When my Pie was 2 he used to have meltdowns – tantrums. I have to laugh loud now when I think of what I used to call a meltdown before the Dervish and The Girl arrived!
Anyway, being a strong supporter and believer in positive parenting and in the belief that children must not have their emotions suppressed, naturally I didn’t punish tantrums, meltdowns or emotional outbursts – but that didn’t mean that I wanted to walk through a store with a screaming child or to leave the store every time my child decided now was the time he’d been emotionally overloaded.
I had a system that worked very well with Pie. When he became overloaded we would find a quiet spot, I would sit with him on my lap (yes, even in an isle in walmart) and I would talk quietly to him and ask him to take some deep breaths to help him calm down. He always obliged and in no time we were finishing up the shopping and heading home (I’m not crazy, calming one meltdown is cool, but there’s a message in there.. .can’t take too much more mom!)
When Dervish came along I naturally tried my “tried and true method” of calming down.
This is a perfect example to support the “no such thing as cookie cutter discipline” theory.
I should have had a clue, Dervish’s meltdowns were jaw dropping, double take manufacturing, different than anything Pie had ever demonstrated.
“Take a deep breath” I said calmly. The pitch of the scream was ear piercing…. Come on Dervish, and I demonstrated, he punctuated the scream with some kicking. Not easily swayed, I persisted, this HAD to work, it had always worked with Pie. I demonstrated some more and told him how easy it was and that he would feel better… no dice, he wasn’t doing it, no way no how.
Over the months and years to follow I tried various methods to teach my intense child to calm himself and still haven’t come upon a perfect solution. There’s no magic bullet for him, nothing that works every time – sometimes he just has to work it out of his system… ok, well all the time he has to do that but sometimes there are things that will speed up the process… Empathy, being left alone, staying with him, empathy, humour, logic (very very rare). So, the roller coaster continues.
I’ve added some article feeds to the Intense Child website – I believe we are always learning and at no point can we ever say “I’ve tried everything” so take a look at the articles and see if there might be something you can use. Parenting Articles