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    #131997 - 06/16/12 11:05 AM Re: Tantrums and Over Reacting [Re: tinymoonbeams]
    fwtxmom Offline

    Registered: 03/07/12
    Posts: 154
    Loc: N. TX
    I am familiar with HALT from working with recovering addicts. Never thought about its applicability to kids but I can certainly see it now!

    #131998 - 06/16/12 11:25 AM Re: Tantrums and Over Reacting [Re: tinymoonbeams]
    Pemberley Offline

    Registered: 08/07/11
    Posts: 739
    I have found the key is to identify DD7's triggers and focus on avoiding these reactions since trying to calm her down during an episode is SO hard. She literally cannot hear us through her own screaming and I think being so out of control probably scares her as much as whatever set her off in the first place. We have made clear to her that these reaction never help and have worked with her on understanding that while feeling frustrated, angry or scared is ok she needs to focus on using her words or utilizing self calming strategies whenever possible. I think her intellect is helpful because she is able to understand and apply these strategies more effectively than a more "typical" kid.

    A close friend, who was also DD's preschool teacher and probably knows her as well as I do, has pointed out an important distinction between "tantrums" and "meltdowns". DD does not throw a fit because she is not getting her own way, which my friend calls a tantrum. Instead she is feeling unsafe somehow and has reached the end of her ability to use the coping strategies that she possesses. At this point she loses it and has a "meltdown". She pointed out that these reactions never occur when DD "is feeling safe and secure."

    I have argued effectively with her school that if she has one of these episodes it is an indication that her anxiety has been triggered and is not an example of bad behavior. She is incredibly eager to please so punishing the behavior makes the anxiety even worse. After a particularly bad series of events which triggered numerous meltdowns in a month the director of special services for our town wrote a letter acknowledging that their responses violated the terms of her IEP. By focusing on anxiety reduction and proper differentiation my happy, easy going little girl is back for the most part. It has been months since anything even close to a meltdown has occurred.

    Evemomma: I LOVE your quote: "Overstimulation paired with frustration sometimes makes for disaster in sensitive kids." I also love the physiology lesson idea. I bet understanding why her body is reacting that way will make it easier for her to identify triggers earlier. Thank you!

    #132176 - 06/19/12 08:49 AM Re: Tantrums and Over Reacting [Re: jenbrdsly]
    Madoosa Offline

    Registered: 02/20/11
    Posts: 710
    Loc: South Africa
    Originally Posted By: jenbrdsly
    Tantrums and gifted children is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart. There was a workshop at SENG last year in Seattle where the speaker talked about mindfulness and tantrums. I wrote up my notes here: Tantrum Solutions?

    One of the ideas from the SENG conference was to make a labyrinth, but that was a bust for us. Remembering the acronym HALT has been much more helpful. HALT stands for Hungry Angry Lonely Tired.

    Mom to 3 gorgeous boys: Aiden (8), Nathan (7) and Dylan (4)

    #132288 - 06/20/12 06:59 PM Re: Tantrums and Over Reacting [Re: tinymoonbeams]
    skyward Offline

    Registered: 03/23/08
    Posts: 123
    Loc: midwest
    Thank you for this post! It was very helpful tonight as DD3 had a complete melt down. Which is somewhat normal for kids but the intensity catches us off guard.I was starting to think what am I going to do this is not normal and it was nice to read all these posts about the tantrums. It reminded me to take a breath and use the skills we have learned over the years.

    So maybe it will be helpful to someone else. I have noticed that they get overstimulated after being in situations where they have to try very hard to fit in, behave, not be so loud, intense, active.

    Example waiting rooms public places that are generally very quiet where they can not move around a lot and are not very engaged. For many of you with older kids this would be the case at school! After holding it together for too long they just cant take it anymore. One of the things we have found that works is to do some sensory related things. Tonight we ended up taking everything out of DD3s room, toys, clothes that were out, extra blankets, stuffed animals. So it was just walls and bed and one very soft blanket and pillow and one favorite animal if necessary.

    The point is to make the room as UN-stimulating as possible. We dim the lights and turn on soft music. Then we do some sensory stuff like lightly squeezing their arms from the top of the arm to the hand, rubbing their hair back, or patting their back. If they are really having a hard time I would rock them, even the older kids, pretty quickly and then slow down as they relax. For babies I would roll them on my excersize ball. These and some other OT techniques can work pretty well on our kids. By the time we did this DD3 was asleep. If we don't do anything once they are that far gone it can get pretty overwhelming for us parents and it is not pleasant for the children.

    A lot of these techniques can also be used way before they get into melt down mode. Our older kids are pretty good at noticing their own signs and will ask to have their arms squished or whatever works for them. Some kids like to jump on a trampoline or swing for a period of time earlier in the day each day to avoid melt downs. Having an older child roll on the ball is fun too.

    I have thought about this a lot and I think the behavior is from a build up of intensity. Sometimes from a lack of stimulation and sometimes from too much. I have worked extensively with people with autism and special needs and I see definite parallels in children in the gifted community. In children with autism it can be from the frustration of not being able to communicate with others around them way they need to?

    A lot of the things that are helpful in that population can be adapted to working with gifted kids and teaching them to self regulate their own behavior and develop ways to better control their own impulses and be more aware of how their environment affects them so they can make changes in their environment that are helpful and find ways to meet their own needs as they get older.

