Time outs/Calm downs

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Time outs/Calm downs
4
Tue, 05-06-2003 - 7:56am
When we were at out evaluation yesterday we discussed the negative reaction I get out of a time out. I only use time outs for violence. I take privileges away for other things.

Time outs usually end in a 2 hour temper tantrum. One of the guys there, a psychologist gave us a suggestion, that instead of allowing Jamie to reach the point where he's going to hit someone rate his intensity level from 0 being very calm to 5 agressive and violent, and catch him before he passes 3 and get him to take a 1 minute cool off or calm down, whatever we wanted to call it.

He said the object of this exercise was to teach him to know when he's reaching the explosion level so that he can put himself in "cool off" before he acts out.

They said it could take years before he recognises the signs in himself, but that it would be huge in self-esteem building in the end.

Anyone else ever try this?

Elspeth

Avatar for kathy_in_ga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 9:02am
I do this, it was out of necessity, didn't know it was a technique, LOL. I am always defusing the situation for Joiner. If I can catch him before he escelates, then I can get him over it quicker. The trick will be learning the signs, knowing what can cause a breakdown, and stopping it before it gets too bad. With Joiner he gets really frustrated with things that wont do what he wants them to do. Like legos, he will always want them to do things they are not made for, like having only one indention hooked up to another. I know when he is particularly irritated not to let him near the legos. Or when I see him tyring to do something that isn't working, I will tell him that he is getting too frustrated with what ever he is doing & to let me help him. I also try to label his emotions for him so he knows what he is feeling & that it is an emotion, not something doing something to him on purpose. Another thing that helps in our situation is humor, if I can get Joiner to laugh, the situation has been defused. Like if he falls on the grouns crying, I ask like I am tripping all over him, or sometimes I even throw myself on the ground & really kick & over act a fit. That always gets him laughing.

Also, have you read "The Explose Child" by Ross Greene? He has some good ideas, helped me to not demand so much on Joiner during his worse times.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 10:26am
So funny you mentioned the lego. I have to hide Jamie's and only bring it out when he's in a really good mood. He goes ballistic with them.

He also thinks toys do things they don't and that I can cook anything in the kitchen (like M&Ms)

Sometimes if what he's asking for is impossible it's hard to divert him as nothing else will do. I've been trying to defuse and divert him, but sometimes it's impossible.

I guess when it comes to recognising his triggers that's not such a hard thing for me. I know in advance what to expect from certain situations and I can tell by the look on his face if there is going to be a problem and remove him immediately.

Depending where we are though, it's not always that easy

Elspeth

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 1:14pm
My psychologist works on this with my son, and I have told his teacher until I'm blue in the face that she can NOT let him reach meltdown point - she has to remove him from the classroom to calm himself down before he can't be calmed down. It really does help - I don't have to use time-outs much anymore. (I do the same as you - take away privileges rather than time-outs except for fits.)

I have also found that I cannot allow myself to get out of control, or it the situation blows up almost immediately. I can't yell at him - I can speak forcefully, but if I yell in anger, all he does is scream back and the whole meltdown thing starts. If I can just say "I will not tolerate this and you need to make another choice" he will try to think of another choice. I'm having a hard time getting my husband (my son's stepfather) to understand that you just can't scream at him to get your point across. He shuts down, then melts down and it is UGLY.

I think it is a great way to teach them to recognize their own behaviors. It's really hard when they are young, but it is so important for them to learn self-control.

Avatar for kathy_in_ga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-07-2003 - 2:04pm
Here is another way to deal with it. It's called LEE Low in expressed emotion. I know several who do this & say it works. I am trying to use it more often. Here is a link if you want to read about it.


http://www.healerwarrior.com/Psychoeducational%20Family%20Support.htm