Reply To: Getting Your Child to Calm Down During Explosive Meltdown

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Write down things that you find that work. These are some for me (I have an 11 year old ADHD, symptoms of ODD but we believe he will outgrow it):
1. speak in short sentences 12 words or less like “Did something happen at school?” 2. My son has tantrums when his expectations are not met, so I don’t set him up for expectations. If we are going to a party, I tell him when we get in the car or a few hours ahead rather than 3 days prior to the party. 3. Reward like crazy with words and treats when your child doesn’t get angry when they were on their way to a tantrum. When my son gets angry but doesn’t spend two hours under his bed or hitting his head on the wall, I praise him like crazy and tell him how proud I am of him. 4. Recognize that most of the time, it isn’t something you did – for my son it might have been the fact that no one threw the ball to him at school or he got a bad grade. He just feels safe with family so that is where he explodes. Don’t blame yourself. For a long time I felt like it was my fault. 5. Don’t punish like a normal child – they can’t take it but be consistent. Don’t threaten anything extreme and keep punishments short. 6. After a tantrum remind your child how much you love him but want to help him so he doesn’t have a tantrum. We can never make our children feel bad that they have to deal with a behavioral disorder that isn’t their fault. 7. Give him a pillow to punch. 8. Go punch a pillow yourself. Right now I’m trying to work with him on shorting the anger so I’m trying to redirect with short sentences when I see a problem. Also, I give him play dates of short segments when he has been well behaved. You aren’t alone. Hang in there. I love the newsletters on the ATTitude and I read everything I can get my hands on. Right now I’m reading the Defiant Child by Douglas Riley and The Whipped Parent (forgot the writer). I look for parenting tips. Even if I find one thing, it was worth it. I don’t always agree with recommendations as a whole because all of our children are different but if I can find a few new things to try, it really helps.