Avoiding The Melt Downs
How to Avoid Melt Downs
by Amy Egan
So often I hear complaints from parents about their children’s reactions to limits and consequences. Parents are hurt, surprised, outraged, incensed, annoyed, insulted and/or angered that their child throws a fit when given a perfectly appropriate limit. Because the child’s or teen’s reaction causes discomfort to the parent, the parent, often unconsciously, avoids any situation in which they may have to experience a kid’s wrath. What ends up happening is the parent tries to present a limit to their child with kid gloves on – hoping to make the limit palatable to the child/teen. The mother knows she needs to hold the kid accountable but wants to avoid the charged emotions that usually follow. The father does not want to be walked on by his kids but hates drama.
When we parent from the perspective of avoiding the melt downs, we hand our kiddos the reigns. When they have the reigns, they know it. When they know they have the reigns and we try to implement limits and consequences, we get even more push back. When we get more push back we are tempted to back off. When we back off we give our kids even more of our control. We then feel resentful, frustrated and angry that our kids are ‘out of control’.
There is a better way and it begins with our thoughts. When we change the way we view toddlers’ tantrums to the way we see our teens’ anger, we are able to completely shift the balance of power and the reigns come are back in our hands. If we just allow our kids to have their emotions and realize it is not our job as parents to work them through those emotions, we become okay with them not being happy with us. When we understand that we are not responsible for fixing the fit, we can lean back and relax. (You may need to remove the child so they can have their melt down where they will not disturb others or you may want to remove yourself so your teen doesn’t have the opportunity to attempt to manipulate you by wearing you down.)
When we are able to hold them accountable without flinching or letting them push our buttons, we get back the control that belongs to us. When we have the right amount of parental control, we get more respect from them. When they respect us, we get happier, more confident kids.
Oh, and one essential tip for not getting caught up in the wrath being thrown at you is to never allow yourself to fall into the argument trap. To do this:
- never take what a child or teen says personally when they are trying to get you to change your mind
- rather than argue with them respond with a one-liner such as “I know”, “Love you too much to argue” or “nice try”
- do not defend yourself!
The bottom line; there is no reason to parent on egg shells!!
~ Happy Parenting
“I hate you from a child is translation for ‘I’m so mad that I can’t manipulate you right now!'” Foster Cline, MD, co-founder of the Love and Logic parenting method.
“In order to be a really good parent you have to be willing to be hated sometimes.” Boundaries with Kids, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.
Amy Egan is a parenting consultant and life coach. She coaches privately, loves to speak to parent organizations and hosts several weekly life coaching groups for women and moms. If you are interested in private or group coaching contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org or Like her parenting page on Facebook. Amy Egan – Texas Parenting.