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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.

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