Oh the meltdowns

Lately, we hit a phase where the meltdowns are a lot less frequent. My husband and I are in awe of our son’s good manners and easy ways these days.  But just when we get too proud of ourselves thinking it must be our excellent parenting, here comes a meltdown.

The other day we had one of those days.  You mamas know what I mean….when nothing can make your little one happy for more than ten minutes. I had just managed to go off mama duty for a moment. My husband took over and I grabbed a quick shower when a piece of advice came back to me. The day had worn on us all but then I remembered something that helped me make sense of it all. A long with a hot shower and this piece of wisdom that resurfaced, I felt renewed and ready to go parent.The advice?

Remember when they…

yell and scream…

have meltdowns…

are rude…

that they just got to this world not very long ago and what seems simple to us can be a challenging new lesson.

Remember when you are repeating the same lesson over and over…

that they are still sorting out how to deny themselves from what is dangerous but looks fun…

that they are still trying to decide which emotions are appropriate to use along with when and how to use them…

that they are learning, they aren’t trying to be resistant on purpose (well at least not always)…

We are their teachers.

We have to remember to be patient because the lessons have to be constantly repeated until they stick.  I think back to my good teachers when I struggled with a concept in school. Repetition was key and over explaining for me (especially in math and science) was critically needed. The teachers that yelled and berated me? I shrunk away trying to just get by, rarely learning and definitely not thriving. But the ones who had crazy amounts of patience and empathy  were who I thrived under. Those were the teachers that thought I was smart and stayed with me until I got it.

WE are our kids teachers. And Lord, do I have to remind myself that on the 14th meltdown of the day when I am searching for the last morsel of patience. I think to myself in my weakest, most human moments that if I was a spanking parent, correction would be a whole lot easier. But I am not one because spanking isn’t teaching.  So I find the strength to correct with a firm but gentle tone. And I keep trying and teaching these life lessons.

Remember when the days are filled with meltdowns

Hard work yes but no one ever said teaching and parenting are easy. But when he remembers to do it without prompting and is thrilled that I am happy with him, I know it is working. I am seeing a strong willed child with a whole lot of empathy and love emerge.

So when they days are filled with meltdowns, remember they are new here and they have never done this before. Be patient with yourself because teaching is a new skill for many of us parents. When in doubt, give yourself a break, a hot shower and then go hug it out until the meltdown disappears for both of you.

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