Today is Day 20 in a 31 day series to Loving Sensory Parenting. You can see the entire series here.
Today’s post may be one of the most important things you can learn in order to love sensory parenting. Meltdowns, for me are the hardest thing to deal with as a sensory parent. Our daughter has what one of her therapists has deemed as “extreme” sensory issues. With that, comes aggressive meltdowns.
Over the years her meltdowns have gotten better, but we went through several really scary years of them being completely out of control. Her psychologist had described it as almost animalistic. The cognitive portion of the brain completely shuts down and she is in fight mode.
Here’s what I’ve learned about them.
There is no way to avoid them.
It’s not a matter of if it’s a matter of when.
Based on these two facts my approach to meltdowns has become less of avoidance. I used to do everything possible to avoid meltdowns. It became a game of walking around everything in life like a minefield. I thought that if we just went around them it will all be ok. What I’ve learned is that we have to go through them and not around them.
During the preschool years, occasionally someone would try to help us after school. This would appear great, Miss Sensory would be holding it all together playing and the second it got to be just me and her she would absolutely explode. It was like a ticking time bomb for her until she could be with just mom and let it all out. Meltdowns for us during those years were the scariest, it’s what got us to seek help. Her aggression was so out of control I couldn’t do anything to get her out of it.
This year as a Kindergartener her meltdowns are less out of control and more infrequent. But what I’ve learned is to accept them. To expect that they are going to happen and to take the time needed to get through them. When I know it’s coming, when I know it’s going to happen. And most of when I know that I can’t avoid them, that they aren’t my fault I do better getting through them. I get less frustrated and angry, I’m able to stay calm and help her through them.