In the years of working with children and adolescents I have grown to realize that in the midst of a meltdown, what are the factors that I need to know in order to help this child. The first thing to know when dealing with a child that suffers from any type of mental illness, you must learn to identify their triggers to their meltdowns. Once you know what triggers your child into a meltdown, it will be easier to avoid those triggers and eliminate the meltdowns. Once in a meltdown, if your child is upset and angry with you which naturally happens because you are the main “enforcer” in their eyes, it is best to have someone else, “swooper” come in and “swoop in” to take over the situation. This person should come into the situation as neutral energy and be as gentle as possible, redirecting the child’s focus from the situation at hand possibly with distraction such as bringing them a snack, or sitting with them to pop in a movie, or playing a game, anything that will take their focus off the issue at hand and distract their attention from it. Some people will think to themselves, “Hmmm, so reward them for their distasteful behavior?” Ultimately, you need to step back and look at the whole picture. This child has a mental illness and at times cannot control what they do because they cannot help themselves. So please continue to read and you will see the reason for this approach. Once the child, is calm and distracted, then the “Swooper” will then talk to the child about what happened, such as why and what upset them and be encouraged to speak with the “Enforcer” to come to a resolve and what can be done differently next time. Always start the conversation with a hug and end it with a hug, reassuring them that they are safe and they feel your love. Feel free to email me for any questions or comments you may have. Have a blessed day and live every day in the same light you wish to shine in moments of darkness…
I was looking through some old things and I found this. It was something I had written when my son was first admitted to SWMH now Clarity Child Guidance Center. I just wanted to share..
"Last week was the worst week of my life as a parent, I can't imagine how it was for my son. I can't imagine living with a mind in total chaos, not knowing if I'm coming or going, knowing that I can't control what I hear or what is real or unreal. Sitting in a psych hospital watching my son go through a manic state of mind was the worst thing I ever went through. I wouldn't even wish that on my worst enemy. I never thought I would ever go through this in my life nor did I ever think my own flesh and blood would have to either. I remember working with my old boss and watching her go through her mania and I never could understand how someone as smart as she could have this illness till Wednesday night. No one is to blame for this disease, it’s not how you were raised, it’s not what your life is missing out on, it’s not because you're spoiled or poor nor is it because your life is bad. Unfortunately it’s genetic and it never goes away. No matter how much I wanted to blame myself or my ex-husband for walking out, my divorce, and his dead beat father for not giving a rat’s ass or medication. I realized that no matter what happened in our life the disease laid dormant waiting for the opportunity to present itself and it did a damn good job when it did. ADHD and Bipolar Disorder is what my son has. It affects the sweetest, smartest, big hearted, compassionate, loving and friendliest people in the world...it affected my son... Daniel has always been one of my greatest accomplishments and no matter what; he is the best thing that ever happened to me, January 29, 1999. He saved me then and he saved me now...He will never know how heartbreaking it was to watch him spiral up and down in a matter of seconds but he will know that no matter how hard it gets I will always be there to pick him up every time... I love you son, thank you for teaching me to be positive even when you feel as if your world is ending...You are an amazing little boy and I thank God for blessing me with you..."
When I didn't have anyone there to talk to or just to lend an ear. I would sit and write things I experienced as his illness progressed.
Have a great weekend!!
I'm a mother with an agenda to save her son from the grips of his mental illness and stop stigma so that those who suffer in silence can seek help without fearing the worse. Join me on this roller coaster ride..you're no longer alone.