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someone explain what just happened...is this a meltdown?

(38 Posts)
crazygal Sun 24-Feb-13 18:57:30

Hi all..
My ds,(8) who is adhd and aspergers,has had overall a pretty good week,we have had a few episodes,
but tonight has been extreme!! It has really upset both myself and dh..
Now I'm worried the neighbours have heard and If I had heard It I would have called the police!!

Ds has had a sleepover last night at our friends,who really understand him..smile
Its his first ever sleep over,and they informed us he has been amazing! smile They said he hardly ate,and had about two hours sleep...

Since he came home he's been quite and sleepy,then this evening I said in 5 mins you need to have a shower,It resulting in him exploding at me! I was ironing at the time,and he pushed the ironing board on me,luckly the iron went on the floor,I dropped everything and went to him and went to stroke his arm to calm,he punched me so hard,dh took over and pulled him away from me,he pinched him,and his swearing went nuts,he screamed at the top of his voice as if someone was hurting him,or he was terribly scared...

We left the room to leave him space....but he just kept swearing at us.which was really bad.
Then shower time! It just kicked off even worse,he hit my dh so hard...screaming even harder,dh put him in the shower and ds kept hitting and kicking the shower door so hard he has now broken it,ds was shaken in rage!!

We told him he lost his story time for bed which escalated him more....I feel so upset!
I Tried to cuddle him had he head butt me..
What am I to do with him!!
I've had enough...and bedtime is in two mins and its gonna kick off again as we said hes lost his story and cuddle...
Would you kept the consequence?
how do all of you deal with the meltdowns?
Thank you!

Ineedmorepatience Sun 24-Feb-13 19:27:18

Sounds like a meltdown to mesad
What a shame after you had a good weekand after his sleepover.

If its any help, Dd3 often meltsdown after she has pushed herself outside her comfort zone. She has Asd, she wants to do what the other children do like sleepovers etc, but she has to work really hard to hold it together.

When she gets home, exhausted and stressy it is almost gauranteed she will meltdown over something small.

Tbh I hate sleepovers and call them "stay awake overs" as they definitely bring out the worst in my Dd's.

Hope you are ok and have managed to calm things down now.

Crawling Sun 24-Feb-13 19:34:16

I find when mine meltdown taking away things just mean they get worse and they end up passing out from screaming. Instead I say you can have a story once youve calmed down.

I lower my expectations and sometimes skip risky areas if I know a meltdown is likely. I also find wrapping in a weighted blanket in a dark quiet room helps. HTH and good luck.

ouryve Sun 24-Feb-13 19:37:32

That definitely sounds like a meltdown.

Doing something out of his normal routine and coming back to normal probably triggered it.

The best way to deal with them when they happen is back off and use as few words as possible. Just make sure he's safe until the red mist has cleared. If he's amenable, discussing the consequences, if any are necessary, can come later

Prevention is definitely worse than cure, though. While it's not a good idea to put an end to the sleepovers, recognising that he's likely to be a little discombobulated afterwards and being careful to give more warning before routine tasks should help to make a meltdown less likely.

crazygal Sun 24-Feb-13 19:37:49

Thank you...yes I'm fine...just can't stop crying...It almost scared me!
Could a meltdown please be explained to me?
Is it when hes been good,its like a release to just explode if you like?
because it was more than anger...I thought he was going to pass out at one point,his fist were clenched really tight,he shook,and his face was so red,he was looking at me with hate.like he wanted to kill me..

Crawling Sun 24-Feb-13 19:40:43

On the next sleepover I advise trying to stop the meltdown by giving some quiet time as soon as he gets home plan a early night and maybe skip the shower or any other areas likely to cause upset.

crazygal Sun 24-Feb-13 19:42:29

DH said once he calmed down,that if he went to bed nicely he could have his story back and a cuddle...he's up there now with him and all is quite,

So when he goes off like that,should I just let him?should I touch him or talk to him?
Do I let him have what he wants at the time?
Sorry,the aspergers dx is new to us.

Crawling Sun 24-Feb-13 19:45:38

Your best bet is to prevent by looking for the early signs or activities that usually cause them. I wouldnt give in to them though if they do happen just put him somewhere safe until its over but punishing them for one is likely to make the meltdown worse IMO.

