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  • Meltdowns: Tips for Surviving, Even Thriving


    Image Credit: Jean Hamburg

    Image Credit: Jean Hamburg

    By Jean Hamburg, LICSW


    In every parent world lurks the possibility of the Dreaded Meltdown.  These always uncomfortable scenes happen under the best or worst of circumstances.  They can be predicted or come as a complete surprise.  Meltdowns show no favoritism regarding age, temperament or location so here are some tips to not only survive, but even to thrive.


    At the top of every adult wish list is for the meltdown to stop.  Actually, they always do, so that wish is granted-over varying lengths of time.  The trick is getting to that longed for goal while still maintaining some sense of adult dignity, not inadvertently making things worse, and preserving the relationship with our at that time unreasonable any age child.


    Tip #1:  Consider the top goal as moving through the trouble, and getting back on normal track. Some parents insist that a meltdown is over and done when the kids learn a lesson, apologize, and even promise never to……..again for the rest of their entire life. This is simply not reasonable or effective.


    Tip#2:  Timing is everything. Consider the no expectations if either the child or adult is ‘upset’ plan.   Adults can easily inadvertently escalate the already ‘on the edge’ child of any age. “Young man- pick up that shirt you just threw!” “Don’t talk to me like that!”, “I can’t believe you’re acting like this. Stop it right now!”


    Tip #3:  Replace with safe phrases like “I hear you.”  “I know.”  “I’ll wait.”  And ‘clear the area’ by encouraging other kids to play elsewhere because there is no limit to who can easily fuel the ‘fire’.


    Tip #4:  Periodically offer a hug or a snack, t.v,  or an option to call a friend, etc.  If the goal is to get through the trouble then offering an ‘ending’ is a wise way to go.


    Tip#5:  No problem is ever solved when someone is upset.  It is a known fact that the exact opposite is true.  Score another reason for the goal to be to move through the trouble time


    Tip#6:  Reconnect emotionally with the previously in meltdown mode child of any age.  Re-connecting happens at another time when everyone is calm.  This is the most important part of every relationship-finding the peaceful places together, enjoying the calm after the trouble, moving on, and getting back to enjoying each other .


    Appreciating the rainbow is far preferable to staying stuck in the storm.


    Contact Jean for consultation options at: jeanhamburg@comcast.net __1-877-813-0004

    Cooperation Counts (sm) is a service of Jean Hamburg, LICSW

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