Tuesday, June 18, 2013
How to (mostly) have patience when your child acts up
I instantly: 1) Knew how this mom felt; 2) Realized she must have mistaken my blog for one Mother Teresa used to write, or something like that. I most definitely do not have eternal patience, I told her, and have felt similarly distraught when Max has screechfests or refuses to do stuff I know he can do.
If we're at home, my go-to solution is to put Max in a place where he can lose it safely, like his bedroom, and let him cry or shout it out for a few minutes. Bonus: This gives me time to regroup. If I run out of patience I often let Dave take over, especially if we're in a public situation; he is less emotional about dealing with meltdowns. If we're at a restaurant, for instance, he'll grab Max and head outside.
We've also learned that timing is everything. Max is most in danger of losing it when he's hungry, so we'll leave the house only when he's well fed—and give him a snack before we hit restaurants, so he's not starving. Headphones have helped with transitions. When Max screeches, I've been known to put them on myself. This has the effect of cracking Max up; distraction can work wonders, though it's not always possible.
Taking care of me helps, too. I try to grab time to relax every week, whether it's girls' night out or having an iced latte in a coffee shop and reading for a half hour. When I recharge, when I have treats to look forward to, I'm better equipped to handle whatever the kids throw my way. A time efficiency expert I once heard at a seminar recommended that on Sundays, you plan something fun for next weekend instead of leaving it to, say, Friday; it helps power you through the week.
Yes, sometimes I wish life were easier. But that comes with the gig of parenting a child with special needs, and it's nothing to feel guilty about. You'd be hard-pressed to find a parent who hasn't wished her child would behave differently—special needs or not.
What tactics help you deal when your child has a meltdown or acts out?