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Massive aggressive meltdowns

(19 Posts)
PoppySausage Sat 24-Oct-15 18:40:13

Really really struggling. We are in Bruges and were just about to go out for a meal when dd (4.10) started stamping her feet. Lately, since starting school, she is losing her temper really easily. Anyway, this escalated quite quickly into a complete meltdown - screaming at the top of her voice, not letting me hold her hand, refusing to walk - imagine the scene, in the middle of the main square. Nice.

We are here with in laws and I decided a meal out was not a great idea as she is exhausted - first term at school, dh's birthday meals at night, travel here today so up since 6 which is very early for her. Etc etc. so I took her back to the hotel... Or tried to. I had to call dh half way back (yes, he left me to take her) as I couldn't move her and she was screaming like a banshee. He only just managed to carry her back

Now I feel the in laws and dh think I am a soft touch. He made a comment about not giving in every time. I don't think this was - she was a complete mess and I didn't fancy sitting in a restaurant with her like that. Actually, we wouldn't have got her in there, she was physically fighting is every step.

Now sitting in hotel room crying. Dh gone back. I told him not to bad mouth me or let them bad mouth me. Dd calm and asleep within 10 minutes of return.

Am I a soft touch? Would love to know how other people handle this. I don't think recognising an exhausted child and taking them back makes me bad but at the same time, is dh right in that she is walking all over me.

I'm exhausted

Ilikedmyoldusernamebetter Sat 24-Oct-15 18:52:40

You aren't a soft touch not to take a child having a melt down into a restaurant - to do so would have been monumentally unpleasant for everyone, including the other customers.

Are the meltdowns a recent thing? It might be worth chatting to a health visitor unless you see a clear link to being very overwhelmed and exhausted in the last month and a half.

My kids always get up and 6am and my youngest is the same age as your DD, and I hate it when anyone suggests going out for an adult timed evening meal, its a recipe for disaster. Getting better now but my older 2 are close in age and used until age 5 or 6 to get up nearer 5am than 6am - they really needed to be in bed at 7.30pm as keeping them up did nobody any favours and was no fun for me, as the one usually dealing with trying to keep them calm in the restaurant and with the broken night that always resulted from being overtired and then them being so overtired the next day too!

BitchPeas Sat 24-Oct-15 18:54:45

You are not a soft touch! Your DD is so young, her needs come first, end of! You recognised what was wrong and acted accordingly. That's being a good mother!

She sounds overtired. You did the right thing. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If they do bad mouth you they are dicks of the highest order! flowers
Have a nice bath and watch some crappy TV.

PoppySausage Sat 24-Oct-15 18:57:14

Thank you thank you! It would have been horrific and yes, me dealing as you say, leaving me strung out too.

I would say I am 90% sure it is exhaustion. Before school she would sleep 12-14 hours a night, laying in on the days she wasn't at pre school. So nice to hear what you say.

Sil had always taken her children out in the evening and I think their family think its the norm. My poor little dd turns into a complete demon. It's awful. If it was just a few tears then I wouldn't mind, but she would have screamed the place down

PoppySausage Sat 24-Oct-15 18:59:52

Thank you Bitchpeas! I smiled at that through the tears! I will be strong when the comments begin later. The thing that makes it worse is dh sees it as her winning some imaginary battle and that I am setting a precedent which I 100% disagree with.

Thanks both, so glad to be back to the hotel with the sound of her snoring. 12 hours sleep at least and a happy dd I should have.

Next time when I know she won't cope I will stay home

Kleinzeit Sat 24-Oct-15 19:56:43

Sheesh what would you have done with DD screaming her head off in the restaurant? If you’d been lucky she would have nodded off in a corner, but some kids will only sleep in a bed no matter how tired they are. Some kids are flexible to having their routine disrupted, some kids are accustomed to long evenings as part of their routine, perhaps your SIL’s kids are like that, well lucky her. Others are not. Your in-laws sound a bit rigid in their ideas.

If you like you can look down your nose and tell your in-laws that taking DD away and putting her to bed without supper was a punishment and they are a bunch of feeble slackers for letting a tantrumming toddler go out for dinner wink

ffffffedup Sat 24-Oct-15 20:17:34

Your not a soft touch at all clearly she was shattered I'd of done exactly the same in your position. Yes her outburst was not ideal and maybe a bit embarrassing. Is this type of meltdown regular or was this just a 1 off? I'd speak to her in the morning about what happened see if you can work out why she got so extreme and speak about dealing with feelings and her actions etc. Don't worry too much about it we've all been in a similar situations or at least i have quite a few times

PoppySausage Sat 24-Oct-15 20:47:25

Ha ha Kleinzeit! Nice spin on that! To be fair, sil came and checked on us when they were back. They're ok really thlwink

PoppySausage Sat 24-Oct-15 20:48:59

Ffffffedup - regular since school, once a week, but always when she has had too much on. I don't think she likes the busy busy. Things have been to over organised lately and I get the impression she is struggling with no choices

Goldmandra Sat 24-Oct-15 20:53:35

If your DH doesn't want to be in situations where he has to take a child in screaming meltdown back to the hotel, he should start considering more carefully what is an appropriate thing to do with said child in the first place.

