View Full Version : Also violent outburst


GAmom3
08-10-14, 11:40 AM
Last night was rough: a violent outburst after dinner and dessert out, as we were waiting for my husband to finish school supply shopping. It escalated quickly as my DS(9) became antsy, first by refusing to give me my phone back (he was checking sports scores) and then with kicks and punches. I stayed calm throughout the episode, although I did physically manhandle him to get him into the car so that I could drive back to where my husband was. In the car, he yelled and threatened to throw stuff out the window, trying to kick me when he discovered I'd put the child locks on. At one point he threatened to run away (in a busy parking lot) but didn't. This all took place in front of my other two children. While they are older and can handle it, it's still scary for them to witness. They felt helpless.

The last time we had such a violent outburst was when we were traveling abroad, and he was overwhelmed with sleep disruption, etc. My theory is that last night was a combination of exhaustion (he got four hours of sleep the night before because he was stressed about a back-to-school party); bounce back from starting back up the Concerta; and stress about school starting on Monday.

Monday morning quarterbacking includes the fact that we should not have prolonged the evening - instead, just had dinner and gone home. That we should have had a book for him to read, the most successful tool for him to calm down when he doesn't have his bedroom to go to. Still, we have to find other ways for him to be able to calm himself down when he gets like this.

Eager to get the first day of school behind us. Sigh.

ccom5100
08-10-14, 12:27 PM
What did he have for dinner and dessert? Sometimes foods with petro-chemical additives (artificial colors, flavors, certain preservatives) can trigger this type of reaction in children. That could have contributed to the meltdown. A bath with epsom salt mixed in (soaking for about 20 minutes) can have a calming effect after such an incident.

GAmom3
08-10-14, 12:57 PM
He had food (chicken nuggets and frozen yogurt) which he has had before and have not lead to this type of behavior. While we do watch artificial flavors and sugar in general, I do not believe this outburst can be blamed on the yogurt.

zette93
08-10-14, 04:01 PM
Monday morning quarterbacking includes the fact that we should not have prolonged the evening - instead, just had dinner and gone home. That we should have had a book for him to read, the most successful tool for him to calm down when he doesn't have his bedroom to go to. Still, we have to find other ways for him to be able to calm himself down when he gets like this.

Eager to get the first day of school behind us. Sigh.

How often does he get over the top violent? How often are you dealing with lower-level outbursts and mini-meltdowns that don't rise to this level but still make life difficult? My DS9 used to have a lot of similar meltdowns, so I'm all too familiar with the manhandling to the car or his room.

Monday morning quarterbacking is a great tool. Instead of focusing on finding more calming tools, I would suggest focusing more on identifying the situations that are tough for him and finding solutions to make them less stressful.

Check out the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and his free videos on the LivesInTheBalance website. He has an approach for helping explosive kids that works better than anything else I've found.

GAmom3
08-11-14, 09:53 AM
zette93 - Thanks for your response.

We have read The Explosive Child and find his advice very helpful, in general. We also utilize Kazdan as well (Parenting the Defiant Child). Unfortunately, in the episode on Saturday night, when I tried to talk calmly about what he was upset about and what he wanted, he couldn't articulate it - there was no "Plan B" available by the time he got to that point.

My husband and I characterize his issues as "two tiered" - the "seeing red" violent outbursts, which is what drove us to treatment with a therapist and psychiatrist last year. These episodes happen around once a month, and were the cause of him having to change from his private school to public school, and are the driver of his 504 plan. The other tier is the "day to day" parenting challenges of getting him to brush his teeth, go to bed, etc. I think we manage that to having outbursts once a week or so.

Triggers for the violent outbursts often have to do with "fairness" - a foul that was called on the playground, a teacher calling him out for something he didn't believe he did. Increasingly, it appears to be related to stress as well - going into the city to see a play, and someone knocks against him and he becomes incredibly angry. For the low-level day to day, it's all about predictability, schedules, what we call bringing our "A" game as parents. This is not a kid where we can say, out of the blue, "will you empty the trash?" He'll say we asked him and he's within his rights to say no, that we didn't warn him etc. So if we set up the week so that he knows Thursday is trash day, and warn him on Wednesday, and tell, don't ask, and give him a choice between recycling and trash cans, etc., he will do the chore without a meltdown.

We have gotten much better, I would say, at identifying what situations are stressful and setting him up for success in those situations . . . but the one on Saturday seemed to come a bit out of the blue without the usual stressors. . . plus we can't control everything that he encounters. Trying to balance making sure we don't withdraw completely.

Additional thoughts welcome.

jlynn30
08-11-14, 11:11 AM
zette93 - Thanks for your response.

We have read The Explosive Child and find his advice very helpful, in general. We also utilize Kazdan as well (Parenting the Defiant Child). Unfortunately, in the episode on Saturday night, when I tried to talk calmly about what he was upset about and what he wanted, he couldn't articulate it - there was no "Plan B" available by the time he got to that point.

My husband and I characterize his issues as "two tiered" - the "seeing red" violent outbursts, which is what drove us to treatment with a therapist and psychiatrist last year. These episodes happen around once a month, and were the cause of him having to change from his private school to public school, and are the driver of his 504 plan. The other tier is the "day to day" parenting challenges of getting him to brush his teeth, go to bed, etc. I think we manage that to having outbursts once a week or so.

