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Old 11-14-2012, 03:06 PM   #31
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Re: Mommy Mistake - How To Fix? Took Away 5yo's Birthday Party

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I have a freight train kiddo too. Mine is almost seven and is doing great, but he lives life with a certain intensity that can be both charming and challenging. I do not know what the right thing is for your child, but my son would do best if I admitted I overreacted. As someone prone to overreaction himself, he is quite forgiving about such things.

Can I suggest the book, "The Explosive Child." I have a whole shelf of similar titles, but this book has really turned things around for my son. I feel like it gave us permission to do what we already knew worked for my son and let go of the idea that we had to be in control. When we let that idea go and tried to really listen to him and work together to find a way for things to work for everyone, life got a lot better. It has allowed him to practice problem solving instead of practicing being as stubborn as possible. The world is very black and white to him and when he perceived some terrible injustice, he couldn't just let it go. We have actually gone away from using rewards and punishments at all which was hard for us, but was the right thing for our son.

Six months ago, I hated being his mother. I loved him, I was 110% committed to him, but I was not enjoying parenting him. I told my husband it was like being in an abusive relationship that I wasn't allowed to leave. My husband was shocked i would say such a thing, but it was really how i felt. Things are so different now. My husband and I are genuinely enjoying raising our intense little man. Our son is happy and cooperative. His siblings aren't dealing with the stress of having a sibling who cries and yells and fights everything.

All of that to say I recommend reading "the explosive child." I don't know if it will help your family as much as it helped mine, but its worth a try!

ETA: One premise of the strategies presented in this book is that if a child can do well, he will do well. Children who are not doing well are lacking the skills they need to do so. Accepting this changed the way I felt about my son. Some kids have trouble learning to read, some have trouble with math. My kiddo needed some extra help in just handling frustration.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:32 PM   #32
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Re: Mommy Mistake - How To Fix? Took Away 5yo's Birthday Party

I'll be offline now for awhile, but wanted to say thanks agian and keep the discussion rolling. I'll be back tomorrow to check in. I've appreciated everyone's comments and insight to their difficult child(ren).

DH and I will talk tonight. Decide if we want to scale back the party, eliminate it, proceed with it, and get on the same page with dealing with her.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:26 PM   #33
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Re: Mommy Mistake - How To Fix? Took Away 5yo's Birthday Party

This is what I would probably do:

If part of the trouble is that I don't follow through with the "threat", I would actually follow through but still do something family orientated for the birthday. Maybe even have a day just the two of us and make her feel special. (Could be that tantrums are her way to get attention among her siblings. My brother was notoriously bad because he craved attention from my mother. Well she only had time to deal with misbehavior.)


If truly the whole situation (on both sides) got out of hand and she was set up to fail (BTDT with my oldest and bedtime), then I would have a heart to heart with her. Apologize for where you went wrong, potentially reinstate the birthday but together come up with another consequence that fits the "crime."
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:45 PM   #34
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Re: Mommy Mistake - How To Fix? Took Away 5yo's Birthday Party

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Just wanted to chime in and say that isolating her in her room does not work. She will panic. It's horrid. She's so out of control that she physically won't stop screaming and crying. We've tried it many times with the same results every single time. She will quit 10 times quicker if I am physically in her presence. I'm open to trying it again, though.

...
I don't have a 5yr old or spirited child, so feel free to ignore my opinion , but could her super-freak-out when you put her alone in her room be anger at losing her audience - and therefore be a good thing to ignore? Is your DH able to put her in her room alone and have her eventually calm down?

It might/probably will take a lot of effort, but I assume having some consistent way of dealing with these tantrums that doesn't take up all your time and energy is needed - I'm sure it is wearing you down and I hope you can find a solution that gives you a breather/break! Good for you & your DH for continuing to try things!
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:46 PM   #35
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Re: Mommy Mistake - How To Fix? Took Away 5yo's Birthday Party

I have a 4 year old that is just the same throws the in the floor kicking screaming tantrums if you put him in his room he will through stuff and it can last for forever. One day when I told home to stop he looked at me and calmly said "I can't I'm upset." And went back to the fit. That's when i told him there are other ways to show that you are upset. We decided that when he was upset he could cross his arms and have a sad face. The first few times I had to remind him that's not how we show we are upset. But about a month or so later he was in the floor throwing a fit and I said that's not how we show were upset he stoped said "I'm not upset I'm mad" and went back to the fit. So we had to come up with a way to show when he is mad. The other thing that has worked is talking to the dog when he is mad at me and doesn't want to talk to me about it.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:59 PM   #36
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Idk. But for me- it must not be as important to her as it is to you. So I would just do a very small thing- but still cake and a present.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:19 PM   #37
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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
This. I don't have anywhere near this mama's experience, but I think she's got the ticket.

