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Extremely violent tantrums out of control. Desperately need help please.

(32 Posts)
makemineaquadruple Mon 08-Aug-11 20:12:16

Firstly, my dd is 4.9 and possibly has asd(mild) Mainly behaviour problems, social skills delay and repetative speech.

I was absolutely dreading her breaking up from school because I thought she'd be bored and need constant attention, which i obviously can't give all the time. She's actually been really good and I was wondering when the bubble was going to burst. Well it well and truely has exploded!!!

The last 4 nights have been a complete nightmare. I've been punched constantly, bitten to the point of drawing blood and needing medical assistance, scratched and constantly screamed at. Her behaviour is completely out of control and I have no idea what to do. I resort to shouting at her and restraining her purely for protection. Everytime she acts like this I promise myself that I wont lose my temper and every time I break that promise. I also say that she wont be having certain treats etc if she behaves like it again and she says that she wont and that she's really sorry. A few hours later and that's completely out of the window. She sometimes even laughs when she does it. If she's broken the skin she wants to see the blood, like she's proud of herself.

If you met her in the daytime(mostly) you'd be shocked because she's nothing like that. She's kind, thoughtful, gentle. It's almost like she has a split personality.

Please help someone. I really don't know what I can do anymore. It's getting to the point that I'm actually becoming scared of her. She's 4 remember. This is insane!

Thanks for taking the time out to read this.

LeninGrad Mon 08-Aug-11 20:18:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

utah Mon 08-Aug-11 20:31:11

the fact you bracket mild when in reality her autism is causing severe problems, is there anyway you can leave her and retreat to a seperate room to stop the reaction that she seems to need when she is stressed/ bored/ anxious. Does she need more structure of an evening maybe even a schedule. hoping is gets better for you both.

purplepidjin Mon 08-Aug-11 20:36:27

First off, short term strategies: put a system of rewards and consequences in place. Any incident of aggression - biting, kicking, even shouting and screaming - equals time out. If you have to empty her bedroom of all but the mattress, do so then hold the door closed for as short amount of time as possible. Any less serious but also undesirable behaviour means loss of a privilege. Slam down the (metaphorical) bars on hitting etc, it won't seem like it now but it truly is easier with a 4yo than a 12yo. Note the use of "easier" not "easy", but you can rant here.

Get yourself some respite - start the fight with Social Services, ask a friend or relative. Make sure you're in the best place possible to be calm at bed time because you are important. Respite is not a failure, it's a strategy to help your daughter.

Longer term, google Emotional Literacy and Social Stories to help teach her how to understand her emotions and those of others. This will also help you both to work out why she's getting so upset and frustrated. You might be able to find games and activities that will work short term, but I'm afraid I'm not up to date with what's out there sad sorry.

Stay strong, and get some strategies in place for you too wine and chocolate work for most people wink

coff33pot Mon 08-Aug-11 20:53:41

If my DS is having a meltdown I merely pick him up kicking and screaming and place him on his bed in his room. I then shut the door and sit on the other side of it to make sure he stays there.

He has been given 3 warnings with the consequence of time out being mentioned if he doesnt calm down and stop throwing things, or stop whatever he is doing.

There is nothing dangerous in his room. Just soft toys, his pillows and his quilt so he can charge around and yell and throw the soft toys as much as he likes. I keep repeating every 5 mins or so firmly but not shouting that when he calms down and apologises then we will talk. It has taken an hour or more sometimes, but it is safer for him in his room and because I am on the other side of the door I am able to stay calmer and more focused.

