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Old 11-24-2015, 10:55 AM
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NoMoreJuice! NoMoreJuice! is offline
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Default Frustration, Anger, Explosion

Dcb3.5 has been with me for 2 years now. I've watched him grow up as a sweet, loving toddler to an angry, explosive preschooler. Here's a tiny bit of his backstory(I'll try to keep it unbiased, but I'm human):

Dcb is the youngest of two boys, older brother is 5 years older and in elementary school. Mom & Dad both interviewed, said they were separated but friendly. For about a year I saw mom only, finally found out it was because dad was in jail. When he got out about a year ago, he started hanging out with the boys more. Dcb told him about how angry dad was, mom showed up with a black eye one day, and older brother told the counselor at school a few months ago that when his parents were fighting, he took his little bro in his room and turned the tv on. As my dcb grew older, I noticed behaviors happening. He became very sullen and withdrawn at times, he would take things and hide them in his pockets (I so hate to use the world steal, but he did try to take everything home), he began to throw fits. The last few months he's been throwing huge tantrums and screaming and crying, sometimes throwing up. I've been moving him to the couch and sitting next to him, and not talking. When he stops crying, I ask him for a hug and we talk through what happened, and try to name emotions. Fast forward to today, he threw the absolute mother of all fits when I asked him to put away the lego gun he had made (we do not play with any weapons or pretend weapons and he's known this for years, but he has dozens of play guns at home), and when I tried to move him to the couch he punched me in the eye. I was shocked, so I put him on the couch and quickly walked away before I lost my cool.

I called him mom and asked her to pick up. She said she couldn't, but his dad could and she would send him over. Here's the tricky part. I told her that wouldn't be a good idea considering the high state of anger dcb was in. I feel that dad is a huge influence in how this boy reacts to situations (but tactfully didn't mention this to mom). I then asked her to check with her insurance and find a good counselor that can help us sort through these problems. I offered to write down every detail of the tantrums I see so that we can find a way to diffuse the bomb before it happens.

Have any of you ever been through this? Can you please analyze my approach and tell me what I can do better? This poor boy is in agony, and I know he feels completely out of control. My heart is breaking into pieces for him, but my brain keeps telling me to step back and I can't solve everyone's problems. Help please!
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:59 AM
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childcaremom childcaremom is offline
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No advice but here is what stood out to me:

*you called mom for pick up and she wouldn't come
*child punched you
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:04 AM
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Annalee Annalee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreJuice! View Post
Dcb3.5 has been with me for 2 years now. I've watched him grow up as a sweet, loving toddler to an angry, explosive preschooler. Here's a tiny bit of his backstory(I'll try to keep it unbiased, but I'm human):

Dcb is the youngest of two boys, older brother is 5 years older and in elementary school. Mom & Dad both interviewed, said they were separated but friendly. For about a year I saw mom only, finally found out it was because dad was in jail. When he got out about a year ago, he started hanging out with the boys more. Dcb told him about how angry dad was, mom showed up with a black eye one day, and older brother told the counselor at school a few months ago that when his parents were fighting, he took his little bro in his room and turned the tv on. As my dcb grew older, I noticed behaviors happening. He became very sullen and withdrawn at times, he would take things and hide them in his pockets (I so hate to use the world steal, but he did try to take everything home), he began to throw fits. The last few months he's been throwing huge tantrums and screaming and crying, sometimes throwing up. I've been moving him to the couch and sitting next to him, and not talking. When he stops crying, I ask him for a hug and we talk through what happened, and try to name emotions. Fast forward to today, he threw the absolute mother of all fits when I asked him to put away the lego gun he had made (we do not play with any weapons or pretend weapons and he's known this for years, but he has dozens of play guns at home), and when I tried to move him to the couch he punched me in the eye. I was shocked, so I put him on the couch and quickly walked away before I lost my cool.

I called him mom and asked her to pick up. She said she couldn't, but his dad could and she would send him over. Here's the tricky part. I told her that wouldn't be a good idea considering the high state of anger dcb was in. I feel that dad is a huge influence in how this boy reacts to situations (but tactfully didn't mention this to mom). I then asked her to check with her insurance and find a good counselor that can help us sort through these problems. I offered to write down every detail of the tantrums I see so that we can find a way to diffuse the bomb before it happens.

