Operation: Avoid the Meltdown

grumpy to happy

Step 1:

The first step in this series of events will look familiar to anyone that has children. The Pout. As a parent, you know it well. You also know that there is a small window of opportunity to turn this pending disaster around.

Things that don’t work

  • Telling said child to stop pouting
  • Asking them what is wrong
  • Asking them what you can do to fix it
  • Asking them anything (avoid questions at all costs!!)
  • Trying to backpedal out of whatever you did to cause it in the first place
  • Ignoring the problem, unless you are REALLY good at ignoring (by now they know that they just need to make a bigger display to get your attention)
  • Sending them to their room until they come back with a less pouty face

No, this delicate situation calls for you to dig deep down into you bag of tricks. Now, I realize that some of you (ahem…elementary teachers) have mastered the art of “Operation: Avoid Catastrophe”, but I am not a natural in this area on child-rearing. It goes against everything instinct that I have. However, I have learned the hard way that “The Pout” needs to be handled with care last it manifest into “The Tantrum”, or worse “The Meltdown”.

Step 2:

The only way to avoid “The Meltdown” is to employ some serious parental slight-of-hand. Distraction is your friend. Tuck and roll. DO IT NOW! Don’t delay. Children find humor and silliness impossible to resist in most cases. Use whatever you can find even if it involves surrendering all personal dignity.

Step 3:

Once you have broken through “The Pout”, you need to keep the momentum going in the right direction. At this point it is safe to say you are in your child’s good graces again, but not totally out of the woods. Children are unpredictable little people that can backflip into “The Pout” faster than an olympic gymnast. Go in for the kill: snuggles and tickles.

Step 4:

By now your child has forgotten that they were even upset in the first place because they are having so much fun being the center of attention. Isn’t that what children do best? Of course it is! As you can see, my little princess is happily posing for the photos that she was desperately trying to avoid just moment before.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done as a parent to regain control of a bad situation?


4 thoughts on “Operation: Avoid the Meltdown

  1. Distraction was definitely one of my tactics. But when things were really bad and my kids were little, I would invoke the “rules.” For example, if they wanted to do something and were pouting or having little tantrums (like go to the toy store) I might say something like, “Oh, I’m sorry, they don’t allow children in after 5 p.m. so we can’t. It’s such a bummer but what can we do? I don’t make the rules. But we can go to the playground.” Isn’t that awful? It’s so funny because when my older son finally figured out my tactics, he said, “Yes you do. You do make the rules!” And that was the end of that tactic. 😉

  2. The most craziest thing that I have done as a parent to regain control was start crying with my then toddler in public…she’s 11 now. And now, when the kids verbally abuse me with, “MOM, I WANT________”. I respond with something (ridiculous) that I want. They lose interest and I don’t yell 😀

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