Those with tantrumy young-uns--how do you handle loud kid behavior?

Discussion in 'Camping with Kids/Pets' started by mekhrista, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. jim1999

    jim1999 New Member

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    As so many have already pointed out you know your kid, you know what generally works and doesn't work and that is what you need to stick with.

    The only other real suggestion I can offer is, if possible, set the camper up at home and "camp" there for a few days to acclimate your child to being in and around the camper as well as sleeping in it. He will still have some comfort of being somewhere familiar but new at the same time, and then when you do go camping it will be one less thing that is totally new to him.
     
  2. NatureGirl

    NatureGirl New Member

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    I think most people understand that kids are going to make some noise, or throw tantrums from time to time. After all, camping is a family activity. Trust your judgment, and be consistent in your discipline. You know better than anyone what type of discipline works for your son. If the noise level reaches a point where it's disruptive, you may have to take a drive or take a break inside the pup.
     
  3. mekhrista

    mekhrista New Member

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    Great advice, everyone! We leave tomorrow! He's been exploring it today and loves it. :) I appreciate everyone's kind words and confidence-building suggestions! Thanks!
     
  4. jenmel

    jenmel Hudson Valley, NY

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    Have a great trip! Be sure to take lots of pictures and report back how it went! Wishing you the best weather!
     
  5. jim1999

    jim1999 New Member

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    Yep, best of luck to you and hope you have a great trip overall.

    Also, I can't speak for everyone but it is not kids getting upset, throwing a fit, or misbehaving that get to me. It is when the parents/care givers ignore it and do nothing at all. As long as I know the adults are doing their best I have a very, very high tolerance for things.
     
  6. seano3ca

    seano3ca No. Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.

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    When my ball of fury (DS) gets wound up, I just crack a beer, and give it to the neighbour. :) OK, maybe not that, though sometimes I'm tempted simply to start drinking, myself.

    We work hard with our kids to stay very calm and quiet. Even more, though, we aim for consistency. Most tantrums we get are centered around a 7-year-old definition of 'fair,' a definition to which we don't usually subscribe. Many times, conflict with our kids comes as a result of our wanting to control things a bit too tightly (what would anyone expect from 2 educators who can handle a room (or gym) of adolescents to demand?). Working to allow them to cut loose when that's not really a big deal has made for less conflict and fewer tantrums when we do ask something that they might not like.

    You might also try some of the ABA techniques in terms of really watching for triggers (sometimes, what seems random turns out not to be so), and developing social stories to help kids deal with changes to routines and other surprises. While ABA is most prevalent in the ASD community (where I am, at least), I've used the same ideas when working with my kids. Our 7 y.o. sounds a bit like your son, in terms of volatility, though ours also demonstrated some Oppositional-Defiant tendencies at that age as well. Our daughter has Down Syndrome, and thus shows many of the sensory integration concerns that might trouble your boy. With both, I've also had success cutting through tantrums with a bear hug and a monotone, calm, and slow voice spoken very close to one ear. That might send some kids over the edge, but ours both seemed to like the full-body hug (reducing tactile stimulation to a uniform squeeze) and the drone actually got past the noise they were making themselves. I've often wondered if my daughter's yelling doesn't start to distress her to the point that she escalates, which distresses her more, so yells more, etc. etc.

    I wish you well on your trip. Have fun and look for all the positives with your son - a social story that helps him look forward to the next trip can be a positive tool, no matter how the first trip might go.
     
  7. DelorFamily

    DelorFamily Member

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    Having a 6 year old and 2 year old, we have dealt with our share of screaming fits (usually over being forced to leave the playground or something along those lines). Usually the fit doesn't last that long, but for those times when they are tired and cranky, we use the TV as our timeout chair. We turn the car on and the A/C and buckle the offender into their car seat. We can then close the door (which really cuts down on the amount of noise that others can hear). We can stand next to the TV to ensure that they don't do anything to get hurt until they calm down and are ready to come out and behave. Depending on nap schedules, sometimes they just fall asleep. It isn't as effective as at home, but when out camping, we try to not bother our neighbors and this has been our best solution.

