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    Default Homeschooling kids who have meltdowns

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    Last edited by NZ_Mama; 02-10-2020 at 08:15 PM.
    New Zealand-based freelance science copyeditor. Homeschooling DD 11 (year 7) and DD 6 (year 2).

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    Hugs! Know youre not alone, and your DD isnt some strange psychopath that is destined to be a social misfit. At that age, my son was very similar, would punch or kick holes in our walls, refuse to go to his room to cool off, not stop screaming, yelling, or arguing at us, and would literally jump on top of my car if I tried to flee. “Why am I letting myself become miserable over him?” was something i often asked myself, and the prospect of sending him to public school to give me some time of peace was a real temptation.

    Mine has gotten better, I hope yours does too. Older threads here have a variety of parenting help books, but none of them really worked for us. “The Explosive Child” was a favorite on here.

    Hang in there!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3
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    My experience. . . .

    Hugs. Yep, can totally relate, this was my DD. Walking on eggshells, dealing with meltdowns, dealing with labile moods, my resentment, my fried nerves - yep, yep, yep. All starting at a very early age (have to always be held / worn as an infant, non-sleeper totally gave up naps at 18 mos.). Not a phase, a life.

    My DD has ADHD (along with a panic disorder and some transient depression, but ADHD is the main 'issue'). So much of her ADHD presented as anger / rage . . . and. . . chaos(?). Her behavior literally decided if we (all - me, her, ds, dh) had a good day or a bad day.

    Pre-diagnosis, I spent years reading books and applying what I read - empathetic parenting, rational parenting, supportive parenting, consequences, rewards, grandma advice, friend advice - on and on. It was not enough. In retrospect we were backwards - what we needed was in-person professional therapy, supported by books.

    It took awhile, but we finally got an official diagnosis and found a wonderful therapist that works for us, and she is working wonders. DD says she is "the best thing that ever happened to me".. She sees DD once a week, and us (me and DH) about once a month. I was overwhelmed, and out of patience when we found her - having someone to guide us, and frankly tell us what to do was a God send. Having the therapist say 'you seemed stressed' (in reality - I was way passed stressed - I was at meltdown), as simple as it sounds, was the validation I was desperate to hear (you are damn right I'm stressed and pissed and tired and overwhelmed and confused and resentful . . . . *insert giant sigh of relief*). She has help lift the rage-fog that dd use to live in 24/7 (breaks my heart that was her life). Having a game plan, practical skills to work on, and someone to talk to has made all the difference for all of us.

    DD is still DD. Therapy did has not magically make her a docile / easy going kid free of ADHD or anxiety, or me the perfect parent. It's still a ton of work, we have good days and bad days. But now I know how to parent her better than before, because parenting her is not intuitive for me. Now I know how to help her better than before, because helping her is not intuitive for me. I'm still learning, but now I have a guide, and I feel hopeful - we all do. DD has skills and insight that she didn't have before - that is gold and will serve her for the rest of her life.

    So, If I was giving advice to myself I'd say, Rebecca . . .
    This f***ing sucks - I hear you! Trust yourself - you know in your bones that this is not a typical behavior issue or parenting style issue. It's ok to give all the parenting books the bird, you are right, they are not working for your situation.The right therapist is out there. Keep going, keep going, keep going.

    Hang in there NZ <3
    Last edited by RTB; 05-27-2019 at 09:26 PM. Reason: info
    Rebecca
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

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    Oooo, the hydra - yes - totally relate! Proceeded or followed by the sunshine-cherry pie mood.

    I think part of what makes our therapist good, is the fact that she is intuitive. Education is important and necessary, but finding a person who can see patterns, read between the lines, and sense things / feelings is not always easy. I hope you can find someone similar.

    DD was probably more hyperactive when she was younger. As she has gotten older she is more inattentive - while being very athletic (so she has learned to be hyperactive in 'appropriate' settings). I think the anger was / is caused by her internal disorder / disorganization - if that makes sense.

    She also spent a fair amount of time in occupational therapy for some sensory stuff and that was also beneficial.

    I think you have to go with your gut - if ODD feels wrong, keep going. Keep pushing, looking. I think it was important for DD to get some age on her to get a more accurate diagnosis. So maybe seeking out a second opinion now that your DD is a bit older might be helpful.
    Last edited by RTB; 05-28-2019 at 11:21 AM.
    Rebecca
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

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

    The basic gist of it is that is anxiety-driven.

    I think it is more of a UK/Europe defined thing -- and it was never a thing I felt comfortable exploring with the school district here in the US b/c I think they would have poo-pooed it and tried to shift to broaching ODD or something like it. Locally that means they consider your child an evil seed, and treat the child accordingly.

    Anyway, when my son was non-compliant and unable to describe why (He has autism) -- I -think- it was driven by anxiety. He communicates much better now and has an emotional maturity now he didn't then. The school was very authoritarian as is the regional attitude regarding children, and that was making everything a lot worse.

    At home we did the whole egg-shell thing (proactive scaffolding) and it worked much better. If your child is a good communicator, the Ross Green Collaborative Problem Solving thing will probably work better for you than it did for us. We had to use the "being a genius" adaptation b/c he wouldn't tell us what the issue was, usually, so we had to guess.

    We are in a much better place at 14 than we were when he was your daughter's age and I really think they have to develop into a certain maturity to understand why they need to attempt to calm down, themselves.

    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.

    Anyway, I know it can be really hard. Do you take the summer off? I always give my son the summer mostly off and use it for more independent learning and de-stressing. If you do, you can try to use that time to talk to her -- when it won't be as heated and see if you can get her to tell you what is going on. Try to make things light and fun.

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    HinHH brings up a good point about anxiety. I think DD's internal sense of chaos or disorganization caused her a lot of anxiety - which then manifested in anger outbursts (as well as panic attacks).
    Rebecca
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

  8. #7

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    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 10:10 AM.

  9. #8

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    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.
    https://brainhighways.com/

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Homeschooling kids who have meltdowns