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Mummy_Em

Emotional Regulation?

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Mummy_Em

I'm wondering if anyone else's child is having difficulties with their emotional regulation? Kids that are having big meltdowns/tantrums, over-excitability, explosive temper in relation to other kids their age ? Have you sought help for it and has your child a particular diagnosis that is related?

 

Dd1 has seen a clin psych a couple of times. He believes she has difficulty regulating her emotions but that it is "just temperament". For some reason that is not sitting well with me atm.

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José

As a former teacher I have seen a number of children with emotional regulation difficulties.

You're talking about a five year old? From my experience it's possible to have emotional regulation difficulties without an additional diagnosis.

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Crap Napper

Emotional regulation can also stem from nutritional factors.

 

DD1 had some pretty big issues with emotional regulation when she was 6-7 - big tantrums, irritability, hyperactivity but tired all the time... It turned out that she was severely deficient in iodine, and since treating that, things have improved out of sight.

 

It might be worth having her diet assessed by a qualified nutritionist who uses dietary analysis software like Food Works (not all do, and trace minerals can often be overlooked using the eyeball method).

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GoodThing

Could your DD have some sensory issues? We have just started Occupational Therapy for my DD5 who has some sensory issues in a few different areas (the OT referred to it as Sensory Defensivness). She is also quite an emotional kid, prone to meltdowns etc, gets quite over-whelmed in group/new situations and is also quite excitable, on the go the whole time & is exhausted at the end of every day (amongst other specific sensory issues).

 

For my DD, it's about how her inner ear receives & processes information.

 

The Occupational Therapist has been great, she has actually picked up other sensory issues that are impacting on the issues that I went to see her for in the first place!

We are working with the OT to help my DD come up with strategies on how to regulate herself when feeling overwhelmed etc. The OT is also working with me on strategies that I can do at home to help my DD too.

 

 

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Mummy_Em

Thanks for all your thoughts. We have a paed appointment coming up so we'll wait and see what he says. She worries me, this little one.

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baddmammajamma

Mummy_Em: I remember your earlier posts. Do you have an existing patient relationship with this particular paed, or is it a first appointment?

 

Especially if it's a first appointment, I would recommend a few things:

 

First of all, start keeping a log of your daughter's meltdowns, tantrums and emotional explosions (and take note of what seemed to set her off & how long/intense the episode was). Also, between now and the October appointment, think through some representative examples of what tends to set her off.

 

This will help you convey to the paed just how much these episodes are affecting your daughter and family life. It is easy to draw a blank or overstate/understate things when you are being questioned by a doctor, so any notes you make in advance will help you convey your concerns fully and accurately.

 

I have friends who have videotaped portions of meltdowns (NOT for public consumption but for the paed's consideration) to help the doctor understand the severity.

 

Also, you might want to ring the paed's office and ask whether he/she would benefit from teacher input for that initial consultation. For instance, the paed might want the teacher to complete the teacher version of the Connons (Behavioral) Scales or provide a brief summary of the teacher's observations.

 

Even if the paed does not request those things initially, it could be very helpful for your daughter's teacher to write up a brief, confidential summary of the types of behaviors she sees at school. The teacher can place it in a sealed envelope if that's what he/she prefers.

 

Don't let the paed blow off your concerns by saying "She is just a little girl," or "She is just a drama queen," etc. etc. If the behavior is concerned to you and those who work with your daughter, it is behavior that deserves being fully probed.

 

Good luck!

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Mummy_Em

Thank you BMJ, always informative and supportive.

 

It will be an initial consult, but I have heard good things about this paed, so fingers crossed. I was keeping a log. I must get back to that.

 

They did send me through a behaviour rating scale for ADHD, which I have given to the teacher, but she doesn't see an issue and has not returned it (probably totally forgotten). I feel she is working hard to hold it together and flying under the radar at school, and that is part of what is worrying me, that the only people with concerns are myself and my mum.

 

I actually suspect that she might have a few traits of ADHD and maybe ASD, enough to be a challenge for her, but not enough for a diagnosis. I guess I can only gather the info and take it to the experts, hey?

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baddmammajamma

It can be a bit tricky when kids present one way at home and another way at school -- all the more reason for you to come in well prepared.

 

You might even want to have your mum write up a few bullet points of things that she has observed.

 

It's important for specialists to know the degree to which the child's behavior is affecting their daily functioning and the extent to which it is disrupting the functioning of the family.

 

I realize that the suggestion of video taping your daughter might sound a bit extreme, but I've had friends whose kids were angels at school & explosive at home (and people would doubt the parents' reports), and they've needed some way to illustrate just how extreme the meltdowns at home are.

 

Good luck getting some answers. A robust assessment process, at the very least, should yield some recommendations for supporting your daughter even if she doesn't receive a formal diagnosis of anything.

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F.E.B.E

has the psychologist given you any tactics to help your DD regulate her emotions? See what the paed says in any case.

