I need your dicipline advice

I’m looking for a bit of advice.  After Gavin’s latest meltdown this afternoon, I want to make sure to send a strong message,  without going overboard. 

He’s acting as though nothing has happened.  He wants to just pick up where he left off.

I’m of the mind that when something this extreme happens,  that he spends the rest of the day in his room, alone and away from his brothers.  He can read or whatever, but he can’t just rejoin the rest of us,  as though nothing ever happened. 

Honestly,  I don’t feel guilty doing this because we can make it a natural consequence and after disrupting the entire house,  we could all use the separation.

Does this seem too extreme?  I do think think so, personally.

I know Gavin won’t like it, but that’s kind of the points, isn’t it? Perhaps this will make himself think twice before putting everyone through this in the future.

Again so I’m clear.  This meltdown is not related to him having autism.  This is not sensory related at all either. Whether you chose to accept this or not,  these meltdowns are within his control and are willful acts.  He’s trying to punish us for punishing him. If these were the more typical autism related meltdowns that many other deal with,  it would be a different story. 

**Thanks for reading**

       -Lost and Tired

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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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Jodi p

Yes alone time means Gavin alone time
I did state above asking about 24 hour supervision
I'm one of the ones that suggested it

I work in group home with individuals with many behaviors and we have some on 24 hour supervision.
Unless in room with alarm on door
As hard as it is to work out I think Gavin needs full supervision. In ear shot and visual range when with his brothers


@Jodi p you are absolutely right. It's not easy but that's what we are doing. Our next step is cameras, when we can afford them. I hate the idea of invading his privacy but the alternative is not pleasant either.

Thanks again Jodi 🙂

Jodi p

Maybe try to have him write out or answer questions of what he should have done.
To work on "appropriate social skills".

Ignore the "nothing bothers me" that he says. As its most likely for a reaction/attention
Give as little attention as possible.
Remove him to write or answer social skills questions to talk about "what to do instead"
Is he still on 24 hour supervision around brothers. Keep that up

Or start by he can play with brothers for x amount of minutes. Then alone time.
X amount of minutes have to be appropriate. Then slowly increase
Reward with maybe Lego
Or say Lego is only for appropriate play with brothers. Not alone time

When he is on a time out or away in his room. Allow him only a small amout of stuff to do. Not free choice of it all
And free choice in room for good behaviour. Or if he chooses to take his own break in his room


@Jodi p
I don't know if you've been following for a while, but Gavin has a history of being sexually predatory with his brothers. That's when he's not scaring the shit out of them on purpose. I apologize in advance if I am a little too blunt and I don't presume to answer for Rob, but alone time with his imaginary friends? Good idea. Easily traumatized creeped-out terrified special needs siblings? Not so much.


I just re-read what you wrote (with glasses this time), and I think I misunderstood what you meant. Supervised interaction, GAVIN alone time. Pardon me for my blindness / impulsive response if I did indeed misunderstand.


@chefaimee. 🙂


@Jodi p thanks Jodi


@Carlyoung hang in there my friend. I do understand the whole choice side of things.


Rob, with Marc, every activity and meltdown is something that is within his control.  I heard this repeatedly while I was traveling this week.  Whenever I would call home, I could hear Marc in the background.  When I asked, I was told that up until the phone rang, he was behaving himself.  As soon as he found out it was me on the phone, all hell would break loose.  He has told us that he would behave, if only, we would give him a cell phone.  He is 11, and has proven that he is not responsible enough to have one.  He has threatened physical harm to others through facebook.  So no phone for him.
He excels in a tightly structured and controlled environment.  Something we have been unable to provide at home.
I don't have a magic answer for these kids who can control their meltdowns when they want to.  The last time that Marc took one  of my canes and came at me in attack mode, I simply laid on top of him as a means of restraint until he could calm down. I do this on a couch or bed so as not to crush him, always use my arms for support.  Like all discipline methods, this is what works for right now.  What might work next week is unknown at this time.


Okay, you know to expect brutal honesty from me by now – so here goes. Since he so enjoys flaunting the fact that 'nothing bothers him' punishment wise (I'm thinking specifically of the writing repeatedly), that YOU take something that WILL bother him. Dismantle one of his Lego things. Even let him choose one if you like, but I wouldn't spoil the surprise by telling him why you asked him to choose one. THEN he can go to his room and play with his imaginary friends instead of scaring the shit out of his brothers deliberately and/or terrorizing your (emphasis: YOUR) house. I understand some things are out of his control, but I would do whatever it takes to stop the manipulative bullshit. He really is going to kill Lizze; if not by a physical act, then increasing her stress to the point where on (or more) of her autoimmune conditions exacerbates to the point of no return. You know I have nothing but the highest respect for all you do, but the rest of you deserve to live a better life than whatever he allows you to suffer through.


