Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Manic Meltdown Mayhem

Have you ever had one of "those" days?  The days where nothing seems to go right?  When all of your children proceed to have major meltdowns and tantrums over the tiniest things?  You try to keep a calm, parental, authoritative demeanor, but inside you're pulling out your hair and wondering exasperatedly why all of your children have decided to break down at once.  Ring a bell with anyone?  That was the day today at my job.  The kids took it in turns to break down over the broken table that they didn't break, the checking of math problems, the stealing of a toothbrush, or the "mean" behavior of a sibling or two.  Needless to say, this day was not one of the sunshine and butterflies days.  Rather, it sets a fine example of some of the "worst" days of being a stay-at-home mother.  Let me explain.

This day, while stressful, provided numerous learning experiences for both parent and child.  The parent can observe the meltdown, discern the cause, and decide whether it is legitimate or not.  In some cases, such as the broken table, it is legitimate.  The child was blamed but innocent.  This does not make the meltdown proper behavior, but it does warrant a valid reason as to why the 7 year old boy is extremely upset.  Nobody likes to be blamed for something they didn't do.  On the other hand, the case of the checking math problems is totally inexcusable.  When the teacher (or parent) instructs the child to do something, there should be no tantrum meltdown.  If the child does not understand, they can ask for help and explanation (but should not interrupt until the parent is done instructing.)  After that, they need to practice the problems and checking on their own.  It is practice for making sure you write down the right answer and do the math correctly.  In such a case, the meltdown should be disciplined because it is unwarranted behavior.  

The third set of meltdowns occurred between the twins (who are 1 years old).  Twin #1 had a toothbrush. Twin #2 wanted the toothbrush and proceeded to grab it.  Twin #1 began bawling hysterically.  When Twin #2 could not get the toothbrush, he began screaming as well.  In this case, since you're working with infants, you can only attempt to mollify both of them.  I ended up finding another toothbrush for Twin #1 so that both babies were happy, and the next few minutes were peaceful.

Our fourth major meltdown of the day came when the 5-year-old felt injustice from the shove of her older brother.  Apparently, though, he had shoved her because she was breaking the rules in a game they were playing.  A game she had picked, I might add.  While her brother's behavior is inexcusable, she did not need to spend the next twenty minutes overflowing with tears over it.  Thus, she was sent upstairs until she could compose herself.  Personally, I would have sent her to bed.  When a child of that age throws such a fit, she or he is generally over-tired or excessively sugar-intoxicated.  In either case, sending them to bed accomplishes three things: 1.  It gets them out of your hair and away from everyone else.  2.  It puts them in a room alone where they can quiet down.  3.  More often than not, they will fall asleep and wake up much more refreshed.

The fifth (and final) meltdown of the day (at least to my knowledge) involved a friend coming to play.  Both the 3-year-old and 5-year-old wanted to play with the visitor, but neither girl wanted to share their friend.  Thus ensued much screaming and crying and complaining from each girl as they tried to defend their side and claim to the visiting girl.  In such a case, it is more difficult to discern the proper method of approach.  I would have separated all the girls.  The visitor would have to play by herself until the sisters could play together.  I understand the need for siblings to have time alone to play with their friends, but there should also be much camaraderie and sharing between all of them.  No one likes to feel left out.

No comments:

Post a Comment