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

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I feel your frustration. 25-30 years ago we didn’t know as much about ADHD, or ODD. Now I can see, the signs were all there, but we thought he was just a difficult child. He is 30 years old, a recovering alcoholic, divorced because of the anger and rage, and he has been physically abusive. He is in legally mandated anger management counseling, on a plea and abeyance, and has a trial coming up for a DUI. He has severe depression, intense anxiety, and debilitating panic attacks. He also smokes to relax himself.

My son is the 4th of 5 children. When he young and in trouble, I would send him to his room…he wouldn’t go. I forced him into his room, and he would try to open the door. I held it closed…he pounded and kicked at the door. When that didn’t get him out, he would start tearing the room apart, and breaking his younger brothers things. I didn’t know until they were adults that he would also take it out physically on the younger brother, if he was near his angry brother. The younger one would run and hide when he knew he was coming. Spankings did not make a difference, grounding him wasn’t much better. I couldn’t reason with him until he had calmed down and came to me. Then he would listen and say he was sorry. My son was a very independent child. He would just take care of his wants, by taking what he wanted. Climbing the cupboards to get to the highest shelf. If he didn’t want to stay for church, I had to hold him on my lap tight, and he would scream and kick my legs as hard as he could, until his disturbance got him out of the chapel because he was making a scene. As a teenager he would get so angry when he was in disagreement with a rule I made, a punishment, or a chore he didn’t want to do, I could see him stiffen and he made fists at his sides. I thought, “he wants to hit me?”

Okay, so suggestions:
1. Like others have mentioned, get him to a doctor, in therapy and meds, if needed.
2. Give him choices
3. Remain calm, be patient, and show you understand his limitations.
4. Praise his efforts to control his behavior, and when he responds correctly
5. Tell him how much you love him as often as you can (he’ll know if you’re not sincere)
6. He may have been shamed for his behavior by others or himself, he will feel guilt either way, and will not like himself because he feels like a monster. So he needs to know he’s not a freak and not alone
7. He interprets the world around him from his unique point of view, and has a hard time seeing things from other people’s point of view. So, help him see the other side of things
8. He might benefit from spending time helping others…forget about himself, get out of his head
9. My husband and I attend a help group, once a week, for parents of adult children with addiction. It really has helped us focus on ourselves, what we need to do for ourselves, and how to step back and let them figure out who they want to be. We can’t control them, they have to know we believe they can figure it out on their own, and we’ve got to stop enabling them.

I hope some of this might help. It’s been a long road. But we are moving forward…that’s what matters most.

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by lucyss2u.