Every parent has experienced the dreaded public meltdown. You’re out running errands or trying to enjoy a nice family day somewhere, when all of a sudden, the switch is flipped and you’re trying to soothe a screaming kid. It seems like no parent has the magic solution and it’s an inevitable thing every parent is going to have to deal with. That being said, maybe there are ways to help de-escalate the situation.
Meltdowns, especially public ones are so tough to deal with. They require patience, a lot of energy, and unreasonable levels of grace and humility. Whether your child is having a tantrum about a toy you said they cannot have, they’re cranky because they refused to take a nap, or even if they have no idea what’s wrong, meltdowns are super tough to deal with. Here are some things you can remember in those hard moments that can help you survive and get through it.
Don’t Get Mad At Your Kid
We know, this one is really tough. But trust us, there’s really no point and it will be very rewarding to remember that you’re the adult in the situation. That means that you are still the one in control of the situation, and also the one with the power in the dynamic. You have to do everything you can in order to avoid losing your temper. You can repeat the mantra: “I will not get mad at a three-year old” to yourself if that helps. Remember that this too will pass.
Remember That This Doesn’t Define Your Child
Meltdown are unfortunately a normal part of your child’s development, and it certainly does not define their personality. This does not mean that this is now a new part of their personality. It doesn’t reflect on your child’s character, and soon you’ll be able to figure out ways to help them move past it faster. Remember that the rage will pass and they’ll get back to their normal, adorable selves.
Don’t Keep A Laundry List Of Tantrums
Unless you are noticing a pattern, just take one tantrum at a time. By letting go and moving past each tantrum as it passes, you won’t hold it against your kid, which ultimately is better for everyone involved.
Don’t Forget That This Isn’t A Reflection Of Your Parenting
This one might be tough to remember in the moment, especially if you’re dealing with strangers’ admonishing stares. Sure, it’s awkward, but don’t let anybody make you feel like you’re a bad parent because your child is going through something very normal. It’s very okay that your kids have a hard time regulating their feelings, it’s part of their growth process. One day, you’ll look back and laugh at these moments together. Just try to get through them right now.
Sometimes, It’s Okay Just To Buy The Cookie
We know, this one might be painful. But sometimes, when you’re feeling absolutely defeated and ready to pull your hair out, it’s really okay if you just buy the toy (or cookie, or whatever it is) and just move on. Later, when things have calmed down and you feel sane again (which we promise you will, no matter how far away it may feel in the moment) you can revisit the situation and discipline. When you feel like you’re going to lose it, sometimes it’s just better to let it all go and move on.
Most Importantly, Don’t Think About What Anyone Else Thinks
At the end of the day, you know your kids best, you know your own limits, and other people’s opinions rarely help. Once you fully let go of the stress and worries of what other people will think of you as a parent, you’ll feel a whole lot better. Parenting is extremely difficult and extraordinarily personal, but it’s hard to remember that in tough moments. Work on that, and we promise, once you achieve this, you’ll never worry about anybody else’s opinion again.