OP, you might also consider subscribing to the Aha Parenting email newsletter/tips. I recently did and love it.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:38 AM   #38
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Re: Mommy Mistake - How To Fix? Took Away 5yo's Birthday Party

but could her super-freak-out when you put her alone in her room be anger at losing her audience - and therefore be a good thing to ignore?

It looks more like anxiety to me. Like actual, sheer panic, not just over the top anger. Her tone changes, her screaming changes, everything changes when she's isolated.

Last night when I got home she threw a fit because I refused to take her to my parent's house to help them move some furniture. She followed me out of the house screaming 'I hate you," while a couple of joggers ran by. Awesome. DH said she tantrummed for a good while, but eventually calmed down and was good the rest of the evening.

When I got home it was almost bedtime, so I sat her down and talked to her for awhile. We agreed to swap her birthday party for no TV all weekend. I didn't think she'd understand the idea of trading a punishment, but she did. This punishment doesn't exactly fit the crime either, but I'm going to run with it this time.

Of course, she's not easily discouraged, so naturally she started up again first thing this morning. She wants me to pick out her clothes and dress her. I will gladly pick out her clothes, but I refuse to dress her. I told her if she chose to scream at me and cry that she was choosing for me to leave the room. So I left the room. She chased me out screaming at me and continued to scream at me for 15 minutes before deciding to dress herself. I warned her that she better be dressed completely by the time I had the other 2 kids loaded in the car. She got mostly there, but had to be physically carried out.

When she was mostly calm I simply said that I can't do anything for her when she screams and cries and left it at that.

This little girl is starved for my attention. In the hours that I am home on any given day, she eats up probably 2/3rds of my time and EVERYONE ELSE gets the other third. My middle child wanders around the house keeping herself busy because I can hardly make time for her and my wonderfully, patient newborn is content to wait his turn. Hubby gets almost no time from me at all. DD is just so starved for attention. I make time for her, but it's never enough. Every single day starts with drama and her trying to milk as much of my attention as she can at the expense of everyone else in the house. She's the first one to come running when I get home at night and she takes it personally when I have to do something like make dinner and can't focus entirely on HER. I'm just so tired and drained. Sometimes I half wish we hadn't had other children because it's been nothing but misery since we did.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:43 AM   #39
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Re: Mommy Mistake - How To Fix? Took Away 5yo's Birthday Party

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.

What would be the appropriate thingn to say/do when she insists that I help her do something she is capable of doing herself, like picking out clothes and dressing? I only have X number of minutes to get ready every morning and I can't build in an extra 30 minutes to deal with a meltdown and I do draw the line at doing everything for her.

I also suspect she has a red dye sensitivity. No one believes me. They all think I'm nuts. She had strep last week and the antibiotic is pink and her behavior has been nightmarish since she started it. DH also bought her purple gatorade when I told him red was off limits. Um, hun, what colors make purple?? Gah! I'm just so tired and burnt out.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:53 AM   #40
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Re: Mommy Mistake - How To Fix? Took Away 5yo's Birthday Party

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Originally Posted by badmisterkitty View Post
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.

What would be the appropriate thingn to say/do when she insists that I help her do something she is capable of doing herself, like picking out clothes and dressing? I only have X number of minutes to get ready every morning and I can't build in an extra 30 minutes to deal with a meltdown and I do draw the line at doing everything for her.

I also suspect she has a red dye sensitivity. No one believes me. They all think I'm nuts. She had strep last week and the antibiotic is pink and her behavior has been nightmarish since she started it. DH also bought her purple gatorade when I told him red was off limits. Um, hun, what colors make purple?? Gah! I'm just so tired and burnt out.
I pick my battles. DD never wanted to dress her self so I did it for her and slowly worked up to her doing it all. I would maybe do everything but her socks one day, and ask her to do that part while I fix her breakfast or turn on cartoons and slowly adding more each day. We have gotten to the point she dresses herself and eats breakfast but does it while watching cartoons. It's only 20 minutes and it saves everyone's sanity.
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