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Any advice on how to stay calm ?
  • Hi, Today was a very bad day. My 8 year old had a disco to go to at school, We asked him to have his play room tidy before he went to the disco, he has had since tuesday to do it. There was not a lot to do just pick up a bit of lego and put a puzzle back in the box. After we go home from school I reminded him. At 5:15 I reminded him again and said he had 45 minutes before we had to leave, He did not respond very well to this and complained that he could not move , would not go upstairs to tidy his room, he asked for out help in cleaning the room but with not a great deal to do we wanted to stick to our original agreement (tidy room and go to disco) He became very angry with us said he hated us and we were horrid parents he became very violent throwing whatever he could at us or around the room. My husband and I stayed calm tried to reasure our son told him we loved him, understood that he was upset and tried to encourage him that there was still time to go to the disco. Eventually we reached a point where he had calmed down and he "cleaned his room" he came downstairs with a bag full of lego to take to the disco ( he asked if he could take it earlier, but we said no as he is prone to loosing his things and this upsets him even more) when we reminded him it would be best not to take his lego he went mental pushed the table, shouted at us and it started all over again, we again stayed calm and tried to reassure him while trying to keep him and us safe. By the time it all settled down again it was too late to go to the disco, when he realised this he was so distraught and angry he stormed outside deseperate to go he kicked the car tried to bite my husband managed to kick my bike over and screemed so loud I am surprised the police where not called! I managed to him in the house in the process he threatened to bite me took my glasses off and tried to snap them, he then threw them to the ground at this point I completly lost it and raised my voice and said "Why are you doing this to our family?" I am not proud of what I did I had to walk away and broke down in the kitchen while my husband stayed with our son who was in tears and so upset. I joined them upstairs to try and help soothe our boy who is just absolutly gutted about missing out on his night, He kept saying that he was a stupid boy. We are awaiting a paediatric app as we do not know if our son has Pda we just suspect it. This all went on for over and hour and we tried to stay calm through it all but I let us down when I shouted and him, I just did not know what else to do to help him and I know me loosing it did not help at all. Does anyone have any strategies I could use to help keep me calmer? Thank you
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 882
    It's really hard trying to keep calm all the time and we all lose it periodically, so please don't blame yourself. Walking away and taking a moment for you to recompose yourself though was a good strategy, I often do the same, have a few tears, then take a few deep breaths and try again! Our daughter is also 8! We find that when our daughter has lost all control it can take at least one and a half times the length of the meltdown to recover! Although it may sometimes appear that she is calmer sooner normally something else will set her off very quickly, then we start again!

    The best thing I have found to keep me calm is to give myself time off when my daughter is at school or in bed. I need to recharge my batteries regularly otherwise I'm too tired to deal with the panic attacks and I'm more likely to have less patience. Being able to recognise when things are not going the right way and nip them in the bud, negotiate a change or distract my daughter is also something that helps, as then things don't escalate so quickly and it's easier to keep a lid on my own adrenaline and stay calmer. If we can see something's not working we often re-evaluate and decide whether it's a battle worth fighting or whether making a change to the original plan would be more helpful to avoid increasing anxieties further. It could feel to some like we're capitulating and not following through but actually we're in control and managing the situation based on the situation and anxieties at the time. Hope that makes sense.

    Talking to others has also helped me as knowing I'm not actually alone gives me the strength to keep going. Perhaps have a look at the support group links here and see if you have a group nearby:

    Hope this helps a little. Xxx

  • PDA_ASD_Parent
    Posts: 4,198
    You're being r-e-a-l-l-y hard on yourself Nadine4545 and it's not necessary. You were calm throughout almost all of it under really extenuating circumstances and just one shouty sentence is nothing. Children are far more resilient than you think. If your child was in danger of death and you had to shout at them to draw their attention to the danger, they wouldn't traumatised by that. Our children have often reported teachers shouting in school. In an ideal world adults would never have to raise their voices at children of course, but this isn't an ideal world! We are human and we are not perfect. From what you described you did extremely well under the circumstances. Walking away is the best option when you feel your hackles rising. You are in difficult enough circumstances without beating yourself up about this. He does sound very PDA from what you describe and I hope you get the diagnosis.

    It's not surprising so many parents feel insecure and inadequate with all the 'advice' this nanny state forces on us.
  • Hello again, thank you both so much for taking the time to reply and for the advice, this forum is a life saver! I know on reflection we could have handled things better. My husband and I are very close but are both struggling to know what the right thing to do is and to get 100% on the same page. I am convinced our son has pda and have a great deal of patience to a point I can manage my son, distract and diffuse most situations for a given amount of time but as for what happened yesterday I just could not take it anymore and had a meltdown myself. My husband thinks pda too but is struggeling to accept that he might have it. He tends to blow up quicker than I do so feel I am at times trying to keep him calm to keep my son calm too. It's just so difficult not knowing if he does have pda. If he does not have it we are being "marshmallow parents" (I was sent to a parenting course and this was the description of a soft parent) I guess if we got a firm diagnoses it will help us to be on the same page but untill then I do feel its slowly causing a rift between us and thats the last thing our little man needs. I have thought about joining a support group but unfortunately nothing in my area, I also don't feel I can untill maybe my son has a diagnosis. Thank you again I don't feel so alone xx
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 882
    Please don't think you're 'marshmallow parents', (what a phrase!) from what you've written so far I'd say you're trying hard to work with your son and seek answers! Have you completed the EDA-Q, it might help with the assessment and in your thoughts?

    Please don't worry about not having a diagnosis to attend a support group either. I run a group and we welcome anyone who is exploring the possibility of PDA as well as those with a diagnosis and I'm sure others would be the same. If there isn't a specific group locally to you don't forget to see if the NAS may have one or check out your 'Local Offer' which should list details of local groups.

    In the meantime, why not try out some of the strategies and see how they work with your son. Keep a record of incidents, triggers and behaviours and you may start to see a pattern. Read as much as you can from the resources, keep talking and hopefully you will find some answers.
  • Hi RhanH thank you, that's good to know I can still join a support group I will take a look on the NAS website and see
    My husband and I both did the test on our own. We were about 5 points different but both scored high. I have started keeping a diary but mainly for when meltdowns have happened but I think I should keep for everyday stuff how he resists and how we have managed to get hi. To comply ( my husband plays guitar and Matthew takes lessons in school, he did not want to practice at home with dad but since I suggested he teaches me Matthew is eager to practice as he us in control) Thank you for the great advice Nadine xx
  • RhanHRhanH
    Posts: 882
    My daughter would like to learn the ukulele but is struggling with practice, perhaps I should try that too! Do keep in touch and let us know how you're getting on.

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