    In our experience these skill have to be very actively taught and the earlier they learn how to do this the calmer they are. I am curious if this output of intensity is more severe the more profoundly gifted a child is, or maybe it is just more personal temperament? Hope this is helpful, good topic!

    #133366 - 07/06/12 06:45 AM Re: Tantrums and Over Reacting [Re: Dude]
    Dude Offline

    Registered: 10/04/11
    Posts: 2856
    Originally Posted By: Dude
    Originally Posted By: Evemomma
    I show kids a cup and explain that everyone's cup gets filled daily with stressss and frustrations (and I make examples of these things while filling the cup with water). I explain that some people's cups are naturally more "prefilled" than their threshold to overflow is much lower. My challenge to them is to start recognizing when their cup is more than half full and try to empty some of the water then before it feels too late.

    My DD is a visual learner... I am soooooo using this. Thanks.

    Follow up... I've described this to my DD7, and she has used this concept twice successfully. The big success was Independence Day, when an incident left her with a minor burn and a whole lot of outrage. Once the burn had been seen to and we'd talked a bit about what happened, she declared, "I NEED TO POUR OUT MY CUP!" She picked an activity, and I joined her in channeling that rage at Lego Death Eaters.

    Thanks again.

    Edited by Dude (07/06/12 06:46 AM)

    #133369 - 07/06/12 07:15 AM Re: Tantrums and Over Reacting [Re: tinymoonbeams]
    Evemomma Offline

    Registered: 05/17/12
    Posts: 451
    Dude...that gave me chills (of happiness). Thanks for letting me know!

    #133698 - 07/10/12 09:10 AM Re: Tantrums and Over Reacting [Re: tinymoonbeams]
    CCN Offline

    Registered: 06/25/12
    Posts: 978
    Loc: BC, Canada
    My two kids are both really tantrum/meltdown prone as well. It's gotten better as they've aged (8 & 9 now), but when they were younger they were far more reactive and emotional than other kids - it was hard to deal with. I got many of the "control your kids" looks and comments from strangers and friends alike.

    Anyway, relating specifically to boys... my DS8 has gotten more mellow as he's aged, but can still kick up a fit. He has specific triggers:

    -being misunderstood
    -being told what to do
    -low blood sugar
    -hurt feelings
    -being wrongly accused of something

    He doesn't have a full meltdown for every trigger, but these are some of the things that elicit an exaggerated emotional response from him. Sometimes it's just a raised voice, sometimes it's tears, sometimes tears and wailing (at which point I can't reach him and have to let him cry it out for a minute), and sometimes it's tears, yelling and kicking (I've had to physically drag him away from the school, for example, because he's melted down over something like not being allowed to have a play date).

    (At the other end of the spectrum he can be excessively happy and silly, so I'm just used to his extremes. This is true of my daughter as well).

    What works best for his tantrums is the same approach for when he gets too silly - I use a clear, low, calm voice and talk him down. The more logical I am, the more able I am to reach him. I have to give him a reason that he agrees with to get him to calm down - he refuses to comply otherwise.

    Worth noting is that no one (educators, etc) has suggested that he be assessed for ODD - his teachers all describe him as friendly and happy (with attention issues and impulsiveness, and some good natured insubordination). Grade 1 brought out some bouts of sadness in class, but grade 2 was markedly better.

    Anyway... (I'm sorry - I babble :-) If you made a list of your son's triggers, would you find something that's changed?

    Edited by CCN (07/10/12 09:36 AM)

    #133703 - 07/10/12 09:31 AM Re: Tantrums and Over Reacting [Re: tinymoonbeams]
    CCN Offline

    Registered: 06/25/12
    Posts: 978
    Loc: BC, Canada
    Originally Posted By: tinymoonbeams

    Mainly - how do you react to a child who over reacts so out of proportion the moment it happens when he/she seems so hard to reach and so caught in the moment and emotions?

    (me again, lol)

    Ok for these moments specifically (been there many times, with both kids) this is what I do:

    -I remove them from whatever environment they're in (I've had to drag my son away from the school playground, for example). At home we either stay put or go to another room if friends are present.

    -I wait a minute or so to let them process their feelings. This is particularly important with DS8 - I have to let him "tantrum" for a minute or two before I have any hope of reaching him.

    -I get down to his/her level so that my face is close to theirs. The reason is that I need them to hear me, and if I shout over the meltdown, it's harder to calm it down.

    -I use a firm, calm, slow and strong voice and talk. "Calm yourself down. Use words and tell me why you're upset." etc etc.

    Because of my son's language processing disorder, this is sometimes hard. When he gets upset, the language part of his brain just seizes up. So then I'll guess, and he'll nod or shake his head yes or no: "Are you upset because you want a turn with the Wii? No? Are you upset because ___ won't let you help him? Ok. Sometimes people need to figure things out themselves."

    (etc etc)

    Anyway, the keys I've found are: the wait period, and my voice. If my voice is low, they need to quiet themselves to hear me. Once they're engaged in listening, I can out-logic the tantrum.

    I hope that helps... good luck smile

    Edited by CCN (07/10/12 09:37 AM)

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