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First major meltdown - bit long, sorry

(8 Posts)
KarenThirl Thu 10-Mar-05 11:48:21

J had his first major meltdown last night, and it was a doozie. Ironically it began while doing something that usually calms him down – homework – and set him off on an hour’s rampage of screaming, punching, kicking and attempting to destroy the house. God, if this is what he’s like at six we could have no home left by the time he reaches ten.

J usually does a page each of his science and maths workbooks most nights, and I mark the first while he gets on with the second. He got a couple of answers wrong but I made the mistake of telling him so when he’d got himself focused on his maths – and all Hell broke loose (I won’t be doing THAT again). The change was instantaneous and even though he knew that he’d lose his reward of playing on the computer if his homework wasn’t done, I still couldn’t bring him back down. I was then stuck with the predicament of whether or not I should relent and let him have his computer time regardless, but knowing J that would probably lead to him trying the same thing on regularly as he’s not averse to a bit of manipulation if he thinks he can get away with it. So I carried on, trying to explain to him that all we had to do was look again at the work and then the computer was his. No dice. This went on for an hour and his confusion and frustration were painful to watch – he’d come and sit on my lap and hug me tight, while at the same time trying to push me away or thump me in the back. He obviously didn’t know what would help to make him feel better, other than the computer of course.

Eventually I ran a bath (as much for my benefit as his, I was utterly wiped by this time) and tried to persuade him that it might help to calm him down but he wouldn’t be coerced. Finally I suggested reading to him and he began to calm down. I promised that I’d finish off last night’s chapter of Goblet of Fire on the condition that he tried his best to settle down before we began – bless his heart, he stood there holding my hands, breathing deeply and counted to ten! Unfortunately he expected to feel ‘normal’ again by the time he reached ten and when he didn’t he simply went ballistic again. Still, he kept trying and gradually brought himself back down to earth.

So we read, had a bath, talked a little about what had happened and we hugged and reminded each other how much we love each other. We reached a compromise that we would have ten minutes of playing a computer game together and he seemed happy with that, then we went to bed to read some more. He went to sleep calm and much happier.

Just before midnight he appeared beside my bed, crying and whimpering and saying that he felt sad but didn’t know why. He climbed in beside me and held on tight, but wouldn’t leave even after a comforting cuddle. In the end I had to go to his bed with him and lie with him until he fell asleep – completely unprecedented.

This morning he couldn’t remember getting up in the night or feeling sad, but could remember the tantrum clearly. Even so he felt happy that it was over and seemed fine. Until he had the next tantrum, that is, again because he didn’t eat breakfast in time to play on the computer before getting ready. This wouldn’t have bothered him two weeks ago.

I’m astonished at how far things have deteriorated in the space of about four weeks. James never even had temper tantrums as a toddler, but suddenly they’re an everyday part of our lives and getting steadily worse. The only explanations I can think of are that perhaps his levels of fish oil have dropped significantly now that he’s been off them for three months, or that his condition has deteriorated naturally.

I know this is nothing compared to what some of you have been dealing with for years, but it’s a significant step up for us and I just needed to offload. I reckon I truly am an AS mum now.

coppertop Thu 10-Mar-05 12:17:56

Lots of sympathy. Meltdowns are an absolute nightmare.

Do you use visual timetables at all? I found these really useful when ds1 was at his worst. He always knew what was coming next because he could go and check the strip of pictures. It also helped when we needed to change something, eg not go to the shops as usual because of a storm etc. He doesn't necessarily like the routine change but the fallout isn't as bad when he knows that the change is coming.

KarenThirl Thu 10-Mar-05 12:34:15

That's just the problem, coppertop - this all happened in the middle of what's been our routine for months now so it was all on his timetable anyway. I admit to doing something to trigger the blowup on this occasion, but it's something I've done many, many times before without incident. Can't see how it could have been avoided, tbh. I think it's just an indicator of how things are moving at present.

MOMMALIS Thu 10-Mar-05 12:58:59

Hey Karen ,
Just want you to know your not alone my ds has meltdowns usually if there's a slight change to his routine or sudden noises.
They have lessened lately as he attends a fantastic school fulltime and also by using his pecs symbols and schedule boards.
Hang in there ,we may not always think there's reasoning behind these meltdowns but too our kids there is ,it's just been able to fathom them outand i still struggle .

coppertop Thu 10-Mar-05 13:30:47

Ds1 tends to 'blow' out of the blue when he is tired or feeling off-colour (no that he ever bothers to tell us if he's tired or ill!). Every little thing seems to get blown up out of proportion and there is no stopping him. Ds2 is just the same. Screaming, kicking, hitting, headbanging etc. We still haven't figured out many of ds2's triggers though so it's much harder with him than ds1.

beccaboo Thu 10-Mar-05 20:27:07

Hi Karen. This sounds difficult. You could be right about the fish oils - or has your ds been eating anything new? I think MSG and artificial sweeteners/colours etc can cause problems for some kids....just a thought.

By the way, i just read your other thread. With a word like 'puggled' you've got to be in Scotland!!?

Chocol8 Thu 10-Mar-05 20:44:15

This is a familiar story - i'm sure i have posted some like this in the past! Isn't it lovely just to type it out and leave it there, i find it quite calming.

My ds went completely off the rails twice before I realised it was a reduction in his fish oils (EyeQ at the time) causing it. They were particularly bad meltdowns and ended up with me taking a severe battering.

He is having a bad patch again - for the last week or so - but it's not due to lack of oil this time. I have heard of a few friends children having a bad time at the moment - what's the moon up to at the moment?

Ds also has those moments when he is really sorry for what he's done and cries and cries but then can turn into Dr Jeckyll again very quickly. As you say, you are now a truly an AS mum now!

KarenThirl Fri 11-Mar-05 07:58:16

Thanks Beccaboo. J hasn't been eating anything new - food is a minefield and always has been so he has a very rigid diet. Doesn't even like sweets or pop and nothing with iffy additives in it (I went through everything for his first assessment and eliminated the lot). No, I'm not in Scotland (Gateshead, actually). Maybe 'puggled' is a throwback to a childhood full of Oor Wullie and The Broons!

C8 - I reckon you're right about the fish oil. J was on Eye Q all last year and it calmed him down dramatically in the beginning, but the effects soon wore off even though I was giving him higher dose than recommended (or maybe because of?). I took him off Eye Q just before Christmas on the advice of the HV so that the assessment could see him in all his glory - my belief is that it's taken this long for the drop in levels to register and that's what's flipped him out. There have been no changes to his routine and this upswing in his behaviour has been coming on for several weeks, each tantrum more severe than the preceding one. Curiously, he never had tantrums before but these ones are doozies. Anyway, first batch of Eskimo Kids arrived yesterday and (Thank You Jesus) he quite likes the taste and is taking it no bother. Let's hope it works.

Thanks for the input guys. Really appreciated.

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