He sounds like he needs to learn to pick his battles.

I have two DDs with AS. They have always had very firm, clear, consistent boundaries and knew the consequences of crossing them. However, they have also been easily overwhelmed by the sort of situation your DD was in today so I wouldn't have dreamed of trying to go out for a meal in the first place.

For a start, a meal out is meant to be a pleasant experience. Forcing a tired, overwhelmed, unsettled four year old to join you against her will is just plain stupid. Even if she had complied, she wouldn't have enjoyed the experience and neither would you (who, I assume, would have been responsible for ensuring she was polite and cooperative).

Children in true meltdown are not in control of their actions. They aren't screaming to get what they want. They have lost control. Removing them from the situation is not giving in; it is helping them to regain control.

Your DH needs to stop worrying about what other people think and put some energy into what the world looks and feels like from the point of view of a 4YO who is away from home after a long day of overwhelming new experiences. All behaviour is communication. Your DD was trying to communicate her distress and he chose not to listen.

LynetteScavo Sat 24-Oct-15 20:55:00

Well done for recognising she's exhausted.

Who on earth takes a four year old out to dinner when they've been up since six, unless they've had a massive siesta?

I would think trice about taking my 10 and 12 yo's out for dinner with in laws under those circumstances.

I think you and your DD are doing really well. You are by no means being soft. thanks

Fugghetaboutit Sat 24-Oct-15 20:58:53

You did the right thing, and the fact she zonked out so quickly tells you that.

My H is the same re battles and not letting them 'win'. Just ignore and follow your instinct.

PoppySausage Sat 24-Oct-15 21:14:00

Thank you so much everyone, I feel so much better and had a chat with dh about never leaving me to deal with that on my own when the only option is removal from the situation. I felt so alone.

Really appreciate the comment 'all behaviour is communication' - I will remember that vividly, and yes from her perspective today has been huge overload.

ffffffedup Sat 24-Oct-15 21:26:21

Sounds like it's taking a while for her to adjust to the full on schedule of full time school I'm sure things will calm down, at the risk of sounding patronising at 4 she's still a baby really. It's hard age they're suddenly babies 1 minute then expected to be big boys and girls ( I don't mean your dd specifically I mean all children similar age).

PoppySausage Sat 24-Oct-15 21:29:25

Yes, I think you're right. So emotional, exhausting, so many expectations. I am dreading it happening again, I can't get a grip on the right way to handle it

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Sat 24-Oct-15 21:35:19

Kids do this, the ones I see when out,.remind me of my own at that age, and how far they have come with age. I think you knew it would happen, and no one listened? Was DH annoyed that you were right? Tomorrow is another day!!

Castrovalva Sat 24-Oct-15 21:44:10

I can't get a grip on the right way to handle it

Well that isn't true for a start. You handled that PERFECTLY. Remove tired kid from situation and put into bed. No fuss, no bother.

You did that intuitively too, without the new knowledge you just found that her behaviour was communicating something to you. (That she was just too darn tired to take any more) so stop beating yourself up. You did great.

Also, it may help you to know that my angelic kid went utterly batshit in the first term of school and October half term was the absolute pinnacle of the WORST. They are just so totally exhausted by school it knocks them for six. I stopped all extracurricular stuff. Made sure Had one duvet day at least every weekend ( not too many activities or long walks) same in The holidays, and once she adjusted it improved massively. Was 100% better by January. Hang in there flowers

ffffffedup Sat 24-Oct-15 22:07:45

Agree with cast you handled it perfectly. I think when they're in screaming fighting banshee mode there's little you can do except remove from the situation like you did.

MyCatIsABiggerBastardThanYours Sat 24-Oct-15 22:25:41

My DC have often been the same. Both growing out of it now but DD in particular had some spectacular moments.

I do feel that when it is at the point they have lost control that they need the full reassurance that you are in control for them. What you did was doing just that, taking control, removing her and putting her to bed where she clearly needed to be. Well done you.

It really is one of the hardest things to deal with and you managed the best you could. Knickers to anyone else, you did exactly the right thing by removing your DD from a situation she could no longer deal with (and because she's only little just had no way of telling you how bloody tired and anxious she was other than tantrum).

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