The Art of a Meltdown

MELTDOWN [melt doun]: Describes what happens when a person freaks out, cracks, loses control of herself. Life - reality at large- becomes overwhelming. She just can't deal with it all. The person may act out, withdraw, become emotional, run, etc...

If you are lucky enough to have experienced one of these special moments with your child, then you either powered through with flying colors, gave in and bought your kid that life-sized inflatable elephant, OR you are currently trying to figure out how to transfer custody to your least favorite sibling. Whatever the means of coping, you deserve a pat on the back. For those of you who have not yet ventured into the world of floor tantrums, get ready! You may be wondering if your toddler screaming in the car seat because he is tired or your baby getting extra fussy around mealtime qualifies as a meltdown. They DO NOT!!! There is so much more to this special developmental milestone. Note, there are some “child specialists” that would suggest that there are ways to avoid tantrums all together. I’m calling B.S. on these claims. These “experts” have clearly never tried to go grocery shopping with a 2 year-old who has just discovered how good it feels to smash a bag of bread with her butt.


2 parts child age 18 months to 18 years

1 part terrorist

1 part mother-in-law

1 part genetic crazy code (this varies depending on the parents’ crazy tendency)

optional: Public setting


Step 1: Do not look it (it=your offspring) directly in the eye.

Step 2: If in public, determine the fastest exit strategy—leave behind shopping carts, luggage, and loved ones if necessary.

Step 3: Once in the car or padded room, let the meltdown run its course.

Step 4: THE MOST CRUCIAL STEP: WE DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS!!! You cannot, I repeat cannot do anything about the irrational way that your child is behaving. Once she is in the throws of a full meltdown, she has lost her ability to comprehend what anyone else is saying or doing.

Step 5: Minimize the casualties by clearing the area of any pets, other children, and sharp objects.

Step 6: Ignore and wait…

Step 7: …and wait.

Step 8: Once your little terrorist rejoins the human world, return to regularly scheduled programming.   

COMING SOON: "How to handle Daddy Meltdowns"

Written by: Alice