Have any of you ever been through this? Can you please analyze my approach and tell me what I can do better? This poor boy is in agony, and I know he feels completely out of control. My heart is breaking into pieces for him, but my brain keeps telling me to step back and I can't solve everyone's problems. Help please!
He does need help but I am not sure you can give him what he needs in a group care setting. He needs to be evaluated by a professional. The fact mom didn't come get him bothers me. Actions speak louder than words....she should have picked him up herself
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:17 AM
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Yes I have
to be honest can you talk to the boy openly about what is going on for him
say you are here for him
that he can talk to you about it
explain what is going on is not right ...in related to child level
I have told kids that both parents love you very much
they just can not get along with eachother but they love you
also
let him know that anger is a very real emotion
that it is ok to be angry
it is how we deal with it that is important
I tell the kids I split wood when angry ...then heat my home
so I take a bad neg feeling energy and turn it inot some thing possitive
and then help him find something he can do when the anger is there
pillows ex ....
and a space he can go to well still be in your sight ?
he will not understand what is going on between parents
if It gets worse ...make the call
good luck
my heart goes out to these little inecent (sp ) children
who parents dont know better
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreJuice! View Post
I called him mom and asked her to pick up. She said she couldn't, but his dad could and she would send him over. Here's the tricky part. I told her that wouldn't be a good idea considering the high state of anger dcb was in. I feel that dad is a huge influence in how this boy reacts to situations (but tactfully didn't mention this to mom). I then asked her to check with her insurance and find a good counselor that can help us sort through these problems.
I totally understand where you are coming from but honestly I think that is crossing the line a bit.

The childs father IS his father and if mom sends dad to pickup, I don't think you should be able to say no.

I do agree that the parents should seek counseling but again, I don't think that is your place to say. Asking her to check her insurance is something I would never in a million years have said to a parent. Personally I find that way too personal....but I don't know your relationship with this mom so..

I think you are doing the best you can with the child and his behaviors but I also think you shouldn't make exceptions for him no matter what you know about his home life as that isn't helping anyone.

I am NOT saying everyone grows up with a tough beginning like this little guy (and again I commend you for your efforts) but I think it's better to teach him to fit into the world than to adjust the world to accommodate him. NOT saying you are but it seems kind of like that based on some of what you are already doing.

Its hard. I understand that. I feel compassion and empathy for lots of situations that occur that I am aware of but bottom line is I wont tolerate physical behavior towards me or anyone in my home. period.

I think suggesting to mom that the child's receive some sort of counseling is as far as I would go outside of care (inside of care, I think you are doing great with what you've said...talking about and identifying emotions etc) I'd also continue calling for pick up every time he has a tantrum that is beyond something he can control and any time he gets physical.

Other than that, I'd stay out of it.

Again, I don't know your relationship with the family so...
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I totally understand where you are coming from but honestly I think that is crossing the line a bit.

The childs father IS his father and if mom sends dad to pickup, I don't think you should be able to say no.

I do agree that the parents should seek counseling but again, I don't think that is your place to say. Asking her to check her insurance is something I would never in a million years have said to a parent. Personally I find that way too personal....but I don't know your relationship with this mom so..

I think you are doing the best you can with the child and his behaviors but I also think you shouldn't make exceptions for him no matter what you know about his home life as that isn't helping anyone.

I am NOT saying everyone grows up with a tough beginning like this little guy (and again I commend you for your efforts) but I think it's better to teach him to fit into the world than to adjust the world to accommodate him. NOT saying you are but it seems kind of like that based on some of what you are already doing.

Its hard. I understand that. I feel compassion and empathy for lots of situations that occur that I am aware of but bottom line is I wont tolerate physical behavior towards me or anyone in my home. period.

I think suggesting to mom that the child's receive some sort of counseling is as far as I would go outside of care (inside of care, I think you are doing great with what you've said...talking about and identifying emotions etc) I'd also continue calling for pick up every time he has a tantrum that is beyond something he can control and any time he gets physical.

Other than that, I'd stay out of it.

Again, I don't know your relationship with the family so...
Thanks for that dose of tough love advice you knew I needed. I can always count on you for that.

I would say compared to many providers on here, I get a little too involved in my families' lives. All providers have to find a balance of personal/professional interactions, and I'm comfortable being a major part of the family in most cases. Most of the time, I'm the only one these parents have to turn to for advice or support, and I truly love being able to help them.

