I thought this was something that might benefit other families so I decided that I would share it here on Lost and Tired. If you are a regular reader then you have probably already seen many of the videos I have posted pertaining to my oldest son, Gavin, and his meltdowns.
For many years we have been dealing or rather, trying to deal with these meltdowns.
Over the years they have become much more aggressive and potentially dangerous, not to mention disruptive and often times destructive. When he has these meltdowns, he is essentially holding the people in the house hostage. He doesn’t seem to show regard for how this behavior negatively impacts the people around him and that is something that I’m trying to address.
I have always said that I believe Gavin has at least some control over these meltdowns. As time has passed, I have grown to realize that many times, these meltdowns, at least in Gavin’s case, are willful acts. I have also struggled with how to deter these unwanted or inappropriate behaviors. With all that said, here is what I have noticed about Gavin during these meltdowns.
Gavin will appear to lose control and just sink into the meltdown. However, I have discovered, that while he appears to be out of control, at least part of this is a willful act. By willful act, I mean that he is basically making the choice to have the meltdown. I feel comfortable saying this about Gavin because, he seems to have the ability to stop the meltdown on a dime and start right back up again.
Last week I noticed that as Gavin was getting ready to explode into a meltdown that he stopped and carefully put aside his prized Lego ship so that nothing happened to it. After that went right back to his meltdown. I decided that I would try something new and make him hold his Lego ship during these meltdowns and see how that would affect his willingness to continue.
What I found was very interesting.
While he was content to disrupt, terrify his siblings and destroy other peoples property, he was quite careful not to do so to his own. That is where the Lego ship came into play. I thought that as long as he was choosing to do these things that he should have something to lose as well. Instead of making him sit on his hands (for safety reasons) and cross his legs (also for safety reasons), I decided that he would hold his Lego ship with both hands.
This way, if he continues the meltdown, there are very real and very natural consequences for doing so. Those consequences would be the possible destruction of his Lego creations. You can see in the video below that he will appear completely out of control. However, the moment a piece of his ship falls off, he stops the meltdown in order to put his ship back together. Once it’s repaired, he picks up the meltdown, right where he left off.
Does this mean he has control?
In my opinion, this means that he has at least some control. As you watch the video, you’ll see a few examples of this. It gets to the point that I finally tell him, I will be keeping any pieces that fall off and he will have to earn them back and a later time. I believe this to be a very effective and natural consequence for his deliberate actions.
-Note-This video is meant for educational purposes and not intended to make Gavin look bad. My goal is to help others out there struggling with the same thing. Perhaps something you see in this video can help you to better understand and/or manage the meltdowns in your life. i want to be very clear when I say that Gavin is a great kid and I love him very much. with that said, the behaviors are a major problem. I understand the difference between to the two, I hope you can as well.