Ineedmorepatience Sun 24-Feb-13 19:50:14

Normal tantrum rules do not apply, when a child has a meltdown they have completely lost control. You cannot reason with them.

Someone once said (on here I think) that a meltdown is more like a panic attack than a tantrum.

I agree with planning in downtimes after events and outings that might be pushing him outside his comfort zone. Dd3 desperately wants to do the things that her peer group are doing but I have to assume that there will be a consequence to this which is usually a meltdown.

crazygal Sun 24-Feb-13 19:54:02

Okay thank you...
We weren't sure if the punishment should have went in...we both looked at each other and thought,maybe we shouldn't have done that,as he got worse..

So if he swears at us don't punish till hes calm??or don't punish at all?

he called me a f*er, fat bitch, f*king wanker cow,i f*ing hate you,middle finger up the whole time and hitting...just ignore?
It's hard....
He's also going for cbt next week...i'm hoping that helps.

Ineedmorepatience Sun 24-Feb-13 19:57:00

I meant to say, getting Dd3 to shower at a time when she is already stressy would be a non starter for me. Having a shower is a major sensory challenge for her and she needs to have plenty of warning and be in the right frame of mind for it.

I wouldnt say you should give him what he wants when he is kicking off but chose your battles and be prepared to back off if you are in danger of getting hurt.
I probably would have said Ok, pj's on then you can shower in the morning or how about a bath.

My general rule would be to minimise requests at stressy times and try to avoid sensory overload.

Good lucksmile

Walter4 Sun 24-Feb-13 19:57:51

Hmmm, sounds like you're poor boy was at the end of his tether. I'm surprised your friends thought that no food and 2 hours sleep was " amazing!" I would have expected an meltdown from a NT child after such little food and sleep.

I think if I were in your position tonight I might have taken him quietly up for a story and lots of cuddles untill he'd fallen asleep after the ironing board incident , his behaviour possible didn't need recrimination today. First ever sleep over , no food , very little sleep ? I know sometimes its hard to see past the outrageous behaviour, but we make life easier on all the family if we look past it and try to minimise their distress on such occasions. We have had lots of times like this and learnt the hard way! smile

Crawling Sun 24-Feb-13 19:59:03

I calmly talk to them about their behaviour once they have calmed down I tell them how it is not very nice to treat me like that E.T.C. If you want to you can punish but wait until the meltdown is over and they are calm or it will escalate things.

I also have a egg timer for when they are starting to meltdown which they sit and hold calmly until it goes off.

crazygal Sun 24-Feb-13 20:04:30

Yes...Its certainly a learning curve!
He ate nothing this eve either,but yes Walter4 he had a half hr of cuddles with dad,and fell asleep....
Thank you all.
I'm learning so much of you x

Handywoman Sun 24-Feb-13 20:06:43

I think 2 hrs sleep at someone else's house is pretty extreme. You were deffo right to encourage the sleepover (something we have not managed) it and it's fab it went well. Big success! But... tbh I would have skipped the shower because your ds has been WELL out if his comfort zone. I think that despite the swearing etc I would allow him to calm down as quickly as possible above all else. I would not discuss til the following day, if at all (depending on your dc's ability to 'reflect', my dd has no ability to do this whatsoever).I think the panic attack is a very good analogy.

PolterGoose Sun 24-Feb-13 20:08:17

I don't punish at all for anything done or said during a meltdown, the very nature of it means a total loss of control, usually as a result of anxiety and panic which are either at very high levels and/or have been suppressed and then come out later. In my view punishment, if used at all, should only be used for things where there was intent. A meltdown is like an emotional explosion.

After the meltdown your child will be exhausted and maybe a bit shakey, because of the hormones, a nice drink and snack and something calming is absolutely best. Carry on as if nothing has happened. Maybe the next day or a couple of days later have a gentle chat, remember your child will not have enjoyed it and it wasn't a manipulative action, it may have scared him, talk in terms of what led to it, talk about relaxation and things that may have helped that he can try next time he feels it coming. Discuss the physical feelings that may give him clues he is heading for meltdown. Plan ways to avert another (which won't work all the time, but may work some of the time) eg physical activity, reading, watching a calm DVD, cuddles and singing, whatever helps.

