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Old 09-10-2011, 08:20 AM
gracegirl gracegirl is offline
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Responding to tantrums in a ways that build attachment (?)

Hubby and I are preparing to parent an almost 3 year old boy and doing lots of studying while we wait. I've been wondering about ways to respond to tantrums that encourage attachment. I realize the old "just ignore it" is not the most appropriate route in these situations. What has worked for you?
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Old 09-14-2011, 10:15 AM
Suzeb1 Suzeb1 is offline
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I really like Becky Bailey's book, Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline. A caveat, the beginning of the book is very philosophical and she can sound condescending...but her approach is excellent and worked really well for my dd (who, while adopted at 6 months old, has lots of loss reactions)

Another book I highly recommend is Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child by Patty Cogen. I'm not really sure why they included the "International" part in the title. It's an excellent guide to what typical behaviors a parent can expect to see, why they are happening and how to build attachment with older children.

Responding with empathy and nurturance has worked much better with dd than consequences. Consequences exacerbate her behavior and she rarely linked cause and effect. Nuturing and empathy goes much further to help her calm down..and once she is calm, she is very willing to do what is asked of her.

I love that you are thinking all this through!!

All the best,

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Old 09-14-2011, 05:43 PM
gracegirl gracegirl is offline
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Thanks for the recommendations, Susan! We will definitely check these out.
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:36 PM
alys1 alys1 is offline
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No doubt you've heard of "time in vs time out". It's vital -- don't isolate the child completely, that recreates abandonment and "triggers" the child to despair. For months, while he's awake, don't be more than 3 steps from him, gradually "disappear" for seconds at a time, build that time up.

Book: "The Connected Child", by Karyn Purvis, etc. Great stuff at her websites: Empowered To Connect
TCU Institute of Child Development

Dr. Daniel Hughes. Love his "PLACE" concepts, DDPI therapy. Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy Institute
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:19 AM
murphymalone murphymalone is offline
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My daughter tried a tantrum once in a grocery store because a little girl we knew had tantrums and her mother and grandmother gave in to them.

My daughter threw herself down on the floor in the grocery store just as we were in the line up over being told she couldn't have a bundle of Kerr's suckers placed at eye level to encourage impulse buying.

I went over to the clerk and apologized for leaving the cart of groceries first. Then I walked back picked her up under my arm like a foot ball and carried her kicking and carrying on out to the car. She was in shock. I told her that due to her behaviour we were going home.

The look on her face was priceless. She stopped screaming and said "what about the groceries?" She had picked some treats etc. which were left there.

I told her that we were leaving them there and that I would go out tomorrow or later without her. She said what are we going to eat? I said Pea soup and grilled cheese or whatever we can find at home.

No more tantrums after that.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:22 AM
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ladyjubilee ladyjubilee is offline
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Originally Posted by gracegirl
it" is not the most appropriate route in these situations. What has worked for you?

It depends on the child.

With LG, when he first came tantrums (featuring biting, clawing, hitting, kicking, spitting, etc) happened multiple times an hour...squeezed in between the 24/7 non stop screaming. Some of those tantrums were a result of pain. Some were a result of autism/sensory issues, some were defensive, some were about trying to rule the roost.

For manipulative tantrums, basically we *actively* "ignored" the behavior. Which meant acting as if he weren't attached by the teeth like a leech on my arm and going ahead with that I was doing/needing him to do. We blended that with modeling how and where to throw tantrums, evolving socially acceptable forms--stomp feet, yell "I'm mad", make angry face while touching (versus scream in someone's face while you claw their arm off!). We also established that he could have tantrums in his room--there he could stomp, scream, split, throw his toys, whatever....but he had/has to keep on his side of the threshold. That gradually evolved into Time Out.

Time out is very effective with LG, though a lot of experts say it doesn't work with autistic kids. We approach Time Out has time for him to rethink. Due to his delays (he functions on about a 2-3 range, with some scatter skills to 5), I only use about 30 total seconds. Enough that he re think, but not so long he can't remember why he's doing Time Out. Its to the point now I can ask if he needs and Time Out and he can often decide for himself if he does or doesn't.

Autism/sensory issues we worked on moving through the tantrum. It meant (I say past tense because as the school noted in a really great reeval today, he hasn't had behavior issue since the last bparent visit!!) working through whatever issue trigged the tandrum, whether that was verbally walking through it (LG is more sound oriented than a lot of autistic kids) or hand over hand shadowing through it.

The defensive tantrums faded as he became more secure and knew we weren't going to retailate or hurt him.

In every case, though we had to determine that the tantrum could not under any circumstances work. He couldn't get or get out a situation due to a tantrum. Scream, spit, claw in a fancy restaurant so we'll leave? No, we set in Time Out until you're ready, then we eat. Hate grocery shopping, so do I, but we're still doing it even if you do try to reach out and touch someone or scream the store down.

But then there is PTSD...all bets are off when it comes ot a PTSD incident. For those we can only hold on until he calms down.

With another child, without labels, we just wait it out, or Time Out, then discuss alternative behaviors.

Last edited by ladyjubilee : 03-09-2012 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:30 PM
MrsD MrsD is offline
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I had a three year old girl who would go off into tantrum land frequently and absolutely could NOT get herself back under control. With help from our therapist, we learned to do a "human swaddle" where either my husband or I would basically gather her up and hold her tight, restraining her arms and legs (not hard, just to stop the flailing). In addition, we'd rub her back along the spine and "broken record" until she calmed down. We'd say "It's okay, Mommy's here" or "It's okay, Daddy's here" over, and over, and over, and over in a very calm, low voice. Once she calmed down, we would talk about what happened. With this kiddo, her tantrums resulted from her history and happened anytime she felt out of control. We had to take control for her and help her learn to trust that we were there for her and would help her.

Obviously, this is not the solution for every child, just my experience with a severe tantrumer....
Licensed: August, 2007
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Major 180 in case: November, 2008
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Matching again: November, 2010
Placement of Little Man: June, 2011
TPR: November, 2011
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Old 04-21-2012, 05:15 AM
murphymalone murphymalone is offline
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If tantrums continue after giving a time out or removing the child from an activity; take the child to see if there is any signs of asperger's syndrome.

If you don't have the medical background of the bparents you may not know the risk.

Asperger's is a condition that is on a spectrum Mild to Major. Some kids deal with being over stimulated by tantruming. I would keep a log of what activities result in a tantrum.
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:42 AM
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GrumblersRidge GrumblersRidge is offline
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I have a three-year-old who tantrums several times a day. She gets no benefits from it. We either ignore, take her to the play room where she can "express her feelings without hurting other people's ears", hold her or physically assist with the task needed in order not to cause significant problems for the rest of the family (getting dressed and out the door so as not to miss an immovable medical appointment for instance). She does not display attachment disorder symptoms. She does not respond well to natural consequences. "You can either clean up the play dough or I will put it away and you won't see it for several days." "Okay, play dough bye bye!" She is extremely strong willed. It will serve her well as an adult but for now I can say that anyone who can respond well to a tantrum (by leaving the grocery store for instance) and see an effect is very lucky and has a child with a fairly easy temperament.
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