As parents, we all know they're going to happen.
The red-faced, snot-covered, tear-smeared emotional overloads that happen to our children, causing them to temporarily malfunction and drive parents to want to hide in the closet with a bottle of anything alcoholic.
These tantrum/meltdown events occur every so often - and usually you'll get a slight reprieve of days or even weeks in between episodes so that your sanity can return from hiatus.
But sometimes the meltdowns never seem to end. Sometimes your kid is just going through a phase where literally everything makes them scream, cry, whine, hit, throw, and hyperventilate. And I'm talking all day with maybe a half hour intermission between showtimes.
I just want to say that I know there are other parents out there experiencing this and I'd like to vent with you and for you.
When your normally sweet, functional child goes through this "phase" it honestly feels like it's never going to end. You feel like you're stuck in freak-out purgatory. At first you think to yourself - is this because I gave her too much sugar? Maybe she didn't get enough sleep? Maybe she's having a growth spurt or getting sick? Is this normal?
Then, as the "challenging" behavior continues on - even excellerating - you start thinking - is this because I was horrible to my parents? Is this because I used the handicap bathroom the other day not realizing there was an actual handicapped person waiting to use it? Is this because I said someone else's child is a brat and now this is payback?
Nope, it's none of those things. Those are just a bunch of other unfortunate and unrelated issues.
For whatever reason, as kids are growing, they go through times where losing a My Little Pony, a shoe falling off, or you not realizing they wanted to sit in the top part of the shopping cart not the basket part can send our little darlings into World War 3 preparations. And all a parent can do is think - why is this happening to me? Why does it have to be in public at this moment?
It all seems irrational but by now we know that young children are constantly experiencing sudden rushes of emotion that are hard to understand and control. Many adults suffer from this as well. It's not like we're perfect. It's just that most of us have learned by getting older that screaming in the middle of the grocery store is usually considered rude and is ultimately counter-productive.
I know the lucky people who read this are going to have some amazing horror stories about kid meltdowns of their own to share. And you know what? Misery loves company - especially in the parenting world.
I can read and share any number of positive parenting quotes and even try and live up to those mantras on some days. But then, there are days when it all goes to hell. And we need people to commiserate with. I touched on this in my blog To the Mom in the Bathroom Stall Next to me: Thank you. It's essential for parents to relate to one another so that they can know they're not alone in their struggles.
I think my child is now emerging from this last week of trials. She's back to her normal, mostly rational self. Whatever it was that had her so cranky and disagreeable has subsided.
The effects of growing pains in our children can be mysterious and maddening. It's important to remember we were all that raging child once.
Meltdowns come and go - sometimes they visit us more often than not. They drain parents of patience, energy, and humor. Sometimes it feels like they're going to last forever. But they won't. Keep reminding yourself of that.
More from Michelle - The Art of Letting Your Children Make Mistakes
Originally a Vancouver Island native, Michelle now resides in California where she is an ex-corporate slave, writer, artist, mother, stepmother, & wife.
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