My 7 year old gets really stressed and then has a meltdown, normal or not?(51 Posts)
Have name changed for this one as pretty sure some RL friends have worked out my usual MN name.
My dd is 7, almost 8. She has an elder brother who teases her, but we are trying to work on this.
The main problem is that if we ask her to do anything, she seems to get really stressed, this can escalate very quickly and she can become violent. Time out can work, but if she really can't calm down, sometimes, like last night, only a hug will do. She even admitted she couldn't calm down by herself.
So is this normal for a girl or is it a sign that she has need of some additional help?
What do you mean by 'anything'? Normal, everyday tasks like getting dressed or brushing her teeth or more pressurised things like homework?
It does sound quite extreme for a child of her age. It sounds like she is really struggling to control her emotions. She may need to be shown some different techniques to help her and you may have to find different ways of dealing with her.
Hugs is fine to diffuse the situation and calm everyone down but she needs to learn that are still consequences for her outbursts especially if they are violent.
Have you given her a safe calm down space that she can go to when her emotions get the better of her. A space where no one else can bug her till the anger and anxiety have gone down - no brothers allowed!
Yes I do mean things like getting dressed, cleaning her teeth etc.
Hugs are only given in extreme meltdowns, usually she does have consequences and of course, rewards for goid behaviour. She is an angel at school but think she collapses almost from the effort of being so good all day once she's home.
She does have her own room, but perhaps I need to give her another area too. She loves being in our room, so perhaps I could let her go there.
If it is extreme, which I was suspecting, what do I do next?
I'm off to bed now but appreciate any answers/questions that come in overnight and I'll check in again tomorrow.
Are there any other behaviours that you are concerned about? I know that in the special needs section they sometimes talk about 'masking' where a child (especially girls) can act 'normally' at school to cover up certain behavioural traits, and then fall apart at home.
Or she could perhaps just need some space on her own to recharge at home before interacting with the family.
Have you considered Aspergers?
Ds will be fine at school all day but then have a melt down with me as I'm who he feels most comfortable with
I need to give dS lots of warning so ie in 5 minutes you will need to do x, one minute left, finish up and do x now please etc. gives him time process the instruction.
DS also has a blanket which is his comfort thing, he feels safer and calmer when he has it.
AS can present very differently in girls and is less obvious. It may just be that she has a couple of traits.
Brie I hadn't considered Aspergers, but will read up on it in girls. I hadn't realised that if affects girls differently, so thanks for that.
Noble I've seen people mention masking on here, you're right and that's one of the things I've been concerned about. She doesn't seem to have any other traits, as far as I can see but will give her some time on her own tonight and see how we get on.
This morning I've given her breakfast and told her what time breakfast will finish, she usually takes ages to eat, and told her that after breakfast she will need to put her uniform on. She does know what is expected but seems to need reminders and then gets overwhelmed by the demands.
I work with children with ASD and yes it could be a trait. However she could also be the polar opposite of ASD - ultra emotionally aware. Look at the reviews on Amazon for Elaine Arons the highly sensitive child book.
My daughter has ADHD, which was undiagnosed until she was 13, and she used to do the same thing.
Has she always been like this, or is it a more recent development? Because I think hormones can start affecting girls at about that age as well.
If you and she can - when she's calm - identify what it feels like for her before she reaches that point, it can really help. That way she can take steps to hopefully stop the meltdown before it starts, with your help. And if she finds herself needing to, for example, leaving the table in the middle of a meal, then that might have to be something you learn to live with.
I have HFA and I know that feeling of trying to hold onto control of your emotions and behaviour just before or during a meltdown. It's awful, like you're trying to crawl out of your own skin. You both have my empathy.
Have you tried visual time tabling?
It's always suggested for chidlren who struggle with demands and changes.
There are several website where you can just print off a set of pictures and use it to make up a daily timetable. You can remove each thing as she does it so she knows what left to do. Even put in rewards for each thing completed without stress.
I agree I think a look at aspergers seems a good idea. Girls in particular are very good at masking. How are her social interactions?
Her social interactions seem ok to me but I'm not entirely sure mine are ok
Will have a look at pda, aspergers and ADHD and will definitely try the visual timetable.
She has always been pretty much like this, but it seems to have ramped up another level recently.
Oh and Ninja, will also take to her. Sorry, but could you tell me what HDA is?
My dd is like this and has recently been diagnosed as having sensory processing difficulties, she always struggled with doing too much or if too many things were going on at once. With regards to her not coping with being told what to do is there a way round this? Maybe you could write a list of things that have to be done before you leave the house, (get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth and hair etc) and she has to tick them off once they are done. Gives the control back to her rather than you having to ask her to do anything iyswim?
Dd is better now (9yo) but we still have the occasional outburst which catches us by surprise!!
You also need to look up the highly sensitive child book by Elaine Aron.
Of course children with ASD are highly sensitive but this book relates to the type of child who scores extremely low (much lower then average) on the AQ test below
My DD has meltdowns although she is much better at home and her triggers are mainly at school as she has sensory problems and anxiety from the behaviour and work that is expected of her. She is due to start the process for screening for ADHD and or ASD in September, she is 8 in October.
She had no trouble learning to talk, is very empathetic, makes friends easily and is highly imaginative. It was a surprise when the Paed at her first appointment (I approached GP concerned about possible ADHD) suggested autistic traits.
Might not be a bad idea to discuss with the GP, if you have a good one. I've already had some behaviour management advice from a specialist nurse at the child development centreeven without a diagnosis.
My dd is like this. Read The Explosive child, it explains a lot, and makes it easier to understand. This combined with reading The Highly Sensitive Child helped me understand my dd a lot more. She's nearly 9 now, and is getting better, but still has her moments.
I remember feeling really lost about it all until I read the Explosive Child Book. She ticks all the boxes and is highly sensitive to boot.
Now we understand her, it is a much calmer household, and she is growing out of it a bit.., <touch wood>
Just re read your post..overwhelmed by demands..I so recognise this. Dd just goes into meltdown if you ask her more than 3 things at once. She genuinely cannot help it. The other flashpoint (well there are many, but this is a biggie) is transition. Moving from one activity to another without forewarning can result in meltdown too. She also needs plenty of forewarning about things in generally. Learning how to handle her has really helped the general level of stress in the house.
Feel free to pm me if you want. Hth. She's definitely not ASD, but is inclined to anxiety and wanting to fit in.
There's a wonderful book called The Red Beast which say it is for children with Asperger's Syndrome but is actually highly appropriate for any child who is struggling to manage their anger.
I used it with DD2 who does have AS when she was about 9 and it was life-changing for her. I can't recommend it enough.
My Ds finds transitions very hard as well - any tips on how to deal with it?
He says he hates X, when X is whatever activity is next, even when it's something he does actually like.
I would suggest you go to see you GP because the waiting time to see a paediatrician can be very long, so it's worth trying to get a referral now.
Forewarning works best for transitions. Start at least 2 hours before!
Sorry, Bunny HFA is High Functioning Autism - really another name for Asperger's.
Sorry for putting the boot in here but you say she gets overwhelmed by the demands - could it be your on her case a bit too much? (I understand how much of a nightmare it is to get them up dressed and out in a morning ) maybe you keep telling what she needs to be doing now/next coupled with hormones starting to kick in it all gets a bit much leading to a melt down.
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