Goodtalkingtoo Sun 24-Feb-13 20:09:59

My son does this too. When my son has been through something outside his usual routine etc a meltdown is always pending, however after many years, he's 14 of trial and error I find the following helps

Have nothing planned for when he returns
Have everything quiet, settled, just watching tv, playing computer games etc
Don't push things like showers, no harm will be done if he misses it that day
I usually just have finger foods, as the whole what would you like for dinner is a red rag to a bull in this house.

However if meltdown begins I make sure my son is safe, then walk away. I say nothing, don't react.

When it's over and he has settled, can be that day, next day, I punish him by removing Xbox etc. if I try punishment during episode it puts fuel on fire but I cannot allow him to think its acceptable

crazygal Sun 24-Feb-13 20:17:29

In the end i took him out of the shower as he was shaking so much and kickinf the door,I just wrapped the towel tightly round him and tried to cuddle him,he started crying,and saying he hated me!
He came down stairs and we let him watch got to dance which he loves,
after 10mins i whispered are you ok?he just nodded yes,he looked very tired..

I think a visit to the library for me tomorrow to get myself educated on this sad
feel so bloody stupit...
I just sometimes don't know what to do!
Around tescos the other day he had a meltdown,I ignored it all the way round,he kept running for me,kicking me full belt,and spitting at me....
He seems to be getting worse lately...
I don't know,It's hard,Its like waking on eggshells at times.

Handywoman Sun 24-Feb-13 20:31:48

I know how hard it is, crazygal. Try and remember there will be things that cause your ds to have a meltdown that you either don't see (e.g. holding it together at school) or understandably don't appreciate (sensory overload, unstructured social situations, change of routine etc). You can't expect to get it right every time but you can start to know a bit about when to adapt and pace your expectations.

Dinkysmummy Sun 24-Feb-13 20:39:22

I really feel for you...it is hard for everyone involved when DCs have meltdowns.

My 5 year old dd has this type of meltdown (but with added spitting).

When she is physically attacking me I hug her from behind. I hold her hands across her chest and place my chin on her shoulder and stay cheek to cheek. At first it makes it worse but when I rock back and forth and whisper it calms her. If she is screaming, banging and throwing things I tend to tell her to stop which she hates and then she goes under the table. She calms herself down under there (but I'm not allowed to look at her because it starts off the physical attacks and throwing things again)
After I try to let her do what suits her (as long as it is acceptable). Yes I skip her shower on those days because it can be tough enough at the best of times for her to comply with shower time.

As for punishments. I tend to take tv or games away, but tell her long after she has calmed down as it might have been a panic attack for her but there are better ways of dealing with it than attacking me.

crazygal Sun 24-Feb-13 20:56:20

Thing is,myself and dh have done different parenting courses trying to get the family help and understanding...
and I think now we have done the wrong ones!
Without a doubt they have helped,but when these people came round to my house they seen him kick off,and made me put him in the 'naughty' step!
which of course never worked,and its something we don't do,ever...we ask him to go and find a calm down spot which sometimes he does,and like you dinky he wont let you look at him,which is fine,he comes round in his own time...
Feels like everything we have been told is the oppisit to how he should be handled...
feeling very upset tonight...but I'm going to have to get up,brush myself down and get the help he needs...we see his pead this week,maybe she can guide us somewhere.

Dinkysmummy Sun 24-Feb-13 21:16:18

crazygal
My dd hasn't got a diagnosis but I'm sure she is PDA-ASD.
I have tried all the supernanny techniques, I have read books on parenting challenging children, 123 magic, dealing with tantrums, none of it works.
The thing is you know your DS more than anyone, if you know what works for your family than you have to do that.

I really feel for you, I hope you feel better in the morning and can get some helpful advice from pead.

thanks

lougle Sun 24-Feb-13 21:50:00

It changes with age, too. DD1 is 7 now, but because she has some gross motor and fine motor issues, she can't actually hurt us much, unless she has her Piedro boots on. For her, the best way of handling it is to try and get her boots off as a priority. Feet don't do as much damage as boots. Then, we just try and keep the other girls away (not easy) and ignore unless it's dangerous.

