I was in the mall the other day and I had a craving for some good ol’ Pinkberry. As I took my place in line, there was a family standing in front of me: mom, grandma and two boys. The older boy,we will call Braxton, was about 9 years old. His body language and interest in the latest flavor illustrated his excitement about the family’s trip to get ice cream. However, it was clear that the younger boy, who looked about 6 years old whom we will call Jacob, wasn’t thrilled by what seemed to him a ploy (Pinkberry).
In my 30 second observation, I noticed that he was looking outside the window and refused to move forward with the line.When his grandmother tried to figure out what was wrong with him, he shrugged his shoulders and pulled away from her. I thought the situation was akward, but I stepped forward to place my order.
As I skipped out of PB, full of thrill cause I got my fix, I looked to the right and to my dismay what do I see? Jakob, sprawled on the floor, while his entire family is on the elevator calling for him to get on. Grandma shouted for Jacob to get on once more, but he didn’t move. His mother sent Braxton over to get him, but it was to no avail. He didn’t move. As mom held the elevator doors, grandma hurried over, picked Jacob up, and got on the elevator.About five minutes later as I was riding the elevator downstairs I noticed the same family, sitting at the tables eating and enjoying their ice cream. Everyone, that is, except for Jacob.
I looked left, no Jacob. I looked right, still no Jacob. I looked around the corner, and what did I see? I saw Mr. Jacob sitting on the floor with his arms folded, about 30 feet from his family.
At this point it was clear that he had an unresolved issue that occured right before the PB trip, and that he wasn’t interested in dealing with anyone except for his mother.
As I took my seat, I replayed the situation in my head and realized that the mother never interacted with Jacob. “Hmmm,” I thought, “Isn’t this interesting-while Jacob is refusing to go along with the plan, Jacob’s mother is refusing to interact with him.”
Confusing? You might be asking, “What is wrong with her?” But she is not alone in here actions. Us adults tend to use this pull-power strategy all the time.
The truth is that it never really works for strong-willed children like Jacob. As she is pulling her power in one direction, Jacob is resisting and pulling in the other direction. Instead of dealing with the Big M (a meltdown), her actions, or lack of action, escalated the situation.
Next, week I will give a few different strategies that she could have used for Jacob, but first I want to know what you do when your child has a meltdown.
In other news, this mother didn’t yell, spank, or ignore. She threatened her daughter in an unconventional, yet disturbing manner. What do you think about this? Don’t forget to leave us some tips for handling meltdowns.