Thursday, January 29, 2009

testing, testing

So I haven't really mentioned it, but Super Q is a closet psychopath. Maybe not a psychopath, but dude. Such a temper, so fickle, so adept at pushing my buttons. And so well-behaved at school!

I was listening to our local access radio station today and heard this woman, Patty Wipfler, (her website is talking about the kinds of reactions Super has all day long to anything that doesn't go his way. I thought she had some very interesting ideas. Maybe a little NewAgey, I don't know.

Her take is that when kids are in the middle of a power struggle, whining, or a big meltdown, their brains are not engaged. They are really, truly "out of their minds." They need a mental and physical connection with a parent, a little reassurance, some hugs, a hand hold, something like that. They may push you away. They may not immediately snap out of it; in fact, they may cry more for awhile to "dump" their emotions. But then they will snap out of it and be much more agreeable afterward. Super Q has shown some symptoms of feeling disconnected and alone when he's melting down, so I'm going to try this system. Any other ideas?


Patty O. said...

You know, years ago, I probably would have though her ideas were crazy, but I have actually seen this work with my kids. Even Danny who especially seems to dislike being touched when he is upset, will often respond to this sort of thing. Yes, he does push away, but he does also seem to calm down more quickly. As dumb as this sounds, sometimes also what works with him is to just sit quietly in his room while he rages. For some reason, me being there (though not so great for my nerves) seems to help him get over it more quickly. I don't know if it is because he feels as if he is being listened to?

Charlotte especially responds well to being touched. Again, it is not always immediate, but she perceptibly relaxes and calms when being touched.

I just read a book you might find interesting called "no more meltdowns" by Jed Baker. I like his approach because it centers around changing the atmosphere and also teaching kids alternate ways to deal with certain triggers. It takes work and a lot of discussion with the kid and coaching (at times other than when they are freaking out) but is does make a lot of sense. I am going to try and implement these strategies. Sorry this is so long!

Queen Scarlett said...

I need this... thank you. K tends to do going to try this.

pianogal said...

We have our own little "psychopath" as well and have seen some of the same issues. I know where you're coming from. The physical connection thing has worked well for us - just taking a break from trying to talk him through it so much and putting an arm around him, letting him cry, etc. It's not always a guaranteed remedy, but it has worked. You kind of have to catch them early in the downward spiral toward the totally-freaking-out point. Call me sometime and we can talk about some more stuff we've learned (too much to write!).

prism said...

Two of my four are susceptible to major meltdowns - I mean, major - especially the older of the two. He would go on for an hour sometimes and there was NO reasoning with him. We very nearly took him to see a doctor about it.

Thankfully, he's grown out of most of it (he's 12 now) - just grumbles and becomes pessimistic and sometimes spews a little name-calling.

The younger is still a real challenge, especially if he doesn't get his way. I'll have to try this with him - if it works, it will solve a lot of problems. The only thing that really worked with the other was to leave him be for a while and give him time to think about it and decide for himself how he wanted to be.