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Joan stood in the line at Target mindfully rubbing her palms together and taking deep breaths while her daughter thrashed on the floor for several minutes. She knew that people were judging her, watching her, criticizing her. And yet, she remained calm and present until her daughter was ready to go, at which point they rolled out of the store and into the car. The storm had passed. (And in a lot less time than usual.)

One of the things that comes up a lot in our Raising Orchid Kids class is the question of how to stay calm when your child is having a Spectacular, Epic Meltdown in public. The mom I’m describing above was one of the people asking this question. Once she came through the class, she knew.

Because the answer is: you just do. 

But that’s not very satisfying, is it?

Let’s break it down into its parts and then see if you can spot where your “missing link” might be.

When a meltdown happens, we can often see it coming. There are warning signs. People are hungry, tired, or just plain overwhelmed. Sometimes those people are YOU! So, step one is being able to see it coming so that we can maybe validate and then divert, distract or redirect. 

Much of the time, the meltdown is unavoidable. But that doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. This is the second part of the equation. When we think, “Uh oh. This shouldn’t be happening”, we are setting ourselves up for a world of hurt. Because it IS happening. Whether we want it to or not.

Which brings us to the third element: Control. The only behavior we can control in life is our own. Yes, certain things that we do or don’t do will make certain behaviors more or less likely to happen in our children. But remember: we have influence but not control (if you want to read more about that, you can do that HERE.

Which means that when kiddo is having said Epic Meltdown, the only reasonable thing to deal with is yourself. (Assuming people are safe).

In our Raising Orchid Kids class we teach some neurophysiological “hacks” which help the nervous system stay calm. We also talk about several mindset shifts that are useful for staying calm, one of which is: “All I can control is myself right now”.

When you can get there mentally, emotionally and physically, you’ve unlocked your power over the meltdown. Because you now recognize that it has nothing to do with you; that it doesn’t mean anything “bad” has happened: and that it’s just a temporary experience (albeit a powerful one) your child is having.

So, you just stay calm. Simple (though not easy!)

Now, there are plenty of examples where you, the adult, are experiencing Big Emotions that might be unrelated to the immediate context, but that are being stirred up by your child’s meltdown. If you are being overtaken by that experience, it is TOTALLY worth working with a therapist or coach to figure out whether there is a trauma response happening. 

Maybe you already know that you have a history of trauma. If so, everything I said above will come after you unravel that stuck trauma response. But it’s possible, and it’s worth doing the work.

If you think that you’d like some help from us to start unraveling your automatic response to meltdowns so you can actually stay calm; and if you would like to hang out with a wonderful group of other Orchid Raisers, we do still have 2 slots left in our fall class which started this past Thursday. We’ll get you caught up to speed quickly so that you can experience what Joan did and more.

Details and registration are at:

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