    To help with the "boredom" that can quickly occur in kids, we try to pick a site near a playground. Our favorite CG has a few sites that are right in front of the playground. We try to get these as DW and I can sit around the fire and still see the kids on the playground. Best of both worlds for us. Yes, these types of sites are a bit louder due to all the kids nearby, but we figure we are part of the problem anyway :)
     
  8. JenP

    JenP New Member

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    To answer simply your question about how to handle the loudness, we've done what the last poster said. If they are making too much noise for a campground we go in the van with the doors shut and AC on. That way the neighbors are not bothered. I go in too, wait quietly with them until they calm down, then we can talk.

    As for all the advice to just smack the kid...
    Little ones have tantrums because they have such intense feelings and they just don't have the tools to deal with it. Hitting them does nothing to help them learn how to calm themselves down and how to behave appropriately. We believe the goal of all discipline is to guide the child to grow up to have self-discipline; the parent's role is to guide and to teach. Punishments (whether physical or not) and rewards can serve as ways to manipulate behavior and appear to get results, but they do nothing to teach the child. Plus, how can I teach my child that it is wrong to hit if people are allowed to hit him? The rule in our house is: No hitting. Anyone. At all.

    Jen
     
  9. orange_lifesaver

    orange_lifesaver New Member

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    Been there, done that. [:(!] [:(O]
     
  10. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Member

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    I just wanted to pop in & say I hope you had a wonderful trip and good for you for taking your son camping despite the challenges. I am very familiar with Sensory Disorder and know how difficult it can be both for the children and the parents.

    One thing I might suggest is that if there is a problem with tantruming or meltdowns, is to let your neighbors and/or the campground owner know that your son has special needs and he may get loud but everything is OK. We had a very similar situation occur at a private campground recently. The owner let us know in a kind way that the upset child had special needs and everyone was very understanding. It was not disruptive to us at all and although the child did have his moments, overall I think he really enjoyed camping too.

    I think the more you camp, and the more consistent you are with the camping routine, the more comfortable your son will become with it. I like the idea of the car as a safe, more quiet place to be until he feels ready to calm down.

    Please let us know how your trip went. We're all thinking of you.
     
  11. mekhrista

    mekhrista New Member

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    Thanks, everyone! Your kind words and suggestions REALLY helped! We camped a total of 7 nights, which was a lofty first trip, but we were visiting relatives. He had a few MAJOR meltdowns that relvolved around transitions...leaving the pool, getting dressed to visit relatives, turning off his fave show, etc. Overall, though, he did really well. We tried for consistency. We spoiled him with his fave dvds and used those to manage his behavior. We gave lots of warnings when we were about to leave something fun. That really helped! He had about 3 big meltdowns, but that wasn't bad and didn't last long. I appreciate your great advise and know we'll take him on many more camping trips. :)
     
  12. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Member

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    Glad to hear it went well. [:)C]
     
  13. Yooperwannabe

    Yooperwannabe Active Member

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    Only three melt downs in 7 days, not bad at all. Heck I have more melt downs than that. [LOL]

    Seriously thou, I am so happy to hear that he did well and that everyone had a grand time. Next time should be even better.
     
  14. Beachie Keen

    Beachie Keen Oh say can you see?

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    It's great that you had a good time!

    I have a 3 year old too-he's prone to tantrums, but I have found, like with my older kids before him, I simply walk away, and ignore the tantrum, and amazingly they stopped. My 8 year old was particularly difficult, and would stop the screaming, get up, follow me, and then throw himself down again. Persistence did pay. lol.
     
  15. mekhrista

    mekhrista New Member

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    LOL, Beachie! Sounds just like my guy! He's sooooo persistent. He won't give it up and nothing will distract him if he's too far gone. We ignore it and he just keeps going ON and ON and ON about it! He def gets fixated on things. Thanks for the input!
     
  16. Oski88

    Oski88 New Member

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    I don't disagree. We have a very willful son also. I will only add a piece of useful advice we got from a pediatrician: time out do not (should not) be about punishment, they can be used to encourage the child to calm down. When putting the child in TO you explain why they are getting the TO and that they get out when they are ready to calm down (i.e., they get control). The TO needs to be away from other stimulus/family activity and should not last more than about 2 minutes x age. I know, I know, there are some practical considerations at play, particularly when camping. However, we have had success with this modified TO approach. Finally, it is very important to remain calm when putting the child in TO - they feed off your emotions, yelling = punishment (not calm down), etc.
     
