Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Workarounds

Kiddo is fine, except when he isn't. That is, he's fine until something upsets him, and then he says mean things and is generally unpleasant to be around. That's the pattern these days.

DH and I have figured out that if he's having a meltdown, he's either tired or hungry or both. So we don't react when he yells "I hate you! I hate everyone in this house!" or when he runs away instead of helping to clean up. Getting upset adds fuel to the fire, so to speak, and yelling solves nothing. I've tried it. Doesn't work.

Instead, we wait for him to calm down, or encourage him to breathe, or give him some space, or suggest a snack and/or nap. These are the workarounds. They take a lot more thought and careful planning, but they do seem to help.

Sometimes I resort to sneakiness. He was heading toward meltdown status because I was feeling off and didn't want to take him to the park. I lay down on the couch and pretended to doze. A few minutes later, he crawled onto the couch to join me, and promptly fell asleep. For about two hours.

You can't just tell him to take a nap. You have to make the nap look inviting.

Sometimes I set the rules in advance. I gave the kids a strict edict on Monday that we would not visit the ice cream truck more than once a week. They nodded "sure, sure" as they ate their ice cream sandwiches. Today, they asked for ice cream. I reminded them of the rule, and after only a tiny bit of grumbling, they stopped.

I warned kiddo in advance that he would not be playing with the computers in the children's section of the library, and he listened, although I did have to nudge him away from the screen. But I always have to nudge him away from screens. Because ADHD.

I used to just get upset whenever he had a meltdown, or whenever he whined and complained and seemed overly negative about things. But I know the real kiddo is not that kid. The real kiddo is the little sweetie who likes to play peek-a-boo with babies and who always opens doors for me, declaring, "Ladies first!" That kid deserves the extra care and consideration if he's having trouble managing his emotions. Fortunately, now we have the time to give him that extra care, and I think that'll make a difference in the long term.

An interesting side note: Kiddette has decided she needs fidget toys for camp. This may be her way of sneaking toys to camp. Or her way of getting some of kiddo's attention for herself. Or maybe she just thinks, as she says, that if you get too happy, you need a fidget toy to calm down. But she's designated a tiny Elmo doll as her main fidget toy, and has been bringing him along to camp.

I figure it can't hurt. Kiddette just has a workaround of her own. 

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