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to handle my child's tantrum like this..

(55 Posts)
adrianna22 Mon 25-May-15 17:58:33


So I have a DS who is 5 and he does have autism and verbal dyspraxia. All in all he gets very frustrated.

In public, DS cries when he doesn't get what he wants. This is no moaning sort of crying. He can get really high-pitched to the point passing people cover their ears.

Usually, if DS points to something e.g. sweets, I don't tend to say "no" outright, I'll try to say "DS, I understand, but you can't have sweets". Ofcourse, in the end he cries as he knows he is not getting what he wants. So when the full blown tantrums begin, I'll put a blank expression on my face, ignore DS and escort him back home. I don't say anything, I don't even look at him.

I do this for a number of reasons. DS will cry even more if I try to talk to him, I also find myself getting worked up and upset etc.

Though a lot of members from the public tell me that I should talk to DS, they intervene and try to hand DS a sweet, which makes it even worse.

Truthfully, I am finding it hard. It also doesn't help that I'm 21 and look two years younger and people judge and comment on my parenting.

I am also aware that DS gets very frustrated due to the lack of speech and the rigidity of his thought down to the ASD (e.g. I have to have that sweet!).

I am using visual timetables to support this, it's not working to effect. Though I think it all boils down to me giving in, which I have been working on and trying not to care what other people think of me.

So, is ignoring your child through a tantrum the best way (of course over something trivial like not getting what he wants, or being told off)?

SofiaAmes Mon 25-May-15 18:01:58

Wow. Sounds like you are doing a fabulous job. I'm even more impressed that you are managing this at 21. Just ignore the judgey members of the public....I think your treatment of the tantrums is wise.

reni1 Mon 25-May-15 18:02:38

Sorry you are having such a hard time, op. I found ignoring the right way, but I don't know anything about autism.

The thing is, you do know a lot about autism and you know your own child. Trust your instinct before trusting other people's tutting. I'm sure you are doing the right thing for your child.

AlternativeTentacles Mon 25-May-15 18:03:13

I work alot with AS and ASD kids and adults. The best way I have found is to diffuse and de-escalate. Knowing their 'thing' also helps as I can say 'would you like to do X' rather than say 'no you can't do Y'. Or I really need you to do Z so that we can finish that and get onto >something they want to do<.

mojo17 Mon 25-May-15 18:06:06

Making sure the child is safe ie won't hurt themselves on sharp corners etc., and then ignoring them during a tantrum is the best advice!
I used to do that when mine were younger and it works, it is harder to ignore the other adults I remember
Carry on doing what you're doing

Welshmaenad Mon 25-May-15 18:06:34

You sound, frankly, like you are doing an absolutely awesome job.

Finding a strategy that works and sticking to it in the face of criticism is hard for any parent. Keep going. You know your son best, you know what works and what makes things worse.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 25-May-15 18:08:41

of course Yanbu if it works for you both.

I cab assure you if I see anyone with a kid throwing a tantrum all I'm. Thinking is "makes a change its not mine" grin

please take no notice of anyone else. ever.

yesiwouldlikefrieswiththat Mon 25-May-15 18:09:57

You sound like you're doing a fab job!

I'd carry on ignoring, I know it's hard but please try not to care too much about what people are thinking, they don't know you and they don't know your son. You are doing what works for you, if you know there is no talking him round then the best thing to do is just take him elsewhere to calm down

MrsNextDoor Mon 25-May-15 18:10:19

Nothing at all wrong with what you're doing OP flowers for you. You've been handed a massive challenge and by the sound of it, you;ll rise to it.

CrabbyTheCrabster Mon 25-May-15 18:12:05

YANBU at all. You sound like you are handling it perfectly. Direct a firm "please don't interfere, I have it under control" at any interfering fuckers!

Geneticsbunny Mon 25-May-15 18:12:20

Hello. Tantrums are really stressful. I would do exactly what you are doing with my 4 year old, I.e. ignore the screaming and head for somewhere safe. It might be worth posting in special needs section as I am sure some of the folks over there will have been through this and might be able to offer some other ideas, (or reasurance). Try to ignore the people looking and trying to help. A few times when my daughter has been screaming on the floor of the local supermarket older ladies, nana aged, have said " don't worry you are doing the right thing", so there will be people watching who understand too.

adrianna22 Mon 25-May-15 18:15:39

Thanks everyone for the comments! All in al, I do care a lot what people think about me, but I am trying not to care as such.