 @chefaimee As I said before, I love your honesty. I like the Lego idea. I know it may seem cruel to some but desperate times call for desperate measures. 🙂


And one more… He screamed out a lot referring to himself as stupid, stop him on that. Correct him that he is not stupid at all it is just tough for him to remember his mistakes and it is ok, but he can remember it next time and doesn't do it again. But don't do it during the tantrum. 


 @kat13 Thanks


Sorry, reading several of your blogs really made an impression that you sound very desperate and running out of the options how to correct all of it. I watched two videos on yourtube of Galvin. One is where is a 'mega meltdown' that lasts like about 20 minutes. And another one where you do talk to him after the fact of something happening where he appears to be much calmer, but the purpose of the video looks like you just trying to capture his movement. 
It is up to if you want to try or not, but first of all, I can see in the first video emotions escalate whenever you say something and it is really doesn't matter what you really say. So try next time, since he does hurts himself, stay with him in some smaller room that would not have too much echo for the scream to bounce off the walls (also would be better for all the rest of you too). Let him scream, try a tight hug behind him to prevent him from hurting himself. I can explain more what it is. Do not talk! When you know he is calm for at least good minute or even more, verbally award him for calming himself down. If he screams again, just repeat the same. But remember to say great job on calming himself down! No matter how long it took for him, it is important to acknowledge that he is doing something right. 
Second video, you are doing a great job on talking to him, it is definitely important. Try asking more specific questions. What stood out is when you asked "why did you freak out?" his immediate response is "I don't know." And it is mainly not because he doesn't know, he doesn't know what is expected or appropriate answer to that. And again, he left to clean the room, but you didn't say anything to him. Again simple thing what I do that motivates my daughter to express herself and explain the situations like that is to say thank you for telling me. She gets her portion of the award for the appropriate thing and not for messing up the room or throwing a fit. 
Also as a parent, you should be able to predict situation like destroying a room or being mean to brothers may occur. Talk him trough it BEFORE this possible situation occurs. And make him aware if he is mean to them or doesn't listen, you will have to take away his TV. But is he is nice, may be you can award his with letting him pick a dessert or whatever he likes. That will reinforce and explain your action before the incident, as well as will explain to him what is the appropriate way, and finally give him some positive experience at the end if he does the right thing. 
Also when you do talk to him, tell him how it makes you feel, and even how it makes the dog feel that it makes you really worried if he hurts someone or himself. And by all means good luck!! It is really tough, but it is possible to change 😉 


 @kat13 Thank you very much. You've given me something to think about.


I think a combo of sufficient time alone in his room, maybe followed by some sort of physical chore or consequence, as well as a talk with him about the whole situation would be a good suggestion.  I don't think it's mentally damaging to him at that age to spend time alone by himself to cool down or reflect on things at all. 


@rmagliozzi I totally agree. Talking to him about it though does nothing. Also, he enjoys the time alone with his imaginary friends. The time in his room is not unpleasant for him at all.

It just keeps him in one place and everyone can try to decompress before it happens again.

It hard when nothing works…..


I completely understand, the isolation period, and helping his brothers calm down etc. But can you set a timer? If he does such and such chore, or writing or whatever it may be, and is calm, he can then come out of his room, when the timer goes out. Because his behavior affects others in the house, and they need time away from him to calm down?


@Chloe123 we could but it's really hard to have him walking around after putting everyone through what he did.


@Chloe123 he did come down later in the afternoon. 🙂 Chloe I just want to say how much Lizze and I appreciate your input 🙂


 @lostandtired  @Chloe123 That is what I met, not a short amount of time later, the need for a break is understandable. You need the break, Lizzie needs the break, and so do his brothers. Do you have him just come out of his room? Or does he have to fill out a paper or write in a journal? etc. I would definitely say though I agree with your time alone in his room. He needs to have a chance to calm down and think, and to realize others don't want to and just can't be with him while and right after he behaves that way. Thanks for the comment, I try. 🙂
Even though I don't have many experience in Gavin's style meltdowns, more so Autism related meltdowns, but happy to help when I can.