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Mummy_Em

Yes, just tweaks to Triple P, 1,2,3...Magic and Emotional Training type stuff we were already doing.

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tanyak1

My DD1 is now 13 and was diagnosed with poor emotional regulation at 12 (along with poor social regulation, mild high functioning autism, severe Oppositional Defiant Disorder and mild impulsive ADD).

 

We always suspected something was going on with her from a young age (from around 3) and did try a child psychologist when she was 8. This wasn't much use as the psychologist was all about behaviour charts and the like which just weren't effective.

 

It's interesting you say your child is good at school, DD1 has always been the same, good school reports and academic progress and no behaviour issues, But at home, a completely different child. The way she reacted when she found out I was having a third child (when she was 6) had to be seen to be believed, it was crazy. Our whole family is impacted by her behaviour and personality.

 

She is now under the care of a good psychologist, but I fear we let it go too long without effective treatment and sometimes despair it's too late (our GP thinks it's too late to help her in some ways). So keep pushing for answers and try not to be fobbed off with wait and see's or things you know are not effective.

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Danilight

Hi there, ask about 'Emotional Disregulation disorder'. It is the new term for a board line personality disorder. Is very rare but the explosive temper is sign. I was diagnosed with major depression for 10 years and after anti-depressants didn't seem to be helping with this explosive anger (throwing things when angry and screaming at my beautiful boys till I wet my self) I wanted to search further. I had always been an emotional and angry kid but had a great life and parents and was otherwise generally happy.

 

There are techniques and counselling that helps so try not to let anyone just give her a pill to fix it because the stuff that is in them has more side affects than the problems your daughters behaviour is causing.

 

It may not be this disorder but I wish it hadn't taken me 10 years to get the right help (& get off the anti-d's) as the strain on family members is horrific let alone the person dealing with this disorder. There are websites that support the people and families living with these sort of disorders. 'Bdprecovery' is one. I hope your daughter and you and family find some relief soon.

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OceanTwentyFour

Hi OP

 

I feel your pain. My DS has trouble with emotional regulation too. He is 8 years old and it seems to be getting worse. Just this morning he lost it because I asked him and his brother to empty the dishwasher. He screamed and cried and said he was running away. Like others he is well behaved at school - in his last report they said he was a role model for other children. At home it is a different story.

 

I have taken him to a psychologist but she was more interested in getting me into therapy than helping him!

 

So I am in the process of finding someone else but I'm wondering if I should take him to a Paed first to see if there is any underlying issues.

 

Sorry I can't be of help but just wanted to let you know you are not alone in dealing with this.

 

Cheers

SS

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Bearynice

Holly docker I have sent u a om. Hope you don't mind!

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MarsBarSlice

I'm so glad I found this post because now I know I'm not alone. My DS1 (nearly 6) is hyperactive, over emotional to extremes no matter what the emotion is, throws tantrums, screams, is violent and goes into rages. Still wears nappies at night. We take him to a psychologist which is helping, slowly. He also sees a paed who is assessing him over time as he suspects ADHD, he ticks most of the boxes.

 

He is getting grommets in and adenoids out and testing for allergies in December. Finally a doctor took us seriously about his hearing problem.

 

I don't have anyone who fully understands what I go through on a daily basis and I also have never told anyone the complete truth about him. I feel so sad and alone and unsupported. His teachers laugh if I even suggest ADHD or a behavioural problem.

 

He also suffers from anxiety.

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WizzFizz

MarsBarSlice you are most certainly NOT alone.

 

I have a DS8 who also has huge emotions. Anger is our biggest challenge and he can be very destructive and loses his temper at very small insignificant things (eg a tomato touching his carrot which up until that night never bothered him, a pieced of paper being accidentally ripped etc). He was diagnosed aspergers earlier this year and we have been seeing a psychologist for social skills training & emotion regulation which is having some impact albeit slowly.

 

I too had tried removing adenoids, tonsils. Did the food thing (failsafe), tried kinesiology. You name it I tried it and spent literally YEARS with various professionals telling me it was my parenting. Helpful !

 

Please continue to pursue help with a good developmental paed and psychologist. And please know you are NOT alone. If I can help in any way even just to share war stories please PM me. It's a lonely, very challenging journey to parent such a child and can be heartbreaking at times. Hang in there and know you are doing the best you can.

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Bearynice

We are still struggling emotionally with one of our kids. We received a letter saying could be a three year wait for paed appointment. Great!

Back to gp I think.

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Nasty Butterfly

You are definitely not alone!

 

Our DD is 11 and we have struggled on and off with her emotional regulation since she was around 6.

 

We saw a couple of different psychologists before we found the one that she connected with and we managed to get to the bottom of where her anger was coming from. I wish we had also seen a dev. paed. when she was younger, we would have been on top of things way sooner I'm sure.

