Thursday, 5 July 2012

Three steps to handle those meltdowns - "She is not being difficult!"

Crying, tantrums, melt-downs...

That's what Toddlerville looks like now!

It gets very difficult for us to handle it!
We get the feeling that she is just being naughty difficult!

The immediate gut-reaction from our side is to label it (as being difficult!), to threaten her with some sort of punishment or to ignore...

The more I read about it, and the more I try to understand the outbursts, the more I know that she is  not being difficult!

- She wants to express something to us that she is not yet fully able to understand herself!

- The only way to express her feelings is through crying, tantrums and melt-downs!

- She wants us to understand what she is trying to express! She is having very strong feelings about it!

I heard a very sane way of handling it (on Groeipyne, on RSG, an Afrikaans radio station), and it can be done in 3 steps.

3  Steps to approach a meltdown (tantrum/crying):

1. Try to understand what the child is trying to say?

2. Reflect her emotions (that is lying underneath the behaviour) back to her!
"I can hear you are angry/upset/frustrated because you ...."

3. Allow her to have the emotions and scoop her up in your arms or stay very close. Be accepting of her feelings and emotions!
It does not mean you have to give in to all her demands.
She should be allowed to have those feelings and outbursts!

Our job is to learn them how to handle these outbursts and emotions.

Or else we will still have a door-slamming, swearing, raging individual when she grows up... (those Adult tantrums!)

Related posts: (I see I have quite a few ;-) I am still learning...)

How to survive the terrible tantrum

The t-dance: the toddler and tantrums

Symptoms of toddlerhood: the whistle and not sleeping

The evening WHINE


  1. May God help you he he!!

  2. Give her a piece of paper and crayons when she gets all emotional, you don't know but behind all those outburst there can be a masterpiece, depends on how good she is at drawing.

  3. Best of luck - it is tough. For L hard pressure hopolding helped as well as his little "safe haven" play tent.

  4. It is tough...sometimes I wish I had the luxury of being small and just having a total meltdown...I am pretty sure it can relieve a lot of pressure.


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