Managing Your Child’s Meltdown – 5 Tips To Get You Both Through And Back To Control


tantrumAs the mother of a child with autism, I can tell you with no false modesty that I have mad meltdown skills. My son was three at his diagnosis, and at that time his vocabulary consisted of a handful of words – and they weren’t always used contextually. He had tantrums dozens of times a day, and often for no cause that I could define or for the most innocuous reasons: his shirtsleeve got wet when he washed his hands, the smell of the cleaner they just used on the counter at the drugstore set him off, or I gave him his sippy cup with the wrong color lid.

Once he started with tantrums, it would often move into full-on meltdown, and a lot of the things I did with his sister when she misbehaved were ineffective. A time-out didn’t work because he threw himself from the chair. He self-harmed, which was another issue entirely. It was frustrating for both of us, but eventually, I learned how to read him, and I learned how to manage him – and me, in the process.

Here are a few of the things that I learned in managing serious meltdowns:

Stay calm. My mother once told me “It takes two people to have a fight.” If you’re screaming as hard as your child is, you’re letting him know you’re out of control, too. He needs your stability right now. Take a deep breath, reach down into that well of inner strength and remind yourself that you need to address this from a place of love, not anger or exasperation. I know that’s not easy to do – especially if you’re out in public and everyone’s giving you the “Hey lady, control your kid!” look, but you’ve got to do it anyway.

Previous articleTeaching Young Children to Say Sorry and Really Mean It
Next articleBe Happy With What You Did Get Done Today

Ellie is a parenting and relationship blogger, a full-time working autism Mom, published author, and frequently exhausted person. In addition to her blog, SingleMomtism, she is the author of “Yoga Pants & Pinot: A Practical Guide to Surviving Divorce” and “David And Me Under The Sea: Essays From A Decade With Autism.” She has previously blogged for Most days you can find Ellie slogging her way through the world of single parenting, mid-life dating and reinventing herself with a pop-tart in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here