If you have multiple children, I am going to assume that you’ve got at least one child that is the biggest handful. For most it’s usually the middle child, and this was no exception for us. Ours can go from the sweetest and kind hearted little girl, to a defiant inconsolable mess at the drop of a hat.
For the longest time we just chalked it up to her being strong-willed and that it would sort itself out over time. But it didn’t… it only got worse. Her tantrums became angry, volatile and sometimes scary. How could my sweet baby flip a switch like that? She would kick, scream, spit, say hurtful things and thrash around. My husband and I would just stare in confusion, because she lost it over something as small as asking her to put her dinner plate in the sink; which is a daily request for all of our girls. We had no idea what was triggering these mood swings.
We continued our firm parenting style which had no allowance for these tantrums. She would be placed in time out until she calmed down, but the problem was, she didn’t. Time out didn’t work, spanking didn’t work, soft spoken conversations didn’t work… we tried everything! Until I finally broke down and took her to the doctor. I was asked a series of questions and I was scared to death they were going to lump her into the ADHD category. But instead, something was brought to my attention. We had been struggling with potty training for over a year, the child was 4.5 and still having multiple daily accidents. Come to find out the two problems stemmed from the same issue, a sensory disorder. Honestly, we thought it was a joke at first. Why the heck would we reward her with sensory “toys” if she was acting out. But y’all, I can barely describe what we saw. When she would get into the moods where you couldn’t even talk to her without her screaming at you, we would hand her one of the sensory toys and after a few seconds she would completely stop. And not just stop, she would get completely silent as she rolled the gooey textured toy in her hands. Even though she seldom makes eye contact when she gets this way, she will carry on full conversations. It’s as though the toy diverts the anger and a perfect calm comes in so that she can process her thoughts and emotions.
This whole time we thought she was just an angry kid, but in reality, she didn’t know how to ‘calm the storm’ so to speak in order to communicate with us. This was an incredible revelation for us and brought so much peace to these situations. I share this with you because I had no idea this was even a thing. Maybe your child struggles like this in some ways? Maybe this method could help with your kiddo at home? They make these neat little $20 sensory boxes you can get on amazon, maybe it would be worth a try? I’ll leave the link down below. We don’t let her play with anything in the box, unless it’s to help her calm down. That is actually what we call it, “the calm down box.
I want you to know that no matter how awful things with your kids seem right now, if you can take the time to see things as pieces to a bigger picture instead of just poor behavior you will find resolution. I encourage you to make a list. Write down all of the things your child does that are negative in your mind, all of the elements of the issue. Then evaluate them in a wholistic perspective? It could be as simple as a need for attention. Maybe you are like I was and, on your phone, too much? Maybe you or your spouse are on video games too much? Maybe your attention is on another sibling the majority of the time? Kids just want to be loved and to have some of your undivided attention. Be as intentional with your relationship with your kids as you are with all of the other things that take up most of your time. Make sure that they feel loved and valued. This may sound ridiculous to some, but I literally had to set specific time each day to shut off my electronics and give my 100% to my girls. Take the time and I promise you things will get better.
-A Diligent Mom-