Never be afraid to call 911 when there’s a danger of harm. You will NOT be bothering them!
I got my crisis plan idea from the “red alert” scenes on Star Trek, when red lights flash and an alarm sounds, and crew members drop everything and run to their stations with clear instructions for protecting the ship.
Think of your family as crew members that pull together when someone sounds the Red Alert because your child is becoming dangerously out of control. Each family member should know ahead of time what to do and have an assigned role, and each should know they will be backed up by the rest of the family. This will be tremendously reassuring to everyone. Together, you can manage through a crisis, reduce the dangers, and ensure everyone is cared for afterwards.
…and start by asking questions. Here are some examples:
o Who goes out and physically searches for a runaway? This person should be able to bring the child back to school or home without mutual endangerment, and they should know how to work with police or community members.
o Who gets on the phone and calls key people for help? Who do they call, the police or a neighbor or a relative? Does your town or city have a crisis response team for kids? Some do.
o Who should be appointed to communicate with the child? This should be a family member or friend that the child trusts more than the others.
o Can a sibling leave to stay at someone else’s house until things cool down at home? Which house? An escape plan for a sibling can protect them and help them manage their own stress.
o Who should step in and break up a fight? And what specifically should they do or say each time to calm the situation? Believe it or not, your troubled child can often tell you what works best and what makes things worse. Listen to them. It doesn’t have to sound rational to you if it works to calm them down quickly.
o How should a time-out work? Who counts to 10, or who can leave the house and go out for a walk? Where can someone run to feel safe and be left alone for a while?
o What should teachers or co-workers do to calm down a situation and get their classroom or office back to normal as quickly as possible?