  17. JenP

    JenP New Member

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    Right on! Time out should definitely no be a punishment, but a time to pull oneself together and calm down. The "Positive Parenting" series of books has some great advice on this. For instance, for small children you need to go with them and actively teach them how to calm themselves down - because the whole reason they are melting down is a little toddler doesn't know how to get their feelings under control. Using their suggestions, we put together a box for our son to use when he needs a time-out. It has play-doh he can pound on and squish, paper to tear up, a "breathing buddy" he can hold to remind him to take deep breaths, and pictures of a few calming yoga poses he can do.
    Also, little ones often need help learning how to "use their words" to talk about what is making them or frustrated. When they get better at talking about their problems it eases the frustrations and the tantrums.
    You're spot-on, too, about not yelling when sending a child to time-out. After all, how ironic is it to be yelling and screaming when you tell your kid to "go calm yourself down"? It's almost as ironic as hitting your kid to teach him not to hit people. There's some great tips in a book called "Who's in Control." No, it isn't about being a controlling parent! It's about learning to keep yourself under control so that you can remain in control of the situation (and not be carried away by anger), and so you can model self-control for your kids and teach them self-control too. The suggestions in both of these books helped me a lot! I tend to lose my temper and yell (and sometimes even spank), and while I knew that that is not helpful with teaching children, I wasn't sure how to not lose my temper and what to do instead to effectively deal with the childrens' misbehavior.
    Whew! What a journey of self-discovery and growth parenting is, eh?

    Jen
     
  18. EHirning

    EHirning New Member

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    Hi Khrista,

    My son (now 6) was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and then later with mild Autism. I know EXACTLY what you mean!!! We just got a pop up this year and started camping. My son is almost fully recovered from Autism through much biomed, therapy and lots of love and structure, but, camping is a whole new world!! It is out of routine and SO many new sensory experiences to handle. My son has huge auditory issues so you can see how camping would be very overwhelming at first. He still has some of the sensory component to his disorder so I really worried about camping. But we decided to give it a shot. Our second to the last trip out I had to take him to the car to be put in his carseat because of a meltdown. I first started with taking him to the pop up when the meltdown started but everyone can hear everything that goes on in there. Once I knew this meltdown would be a while we went to the van. He was safe, contained and it was so much quieter for the other campers. I know I feel the immediate critiscism when my son has a meltdown because it can be very big and overwhelming for those who have no idea about his issues. So, this was a way to make sure I kept tabs on him and kept him safe while he rode out the meltdown. After it was all said and done we talked about WHY he had to go to the car (at the campsite it is NOT OK to scream and yell because you are upset). Now all I had to do was mention it at our last trip and he quickly changed his tune. We definitely use timeouts as a way to regroup and calm emotions. He was very upset at the prospect of heading to the car again this past trip. But, I keep boundaries clear, make sure I repeat rules and that he understands them and then if you have to follow through and there is a meltdown, so be it. You could try the car if it gets too loud. Otherwise, it probably will be more in your mind than the other campers. I don't think anyone even noticed our big issue even though I felt like the world could hear him screaming. Oh, do you do the wilbarger brushing protocol and joint compression? That could be a nice way to calm the nervous system and you can do that anywhere! Hang in there and HAVE FUN! My son and daughter (3 1/2) love camping and I love all the memories we're making and brief respite from "normal" life!!

    Terri
     
  19. Pops64

    Pops64 Member

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    Congrats Khrista. So glad to hear that your trip went well. Looks like you got lots of great advice here.

    I really like the idea of introducing yourself to your neighbors and giving them a heads up about your child. I think that most campers would be very understanding. Especially if they have some idea about what is going on. I'd be happy to camp next to you.

    Good luck on future trips.
     
  20. jcridge

    jcridge New Member

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    When our kids get out of control, stop listening or otherwise start causing a disruption while we are camping we make them go sit in the TV for a period of time. 15-20 minutes in the TV twiddling their thumbs is usually enough to bring them to their senses. :)
     

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