@Chloe123 thanks Chloe 🙂


Rob and Lizze; my heart is breaking for you!  Although I'm in no way experienced with taking care of children with special needs, I would like to offer you my support and encouragement.  Don't ever feel guilty about having to discipline Gavin for his inappropriate behavior!  You have done every single thing possible and more to make him understand that the way he is acting is not appropriate.  No, it is not extreme to require him to stay in his room for the rest of the day along with other periods of time it is necessary.  He is manipulating the entire household and holding you, Lizze and the E's hostage with his meltdowns and violent behavior.  You deserve better!  Do not listen to the well-meaning people who say "do this, do that, he doesn't understand, etc."  You and Lizze know the situation first hand and you need to understand that you and Lizze have done everything and beyond to the point of sacrificing your health and well-being for Gavin.  I consider you my friends and role models in courage.


@MaryAnn47 Thank you so much for your support. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. 🙂


I also feel like I should say I don't always agree with what Rosemond suggests to parents. However, your efforts to provide consequences and keep the rest of your family safe and as stress free as possible don't seem likely to cause your older son any harm.


@ddame23 I agree. Right now its about preserving the health of the healthy. It's something that took a great deal of time to come to grips with. 🙂


I must qualify this by saying I hava a neuro typical child, but I thought this artical might help validate your decision.


@ddame23 thank you 🙂


unfourtunatly its been seem that isolating a person who already has some mental disturbances can make them worse.  i know in my sons school they never allow for a child to be isolated, how can you teach a child social skills by taking him away from social interaction?  i understand you want to protect your younger children but does that mean Gavins mental health has to suffer?
i know you are saying that these tantrums are not Autism related BUT you are dealing with a person who has Autism.He is still not goig to process your punishment methods like a typical child.  you guys are at a cross road, i know you say your therapist has helped you so much but maybe Gavin needs someone new. As a previous comment states you are trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different out come.
Many have given you advice and alternatives here when you ask and every time you turn us down and go on doing the same thing.
  http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1898/ http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Solitary_confine


@DKS3 thanks for the advice but your information is not quite accurate. Gavin will be at the Cleveland Clinic for a consultation with a different psychiatrist. It's not that we are doing the same thing over and over by choice. There is literally nowhere to send him. As I stated in many posts and in the previous comment, his health is tying our hands.

Unfortunately, we are going to have to look outside of the state for residential, unless we can get him medically stabized first. It's a process that anyone with experience knows that cannot happen overnight. That's what makes it so difficult. It takes time and funding. Add to the his medical complications and it's even more difficult.

Also, he's not in solitary confinement per say. He's in his room reading a book and laying on his bed. There is not deprivation of light or sound. He's just chilling in his room.

Honestly, he doesn't care because he lives in his imagination. That's why it's more for everyone else than just a deterrent for him.

I appreciate your advice, I really do. However, there is literally only so much that can be done at one time. We are working on everything else in the background. I have to make a call in the morning about funding. We can't just send him away, that's not how it works.


If you pretty certain that he can control it, isolation for this kids usually an award, not a punishment. One thing I would suggest is to talk to him when you know he is in a happy mood. Talking to him when he is trowing the tantrum or right after would not do any good. 
Explains him your feeling about his tantrums, as well as his brothers. And if he can control his tantrums next time, be sure to acknowledge it and award it. You might have to sit down and talk to him several times, but this is the approach I take with my daughter and it seems sometimes I repeat same thing over and over again, but eventually over the time, behavior slowly improves. Besides, you can't expect fast change, but correcting one problem at the time tactic helps a lot.  
I know it is hard to give any advice without seeing knowing much about the situation, setting, or possible cause, but I hope it helps a little. 


It seems like you doubt whether any of the discipline actually affects Gavin.  Why worry about the correct discipline for Gavin if nothing has any effect?  This is a serious question.  You guys just do the same things over and over and nothing works.  You two are "insane" by official definitions. 
If he is really headed down the road of being a sociopath, then nothing you do will have much of an effect.  In that case, you should focus 99.9% of your energies on your other two sons.  From an outsider's perspective, Gavin is terrorizing your family.  You say that you are tired of it, but you do very little to actually stop him.  You should absolutely keep him in his room for the rest of the day.  Maybe even 2 or 3 days. 
Put much more effort into finding a long term facility for Gavin.  There is nothing to gain, and much (very, very much) to lose by having him around the rest of the family.   


@anonymous saying I do very little is neither fair nor accurate. I have been searching for long term care. However, as I stated, because of his health, no one will touch him. That's the hangup.

Believe me, we're doing everything we possibly can at this point. However, majority of long term care facilities in Ohio are not equipped to handle his medical needs.

We will likely have to expand our search outside of the state and that just further complicates things.


