"Wow, you're having such a gooood day Hunter!!!!" - I try to affirm him, but in the back of my mind, I know its just a matter of time, before the next melt down hits! Is it his age or is it part of his "thing"? Yes, people say its "age appropriate" but the daily melt downs have been happening since he was tiny. It's just now he's getting bigger, longer, and stronger and I don't know how to manage it. Staying consistent in disciplining can be so tiring. I rather zone out, walk away and watch crap TV, or get on my phone to help me decompress and catch my breath. I'm learning to tune it out, but it's so hard to watch and listen to. He's now hitting walls, slamming doors and arching his back, collapsing to the ground to where I cant pick him up. The questions that run through my mind are: Is he frustrated? Will he snap out of it? Can I rationalize with him? Is he hearing me? Is he understanding my instructions to help him navigate through the melt down? Do I punish him? Do I put him on a "break"? Do I leave him alone? Do I incentive him? Do I promise him a "treat" a "present" if he snaps out of it? Does that condone bad behavior? How is it that Isla, his little sister still hasn't had any melt downs nowhere near the ones that Hunter has. The worst part is being fearful to go out in public. If I don't go out in public out of fear of him "running" or having a "freak out" - then I become a shut in, like I feel that I am. I have to mentally prepare to do anything outside of our normal routine, which is school, work, pick up and home. To go to the park, the mall, a movie, or run an errand is so different then taking Isla somewhere. She listens, even if she freaks, its manageable. Her biggest melt downs are curved with different tones used to teach her to listen.
I'm really trying to figure out what it is that he needs. Does he need me at home, to hold him more, do I diffuse melt downs with hugs and patience, do I show him that I'm the one that has to help guide him through these times and if he trusts me, he will be just fine going through it? OR does that give him more incentive to treat me like a door mat?
It definitely adds a layer of stress on the relationship. Luckily, Jody and I know how to be a team and have had so many years of working, playing and hanging together that we click and vibe out so well. When you throw a child who is acting out behaviorally, it definitely doesn't add peace to the equation, it adds a little more chaos and triggers fuses to shorten quickly. Luckily, ,during these times one of us has more patience then the other. (usually Jody ha!)
What I do know, is that Jody and I have successfully worked as a team and have done our best to be strong in front of our kids, remain as a unit, and even a little bit of shade during those stressful moments toward each other are quenched with love. It takes time, but we reset when he is calm and we laugh later when recapping the day about what a $#i! show we just experienced. Then we wait for the next day to come to do it all again.
Anyone else experience these melt downs? I'm hoping with more speech therapy and the ability to communicate/express himself, the melt downs and frustration will subside. So, I hope.
I have lots of questions and the only way to get these questions answered are to continue to go through the days and see what happens over time. Luckily, he is one sweet, happy ish, healthy kid.
I'm curious to hear how others discipline and manage melt downs.
Feel free to share.