The insurance thing I totally get that it sounds personal, but she told me a while back that the counselor they'd been seeing with the older boy stopped taking her insurance, so they had to find a new counselor that they didn't like as much. That was around the time CPS came and talked to my DCB because of what the older brother told the school counselor.

The dad, who I've only seen about 5 times in the last few years, gives me such a bad feeling. He works in a chop shop and has illegal firearms (he's a felon). So I don't really want him around my house, and if he has to leave work to get the boy I'm afraid he'll do more damage (emotionally and possibly physically). Of course if he showed up, I know the law, I wouldn't deny him access to his son. But the mom and I both agree that he shouldn't be around dcb when emotions are so high.

I need a game plan. When dcb gets violent, he gets sent home immediately (and I just need to suck it up and not care who picks him up). But for when he's just frustrated and not really lashing out, is there a good calming activity he could do? What has worked for everyone in the past, a calming jar? Coloring? Grinding crayons into a piece of paper may relieve some tension. Today I turned on some Brahms and tried to let that soothe him, but it didn't work since the others were running around dancing and making a dance party out of it!
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:23 PM
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I suggested counseling for a DCG and I certainly don't regret it and I don't think it is unprofessional in the least. The child was suffering after a nasty divorce and had a mental breakdown in my home saying "I can't take it anymore". To me this means that in order for me to be professional I have to suggest resources to families. I didn't ask her about her insurance though

The thing is that unless the family is willing and able to do what the counselor suggests NOTHING will change. In my case the children went to a psychologist until the psychologist started suggesting that mom needed to change and well, that was the end of the counseling. Are these the type of people that will do what it takes to get this kid the help he needs. The thing is he is doing this at home too and they aren't doing anything about it.

I completely understand how frustrated you feel right now

As for calming measures I would suggest a calming jar for sure. I would also do everything I could to teach him mindfulness and meditation. You will do more for him with these two things than any counselor could. It will help him for the rest of his life. All of the kids could use it!
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreJuice! View Post
Thanks for that dose of tough love advice you knew I needed. I can always count on you for that.

I would say compared to many providers on here, I get a little too involved in my families' lives. All providers have to find a balance of personal/professional interactions, and I'm comfortable being a major part of the family in most cases. Most of the time, I'm the only one these parents have to turn to for advice or support, and I truly love being able to help them.

That is really a good thing. Good for you that you do that.
Its not something I am comfortable with but I definitely see the value in it for many reasons.


The insurance thing I totally get that it sounds personal, but she told me a while back that the counselor they'd been seeing with the older boy stopped taking her insurance, so they had to find a new counselor that they didn't like as much. That was around the time CPS came and talked to my DCB because of what the older brother told the school counselor.

With the added info, it makes sense... before I read as if you just out of the blue said that to mom and I was like Again, it really is nice that you are able to be close enough to mom that you can talk openly and freely about this.

The dad, who I've only seen about 5 times in the last few years, gives me such a bad feeling. He works in a chop shop and has illegal firearms (he's a felon). So I don't really want him around my house, and if he has to leave work to get the boy I'm afraid he'll do more damage (emotionally and possibly physically). Of course if he showed up, I know the law, I wouldn't deny him access to his son. But the mom and I both agree that he shouldn't be around dcb when emotions are so high.

Yikes! Now I can understand..
He may very well be angry with DCB for being aggressive and having to be picked up that it is more of a protection (for DCB's well being/and your home itself) than a decision based on your interpretation of the family dynamics. Again the reasons behind your actions are now a bit more clear.


I need a game plan. When dcb gets violent, he gets sent home immediately (and I just need to suck it up and not care who picks him up). But I do understand you not wanting dad to come and why. Maybe ask mom if there is another relative or family friend that can pick up when she cant...

But for when he's just frustrated and not really lashing out, is there a good calming activity he could do? What has worked for everyone in the past, a calming jar? Coloring? Grinding crayons into a piece of paper may relieve some tension. Today I turned on some Brahms and tried to let that soothe him, but it didn't work since the others were running around dancing and making a dance party out of it!
I answered in red above.

YES! The calming jars are wonderful and are actually pretty mesmerizing and they definitely can have that calming affect for those times in which a child is seeing red.

