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Coping With Meltdowns And Tantrums


If, like me, you have experienced some challenging behaviour and meltdowns at home, here are a few things to help you cope.

Accept what you CANNOT control:  Children can respond to change in different ways and they are still learning to understand and manage their emotions. They are currently experiencing a HUGE change (as are we) and we therefore must accept challenging behaviour, regression, clinginess and emotional outbursts as a natural response to change. They will regularly push the boundaries to check that they are still safe.

Plan what you CAN control: As a parent/carer, it is crucial that you have some strategies for yourself to remain calm and steady your own emotional response. In moments of stress (and this IS a stressful time), the emotional, instinctive part of our brains (known as the amygdala) takes charge and clouds our rational thinking. Try to find ways to PAUSE and find calm before you react to your child’s behaviour.

We can also prepare by creating and discussing basic family rules (kindness, tidying up, etc) and having some simple consequences and rewards up your sleeve. This helps to remind your child that, despite the change and uncertainty of this time, you STILL have boundaries, and children need boundaries in order to feel safe and secure.

There are some great resources on this at https://www.familylinks.org.uk/free-downloads-for-parents

Family Links are a national charity based in Oxfordshire and they provide fantastic resources and support for parents and professionals on emotional wellbeing.

Look after yourself: I can’t say enough that this is a hugely stressful time for many, for all sorts of reasons. We haven’t prepared for this and are having to rewrite the rules of parenting and homeschooling as we go. Go easy on yourself and make self care a priority – this not only helps you to cope with the challenges at home, but will serve as positive model for your children. There are many ways we can reduce and manage stress, including: quality sleep, nutritious food, and exercise. Take breaks where you can (TV time is our friend, not our enemy right now!) and do things that you enjoy. Looking after your own mental health is anything but selfish.

We would love to hear from the APCAM community about this topic – what works for you? What have you found challenging?

For more information or questions about this topic or any others mentioned, please get in touch.

APCAM (Assisting Parents of Children Affected By Mental Health) is a charity based in Oxfordshire, who do amazing work to support families who are struggling with mental health and emotional difficulties. More information can be found at https://apcamgroup.org.uk

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