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  1. #11


    Quote Originally Posted by HobbitinaHobbitHole View Post

    Could it be something along the lines of demand avoidance? (Not necessarily PDA, itself, but something sort of on a spectrum with it? )

    I suspect there's something chemically attractive on a neurotransmitter level in that upset-meltdown loop, and they need to understand -why- they need to resist it --and then begin the hard work of doing so.

    Since your child is a much better communicator than mine is/was (He never would have been able to articulate we had no business being happy if he wasn't --but I bet he felt like that!) You might be able to use the collaborative techniques to get into her head and see what is bothering her.

    For us, it really did take for us to convince him that we were on his side -- especially after the school tried really hard to loop me into their punitive approach to maintain a united front b/c they were not going to loosen up. I really do think it eroded trust he had for us here and made things worse on that level, too.

    Do you take the summer off?
    Thanks. I do understand the demand avoidance comment because when she was in school, I totally thought it was like that because it was frequently in response to demands. But now we don't have school stress and the demands that go with it, I don't think it is demand avoidance because that demands are not usually what sets her off into a meltdown. Usually she is overloaded by little things that have built up over the day, like sensory sensitivities and social stress (it exhausts her to socialize, which I understand because I get that too). Then the littlest thing will set her over the edge. Like her sister touching her "set up" (what she calls her lego, playmobil, etc. that she builds into these elaborate communities/structures that she likes to stay as they are till she decides to put them away) or just too much noise or being hungry. But its impossible to structure a day so it does not overload and stress her, so I think we have to work on how she self regulates in response to the stress. Stuart Shanker has an online course for parents that I think I will try.

    Oh yes, totally agree about it being in some way like an addictive response. They must get some sort of chemical reward out of it, and it just feeds on itself. This makes it really difficult if I am not in a space to deal with her calmly, because then its like well I need to go have my own time out first, but in the interim, she digs herself into a deeper hole. It is a maladaptive response and DD totally is not at a point to be strong enough to overcome that response. Hopefully it comes with maturity!

    We have tried the Ross Greene collaborative techniques a lot. But she never follows through on the ideas she comes up.

    We are never punitive about it. She never had meltdowns in school, only at home, so we never had to deal with teachers trying to punish the behavior. That sound's tough for you.

    Yes we always take the same breaks as public school because its an opportunity to hang out with friends (most her friends are in public school), do some activities she enjoys (horse riding camp), and just relax. She is the same/consistent over summer though. I don't think it is demands of school work or anything similar that cause her stress. She actually loves her school work and is happy, animated, and relaxed when she is doing it.
    New Zealand-based. DD 11 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 6 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

    That's a kea (NZ parrot) in my avatar. You can learn about them on Beak & Brain - Genius Birds from Down Under on Netflix.

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  3. #12


    In our case, we had to pull my son from public school b/c he was having too many stressors at school to be able to do the "pull it together at school and save the meltdowns for home b/c these are the people I trust" thing. That said, it is super common, and a reflection of the trust your child has in you that she saves it for home. So, I know it is awful, but you can at least know that it means you are doing things right.

    If you think the main issues are sensory and social, even if your child is not autistic, I would not be surprised if some of the things people suggest for autistic kids with meltdowns might not be of use to you, even the stuff about how to recognize atypical empathy expression. They are really horrible at pinning this stuff down with girls, anyway, but a lot of the techniques for sensory/social issues etc. can work for NTs, too. Some probably work better b/c the communication skills and social awareness is better.

    The vomiting thing has to be very scary to deal with for her, so yeah, that is going to punch up her anxiety a lot. I don't know a lot about that, but think here that is an occupational therapy thing, and I would guess that part of that is dealing with the anxiety too.

    The egg shell thing is a really horrible thing and I used to feel held hostage by it. I notice that over time, I have stopped even realizing I do it. The plus side of that, is after you have been doing it for awhile, it becomes a background process because you do it without thinking, and all of a sudden things seem easier. If things aren't easier than you may have to take on the extra work (I know!) of figuring out some additional things to scaffold until they do.

    When things become easier, after awhile you can ease off the scaffolding and see what happens. With us, puberty actually helped, believe it or not. It may be that it coincided coincidentally with other types of maturity, or maybe it is part of the package, I don't know. It does get better though.
    Last edited by HobbitinaHobbitHole; 06-04-2019 at 11:10 AM.

  4. #13


    I am sorry you're feeling in such a "between a rock and a hard place" situation. Balancing our children's needs with their siblings (and with our own!) is almost impossible sometimes. I know you aren't looking for a lot of advice, but I did want to share something that helped my family a lot. The Brain highways program is based on brain science and helps you to help your child finish their brain development. A lot of these stress behaviors, especially when you have a child who has always been highly sensitive/reactive, is due to incomplete brain development. If a child (or adult) doesn't have the development to support more cognitive, upper-brain approaches, they won't be able to consistently employ them no matter how much they might wish to. It helped my older son with his focus and with being able to better process and respond to some early trauma, and it helped my younger son to be much less explosive. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have if you're curious.

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Homeschooling kids who have meltdowns