LeninGrad Mon 08-Aug-11 21:39:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

justaboutWILLfinishherthesis Mon 08-Aug-11 21:43:17

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coff33pot Mon 08-Aug-11 21:58:48

I tend to test the water, if he can be held then I hug him and he is only 6yrs but is very strong. The meltdowns are now few and far between since researching his issues and gradually pin pointing when he is close to getting wound up. Also I have DD to think about and cannot have her injured with flying misiles as she quite often becomes the target. It is also unfair to keep removing her from our company every time a meltdown occurs as it causes unrest between them as when I did do this she blamed him for ruining her fun and time with us all the time and like she quite rightly says she isnt the one melting down or is doing wrong. (he cant help it but that is how she sees the situation) So I have to put her safety first, and DS safety in the sense he cannot pull anything over that is going to hurt him as there is nothing in the room to cause him harm. He is not left on his own and he is not locked in, he knows it is me holding the door so he knows I am still there and quite often comes and sits the other side of the door and to be quite honest we have had some good talks together that way about the pros and cons of things. I think just hearing my voice with nothing else going on around him helps to defuse the situation quicker. Lately he has chose to take himself off to his room for a stomp with the door open so I am hoping that is a turnaround in him realising something of what he is feeling.

That is what works for me. But everychild is different and their issues and demands are different. I think its just the case of finding the right option for you smile

LeninGrad Mon 08-Aug-11 22:15:29

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LeninGrad Mon 08-Aug-11 22:17:08

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WilsonFrickett Mon 08-Aug-11 22:20:00

Oh God OP, DS just had a massive meltdown today, one of the worst for ages and ages. Just screaming 'I'm not tired' as we tried to do the normal bedtime routine, I am completely baffled as to where it came from, although he was particularly tired. Maybe too much birthday excitement?

Anyway, I lost my temper and shouted a lot. Then we both ended up crying. And DP was about as much use as a fart in a wetsuit, he then stalked off to bed himself leaving me crying in the living room! So, nothing helpful to add apart from 'it's not just you' sad

purplepidjin Tue 09-Aug-11 08:46:01

When you give a "hug", do it from behind. Grab the long bones of the forearms in opposite hands - you hold their right arm with your left hand and left arm with your right hand so that their arms are crossed over their abdomen - and tuck them into the soft tummy area. You can then duck your head out of the way of head butts, and either kneel behind them on the floor while they calm or put your foot between their legs and shift your weight back which unbalances them enough that you can move them if necessary.

Be very careful, I learnt all that (and more) on a week's course with lots of practising on compliant colleagues! But it has to be safer than getting stuff chucked at your head - and it's not easy to get that kind of training as a parent (it's not easy to get that kind of training unless you do a very specific job!! Mainstream TA's don't get it afaik)

makemineaquadruple Tue 09-Aug-11 11:14:46

Thanks for all your comments and advice.

I knew I wasn't alone and I understand that many of you are still finding the answers yourselves.

Normally I can cope with the violence, but as i mentioned before this is on another level completely. She woke up this morning in a weird mood. She wasn't being really naughty, but she wasn't making much sense and kept talking about random things that I either didn't understand atall or things that had happened months and months ago. She then started to latch onto me wherever I went and she's really tall for her age so I find it difficult to carry her atall anymore. She kept tugging and my clothes and whining constantly. She wasn't shouting or anything, but it was absolutely sending me mad!! Then she said she wanted to go on a dragon hunt(our chocolate hunting treat) and I explained to her that I said to her last night that if she didn't stop her violent behaviour then there would be no dragon hunt. Well as you know the behaviour didn't stop so I wasn't going to be doing any chocolate hunts today! I know many of you will say she wont remember and it's unfair to punish her for her behaviour the night before, but I know she understands right from wrong and I know she remembers last night very well. I'm wondering if maybe a chart might work. Does anyone think it's too late for that? I feel like things have spiraled so far out of control that nothing would work. That's how i'm feeling anyway, I know it's not a healthy attitude to have, but it's difficult to snap out of it.

I woke up this morning covered in scratch marks and bruises. This just doesn't feel like living.

