One Kentucky Mom speaks out on her son's after-school meltdowns and how she's learning to handle them.

ONE MOM'S EXPERIENCE WITH AFTER-SCHOOL MELTDOWNS

Parents have you ever experienced picking your child up from school and they immediately lose their crap. It could literally be about nothing at all and they get in your car or they get home and there's an instant breakdown.

Angel here and my son Tucker began doing this at the beginning of this school year.  At first, I chalked it up to him being a dramatic brat.  You see he is quite different than my other kiddos.  He likes things done a certain way and he loves routine.  The fits began when my husband or I would tell him we would be picking him up from school and then the opposite one of us would and it would just ruin his whole life.  Then he would get upset about us not having a snack and then we never truly knew what to expect and I knew something else was wrong.

The crazy part is he never got in trouble at school or practice or really anywhere else.  His teachers and coaches talked about what a great kid he is so how was I to know.  I started to feel like my kid hated me but I knew otherwise so I decided to do a little research.

AFTER-SCHOOL RESTRAINT COLLAPSE

Have you ever heard of such?  I hadn't until all this started happening.   Children hold themselves together all day long.  When they are finally out of school and in the comforts and safety of the people who love them they feel secure enough to just let go.  This is exactly what was happening with Tuck.  He knows we love him.  He knows no matter what we are always going to take care of him.  It's just like adults when we are asked how our day is going and we say fine when in actuality a lot of times we are on the brink of a meltdown ourselves.

HERE'S WHAT I DID WRONG

I'm a strict parent.  I expect my children to be respectful.  We don't put up with temper tantrums and such in our house.  When he would start his fits I would argue back or punish him without asking him what was going on.  After the behavior continued for a while I would question him and try to find out what was happening and all this did was upset him more.  I didn't watch for his cues I reacted.  A friend told me he feels safe letting it out with you because he knows how very much you love him.  Here I was thinking I am the worst mom in the world and on the contrary, it was the exact opposite he trusts me.

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HOW TO HELP OUR CHILDREN

My husband and I decided we would try a different approach.  We began trying to pick our children up together so that one of us could handle just Tucker and the other could talk to our daughter, Charlotte.   Here are a few of the things we have done;

  • Don't raise your voice
  • Don't probe for immediate answers
  • Don't get angry
  • Bring a snack LOL (but really)
  • Offer a hug or a kind gesture

I'm so grateful we figured out what was going on.  It's hard for our little ones to truly express themselves sometimes.  Helping them find the words and know they have someone who will listen and love them is a major relief to their sweet and precious minds.

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