Tuesday, July 22, 2014

THE CALM DOWN LIST - Revisited

My 4th grader used to have a terrible temper. I mean really at 9yrs old he was still having tantrums. I have to admit it was pay back. I used to be one of those moms that watched a child have a tantrum like his in the store and thought the parent was being irresponsible. He's the youngest of my 4 kids and I have never had this problem with my other kids.

Uhum, well now I see that every child is different.

There were lots of possible reasons for my 4th grader to have this issue with his temper. I've never gotten him tested for any medical 'prognosis' to his behavior, but plenty of his former teachers loved throwing around words or diagnosis without proper training. The odd thing was, he was a great kid who listened, rarely had tantrums at home - with mom and dad. But when he was with other people, it was a different story.

SO YOUR KID HAS ISSUES

Well I knew I could take him to see someone about his anger issues. But the deal is - I - ME - PARENT would have to work on those challenges with my kid everyday. And I knew my kid better than anyone. If it was consistent behavior done at home and at school, my initial solution would've been different.

The most that happened at home was a stomping to the time-out corner, mumbling under his breath and when I wasn't looking throwing something down. But when he was with his grandmother, teacher or friends he had a temper and a mean, disrespectful mouth.

Now, even though my kid didn't display this behavior with me or my husband face to face. I knew I had to find a way to work with him on a daily basis.

THE LIST

So, I came up with the CALM DOWN list. I made this specific to my kid's issues. Controlling his temper, not having a tantrum, not yelling, learning to calm down, don't internalize things when they don't go his way.

This list of 10 things that he needs to do to calm down, evaluate the problem, open communication and gain forgiveness was a lifesaver.

THE MANTRA

We read the list every single day before we start our homeschool. I read it with him. He mumbles it sometimes. We sing it sometimes. We chat about it at times. AND when he is having an issue, I read it as I set the 'time out' timer. He either spends that 'time out' in the corner, on the couch, on the floor, with his head on his desk - OR - on mom's lap with her arms around him.

AN ENTIRE VILLAGE

This has worked for us because everyone in the house knows about Speed Racer's list. I take it with me and now Speed Racer 'remembers' his list that he doesn't have to read it every day, multiple times. Now he knows how to calm himself down.

THE LIST: (Make it specific to the needs of your child. Keep it for at least 6 months til it's memory)

1) It's not so bad.
2) Breathe slowly. Relax your shoulders. Count to 10.
3) Don't beat yourself up. Hit a pillow - anything besides YOURSELF
4) Meditate and pray, chant for peace inside your head.
5) Tell your story - slowly and respectfully.
6) Take control. 'I am in charge of my own choices and perception'
7) Find small physical distractions. Squeeze a stress ball. Pet our Dog.
8) Talk. Be respectful though. Don't suffer in silence.
9) Tell how you want to turn the situation around.
10) You're not always going to get your way, so don't expect to. Don't plan on everything to come out perfectly

WHAT WOULD YOU PUT IN YOUR CALM DOWN LIST?

8 comments:

  1. What a great list:) We too have a major temper problem but things have improved so much this last year. We've had to use visuals or have her use visuals...like writing, drawing pictures, etc. Music is also very calming to her. I have learned to become more aware of when she might be getting to that breaking point and will preemptively have her do something calming.

    There are many other things we've done too but that has to do with getting a medical diagnosis and getting her the help she truly needs. It wasn't until we bit the bullet and got her evaluated that we discovered not only was she a high functioning autistic (asperger's) but she also scored the very lowest on her auditory and language processing. I use to be so judgmental of parents who "got their kid diagnosed" but since going through this myself and going through almost a year of testing I now know how mislead I was.

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  2. Oh Heather you are truly talking to my heart. We really struggled with this. We did get him evaluated by several Doctors, however they didn't believe he had consistent symptoms of any of the obvious diagnosis. They wanted us to try something different before doing further investigation since there were other factors involved such as teachers physically hitting him and such. However,since we've been homeschooling him, he's like a totally different kid. We've left him with family and friends to make sure that his anxious behavior no longer thrived and have seen success. If indeed he needed additional help, I would definately seek it out. The thought of him being in that kind of discomfort for so long is just upsetting.

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  3. This is a GREAT list. I have two bonus daughters who have had a hard time dealing with blended life. The youngest is RAD so we have to deal with her behaviors a bit differently however the oldest one goes through swings of moodiness and I have worked very hard over the last year and a half to help her identify her swings as well as noticing when she just feels "off" and how to deal with it. Either alone time,talking about it,or if she chooses just plain changing her attitude then and there. I love moms that take responsibility and fight to help their struggling kids. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Really kids just need tools. Wanting him to memorize the list that would specifically 'Calm' him down in stages spelled out to him what could work to diffuse his frustrations.

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  4. This is a great list! Thank you for sharing!

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  5. Update: 11/2014 My Speed Racer has no more temper tantrums, spaz moments unless provoked now by his sister, lol! However, the CALM DOWN list is still recited daily and he knows the tools to use to re-direct himself. He now actually works well independently for a few hours at a time. Now even more so that the distractions of video games, TV and his old school behaviors are gone.

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  6. A hug from Mom or loved one/teacher would go on my list. I too have a mumbler. I am wondering if it's like freezing up on stage - where she actually wants to talk normal but can't.

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