Meltdown Town is a place frequently visited here in our household, mainly outside of our household, which makes it all the more fun to deal with. I’ve been in an extreme funk the past week and I’ve anchored it to the constant changes our little family is going through, albeit good, but change none the less. This funk keeps being fueled by the boys also experiencing the change and throwing tantrums left and right to prove it. And these meltdowns are over the STUPIDEST things!
I read an open letter recently titled “My kid is throwing a tantrum BECAUSE I’m a good mom” and it was almost what I needed to pull me out of the meltdown funk. THis mom addresses other shoppers around her with their judgmental looks and stares, as she explains the reason her child is melting down is because he is learning valubale lessons. YES, sister, YES! My kids tantrums are always over me not giving in to something they want, or a behavior I try and stop because its inappropriate for the place we’re in.
Here is an example of a meltdown that took place this week:
The boys had their first homework project, an “All About Me” poster. We excitedly completed the homework and they marched their proud hinnies into class and told their teacher and classmates all about themselves. Their sweet teacher hung them around the classroom, in a proud display for everyone to see and to stay up for when they have “Grandparents Day” for all the grands to see. When I went to pick the boys up, they both showed me where their hung in the class and Greer insisted on taking his home. We explained to him it needed to stay in Ms. Perla’s class, so everyone could see, and the screams and tears started. Oh my heavens! I explained, both teachers explained, he was not having it. (side note, Greer also keeps these meltdowns going when he realizes he’s wrong and gets embarrassed. For where this comes from, please see if father about that.) As i grab backpacks, lunchboxes, water bottles, folders with the days projects in them, and my purse, I hand the folders off to Grayson who quickly exits the classroom and empties the folders onto the floor in the hallway. (Greer is still screaming bloody murder) Their sweet teacher looks at me and says “I can take it down and he can take it home,” to which I quickly respond ” NO!”
He will learn that he is no different than anyone else in his class, he does not get special treatment. This lesson I am teaching him is causing this tantrum, I know that. But what if I gave in? Over and Over. What is that actually teaching him? If everyone could just understand the bigger picture with children, it would make it a lot easier on us moms.
Here are the four things I do when the boys jump on the choo-choo express to Meltdown Town:
- Make them take a deep breath ( mine have been taught this sine they turned one) and TRY and talk sense into them. This clearly doesn’t always work, since I have three other things I have to try with them. I get down to their eye level, hold their hands and explain to them my reasoning. “It’s about to rain, we don’t want to get wet, right?” Sometimes, all they need is a little reasoning to understand.
- I praise the other brother who isn’t having a meltdown. Its actually very rare that both boys have a meltdown together. Greer is the one typically losing it, so I turn to Grayson and tell him : “you’re being such a good boy Grayson,” ” I’m so proud of your behavior right now,” or “Mommy is so happy with how you are acting.” This will most likely lead to Greer saying “I’m a good boy too?” Then I can tell him he is a good boy but his behavior isn’t good or he’s “acting” like a bad boy.
- Leave. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, leave, walk away with both boys and handle it in a different location/setting. Sometimes removing them from the setting their in changes their behavior and lets me do step one more calmly and in a different location.
- BRIBE! Yes, I get desperate from time to time, again depending on the setting we’re in, and just bribe them to stop throwing a fit.
No matter which of these I choose, when we get back home, to the car, once they’ve calm down, we talk. We talk through that when they threw a fit, it made mommy upset and we walk through what we should have done instead. Over and over and over again, until they can tell me. Back to the example I used earlier, for the past two days when we’ve talked about school Greer has told me his projects stay in Ms. Perla’s class until she sends them home. We talked about it so much and I had him tell me about the where the project stays, that I know feel like he understands, (we’ll see how pickup goes today, wish me luck!)
I hope this helps any of you that need to try something new when it comes to meltdowns. They are so, so hard to deal with, but know that you standing your ground and being firm, makes you a great parent!