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How a Mums and Dads Feel During a Child’s Meltdown

screaming childWhen talking to any parent after a child who has had a tantrum in public a common comment that is said is that “people look like they have not seen a screaming child before.”   As a mum with autism, I have had numerous “well meaning” people say to me that my child needs a smack.  Mind you I do get a kick out of asking the person if I could smack them first.  Plus do not even get me started on people do not have any children who want to add in their 5c into the issue.  I like to ask them what do you know?

Usually after their opinion, I then inform them of the situation and they usually walk away with their tails in their legs.  You see a child screaming and in your head naturally you think you know the situation but usually you don’t.

Do you know how the mum and dad are feeling?  I remember a recent situation where Grace was having one of her meltdowns (emotional eruptions) whilst on a bike ride around the Maribyrnong River.  She was beyond being able to calm down quickly and all we could really do was wait it out until there was some change.  We spent the time telling her it was ok. But my goodness the looks that we received were incredible and even with some rubber neckers.

As a mum, I felt like a failure.  I could not provide her comfort when she needed it.  I felt like I had a good understanding of what she needed in these cases and usually it is a hug but on this day it all went out the window.  I felt embarrassed, I felt angry but mostly that I was all alone.

No one gave us any encouragement, not even a smile or any acknowledgement that they knew how I felt.  Instead of making mums and dads in this situation feel all alone, a kind word of acknowledgement or even help may make all the difference.  It is not easy for the child when they feel like this and mums and dads feel the same.  Understanding is what parents need not alienation.

The “Pros and Cons” About Becoming a Parent

I can hear people right now stomping their feet to my front door and coming with pitch forks screaming “You are lucky to be able to have children”, “You chose to have children” and all the rest of it.  I am hoping that some of you might actually read the rest of this article and may find this activity really beneficial.

Once you have little one in your arms, have you ever told your partner what you love about being a parent and what you do not look about becoming a parent?

Research shows that simply acknowledging the good and bad things about becoming a parent is actually a very healthy activity for parent’s to do.  By being able to talk about our thoughts in a constructive and safe environment, mums and dads can feel that they are being heard in regards to their thoughts of becoming a parent.

I remember thinking I was prepared for the change and that I will not be able to simply go out and catch up with friends and accepting the new journey I was about to embark on.  But honestly and I would love to hear from other mums and dads if they were truly prepared as much as you thought you were.  But be acknowledging the differences can be extremely therapeutic as you can let it out of your head and also let it go.

Is it a crime to do this?  Hell no.  If every parent did this activity, we might see a trend of people transitioning to parenthood a lot easier than what a lot of parent’s are at this stage.

I did not do this activity until I did volunteer training at PANDA and it really stuck with me that it is OK to say what we love and may be what we are still learning to adjust to. On my list were:

What I love:

  • That they were created out of love
  • Their little hands and toes
  • That we got through the birth process
  • Their little noises

What I Did Not Like:

  • PND (Postnatal depression)
  • My older child’s constant crying (boy does she have a set of lungs)
  • Breastfeeding (I had trouble with supply but was not confident who to call for help and Grace never attached)
  • Not being able to work
  • Not catching up with people as much as I used to.

Maybe my next post should be a follow up to the pros and cons and see how much things have changed.  I have attached below a sheet that mums and dads can use to do this activity at home.  Do not judge or analyse what people put on their list as it needs to be done in a safe environment so those thoughts can be acknowledged and then put aside.

Good and Bad stuff chart (Printable)

 

 

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