Not too long a- just a few weeks actually- my toddler had an epic meltdown. In public. It seemed to be over something small like I turned the water off in the public bathroom sink and she wanted to do it. But I knew that there must be something more going on. I tried to talk to her, I tried to hold her, I debated whether we should continue our outing (still in public here) or throw in the towel and go home. I didn’t want to reinforce that problem behavior by letting her get out of the situation and go home, but I also had to look at the big picture. This is a place she likes to go to. I had to remember “She’s not giving me a hard time. She’s having a hard time.”
I carried her out of there. We passed dozens of people. She was still screaming and crying. The kind people gave me knowing smiles and opened the door for me. I smiled back and said thank you.
She was having a hard time. I was not having a hard time. I knew that she needed something- whatever it was wasn’t this. We would figure it out together and move on.
The hard part for me came later as I tried to get in a productive mindset to work and create more content for Parenting with ABA and the Enjoy Parenthood Workshop. I started feeling like an imposter. If I can’t get my own child successfully through one simple outing, who am I to tell other parents how to do this behavior stuff? If I am unable to work through a meltdown with my toddler- how can I teach you guys how to get to the other side to enjoy parenting?
So what did I do? I got vulnerable. I shared with some great supportive friends that I was having imposter syndrome. That I was stuck and didn’t know how to move forward in helping other parents if I couldn’t help myself. And did they tell me to throw in the towel? No! They told me to share this vulnerability with you all! I am in the same boat as you. One of my friends told me she once saw a parenting expert speak and someone in the audience asked a question about meltdowns. The parenting expert said, “My kids never have meltdowns so I don’t know.”
You guys. Kids are kids. They WILL have meltdowns. We won’t always know why. We won’t always work through them quickly. So what’s the point of learning this ABA stuff? So that those epic meltdowns will be the exception, not the norm. So that they will become few and far between and we will remember how to respond to best support and help our kids.
I’m learning (it’s a regular struggle) that I am not an imposter. I am not only a good enough mom, I am also a good enough behavior analyst, and parent coach to you all. Even if my own kids have meltdowns. That doesn’t make me and imposter. It makes me a mom.
The weight is all in how I choose to respond to those meltdowns.
Do you recognize any of these same feelings in yourself? Ready to leave meltdown city? Struggling to remind yourself that they are HAVING a hard time? You are not alone.
Join us in the Enjoy Parenthood Workshop coming October 7th. Sign up today!