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Managing Meltdown
  • Amanda
    Posts: 281
    Managing Meltdowns

    * Look out for triggers and warnings that anxiety levels are rising. If you can see your child isn’t coping with a situation try and get them out of it before they reach the point of no return. A quiet place for them to calm down can be really helpful as the anxiety is often due to sensory overload and removing them from a situation may be a great help.

    *Remember that the behaviours you are seeing come from anxiety. If your child is aggressive or destructive or verbally abusive it is not because they hate you it is because they are afraid or confused.

    *If a child normally likes being hugged then "Hug me tight until you feel better" can sometimes be used as a diversion at home for a younger child to avoid full meltdown if things start going wrong. You can go down to their level, or sit calmly, and hug. They retain control, they stay cocooned safely in your arms until they think the threat has passed. Avoid eye contact unless they initiate it, stay silent or if you must say something make it very quiet and very simple.

    *Hugging won’t work for all children and if your child doesn’t like to be touched when stressed don’t touch them unless you have to do so to protect them from hurting themselves or someone else.

    *Try and encourage your child to use their rooms as a safe space when they are stressed. If your child can manage to take themselves to their room before they become abusive or destructive then they should be praised for doing so. In an ideal world we would love this destruction and abuse not to happen but this isn’t an ideal world and it will b a huge achievement for you if such damage is contained in one room.

    * Many children reach a place of no return where reasoning with them is useless and just adds to the stress they are feeling. Shouting at your child or trying to punish them will not only add to their anxiety but to yours to.

    *When the meltdown is over remember that many children feel embarrassed and guilty about the way they have behaved. You need to able to deal with what has to be dealt with, but it’s important you learn the ability to draw a line under what has happened, letting it go, get back to normality as soon as possible, with no recriminations

    *For any child, its important to separate the behaviour we don't like, and don't want to reward at the time but our love for them is a separate issue. We love them unconditionally and we need to keep telling them that.

    *No matter how bad it gets you can only do your best to manage the situation. We all make mistakes and we all make a bad situation worse sometimes. What is important is that we learn from our mistakes.

    There is no failure here!!!

    © The Maze 2006
    (Information and advice taken from parents own experiences)
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