Meltdowns is a word that always appear in our home and in this blog. 2 days ago, my 3 years old went berserk when he was greeted with a thunderstorm after waking up from his nap. I wasn't sure if the thunderstorm is the cause of it but it definitely contributed to it. He just went bonkers and there was no distraction or redirection that can calm him. Tantrums are supposed to be common with children of his age but I often wonder if the intensity of the meltdown is normal. To others, my boy, a well behaved, mild mannered, quiet and often regarded as a "timid" boy screamed and kicked with all his might. There seem to be fear in him from the way he screams. He started hurting himself and when I tried to stop him, with a look of vengeance, he attacked me. After an hour of what I called an "abusive meltdown", I was drained, upset and hurt. This type of outburst is not unusual. In fact, it happens frequently, especially during start of school, new routine, after social gatherings or outing. But we had a week free of this. I thought things were looking up and I was beaten when he blew up out of the blue.
I couldn't pick myself up after the meltdown. I wanted to know if such meltdown is what people called as the terrible two tantrum. We have considered seeing a child therapist many times to find the answer but I have my concerns with that too. I started looking on the web to find support groups or blogs about sensitive children. There aren't many that are similar to our situations. The closest I could find was Raising Smart Girls.
A paragraph in her blog touched me and it gave me hope.
"I guess I wanted to tell younger mothers (and fathers) who are struggling with their highly sensitive, highly spirited, intense children, it does get better. Our challenging children are a gift for us to dig beneath the surface of their behavior and also to dig beneath the surface of our responses."
Our children have some similar Highly Sensitive Traits and I could identify with her pain and struggles with her children. And it makes me feel so much better than I'm not alone.
I didn't want to share too much about their sensitive traits and the problems I have with them on this blog as I don't want friends and relatives to think there's something wrong with them. At the same time, I do not want to be dismissed with "it's a phase" to our problems. Being sensitive is not an illness or problem though it often bring me woes as their mother. I must find a better way to help them and to guide them. Sensitive children may have a harder time growing up, learning to adapt, coming to terms, etc. But if given the right guidance, they can use their sensitivity to their advantage.
I'm sharing this because I want to tell other parents that they are not alone if they have a child or children who can't sleep, who doesn't talk or response to people they don't know well, who clings on to you at a new environment, who stand at the playground for an hour observing other children and not playing themselves. who meltdown after coming back from home after an outing, who remembers the boy who snatched his car more than a year ago, who tend to have long meltdowns, you are not alone and things can be improved. The good news is that we have actually improved quite a few areas with patience, perseverance and knowledge on Highly Sensitive Children. But it may still a long journey for me when it comes to handling the outbursts and not having a break down myself.