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what exactly is a meltdown?

(14 Posts)
anniebear Fri 22-Apr-05 15:44:13

A lot of you mention it when talking about your child. Just wondered what it exactly meant.


LittleNjataNoMates Fri 22-Apr-05 17:05:27

Tantrum like no other! When they go completly bonkers! J smashes, kicks, bites, headbuts and screams like you've dipped him in boiling oil! Uncontrollable rage. K is very easy going and doesn't often have them!

macwoozy Fri 22-Apr-05 18:18:26

My ds hasn't got to the biting and kicking stage, yet, but when he goes off on one, there is nothing I can do or say to calm him, he just has to work it through himself. I'm guessing this is a meltdown. Fortunatly it doesn't happen often, but typically it will happen when I have a large audience.

essbee Fri 22-Apr-05 18:20:38

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Jayzmummy Fri 22-Apr-05 20:34:54

J's meltdowns are a bit different....we will get the temper outburst's evey day and I call them his frustrations which if we cant control will then escalate to a full blown meltdown.His meltdowns are really not nice to be around. He will start rocking back and forth....mumbles over and over again some incoherent jabber, he dribbles, he will soil himself, he doesnt know if anyone is there, he sort of slips into his own world...he will then become non-verbal and just screech and wail for a considerable time....its almost as if someone has flipped a switch and my wee man turns into another child. This can last all day or be over and done with in minutes, but for the remanider of the day J will be very subdued and most likely remain non-verbal.

Socci Fri 22-Apr-05 20:38:01

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misdee Fri 22-Apr-05 20:40:30

Jayzmummy, that sounds awful and must place you under a terrible strain and make u upset when J has a meltdown.

i thought terrible two tantrums were bad, but i would feel so useless if my children did that through no fault of their own.

i havent worded it well, but i know what i mean, i hope you do too.

coppertop Fri 22-Apr-05 20:42:55

Ds2's are like a very extreme form of toddler tantrums. He screams as though being murdered, throws himself against the wall/door repeatedly if we're at home, strips off if we're out and about and is generally unreachable during that time. His record so far is 1.5hrs but he's still young and there's plenty of time for him to work on it.

Ds1's meltdowns are now relatively rare but usually involve absolute fury with lots of throwing and sometimes hitting out. We're lucky that he seems to recognise when he's about to explode and takes himself off to his box to calm down.

anniebear Fri 22-Apr-05 20:44:51


A friend asked me today and I pretty much said a few things what you have put down, but said I will check with the experts (you!!)

LittleNjataNoMates Fri 22-Apr-05 20:47:07

oh, Jayzmummy, that is awful, for him and for you, I can't imagine how I would feel to watch my child in that situation. my ds rage I can cope with, but that must be so emotionally painful for you and your dh to go thru. xxx

Davros Fri 22-Apr-05 21:03:58

God Jayzmummy, that sounds really scary.
For us DS, who is nearly 10, seems to get into a mood, I can almost feel the tension. He will then start howling, screaming, hitting himself. He can start this all alone in a room with no recognisable triggers although I'm sure there are triggers, they've just become extremely subtle/obscure as he's got older. He doesn't tend to hit other people although he has been doing that just recently in a more sensory/tic-like way (and worries me shitless about not being welcome at any of the activities he attends inc school, see Jimjams post a couple of days ago where she said the same). Anyway, his record is 5 hours!!!
When he was younger he had more recognisable tantrum-like behaviour which you could connect to not getting what he wanted, being expected to do something he didn't want to etc (unmet demands and task avoidance I think?). Its not like that now. When he starts off, nothing you do makes any difference, hence the 5 hour one! As our children get older I think tension and anxiety, whether they can express it verbally or not, have a huge role to play for many of them, not all as I know lots of kids who don't do this. Lucky me, I've got the master! (not the Dr Who one )

TheRealMrsF Fri 22-Apr-05 21:18:55

Leigh has his worst meltdowns whenever we change plans (had one the other day co i decided to go home via tesco (to get rolls for burgers...which he LOVES)....yet he 'still' had a meltdown because we normally go straight home! (i was knocked sideways by this as i stupidly thought he'd be keen as he loves burgers in a roll)

He also meltdowns if his playstation stops in the middle of a game etc...or if someone sits where he sits etc

TheRealMrsF Fri 22-Apr-05 21:20:38

yes...jaysmum...that is something i have not least you understand him....

KarenThirl Sat 23-Apr-05 09:30:23

J has only recently started to have meltdowns, and it was pretty scary the first time. Fortunately I'd read a bit about them and was sort of prepared, but it was still a shock to see him so out of control.

He will scream and scream ear-shatteringly loudly, throw things (including smaller items of furniture), slam doors and stamp his feet. He has had me pinned into a corner, kicking and hitting me till I'm black and blue. It's always my fault for bringing on the tantrum too, something that he perceives I've done and I have to just accept this as part of his anger rather than reasoning with him, as nothing will get beyond his rage while it's in full swing. He also likes to watch himself in the mirror while he's crying, which escalates it because he's making it happen so that he can see it, iykwim.

Unlike many other children J has to be helped through his tantrums and can't come down by himself. I've tried leaving him to 'burn it out' but it only results in him getting higher and higher. Instead I have to talk calmly to him and be in the room so that he can come and hug me if and when he feels that's right, though often he's hugging and hitting me at the same time out of frustration. Lately he's come to accept my suggestions of taking deep breaths and counting to ten (part of the anger-management work we've been doing recently), so the rages are not lasting so long atm.

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