 

 

With our DD we discovered that she uses anger to replace any uncomfortable feeling she is having. So if she is embarrassed or stressed about something she will lash out to avoid having to deal with that emotion. She then just moves on and doesn't deal with it later and so it piles on until everything is setting her off.

 

Our main strategy is as soon as she explodes I stop what I'm doing get her to look at me and we try some breathing to clam down. If that doesn't work I send her to her room to play on her iPad for 5 minutes.( It sounds like a bizarre thing to do but the mind cannot stay angry if you interrupt it.) After 5 minutes I go in and if she is calm we work through exactly what is happening with her. We talk about how her body feels, how being angry is clouding her ability to solve her problem and then we actually tackle the problem.

 

If she really is just angry and the above doesn't work I tell her she can stay angry if she chooses but she can't take it out on us so she has to stay in her room until she can be calm again. Sometimes this results in a massive tantrum but I ignore it and she burns out eventually and life resumes. Later on we have a talk to see if there is anything bothering her although most times with those tantrums she is just being a so and so.

 

It has taken us about 6 months of using that strategy and for a while things got worse because she wasn't used to actually having to process her feelings but now we have a major meltdown about once a month and a minor one about once a week. Considering at her peak (age 8-10) we were having major meltdowns 2 or 3 times a day we call this strategy a raging success!!

 

ETA - Sorry for war & peace......

Edited by Butterflyferal
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MarsBarSlice

Thank you all for your support, gosh it helps.

 

WizzFizz - love your name. DS1 is happy and then within a minute it all goes horribly wrong and it's so quick I have trouble trying to figure out what set him off. We are relieved to be having his operation as we have been at doctors for years that something isn't right with his hearing.

 

Bearynice - that's ridiculous waiting that long

 

Butterflyferal - I admire your hard work and think I might try this technique for DS1. It makes a lot of sense what you have said.

 

DS1 has been awful. He has had primary school orientation, his operation coming up and we've just moved house. On top of that DP is working away from home for the first time ever and it will be a regular thing.

 

If you have a violent child, what do you do to stop them hurting you?

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Mummy_Em

MarsBarSlice - I have discovered that you have to be a bit careful who you confide in, because even if you tell them everything you have done and are doing most people will still assume naughty kid/ineffective parent.

My dd is only 5 but if she is lashing out I can usually get behind her and put my arms under her arms and grab her wrists. She can still throw her head back or try to kick backward, so I have to watch my face and ankles. But she usually only lashes out at me if I have picked her up to remove her from a situation, she doesnt attack me.

 

Wizzfizz - thank you, I may take you up on that one day. She is better at the moment.

 

Butterflyferal -I like the iPad ide, but I just worry about rewarding the behaviour.

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Nasty Butterfly

Mummy_Em believe it or not when we first started using the iPad as a distraction we would have to almost force her to do it. Letting go of that anger feels like giving up her control and power so she definitely didn't see it as a reward.

 

The thing to remeber is this anger is not always naughtiness, it's a coping mechanism. You can't reward or punish it away you have to replace it with something that is more effective.

 

You don't have to use the iPad either. Anything that will stop them from feeding the anger. Drawing, colouring, reading, singing whatever works best.

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Mummy_Em

Thank you, good point.

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Nasty Butterfly

I had to have this discussion with DH many times in the first few weeks because he felt the same way you did about the iPad :)

 

 

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2020selfcare

maggi dent said the reason why a lot of these kids have these melt downs especially in front of the family is because they feel safe, they are being overworked at school, there brain is going haywire, saying to themselves I am trying hard at school but still not good enough. Let them have their melt down she said, then once they have calmed down take them to a park, let them run wild, fresh air, give them a hug, food, a drink, more hugs, have some laughs, giggles, some humour in it...

maggi dent is a wealth of knowledge, very wise, very spot on, have a look at her website, youtube

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WizzFizz

I find when my DS (he's 8) has a meltdown he needs to almost bring himself out of it before I can talk any sense or logic to him. He knows (when he's calm & happy) what he can do to calm down when angry - we have a chart outlining various strategies of what to do with pictures he has drawn - his strategies are eat a sandwich / have a drink; ride his bike, read a book, take deep breaths, walk away to his room.

 

Mid meltdown he cannot seem to engage ANY of these strategies but afterwards when we talk about his anger he can quite easily articulate what he could have done. So he "gets it" just can't seem to implement when needed. But we;' re getting there...

 

When he gets violent with me (been there MANY times to the point I started worrying about him pulling a knife on me one day).... I have found the best strategy is for ME to walk away & hide myself in my bedroom. DS follows me and wants to be near me antagonising/hurting me so I actually go to my room, shut the door and sit against it so he can't get in (I don't have a lock) & tell him I will come out when he has calmed down & is not hurting me. I have found of ALL my strategies over the years this is the best as it gives me space to breathe and takes the attention off him so generally while I am in there (after much kicking on the door etc) he will eventually snap out of the meltdown and suddenly be back to normal happy self.

 

Its hard bloody exhausting work !

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