Originally Posted by chillimom
sorry you're having a hard time mama (((hugs)))
From a totally different perspective: I'm parenting an explosive kiddo with autism, and a very intense "spirited" toddler. For both of them, when they tantrum or meltdown, I don't look at it as behaviour to be punished or controlled, in fact I don't use punishment with my kids. I view tantrums as communication - my kids are telling me "I can't cope and am overwhelmed". Punishment just teaches them to bottle up their feelings and stop asking for help, it doesn't address the underlying feeling or need that led to the meltdown in the first place, you know? When my kids lose it, I tend to be very sympathetic, and say things like "you're very sad/mad", "you're having big feelings", and immediately offer comfort and help - not the same as giving in. This is especially key with my 15 year old, who can beat the crap out of me, as he's the same size of me. If I can be "on his side", then he's going to cry and be sad and accept comfort until the emotional storm is over, and then we can work together to solve the problem. When he's tantruming, he's not thinking clearly, so being adversarial is NOT productive, or even safe. With my DD, who's only 2 and not aggressive, when she's melting down acknowledging her feelings and offering comfort while she gets ahold of herself is just as key. Once she's stopped the hysterics, her body is relaxing, and her breathing is slowing, then we problem-solve together. Because she's only 2, this usually involves me suggesting alternatives that she can choose from (I know you want to go for a walk, but it's very cold and rainy. How about a different outing? Should we go to the library or the petstore?), or using a "first/then" approach (first is supper, THEN you can have ice cream). I also am not afraid to admit that I've jumped the gun with my "no" (happens all the time, I tend to say "no" automatically), and change my answer ("I can tell it's really important to you to colour right now, I only said no because I'm a bit tired and have to cook dinner so can't watch you. Do you think you could colour in the kitchen while I cook dinner, so we're both happy?").
Anyway, some different books you might consider: Unconditional Parenting, Discipline without Distress, Raising the Spirited Child, The Explosive Child