Sometimes our kids just melt and it is not from the summer heat. :) It can be at the most inopportune times and might make us want to pull out our hair. Here are a few ideas of what a parent might do based on age. I hope it helps!
These adorable, amazing creatures are the ones with the fewest skills so their meltdowns are from the heart, body and soul. They just encompass their whole being and, boy, that can be tough! You're in the mall and the distress of putting them back in the stroller can just set them off. The thing to remember is this child only has a few skills to use on you: crying, screaming, kicking, biting, and acting like a wet noodle while doing one or more of the other behaviors.
What to do? Yep, you've guessed what I'm going to say, KEEP CALM by going BRAIN DEAD. It's not about you, it's about the kid who has no skills to communicate their displeasure. You might be a target of anger but you need to let them burn off their steam. It might be embarrassing and annoying but you losing it by yelling and screaming will only make it all worse. Taking a deep breath and saying: "This is soooo sad." and "I knoooooow." are all possible words to use. Don't give in to get the crying over, just let the crying and such come while keeping yourself safe from kicking and biting. Empathy and love is what is needed no matter how undeserving your child might seem at the time.
This can be similar to the classic Toddler Melt but the kids have more skills and can grab our hearts and tug really hard to make us give in and/or lose our lids. Kids melt when they feel things are beyond them -- piano is hard, math is hard, putting things in their backpack is hard, their best friend won't play with them, they can't watch a video on your phone, whatever. They will still cry and melt the same as a toddler and no longer go into wet-noodle mode but you apply the same strategy -- go BRAIN DEAD! Their brains are firing on all cylinders so make sure you don't get involved until AFTER their emotions calm down. Give them EMPATHY and LOVE, not yelling and telling. You can use PROBLEM SOLVING after the emotions pass but please, please wait until the emotions pass before trying to get solutions into the mix.
As our kids get older their skills and emotions get more and more in check so when a melt down happens it's serious heart wrenching stuff. Yikes! It might be about a friendship breakup, loss of a computer game or a "bad" grade on a test. They'll feel like failures, betrayed, and deeply hurt. For some teens when their hormones are raging these meltdowns might happen more than others but the strategy is still the same... make sure YOU go BRAIN DEAD! Please don't react and try to control the emotions. Unconditional love during hard times is what teens need, not solutions. Give them hugs, say things like "I knoooooow" or "That must be hard."
The bottom line of all this? Although it's tough to remain calm, it's really essential that in the worst of times our kids know we are there for them in a loving and empathetic way. Those of you who can nurture that when your kids are young and allow your kids to trust that you will be there even during a meltdown will have teens who trust you and want to have a relationship with you.