile, you'll start to see a pattern and be able to predict pretty reliably when he's likely to meltdown. This will allow you to plan. Also, in those situations in which he melts down what is the situation demanding of him? Meltdowns happen (in the words of the author of The Explosive Child) when the demands of a situation outstrip the child's ability to respond adaptively. So when you got to the park, and it was the wrong park, aside from being tired (a huge contributor to his meltdown, probably) he also had to be able to "shift cognitive set." He had it in his mind that you'd be at this park and stay, that you wouldn't have to leave to go to another-this was the plan in his mind. When you got there he had to be able to switch gears and get back in the car and go to another park. This is a skill many of us take for granted, but that can be hard for kids (harder for some than for others). Also, in order to have been able to hear your explanation and understand (which might have helped him shift gears) he would have needed to be able to sort of set his feelings (disappointment? frustration?) aside just enough to listen and think (not ignoring feelings, but just not being completely taken over by them)-another skill many of us take for granted. There are so many skills that we need to handle frustration and conflict, and when we're not able to access those skills (most of us have experienced this-being too stressed or too upset or [other] to handle a situation well) or when we those skills are not well developed we're likely to behave in less effective and less adaptive ways. Identifying not just the trigger, but the skills that my child needs to work on in order to do better is really important.

Also, once a meltdown has happened, it really is important to do what you did-to talk about it, find out what the problem was, model talking about feelings and give him the opportunity talk about it calmly. And in some situations, we'd have a "do-over" after we talk-we'd go back to wherever we were, and practice handling the problem in a different way.

There's a nice book called Raising A Thinking Child that is geared toward parents of preschoolers and young children. This book is about helping children learn to resolve conflict by learning the skills of communication, identifying feelings in themselves and others, perspective taking, and problem-solving.

Here are some links to information that may help (all of it based on The Explosive Child):

Think:Kids, a website by the authors of The Explosive Child-good information on understanding and helping challenging kids.

web-based seminars by same authors

Foundation For Children With Behavioral Challenges caregiver handout-a nice summary of The Explosive Child, with the pathways and triggers inventory.

Please don't be put off by the words "explosive" and "children with behavioral challenges" and "challenging kids." I find all this information and the approach they recommend to be helpful with my younger two kids, who really can't be said to have behavior problems or to be explosive. It's good stuff, very valuable. And it has helped enormously with my definitely explosive, challenging child.

Out of time, HTH.
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i honestly cant thank you enough!
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