She tends to have less out and out meltdowns now (although she does) and more of a...'stuck in a rut' times, where she's obviously frustrated or angry or upset and she just has to keep pushing and ramping up her actions until we tell her off..it's hard to explain. For instance, she was running into our carer's lounge (not allowed) and every time she was retrieved, she'd do it again. When that didn't get the response she wanted, she started hitting. Then eventually, she was spinning on the floor, kicking her cupboard doors. Wilfull, so not 'meltdown' in terms of awareness, but on some level I don't think even she knew what she was trying to achieve.

DD3 has some incredible rages over the smallest things. I find that anything I do fuels her rage, positive or negative. So I just have to ride it out, ignoring her as if she wasn't even there. Today she was pushing me as I was ironing a name tag on a skirt, deliberately trying to get a reaction. I ignored it. She followed me up the stairs screeching at me over and over again. I ignored it and spoke to DH as if she wasn't doing it. She started to kick things and screech. I ignored it. Eventually, when she calmed a little, I was able to offer a hug. But she couldn't accept it. She wanted me to make all the moves (it's a control thing). I said to her that I'd meet her half way, I had my arms up, but that she had to come to me. She did, eventually.

triplePsoup Sun 24-Feb-13 22:11:15

I would agree with others that hardly any sleep or food would mean a big change in behavior for my NT daughter so for my son it would be 4-fold. We are luckily enough to of never experienced a melt down so extreme but who knows in the future may be we will. It must of been awful for all involved.

There have been two occassions I have seen my sons meltdowns escalate more than usual and both times I tried to step back a little and allow it to take its course. I also tend to pay a lot of attention to what may bring on a meltdown (getting quite good at seeing into the future now wink) and always be sure to give him space to himself doing something that he enjoys with as little interuptions as possible. I wouldn't use punishment for this as I see it as a 'getting everything out of his system moment' and I don't think I would ever try to enforce any punishments on him during one as I believe this would just escalate it further. But I would talk to him about it afterwards. We leave out all things that could be put off until tomorrow (showers/teeth/hair anything like that).

I'm glad everything has calmed. For now I would sit you down and have a nice wine. smile

BiddyPop Mon 25-Feb-13 12:48:21

I only saw this this morning, but yes, it sounds familiar.

With us (DD 7 has ADHD Asp), the meltdowns happen after an event that we would love but that we've now realised can be very stressful for DD - even a family dinner (wider family). It's that she's been taken outside her routine, and her comfort zone - she will "manage" while she's "on show" in public, and behave (relatively) normally. But when she is back in private, with just DH and I (and the au pair too now), so in "secure" surroundings, she can relax the control she has kept on herself and it all comes flooding out.

(I am generalising madly in that explanation - but that's the basic gist of it).

What we have found can help is talking about the event in advance, telling DD and letting her ask lots of questions about HOW something will happen, who will be there, what sort of noise levels, etc. Having a plan for what will happen if she feels overwhelmed while there (having something to colour in, or her ds in my handbag to sit in a corner and play, or knowing that DH is her "go to" person to take her out for a few minutes at her recent birthday party, for example). And that both DD and ourselves know that plan in advance (it may NOT be needed, but knowing it's there has seemed to help).

And when it all kicks off, try to leave her alone to calm down (she retreats under the bench at the far side of the table), or take her to a quiet space (like into the sitting room with lights dim and no tv/radio/computer etc.) to sit with her or leave her alone (depends on what seems most needed). She does absolutely rage sometimes, but if we can help her move through that without provoking or escalating it, she will become very sad and remorseful afterwards, not necessarily realising what she's done wrong or feeling empathy with us, but having gotten something out of her system so we then end up going about the evening routine as normal (it's very often Sunday nights), or near normal at least. Sometimes, we end up skipping the bath but often she wants to stick to what we normally do rather than skip anything - so we'd end up still having a bath but perhaps cutting it a little short and putting it on a timer (she rows far less with the timer ringing at the end of 5 minutes than with us saying 5 minutes is up after maybe 10, as it couldn't possibly be 5 yet!).

And we always have a drink of milk at bedtime anyway, but on stressy nights, we give her some "rescue remedy night" as well in water, which she accepts and does seem to help her calm down. Even just a glass of cold water with nothing in it can help.

But she does seem to need a place to almost hide away even from us at times - and it is best then to let her do that and come down in her own time (5-10 mins usually) rather than increasing other stresses.

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