Gavin had a massive meltdown and it sucked

Lizze and I have been keeping a close eye on Gavin. We always keep a close eye on Gavin but more so now because of his medication changes. Gavin had another meltdown yesterday evening over something that wasn’t a big deal, at least not to us.

Gavin is always asking for ways he can help and typically won’t stop until we give him something to do. If we don’t, he gets this sad expression on his face and will repeatedly return, asking the same question.

Some of the things Gavin has been doing are the laundry (putting into the washer and switching to the dryer), dishes, managing the recycling and helping with the pets. All these things are important life skills he needs to know anyway, and the more practice he gets the better.

Lizze has been missing a basket of laundry for a few days now. She’s been sick so it wasn’t a priority to look for.

One of the times Gavin asked if he could do anything to help, Lizze asked him to put the basket of clothes on our bed. Lizze eventually realized that the basket was nowhere to be found and asked Gavin if he knew where it was.

He checked our room, as did I and it was not found. Gavin looked in the basement and said it wasn’t there either. Like I said, Lizze is still sick and this wasn’t anything more than an annoyance, simply because we couldn’t find it.

Last night, Lizze had asked Gavin if he remembered where he had put the laundry and he swore up and down that he put it on our bed. Later in the evening, Gavin went downstairs to put his clothes in the washer and came up the stairs quite angry.

Apparently, he had found Lizze’s clean laundry in the basement.

For some reason, when he was asked to carry it to our room, he took it down to the basement and set it in a place that was sorta off to the side. This is why we never saw it when we went to the basement. He didn’t remember doing that and felt really stupid (his word not mine) for doing this.

Rather than shake it off and accept that it wasn’t a big deal, he lost it.

Lizze tried to convince him that no one was upset with him and things like this happen sometimes. It was no good because he was too far gone at that point. I was in the bathroom when this happened and I could hear/feel him hitting himself. I could hear him screaming as well.

He did eventually work through it but this was a rough one. Gavin doesn’t like when he makes a mistake or even perceives that he’s made a mistake. It doesn’t matter what we say, he’s going to freak out.

Anyway, Gavin has an appointment with Dr. Reynolds in ten days and we will bring him up to speed on what we’re seeing since the media change.

We’re always praising Gavin for the things he does. Even if it’s not perfectly done, he’s a big help and we appreciate it. I can’t tell you how many conversations we’ve had about making mistakes and how everyone makes them. I’ve even gone as far as purposefully making what Gavin would consider a stupid mistake in order to show him how I deal with them.

Sometimes the best thing I can do when words don’t work is to simply lead by example.

Gavin is an absolutely amazing kid and I wish I could get him to see that imperfections are what make life interesting. Mistakes are part of learning and we aren’t less for making them.

Maybe someday…. 😕

Rob Gorski

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

Hi Rob, couldn’t reply to your reply below (captcha rejected repeatedly) so I’m trying a new (not reply) comment. I’ve learned by experience what NOT to do, unfortunately. 🙁 The best approach, usually, is just de-escalating and re-focusing as calmly as possible. Our daughter gets much, MUCH more upset when she feels that her emotions about the upsetting incident are being discounted: if we suggest that she try to express the emotion in a different way, she takes that as criticism of the emotion itself and things get worse. So we just try to acknowledge her emotion and redirect the conversation: “I understand that’s upsetting. Are you able to continue with what you/we were doing now, or do you need more time?”

Rob Gorski

Sorry about the captcha. I’ll look into it. As for your comment, those are good techniques. Redirection has almost always proven to be a positive move.

You made a great point that we often learn what not to do, rather than what we can do that works..


Ha ha, I make plenty of mistakes, but I will sometimes exaggerate (or at least make sure my kids see) my reaction that ‘oops and its okay’. I also can absolutely relate that my son feels so bad when he makes a mistake, including having a tantrum. We just do our best to try and see where he is coming from and reassure him. Given our sons limited language ability I do wonder sometimes how much he does remember when he has a meltdown. Anyway, since you asked it below the best things we have found for meltdowns are #1 to recognize the triggers and once a meltdown happens we have found he like foot rubs and music. So I will ask if he wants a foot rub and if so I will give him one. Then as far as music he seems to have a preferred track, so I just flip through his favorites until we find it.

Rob Gorski

You pretty much nailed it. I try to make things convincing but somewhat dramatic, because that’s what catches their attention. I verbalize my thoughts as I’m working through it. I even ask them for advice on how to better deal with my frustration.

Oddly enough, they’re really good at giving advice but just can’t seem to apply it to themselves.

Jeannie Prinsen

I can relate to this, right down to the “deliberately making a mistake so they’ll get the idea that mistakes are ok” part! My daughter (19) is very similar.

Rob Gorski

Jeannie, it’s nice to meet you. Life can be frustrating can’t it. Have you found anything that works for you tomorrow daughter?