Thanks Alternative it is a bit difficult as DS understanding of language is limited. Though the word "no" does set him off. I could use the visual timetable to help with your suggestion also.

AnyRailway Mon 25-May-15 18:15:42

You seem to be doing a great job. The people who intervene are rude.

There is a lot to be said for being a young parent. I am twenty years older than you and I have a six year old and a two year old. My energy levels are not great, and although I have lots of general life experience I'm not sure this has made me a better mother.

If you feel anyone is judging you, pity their ignorance and ignore them. Dealing with young children is hard sometimes, and dealing with young children who have ASD is even harder.

Bless you for being such an amazingly thoughtful mother in difficult circumstances flowers

MarbulousMarvin Mon 25-May-15 18:17:39

I think your doing a fantastic job, my dd also has asd and I deal with her public outbursts in exactly the same way-there is no point trying to reason or negotiate with her as when she's at that point she can't hear me anyway and she has to learn the life lesson that we don't always get our own way and I would be doing her a dis-service by not teaching her this. Ignore the do-gooders you know your child better than anyone

Goldmandra Mon 25-May-15 18:18:14

If you respond to the tantrum, you will teach him to use tantrums to get what he wants. The only sensible way to respond is to ignore the behaviour.

You could deal with it by trying to distract him/redirect his behaviour, but have two children with AS and I know that is often impossible.

You need to keep your language very simple and your responses very consistent. Keep removing him from the situation and return home if you feel that is necessary. There may come a time when just walking outside the shop is all that is necessary to enable him to calm down and realise he is not going to get what he wants.

You're doing the right thing.

When you feel his understanding is good enough, you could perhaps pre-empt some of these tantrums by telling him beforehand that you will be walking past the sweets but he won't have any today.

Don't worry about what other people think. You are responding calmly and appropriately. Try to have a stock phrase like "Thank you but this is the best way to deal with it" to use if people try to intervene.

Nanny0gg Mon 25-May-15 18:21:44

So, is ignoring your child through a tantrum the best way (of course over something trivial like not getting what he wants, or being told off)?

It's an art I never mastered and I am in awe of anyone who manages it.

Keep doing what you're doing, he's your child, not theirs and it sounds like you're doing a great job with him - which will pay off one day!

DoraGora Mon 25-May-15 18:22:59

All I will say about parents who ignore public tantrums is, please mind where you do it. I've objected to people doing it in the crowded cinema exit. My advice to them is, there is a time and a place and this isn't it.

Fugghetaboutit Mon 25-May-15 18:23:44

Oh, I do the lift and leave without saying anything sometimes too. Especially if it's somewhere like a cafe where people are trying to have a peaceful coffee and chat. I don't prolong it by chatting as it doesn't work with my ds sometimes.

BishopBrennansArse Mon 25-May-15 18:24:18

You're doing brilliantly.
It's entirely up to you whether you'd want to do this but it might be worth getting some business cards printed up with something like "My son has autism, he responds best to what I am doing. Thank you for your understanding" - raises awareness as well as meaning you're not constantly explaining (not that you should need to)

AlternativeTentacles Mon 25-May-15 18:25:58

please take no notice of anyone else. ever.

What - never? Even if someone suggests something that actually works?

BishopBrennansArse Mon 25-May-15 18:28:58

Alternative the OP has already found what works. For children with ASD this may often appear unusual to some people. But that's their problem. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

mumto3alexa Mon 25-May-15 18:29:18

What if your child has that many 'things' you would have to avoid everything, everywhere forever? Sometimes you can't diffuse it, actually I find frequently you can't

Sirzy Mon 25-May-15 18:29:51

It's about finding what works for you and your DS. Unfortunalty whatever you do someone will judge so try to switch off to them.

DS is 5 and autistic, for him often the only way to calm him down is to just hug him tight, trying to talk to him will just make him more frustrated.

AnyRailway Mon 25-May-15 18:31:16

I love the business card idea - it really would be a public service to challenge people's perceptions like this!

Yes NannyOgg, I agree with what you've said. The OP 's calm and matter of fact way of dealing with tantrums is something I aspire to, not something I manage every time!

TandemFlux Mon 25-May-15 18:32:09

Yes pre-empt it by telling him before hand (twice) that you will be walking past some sweets but can't have any till sweetie day on Friday.

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