Every time we are at a family gathering, or having people over our home I always know that at some point of the day that I should expect some sort of behavior or meltdown from my son. This isn’t because my son is the worst child in the world and I simply expect him to be bad, it is more because it is a deviation from our normal routine, and routine is what he thrives on. When there is no routine it is hard for him to know what to expect so behaviors are often elevated due to this. Believe me when I say we have tried a lot of different things to try to eliminate the meltdowns, but sometimes no matter how prepared you are they are inevitable.
Through my years of experience with my son, I have found ways to diffuse the meltdowns without losing my cool. Don’t feel alone if you have completely lost it when your child has had an out of this world tantrum, I am right there with you. Unfortunately, I have learned that getting hot does nothing for the situation, au contraire the child wants the reaction from you.
Before reacting, evaluate the situation
It is easy to see your child in the middle of a meltdown and just react, but next time before reacting take a minute to review the situation. If you weren’t center stage for the beginning of the meltdown gather the story. If they were with a group of people when the behavior started ask what happened, get the story from everyone before you react. I have been very fast to react in the past, my mom radar goes off and without skipping a beat I would jump right in sometimes without knowing the whole story which never helped the situation.
Keep your cool
Once the story is gathered, before reacting take an inhale. I know you’re probably thinking it is easier said than done, and I have been on your end of it. I have been at the point of desperation where I “knew” nothing would work, I was “stuck” with these behaviors that were “unfixable” and this would be my life but as you are here, I still looked for help and suggestions because anything is worth trying at least once. Although we may never find the magic pill that will “fix” the problem, we can find ways to better handle the behaviors and ways to live with them without driving ourselves crazy.
Remember, losing your cool can escalate the situation and ultimately is giving the child what they want. They want to see you react, they want to know that they are bothering you, so don’t let them. Handle the situation, walk away, lock yourself in your room or find a quiet place and then lose it. I often run to my solidarity which is my husband when I am losing it, or on the brink of losing it after one of my sons meltdowns, I even have found myself running to him right when the meltdown happens for his calming words and advice to help walk me through it. Find what works for you, and use it.
Make the punishment meet the crime
When the meltdown occurs, and after the meltdown has stopped, if a punishment is necessary make sure that you don’t lose your cool and over punish. Always ensure that the punishment meets the crime. I say this over and over again because it is very common for parents to react in the moment and say they are taking Christmas, or your Birthday away. This is where inhaling and keeping your cool comes in.
2017 is going to be a great year for us and our family. We are entering the year with optimism, and the power of self-control. I hope you join me this year in our Journey, and find all of the advice and experience that we offer useful. If you have any tips that you would like to share, I would love to hear them!