STOP trying to solve your kid’s problems.
That might be a weird way to start a blog …
But way too many parents go into “fix it mode” the moment their kid enters a meltdown.
If you do this, it’s keeping them stuck in a destructive cycle.
I know you’re only trying to help.
Trouble is, “fix it mode” usually means bypassing your kid’s feelings, and looking for a solution.
To you and I, a solution is the best thing, right?
But to your child, mid-meltdown, a solution is the last thing they want.
What do they want?
To feel validated.
And to know you hear them and see them.
That’s not to say you can’t problem solve.
You just need to solve the problem together.
And you need to wait til the right time.
So when your kid goes into a meltdown, what should you do?
First up, acknowledge their emotions.
You can even say -
“I see this is frustrating for you.”
That’ll make them feel seen and heard, and...
You can transform your child’s behavior in WEEKS.
That might sound unbelievable …
… but it’s true.
There’s no reason why you can’t calm the daily chaos, quickly de-escalate drama, and have a confident, happy, outgoing kiddo by the end of this month.
But to do that, you need to understand 3 little words:
Pick. Your. Battles.
Here’s what I mean …
When your child’s escalated, and every pore in your body wants to get frustrated too, the most powerful thing you can do is stay calm.
Even if they’re in what I call “hurricane mode.”
They’re shouting, screaming, maybe even throwing things.
By remaining cool and collected, you can have a huge impact on their behavior.
But here’s the kicker -
You can’t leave the room or just walk off and hope they figure it out.
Because leaving is just as bad as getting worked up.
You need to stay there, in the eye of that storm.
Because this is make or break time.
Humans LOVE labels.
They can give us a sense of belonging.
Or justify our behaviors.
We can even take a label that was once negative, redefine and reclaim it, and flip it into a positive.
Just like with an HSC.
That ‘label’ helps people not see our child as a problem, or a nuisance, or just straight up badly behaved …
And instead, gives them a label that shows them as more unique.
In a way, diagnoses are labels too.
And these can be super useful.
Because a diagnosis can help you get access to much-needed support, both financially and emotionally.
But there’s also a dark side to diagnoses.
See, when a diagnosis turns into a negative label, that leads to limiting assumptions.
People assume an HSC is going to be short-tempered, easily upset, disruptive, or hard work.
In reality, your child might not be any of these at all.
(Especially if you’ve been working hard helping them with their coping skills.)
Yet to other people, that diagnosis of ‘highly...
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.”
- Albert Einstein
Intuition is a powerful thing.
We use intuition multiple times, every single day.
When meeting someone for the first time …
When deciding how appetizing a plate of food looks …
Intuitively knowing the coffee we’re about to drink is likely going to be very hot …
… and then drinking it anyway because we need our caffeine fix.
So why then, do we struggle to use intuition when it comes to our kids?
Often, our gut tells us - “That’s a good decision” or “That’s a bad decision.”
Then before we know it, doubt creeps in.
Maybe we worry about what a family member might say.
What another parent might think.
Or we just get hit with a big wave of plain ol’ self doubt.
But I want to encourage you to trust your gut.
A parent’s intuition is one of the most powerful tools out there for helping HSCs.
Are you dreading the first day back at school?
If so … join the club!
Transitioning from the summer break back into the fall semester is one of the most stressful times of year for HSC parents.
Not only do you have the tension and anxiety of another routine change …
(Maybe just as your kiddo got used to the summer vacation routine) …
But they might have new teachers, new classmates, new subjects and new classrooms.
Maybe even a new school entirely!
It’s the perfect storm for meltdowns to occur.
But it doesn’t need to be this way.
Sure, I’m not saying it’s going to be easy.
But it can be a whole lot easiER when you apply what I’m about to say.
The big thing here is communicating with the school.
Teachers have a tough job.
And it’s easy for them to treat every kid the same.
Unfortunately, that’s not going to serve your child.
This is why it’s so important to reach out ahead of time, and see if you can speak to your kid’s...
Harsh words incoming …
YOU CAN’T DO THIS ALONE.
I know that might sound mean.
But it’s true.
The number of parents I’ve spoken to who are amazing with their HSC, but still struggle day in, day out is downright crazy.
They’re using all the right tactics.
They know about helping their child manage emotions.
And they actually have a really solid game plan for ending meltdowns.
Yet they’re still stuck walking on eggshells, and waking up dreading the day ahead.
Thinking thoughts like -
“How long will it take us to get out the door this morning?”
“Will we even GET to school … And if we do, how long before I get a call from the teacher or the principal?”
“What if they never change, and stay struggling like this forever?”
It’s a vicious cycle.
And one you’re probably dealing with too.
But the #1 problem nearly all these parents have?
It’s that they’re not focusing enough on themselves.
I need to be brutally honest with you for a second …
Rigid, strict parenting is NEVER going to help your kid feel calm and in control.
I know, I know …
‘Traditional’ parenting advice tells us kids respond to discipline and order.
And hey, I’m not about to get super woo woo and new age-y.
But I can tell you from my 10+ years of experience as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, along with everything I’ve learned from helping 700+ families …
Kids in general don’t do well with rigid parenting.
And HSCs can get WORSE if you’re too strict.
So what should you do instead?
Bend over backwards and appease their every need?
Not that either :)
Because when you’re too accommodating, and just do whatever your kid wants…
Well, that’s the fast-track to a needy, demanding kiddo who never learns what “no” means.
The secret is …
It sounds so simple, yet so many parents forget this....
It SUCKS to see your child struggle.
And because it’s painful when your kiddo’s stressed and upset, most parents make a huge mistake -
They swoop in the moment there’s any kind of distress …
… and they try to fix the problem.
That’s a big NO-NO.
“But Megghan, surely my kid needs me when they’re upset?
You’re not saying I just leave them to ‘cry it out’ are you?”
I’m not saying that at all.
But at the same time, I know just how destructive overprotective parents can be.
I don’t mean they deliberately sabotage their child.
But unfortunately, trying to fix every single problem the moment it arises is a recipe for disaster.
See, your kid’s struggles are actually an opportunity for growth.
If they know you’re going to be there every single time something goes wrong, how emotionally resilient do you think they’re going to be?
The answer: Not very, I can tell you that for free!...
Ever feel like your kid just does not listen whenever you give them instructions?
If so …
You need to chill out.
I mean it.
Because something I see sooooo often here at MTC, is parents who take their parenting way too seriously.
And most kids do NOT respond to serious parenting.
What do they respond to?
That’s right - Play is one of the BEST ways to help your HSC learn, grow and develop.
All the research supports this.
But perhaps a large scale 2018 study from The American Academy of Pediatrics summed it up best, when it concluded:
“At a time when early childhood programs are pressured to add more didactic components and less playful learning, pediatricians can play an important role in emphasizing the role of a balanced curriculum that includes the importance of playful learning for the promotion of healthy child development.”
Now, I know you’re not a pediatrician…
And that quote’s a bit formal …
But adding a play component...
Let me share with you the story of two California parents who were individually struggling to help their six-year-old daughter navigate her intense emotions on a daily basis.
Each morning, Mom faced meltdowns, while Dad found it challenging to handle them at night. The contrasting parenting styles were starting to take a toll on their marriage.
Mom was concerned that she was undermining her husband's efforts when she had to take over after he lost his composure during bedtime.
Exhaustion consumed them both, and their daughter was having a staggering five meltdowns per day!
We intervened by identifying the differences in their parenting perspectives and finding ways to support their daughter when they took turns managing the morning and evening routines.
We focused on: