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Violence and PDA?
  • Zippy
    Posts: 8
    I was just wondering if anyone else with a child with PDA is experiencing the same level of violence from their PDA child. My 9 year old daughter has PDA and seems to be becoming more and more violent, frustrated and agressive. This all came to a head the other evening when I had something she wanted. When I said no she could not have it she tried kicking, puching and biting me. I remained calm and still said no, she then reached into the kitchen drawer and got out a pair of scissors and tried to stab me in the hand with them. I was so shocked I gave into her straight away. When I spoke to her later when she had calmed down she knew what she had done but was totally unable to control herself. I am now starting to get really worried about what she will do next. She is becoming more and more manipulative and controlling. Am I going to be able to get back some control or is it all downhill now?
  • mango69
    Posts: 967
    That's sounds scary for you. I think a lot of PDA children can act like this is in meltdown situations. Max uses whatever is at hand but I don't like to get into a meltdown situation downstairs where anything of value or danger is. Was keeping whatever it was from her worth it? Did you think she would melt down when you said no? - was there a way you could have negotiated with her about it? I always try to break it down after the event for myself to see if I could have handled it differently without losing face. Its so hard sometimes to keep calm AND think of how you can get out of a situation without letting it get out of control. My ultimate goal is to avoid meltdowns at all cost because they are so destructive but that doesn't mean giving in to all demands. I think spotting those warning signs as early as possible and picking your battles carefully - what am I prepared to accept, what am I prepared to go through with a full blown meltdown over? Safety I suppose is my goal post, everything else is worth negotiating over. The book 'The Explosive child' Ross Green is excellent reading for thinking about this sort of stuff. Its not all down hill from now, she is testing you and trying to get what she wants as they do. But you have the power to regain control by what you say, do and how you steer her behaviour. There are going to be tough times like this but remember its the behaviour you don't like although I know it can feel extremely personal at times. Amanda has written an excellent advice sheet on managing meltdowns in the parent to parent section.
    Hugs for tonight and here's hoping for a better day tomorrow
  • mango69
    Posts: 967
    Here's the link to the meltdowns page
  • webbwebb
    Posts: 2,582
    Hi Zippy

    Those kind of situations can be very scary because sometimes they come with very little warning.
    I'm afraid my 13 yr old Matthew would have reacted exactly the same way if I had said NO to him!
    As you don't say what it was she wanted it is difficult but I will try to say what I would have done had I have been in the same situation.

    I agree with Margo if it's not worth a full blown meltdown then just hand her what ever it is, with out saying anything to her.

    If you can't give it to her...........

    1.Never say the word NO. - It takes some readjusting your thoughts and reactions but try something like "I'm using it at the moment, I will be finished with it in 2 mins, then I will give it to you"
    2. If she insists you give it to her and tries to take it off you - Stand up tall, show her you are not backing down, say "you can have it in 2 mins, now go and play".
    3. If she begins to kick, punch etc - Show as little reaction as possible and repeat "it's yours in 2 mins, off you go"
    4. If she continues - It's time to give a warning "If you don't stop you will........." , tell her you will either send her to her room for time out, deny her her favourite toy/computer game for 24hrs etc.
    5. If she persists with violence - You could lock yourself and other children in a room until she's calmed down, or restrain her if you know how but you must do it well and for as long as it takes her to completely calm down!

    Through out the situation I would stand up, show no fear, remain calm, do not raise my voice.

    Zippy it's time to remove all sharp objects, knives, scissors,corkscrews etc. from the kitchen drawer. Put them in a sealed container on top of a high kitchen cupboard, this will give you valuable time when a huge meltdown occurs!

    I had the opportunity to have a team of behaviour specialist in our home to help us stay safe. Other parents on this forum have also had to remove anything their child could use as a weapon from their homes.

    If we are to challenge our childrens behaviour we have to have a fairly safe enviroment in which to do it!

    Feel free to ask me any questions if I didn't make myself understood.

    I know it's really, really hard and scary......I also live with it, it can be contained and it doesn't have to get worse.

  • Garden
    Posts: 329
    How scary for you. Our daughter can throw the most amazing tantrums too - she did one last night at bedtime, ostensibly because I took her hair bobble out when it was time for bed, but that wasn't really what it was about at all. She had been holding sth in since school and she was on a knife-edge and me asking her to get undressed etc was too much for her.

    We used to get loads and loads of these tantrums. Partly this was because we were trying to parent her in a firm way at one point - we had been advised to do this and it was awful. Over time, way before we got the PDA diagnosis, we had started to parent her in a different way, one where we were much more in tune with her needs. And as we started to reduce the stress on her, and were able to identify when she was becoming anxious and therefore intervene to help her at that point, the tantrums became fewer and fewer. It has been months since she has had one of her major blow-outs, so I'm really disappointed about last night. There really weren't any warning signs, so it just goes to show you that you can never tell. But certainly, changing the way we parent her has helped enormously.

    For us one of the big issues has been school. Our daughter copes at school, but at a high personal cost, as she has to keep a lot of stuff to herself. School are great and have put in place various strategies to help her let go of some of the feelings in a way that suits her - she has a chat with a member of staff each day for example, where she never really says anything, but it seems to be enough for her to know that she has this space if she needs it. At her previous school she also had colouring sheets for her to draw out her feelings - it was of a body and she could colour e.g. red for angry, blue for sad etc. These really, really helped.

