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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The M Word... MELTDOWNS



Okay, so we are going to leave our pride, mom awards we give ourselves in our heads and pat on the backs we also give ourselves right here at the beginning of this post.  I'm discussing a topic that is very hush hush and frowned upon in child rearing.  Meltdowns.  They make our mothers cringe when they see our children having one, we stare at other moms in stores with pity yet we all know we have been there at least once before.  And, if you haven't been there yet, there's still time!

This past weekend Kennedy was invited to Birthday Party that she hounded me about every single day leading up to Saturday.  She even forced me to pick out her "party ensemble" a couple of days early because she was just that excited.  Well we arrive at the party, after taking 57 pictures for Instagram obviously, and I was all ready to just drop her off and leave like the other parents were doing.  I mean, she had been invited to this same girls' party last year and was the LIFE of the party so I figured this year would be no different.  WRONG.  She hung off OF me like little leach and would not let go.  I talked to her in the high pitched, super annoying, baby voice trying to sound like a nice mom but in all honesty, I was freaking embarrassed by her behavior.  She is my third child and I pride myself in how well behaved Kennedy is... I can't always say the same for the other two... but, Kennedy is the child I had the most experience with!  Anyways, I've been through this situation a time or two before with my older children so I had to dust my skills off quickly.

The first thing you have to remember at the beginning of a meltdown is that it can get much worse, very quickly.  Those stares you might be feeling can turn into gasps in no time if you don't work fast.  Bending down and talking to Kennedy in front of everyone was my first mistake.  She already felt uncomfortable with me leaving and now I'm directing all the attention to her crying which didn't make anything better.  Once my instincts kicked in, I grabbed Kennedy up and took her to more private corner for us to talk.  That's when the baby talk came to a complete end.  I spoke to her with concern in my voice, eye to eye, while also making sure I came across as serious as a 4 year old can take me.  She explained she didn't know anyone and didn't want me to leave.  It didn't dawn on me that maybe she didn't remember these same girls from last year since she doesn't see them regularly.  So, I agreed to stay with her until she felt more comfortable.  As moms, we have to keep in mind that our children have their not so good days as well.  I'll be the first to admit that I've attended networking events as an adult where I didn't know anyone and didn't feel 100% comfortable.  Imagine, how a 4 year old toddler must feel in a similar environment.  So, I walked back out with her after we dried her tears and held her hand until she let go.

The next thing you have to keep in mind is that controlling a meltdown is a bit like weaning.  They may be okay for 10 minutes and then the tears begin again.  Remember, do not get upset and do not try to discipline/talk to your child in front of everyone in the hopes that they will suck it up and stop.  Always remember, things can get much worse.  LOL.  Take your child to the side again, give them a little pep talk.  Express how happy you were with how well they were doing, give them a kiss/hug and encourage them to try again.  Each time you do this, they will exhibit the positive behavior longer and longer.  Children LOVE having the approval of their parents and they literally live to impress us.  I know you may be thinking that if you are out and about you don't have the time to do this.  Yes you do.  It doesn't take that long at all.  Just like weaning, you put in the work now and you will be grateful you did down the line.

Once I stopped caring about the looks I was getting from other people, I was able to focus on how to be there for my kid and get her past this moment she was having.  She started feeling more confident and before she knew it, she was talking to the other girls and being the social little girl she usually is.  We even set up a play date with one of the girls to come over and play with LaLaLoopsies next week!  It took me a while to figure out what contributed to Kennedy's meltdown and sudden shyness and then it dawned on me that she had not taken a nap before the party.  ding ding ding.  Granted the party was only at 1pm, a nap would have helped to combat any poor behavior.  I'm not sure how I forgot this cardinal rule, especially on a Saturday.  I guess I just got caught up Kennedy's party excitement myself! LOL

This post isn't meant to be the Holy Grail answer to all your Meltdown problems.  You are the Mom and you know what is best for your child and what will work for your child.  Many times we forget to be patient and put ourselves in their shoes.  Sometimes, all it takes is calmly ASKING them what is wrong.  We get so frustrated with how their Meltdown may be ruining our plans that we overlook simple solutions and jump to more aggressive tactics.   I hope I've been able to help you Moms out there that may be at your wits end when it comes to Meltdowns.  Don't give up, Stay calm and Give your kid a chance!  XOXO

FYI:  Check back every Monday for the 'Mommy Monday' post each week beginning next week!

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