I think your best bet is to talk with him only when he is calm. When he is feeling stressed or having a tantrum, I think it's best to give him a safe place to do so...a large floor cushion or just a place he can be alone for a minute or two. Maybe involve him in planning something so he knows what to expect before you do it...kwim?

My son suffered some anger issues, mostly out of anxiety due to not being able to express himself clearly and it always helped when he and I could talk about it after and prepare for better more positive choices afterwards.

I am betting you could find some books about feeling angry and what kids can do to learn more positive approaches to feeling angry.

I think it's great that you are so willing to be a stable resource for not only the child but the family as a whole.
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:55 PM
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I had this child. Mine was from about 15 months until he turned 3. We believe it was a combination of his home life/divorce, imitating his father/having the same personality, frustrations from his speech and physical delays, and possibly a neurological disorder resulting from a pediatric stroke. I dealt with it for about 1 1/2 years, but the last year it got really bad and was escalating. I've been hit, bitten, spit on, cursed, and I think I have a hearing loss from the volume of screams. I have a special needs daycare, so this was a little different situation. Both parents were totally on board-well, dad took a little reminding now and then, but I can do that!

He had ECI services, and his PT, OT, Speech therapists all tried new ideas constantly. I did all of his therapy here, so we left no stone unturned. He was in play therapy, and the head of the Behavioral Disorders clinic was on speed dial. Nothing seemed to stop them. I finally termed him on his 3rd birthday for several reasons. The rages were escalating-my other kids were young toddlers and the aggression had turned to them a few times. I was no longer the best place for him. My group had turned over and he no longer had anyone his age to play with here. He aged out of ECI, and his neurologist said, "Wow, these rages are going to start interfering with his learning, you need to get them under control!" Honestly, I was tired, frustrated, and my endless patience was running out. It was the best thing for all of us.

Now, some things did work sometimes. He was extreme, so maybe they would help you. We did joint compressions. You can google them on youtube. They are a sensory activity, but I use them on all of my kiddos. It releases something or other that is sort of calming or something. I can't remember exactly. But OT said they are not harmful to anyone, and they help! I also used essential oils. If I could catch him before they escalated, I would tell him it was time for his smells. I had lavendar and a couple of others. We also did therabrushing, which is amazing, but it should only be done under supervison by an OT. Sitting behind him and gently massaging his shoulders, put him in the floor and rub his lower legs and feet, always rubbing from knees to feet, massage his little hands. These are all sensory activities that work really well if you can do them before the rages are out of control. He doesn't sound sensory, but they work well with emotional kids too. I had one that would bring me the sensory basket when she felt tense. I have a refrigerator box full of pillows and sensory things as a retreat. I have glitter bottles, squares of different fabrics and textures, soft animals. I had just started using emotion faces when he left so that he could show me how he felt.

Oh, and heavy work-things that can let him work off his anger. One of the senses is proprioceptive, which is body awareness. Heavy work lets the body sort of reassess and calm itself. Anything that involves pushing, dragging, using large muscles can help with that. I realize he isn't a diagnosed sensory kid, but one thing I have learned over the years is that we are all sensory kids. IF you do much reading, you will recognize yourself in all of these. Our bodies and emotions are so complex that they can't help getting discombobeled. I had a plastic cat litter jug (the big one) filled with sand and the lid taped and glued shut. I kept this next to the door. If he came in gloomy, he had to drag the jug to it's regular place in the far corner of the playroom "as a favor to me". It's amazing how often during the day that I needed that heavy jug moved. Let him jump, let him stomp. There are a lot of exercise songs that include stomping and jumping in a controlled form. Here is a link that has some really good heavy work ideas. http://mamaot.com/40-heavy-work-activities-kids/

Unfortunately, these don't work for everyone. I've had a great deal of luck with them over time, but they didn't help this kid, and I had to let him go. He went to a daycare with kids his own age, and everyone sang her praises. But, that wasn't the issue, he had had kids his age here until last Spring and it didn't help. He did really well there for about 3 weeks, and I'm hearing that he's ended the honeymoon period and is back to his old ways.

Good luck with him. I hope some of these ideas help, for both of your sakes. Getting close to families can be great and it can come back and bite you. Sometimes, for everyone's sake, it's worth the risk. If both parties are comfortable, then do what you think is best.
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