    Our daughter is adopted and yesterday someone at school asked her about her birth mother. That was way beyond her capacity to cope with - and she couldn't even ask for help about it, hence the tantrum. But she is able to self-manage most things now. Having said that, it has taken us years of parenting her 'therapeutically' and getting school to use these strategies to get her to this place.

    Hope this helps - and suggest you put anything dangerous out of her way. Our daughters got walking sticks for Christmas for when we go hill walking and we have had to put them well out of our daughter's way!

  • Hi Zippy,
    I have only joined this forum today, but what you said in your post is exactly what I have been going through for the last couple of months.

    My son Luke will be 9 in March. It was so scary when it first happened as even though he threw huge wobblers, he had never bitten, hit, kicked or tried to harm me really. But then a few months ago all the violence just started at school and at home and got worse.

    He swears and spits and the language he comes out with, I have never heard anything like it. It's as if someone else has jumped into his body and he has gone away for a short while.

    I just try to tell myself that at the end of the day he is still my little boy, and however stressful and hurtful it is for me when this happens, just imagine what he must be going through.

    It seems easy me saying this to you, but I know that when you are on the receiving end, nothing makes sense or seems to make it better.

    Just knowing that I am not the only one going through this helps, so I hope it helps you too.
  • mango69
    Posts: 967
    Have a look at the parent to parent sections - I have resurrected the managing meltdowns post by Amanda there for all the new members that have joined recently
  • Greencat
    Posts: 5
    I am also new on site, this also sounds all to familiar to me!!!

    I dont seem to be able to get into the parent section though :(

  • hanlvy
    Posts: 12
    My daughter throws things...whatever is the closest thing to her, she will pick it up and throw it at me. She's tried to bite me and hit me. I recommend reading The Explosive Child. It has been very helpful for me in dealing with aggression and meltdowns.
  • Greencat
    Posts: 5
    Thanks I will look out for that one!

  • Lixina
    Posts: 289
    I'd like advice myself. Apart from shoving sometimes, I don't tend to get physically aggressive, but I say mean things to my parents. Sometimes when they tell me 'no', but more often if they tell me to do something I'm not willing to do. I also hit myself on the wrist. Recently, my father restrained me (holding me down by my wrists) while I was hitting myself and I was so scared that when I finally got free I ran out of the house and stayed outside part of the night. It's been several days since then and I still feel nervous around him. He wanted to help, he said so, but it really hurt. He's apologised and promised not to do it again, but I still don't feel safe.
  • webbwebb
    Posts: 2,582
    Hi Lixina

    I really wanted to post a reply to you as I find it really interesting reading your posts and hearing your perspective on things but I'm not sure what to say.
    I can understand that you were very scared because your father restrained you and that you are still scared that he may do it again. I do feel that he is sorry that he felt he had to do it and probably didn't want to do it in the first place. He was obviously very worried that you were going to do yourself some great harm so felt he had to intervene. He was probable scared himself as I'm sure he loves you and it worries him to see you self harm.
    I hope that you and your father can talk about self harm and restraining again so that the situation may not happen again.

  • Pounce
    Posts: 39
    My dd is only 6 and a half, but she too is shockingly aggressive but only when I have no choice but to restrain her.

    Probably ought to clarify my meaning of restraint here:

    DD has absolutely no sense of danger and although I feel compelled to advise/warn her (every time) that car parks and busy roads etc are very dangerous, she will still run into the path of a car if I am not ultra vigilent.

    So, I hold her wrist. Not hard, it doesn't even leave a mark, but she reacts like a wild animal. She bites, kicks, screams, attempts to remove my fingernails, head butts, tries to drop to the floor and a stream of hateful words are sobbed out of her mouth at me. At that moment in time I am her worst enemy, but I 'restrain' her and take the abuse to keep her safe.

    I can understand why your father restrained you: he clearly hates to see you hurt yourself and must feel awful about how you reacted and subsequently feel about it.

    Can you two get together and discuss this? Can you maybe ask him that if he feels that he has to restrain you to do it in a different way? I can imagine that being held down by the wrists would be very scary.
  • Amanda
    Posts: 281
    For my son sometimes the most effective way to manage him is to take all control away from him when he is hurting himself and then give it back very quickly. Then the threat of taking it away again can often prove a motivator for the agression to stop.

    Linxina hun, when we become parents there are certain rules that we have to follow, same as you have rules. One of those rules for parents is that we must keep you safe and sometime that means doing whatever we have to to stop you hurting yourself. I'm sure your dad felt really bad doing what he had to do, I know I do when I have to restrain Mark but if I didn't I wouldn't be doing my job properly or following the rules that we take on as a parent.
    Talk to him, perhaps there is something else he could do in these situations.
    Also, I understand your need to self harm sometimes, this is a crazy anxious world we live in, if you get yourself to that stage again and need to harm try getting an ice cube our of the refrigerator and squeeze that. It has the same effect as the other stuff but cant do any permenent damage. Maybe you could negeotiate with your dad that if you do this instead then he doesnt need to restrain you.
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