Prepare yourself for some rambling....
I haven't had a chance to finish the book yet, but Big M is on his second read of this book. The book's road map for how to deal with the explosions is based on an older child who can reason and negotiate to some extent. Because Little M is only 3 and has speech delays, negotiations really aren't practical.
However, using some of the techniques suggested and molding them into his own plan of attack, Big M has been able to successfully diffuse tantrums and explosions before they got fully underway.
It amazes me every time I hear Big M talking to Little M .... and it works.
One of the key indicators for an explosive child is their lack of ability to deal with change and frustration. Hello! Welcome to my world! Little M will have a complete meltdown over the simplest requests or roadblocks. His lack of ability to cope with frustration has been a huge sore spot for us. We have often expressed to each other that we really don't now how to help him deal with frustration.
So he becomes frustrated, then it just escalates and escalates. There have been times when he has been screaming, arching his back, kicking his legs, throwing himself around and we can't calm him.
Of course, the key is to circumvent the explosions before they can happen and I am constantly amazed at how well Big M is able to do this! We have had a dramatic drop in screaming and tantrums since Big M read this book.
My husband rocks. Seriously. He seems so serene now when dealing with Little M's outbursts. It's like he knows exactly what to do and he's in charge. That's a huge shift in our family dynamics because, as anyone w/ a toddler can attest, tantrums seem to control life. I'm so proud of Big M and his persistence in working through this with Little M. I think it's really working too.
This morning just as he was gearing up for an explosion, Little M started expressing what he wanted (which is what was frustrating him) and immediately headed over to Big M so they could "talk about it". Already, after just a few days, Little M knows that his daddy is going to listen to him and is going to understand the frustration he's feeling.
What an amazing, amazing gift to give our child -- making him feel understood. It must be a huge relief for such a small child to finally have someone validating his frustrations and helping him deal with it.
Have I mentioned that I love this book?