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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

Meltdowns & Tantrums 101: Share Stories, Frustrations, Tips, and Advice

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Members of our wonderful group have posted many personal stories about meltdowns, offered helpful tips, reached out to each other for support and shared helpful information and resources.

Get started with these 5 tips then click below to find more:

1. Be Proactive

~ Use these tools to stop meltdowns before they begin: Take note of what triggers meltdowns so you can avoid those places/behaviors/situations, set a schedule and explain expectations to your child, be clear about consequences.

2. Use Distraction

~ Try to head off tantrums before they occur by distracting your child with something they like -- a book or favorite toy, a calming exercise or game.

3. Pick your battles

~ If your child is in a safe place, sometimes allowing the meltdown will help it end sooner.

4. Ignore others

~ Public tantrums can be particularly frustrating.  The best thing you can do is focus on your child and what you need to do for them and ignore everybody else.

5. Use rewards

~ Encourage good behavior with a rewards program.

Click here to find even more tips and advice for handling tantrums and meltdowns, or share your own in the replies below!

Need advice on a specific issue?  Start a post to share your story and receive support!

by on Dec. 15, 2011 at 7:56 PM
Replies (131-134):
amijustlookin
by Member on Jun. 18, 2014 at 11:08 PM

I agree. Discipline means "to teach". This is not saying your a bad parent or making a bad choice, its your child and you will chose to use what you want. But if you are willing, which you seem to be, to try something new here is something that has been working wonders for my son.

If he gets to close I ask him if he needs to be that close to "so-in-so"? It will usually take his mind off the issue and he will have the NEED to answer, yes he does or no he doesnt. If he says yes, I say why? Are your eyes having trouble seeing them? or something silly like that. It distracts him and makes him think for a minute which takes his attention off the issue and it does not cause a meltdown. I usually end it with something like "Maybe if you stepped back you could talk to him better and see all of your friend" Or something like that, Its hard to explain if its not "in the moment". Its very hand if your creative and can remember to be positive. We have a hard time with making mistakes because we are reminded often that we do. So when its something we are not thinking about or had no intention on upsetting anyone, it hurts that much more when its pointed out. We also have an issue with boundries. Its hard to tell what is appropriate distance because we dont feel their is a need for such a thing. I hope you find something that works. Right now almost nothing is working with my son. His meltdowns are pretty much uncontrolable, but they are at least less violent than before without the positive redirecting. Good luck!

Quoting 2puzzlepieces:

Quoting tldle:

For some reason, I seem to set my 9 year old off when I have to correct him. He cannot stand for his errors to be pointed out, but I have to correct him. For example, when he gets right in his brothers face and speaks in a mean tone, I quickly told him to back up. He quickly spiraled into an anxious meltdown even when I spoke calmly to him. This is a consistent problem. How do I train him in a way that is effective and appropriate without causing meltdowns? I feel like I am on eggshells   

It sounds like your boy is telling you he needs positive parenting.  I don't think correction is necessary to teach right from wrong in most cases, especially with our kids.  I'm not talking about sickeningly sweet, never say no because you might scar your poor child for life parenting.  I just mean that we need to be creative about teaching them correct behavior and give ourselves permission to avoid conflict.  The typical child's parent might consider it cowardice to redirect their child instead of confronting and correcting them.  I consider it self-preservation. One way I will be constantly stressed, afraid to go anywhere, walk on eggshells and he still won't learn anything.  The other I have at least a fighting chance at teaching him how to behave and I get to preserve my sanity (well, more than the other option anyhow).  I've read a couple of Kevin Leman's books and the main thing I take away from them is that disciplining a child doesn't mean punishment.  Disciplining them is done BEFORE the offense.  With our kids it means looking for teaching moments and taking advantage of them or creating them if necessary.   


rhiannonaisling
by Melanie on Jun. 20, 2014 at 5:44 PM

One thing that works for my son is to tickle him (this doesn't work for the worst of them but helps greatly with mild or moderate meltdowns) because he loves being tickled...

lancet98
by Member on Jun. 20, 2014 at 6:43 PM

I wonder if this might help.

I had a little boy to take care of who was very, very sensitive.   He wasn't autistic, but he suffered from depression (he was THREE) and severe anxiety.

His mother really favored the older boy who was very robust and not having any anxiety - and well, really rather mean to his younger brother.   She lost her patience with this boy (not saying you do this, just describing how bad the situation was) and got disgusted with him.

So I would wind up over there and have to somehow deal with this, though often mom had the older boy with her and only left the younger one at home (yeah...I know....).

If he would have gotten mean like that, instead of saying, 'don't talk like that', I'd say, 'use your soft voice now, please' (instead of don't do that it was do this), and then if he spoke even ONE soft word, I'd take his hand and pat him on his shoulder with it LOL, 'give yourself a pat on the back, guy!' and he would giggle a little bit.  And I'd say, 'I'm happy you did that for me, that was so nice of you'.

The first couple of times he didn't seem to know what to expect and would start crying but once I repeated it a couple times it was like our little ritual together.

I wonder if you could develop your own little routine together if it would help?

Quoting tldle:

For some reason, I seem to set my 9 year old off when I have to correct him. He cannot stand for his errors to be pointed out, but I have to correct him. For example, when he gets right in his brothers face and speaks in a mean tone, I quickly told him to back up. He quickly spiraled into an anxious meltdown even when I spoke calmly to him. This is a consistent problem. How do I train him in a way that is effective and appropriate without causing meltdowns? I feel like I am on eggshells   


Noahs-Mom
by Member on Jun. 22, 2014 at 10:29 AM

I immediately sit down and hold them. Grab a blanket and wrap them if possible. 

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