I've got a hen weekend coming up, which i'm in charge of and she's supposed to be staying with my mum for the day and night. I'm terrified that she's going to be violent towards her and i'll end up just wanting to come home, which would be awful because i've been planning this for about a year. Dd's also flower girl at their wedding in a few weeks and i'm terrified that she'll ruin it with her tantrums. I'm maid of honour so I have duties. I can't be running after her all the time. I know people will offer to help, but it'll be my responsibility when all said and done and I wont be able to relax and do what I needs to be done.

I just feel like I can't look forward to anything anymore. Everything where I have to take dd with me gives me severe anxiety and I just feel so down and sad all the time.

WilsonFrickett Tue 09-Aug-11 11:43:16

FWIW I absolutely think it's right to carry on with a consequence if you believe that the child understands the reason behind it. DS not getting ipad or computer time today and he knows its because 'he did an arguement' last night.

Having said that, I think sometimes things do get in a downward spiral so might be worth going out this afternoon and burning off some energy, we're heading to a park we don't normally go to, so it feels a bit special and I know he'll be able to run around.

I would honestly try to stop worrying about the hen, you know DCs keep their worst behaviour for us and are usually good as gold elsewhere grin and to be honest it sounds like you need the break ((hug))

purplepidjin Tue 09-Aug-11 13:58:49

Always always carry through a consequence - you have done exactly the right thing. It's worth having a list of consequences you know you can carry through, though! It's no use saying "no tv" when actually dd watching a programme is the only peace you get to cook dinner, for example.

It's never too late to introduce a new strategy, or to try an old one again. DSIL is thinking of trying Chewellery again with DNiece because her current obsession is chewing electrical cables. They tried it before, but she wanted wood then so the texture wasn't right and the strategy didn't work. A year or so on, a different obsession, it's worth revisiting.

If it helps, my first job was with teens with AS and HFA. Often, the reward system I put them on was the first one they'd ever had - and it worked, even aged 14/15! Pick something that motivates the person, then target the behaviour you want to change, then represent it visually - if she likes "dragon hunts" for chocolate, maybe a cardboard Knight has to work his way along a path until he reaches the dragon in the castle; when the knight reaches the castle, DD gets her reward... Only you know how short or long term to make the reward. A bag of chocolate buttons every day might be better than a DVD every month, but it's up to you and her!

clangermum Tue 09-Aug-11 14:11:41

Haven't dealt with tantrums for a while, but can remember how awful it was. Mine just needed to discharge somehow - whatever sanction I laid down was never enough to stop them making some kind of physical move so one thing we had was an indoor trampette and that seemed to help, if they were sufficiently in control to agree to it. I remember reading somewhere that the jumping up and down is good for organising the brain. When they could do it, it seemed to diffuse the situation.

clangermum Tue 09-Aug-11 14:12:33

If necessary I'd carry them over to it and start them off!

clangermum Tue 09-Aug-11 14:16:29

Also meant to say, mine often started to tantrum because of sensory overload of some sort, so to counteract that they needed some kind of compensating input. One of them used to like being rolled in a yoga mat on the floor and pretended to be a hot dog, then i'd pretend to spread ketchup and mustard etc. by applying pressure along the length of the rolled up mat. Sounds weird but sometimes when they could sense they were feeling uneasy and about to kick off, they'd ask for me to do something like this to make them feel better. It was a way of heading things off.

LeninGrad Tue 09-Aug-11 18:33:57

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LeninGrad Tue 09-Aug-11 18:36:07

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LeninGrad Tue 09-Aug-11 18:39:26

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purplepidjin Tue 09-Aug-11 20:39:32

Teatowel over the face (placed, not held) for spitting, Lenin smile

LeninGrad Tue 09-Aug-11 21:00:54

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purplepidjin Tue 09-Aug-11 21:06:43

To stop the spit going any further than their own face grin Did it once at work blush and in the process found that the person calmed when in the dark grin

Chucking a duvet over a person (lying down) can often work too, blocks out all sensory input and stops interfering senior managers from asking the stressed person stupid questions before theyre ready to answer

LeninGrad Tue 09-Aug-11 21:11:39

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