Whoever made this comment obviously never seen or dealt with the child on the spectrum. Routine is important and nothing works from the first time with them. And that is all I got to say on it. 


Man, Rob–I can't even begin to walk in your discipline shoes–I think isolation is fair and practical and safe, and I don't think I can add much to anything anyone else has or will say, except that perhaps if a time limit is set, then a clock or timer that shows elapsed and/or remaining time might be of some benefit if Gavin values success and accomplishment. It hasn't been that long since I had four year olds, and I think they're more likely to achieve a level of success if they know "how much longer" they have to hold on. Now that I think about it, though, it worked w/my eighth graders as well, so I suppose if it isn't already in place, that would be my only thought on the subject. –Leslie


@autiesmama that's a good point. Although, truthfully, this wasn't really meant as a punishment at first. Like you said, it was practical and ensured everyone's safety.

Perhaps putting some type of limit may be an option as well. Thank you 🙂


have you considered having him go outside during the meltdowns? especially now that it's nice weather. if you think he's "enjoying" knowing what these meltdowns do than perhaps he's enjoying hear himself echo and thump, etc within his room.  perhaps a place in the yard where you can overlook while he gets it out may make it less effective. he knows how it scares his brothers and upsets you.  would it work to punish him with chores afterwards, raking, shoveling snow, picking up neighborhood garbage, etc? maybe it would send a greater message to physically separate him inside versus outside than the subtle hint of bedroom to living room.  because he does have autism his social maturity is behind. maybe he needs bigger natural consequences to get the message through.  


@Abs that's very interesting. Your right about the delay. He's about 4 years old emotionally.


the rest of the day does seem a little extreme to me but maybe for an hour after he calms down he can rejoin the family or maybe after he calms down he has to write a paper as to why he acted out and what he is going to do the next time he is in the situation. Save these and put them in a book and refer to the book in the future when he is starting to see if that may be a tool to help calm his anger. Just a thought, I know he is a complicated case


@JenniferWhynott the thing is, he may be calm but his brothers are so completely overstimulated that they need way more time. I guess I'm think more of them than of Gavin.

Does that make sense?


 @lostandtired  @JenniferWhynott
 It makes sense and I understand that it takes time for his brothers to calm down. It is so heartbreaking when you have to put the needs of other children over one child but I understand. We all have to do it, it is part of parenting our special kiddos.


@JenniferWhynott heartbreaking is a good word to describe it. 🙁


No I don't think it is extreme,when he knowing disrupts the whole household and clearly shows anti social behavior his presence can not  be allowed, In this house , we make our kids go to their room for crying,pouting and yelling or fighting with each other,When it is for crying pouting or yelling when it stops they can rejoin us for fighting or disrespect it depends on the age and infraction  We have no tolerence for hands on each other or name calling .


@ChrisCrane thanks. I'm not talking about isolating him over silly things. We deal with those like you do. I'm referring to the extremely dangerous behavior that terrorizes his little brothers.

Thanks for sharing;)


@Jenn50 thanks an interesting approach. I'everyone to give that some thought. The reason I was thinking he stay in his room is because I'm thinking more of his brothers than I am of him. They are scared and while they still want to play with him, they afraid. I feel like this isolation period will give them a chance to feel safe again in their own home.

I don't expect anything to change Gavin's behaviors. We also do the chore thing you suggested.

Sadly, I think it's come down to ensuring everyone else's comfort and safety over that of Gavin's. I hate even thinking that way but I don't know what else to do anymore.

Thank you for the suggestions, you've given me something to think about. 🙂


I feel as though isolating Gavin for hours at a time would only contribute to socially inappropriate behaviour and increase his feelings of detachment. He seems like a kid who really needs to be kept busy. I know it's exhausting, but can you increase his responsibilities at home to decrease his free time (and subsequent interaction with his little brothers, who are frankly too young to be playing with him as peers anyway)? It doesn't have to be complicated stuff, but getting him doing chores at home could give him a sense of purpose, keep him from getting bored and looking for mischief, teach him life skills, and maybe even tire him out enough that if he DOES throw a tantrum, it may be shorter and less intense. Believe me when I say that I get how difficult this will be to implement, but over time, I hope you'd actually have a lesser burden!



Maybe you should re-word them to something other than meltdowns. They're a lot more like tantrums than meltdowns.


@Silachan that's a really good point. Perhaps it will be less confusing.. 🙂


@Silachan that's a really good point. Perhaps it will be less confusing..


Maybe you should re-word them to say something other than meltdowns. When you call them meltdowns people automatically think they're autistic meltdowns or sensory related, rather than behavioral. They're tantrums honestly.