One night after bath time, my six-year-old daughter, Brooklyn, had a mega meltdown.
I racked my brain for any way to help her escape her bad mood. She suddenly yelled, “I’m mad at everyone and no one in this family likes me!”
Huh? We constantly tell our kids how much we love them so this curve ball threw me for a loop. Until I remembered she’s a child, she’s upset, and she just needs to let it out. I thought about Brooklyn adjusting to being in school all day for first grade, and the numerous expectations placed on her there and at home.
As I listened to her wail, watched tears flood her hazel eyes, and anger pour from her lips, I drew her close and hugged her tight. I didn’t give another lesson on good attitudes (exhausting!), but just let her be. I let her release. Silence and comfort calmed her and she melted in my arms. Sometimes that is all we, or our children, need.
As you know, there isn’t always an easy answer. Sometimes we just have a bad day. It is what it is.
I try to remind myself that it’s okay to be in that and not get cheered up. As Psalm 30:5 says, “Joy comes in the morning.” Another day will be here, and our spirits will be lifted.
When my children were toddlers, meltdowns and tantrums were more common, and not giving into their behavior helped limit them. My triplets are now seven years old and the meltdowns are not as frequent, but they still happen at times.
There is a time for discipline, but if I sense brokenness, then most likely, they just need to feel sad, mad, disappointed, or whatever their mood is in the moment. They don’t need words or a solution. They just need me.
If we don’t allow our children to be honest with their feelings, they will bottle them up and express them in another way.
I want to be the one my kids reveal their emotions to, good and bad. If I want to be that person, I need to welcome all their emotions so they know I am a safe place to be open and vulnerable.
Author Dr. John Townsend said, “Kids who are emotionally connected in healthy ways are more secure.” By allowing our children to connect with us through venting and expressing themselves, they will be more secure and confident.
The day after the meltdown, Brooklyn worked hard on creating a card for me.
A hole tore through her picture and she almost crumpled it up because of the imperfection. But I intercepted that treasure and told Brooklyn it was going in my keepsake box. Her eyes brightened like the sun, and we patched it up together. Even though Brooklyn had yelled hurtful words the night before, she wrote these priceless ones in the card: “I, know, you love me. Oh, I just love you so much!” Instead of anger pouring out, love poured out.
Many times our children don’t mean the harsh words that let loose from their mouths during a meltdown–they just need to express their hurt feelings.
In that mega meltdown moment, all our children might need is us–just a hug and to be with us. To release; to be free; to be themselves. And as moms and dads, let’s be encouraged, because “joy comes in the morning.”
To learn more about Linsey visit www.LinseyDriskill.com. You can follow her on Facebook or Instagram @BeautifulHeartedParenting.