Triggers for the violent outbursts often have to do with "fairness" - a foul that was called on the playground, a teacher calling him out for something he didn't believe he did. Increasingly, it appears to be related to stress as well - going into the city to see a play, and someone knocks against him and he becomes incredibly angry. For the low-level day to day, it's all about predictability, schedules, what we call bringing our "A" game as parents. This is not a kid where we can say, out of the blue, "will you empty the trash?" He'll say we asked him and he's within his rights to say no, that we didn't warn him etc. So if we set up the week so that he knows Thursday is trash day, and warn him on Wednesday, and tell, don't ask, and give him a choice between recycling and trash cans, etc., he will do the chore without a meltdown.

We have gotten much better, I would say, at identifying what situations are stressful and setting him up for success in those situations . . . but the one on Saturday seemed to come a bit out of the blue without the usual stressors. . . plus we can't control everything that he encounters. Trying to balance making sure we don't withdraw completely.

Additional thoughts welcome.

Wow! That sounds like my son in the low-level day to day stuff! I am going to use some of your tools if you don't mind. I never thought about the tell, don't ask part. Thank you for giving me something else to think about and try.

GAmom3
08-11-14, 11:24 AM
jlynn30 - We had the most sophisticated screen time schedule ever this summer, after we started summer time with lots of whining about it. He tends to use up his allotted time all at once, so we had a set amount he could use between 9 and 1 (45 minutes), a set amount he could use between 1 and 5 (45 minutes), and then if he didn't whine all day about getting more, he could earn another 30 minutes for use up to an hour before bedtime, for a total of 2 hours (summertime only). It really helped to eliminate the whining.

CalmClouds
08-11-14, 04:01 PM
May you please if you want, buy some Fish Oil or cod liver oil, and give it to him daily?, it may sound silly and be like oh come on how could fish oil help that?, but I tell you, it sure can.

Example would be, Nordic Naturals-D Cod Liver Oil (x50, €22), and its high quality stuff. They even are doing a clinical trial with MPH + Nordic Fish Oil :D

CalmClouds
08-11-14, 04:21 PM
http://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT02204410

zette93
08-11-14, 04:59 PM
Have you read Parenting Your Asperger child? It sounds like there is some rigid thinking going on there, and you might find some of the tips in that book helpful as well.

zette93
08-11-14, 05:13 PM
We have read The Explosive Child and find his advice very helpful, in general. We also utilize Kazdan as well (Parenting the Defiant Child). Unfortunately, in the episode on Saturday night, when I tried to talk calmly about what he was upset about and what he wanted, he couldn't articulate it - there was no "Plan B" available by the time he got to that point.

Yeah, once a kid reaches that point, there's only damage control, and trying to figure out what happened so you can catch it earlier and head it off next time.

Tmoney
08-12-14, 10:59 AM
I feel for you. I know an episode like this can be very stressful and scary!

Can I ask you, does he have these episodes where he is physical and threatening in front of your husband too?

GAmom3
08-14-14, 08:19 AM
zette93 - based on your recommendation earlier this summer, yes, I have read "Parenting your Asperger's Child" and yes, there's a lot to recommend there around rigid thinking. I will reread it. Parts of it do not fit DS, as he is socially connected and emotionally aware.

Tmoney - The therapist has asked that question as well, and yes, I would say these happen more with me than with my husband, which I find irksome! Not 100% only with me. We do not believe that I am "softer" than my husband when it comes to consequences, so I don't believe it's that my DS feels he can get away with it more with me, or that I am setting fewer limits.

Rainbows
08-14-14, 10:36 AM
I completely understand about the meltdowns, and just wanted to give you my support. I also have the books and am trying, and always trying to see where I went wrong which I still make mistakes. But like you, some times, no matter what happens or doesn't happen the violence comes through anyways.

Hugs

zette93
08-14-14, 05:51 PM
I read somewhere (can't remember the source, sorry!) that difficult kids tend to be worse for mothers simply because they spend more time with the kid, and the child becomes somewhat more able to ignore whatever technique or consequence mom is using. Dad can do the exact same thing, but because it comes from him less often, it is more novel and so more effective. Plus there is that element of male authority that comes from being physically larger.

It occurs to me that checking sports scores in your iPhone may have been his coping mechanism at that moment, so asking for it back might have been similar to taking his book away. My son usually needs to come to a "stopping place" before he can put down electronics.

Sorry to hear that you're dealing with so many meltdowns, big and small. It sounds tough to live with that level of rigidity.

LynneC
08-15-14, 06:26 AM
A thought re the book as a calming tool; can you download a book onto your iPhone for him so that you will have one there in a pinch?

GAmom3
08-15-14, 09:37 AM
Zette93 and Rainbows - Thanks so much for the support. Hard for those who don't have unique kids to understand.

I do think, in retrospect, taking the phone away was an issue as the tool he had available at the moment. Always a fine line - we've explained to him that electronics is not what he can use for calming down (he often wants the iPad).

LynnC - that's a great idea! Thanks for the suggestion.

zette93
08-15-14, 05:26 PM
Why don't you allow electronics for calming down? It's our #1 tool for stressful situations like waiting in restaurants. If I see DS8 spinning up I often ask if he wants my phone. DS's school for AS kids has 20 minute periods of "preferred time" between academic rotations, and iPad time is one of the options.

GAmom3
08-17-14, 09:27 PM
I wouldn't say we never use it...he's been most successful with reading, and books can be used sometimes in places where electronics can't as easily be used (church). And often the use of electronics is what's gotten him amped up in the first place - when he is that agitated already we haven't wanted to "give in" to his demand for screen time because in that instance it's not being used as a tool to calm himself.