This is the final post in a series of blog posts about my learning at the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada’s conference last weekend. If you have followed along for the week, to you I say THANK YOU! If this is the first post you’ve read, I hope your curiosity will be piqued enough to encourage you to go back and read my previous posts! If this is the only post you have time for though, I still say THANK YOU for taking the time to read it!
The first important message from Dr. Schmidt’s presentation was that meltdowns and tantrums serve a valuable purpose. They can send a message about distress, be an attempt to regain control of emotions or a situation, relieve tension, or indicate a need for connection and support.
Dr. Schmidt focused on meltdowns from the perspective of this last point, the need for connection, support, and attachment. He emphasized the importance of connecting with your child without an agenda, especially around times of transition, such as first thing in the morning, saying goodbye before school, reconnecting at the end of the day, and saying goodnight. It’s important to acknowledge the emotions they feel about the transition and validate them. It’s OK to be anxious about going to school, it MAKES SENSE that you don’t want to stop playing to go to bed. Dr. Schmidt suggested the phrase “collect before you direct” as a way to make transitions easier. Spend time with your child before the transition and show interest in what they’re doing in that time. This is the time to validate those emotions.
And if a meltdown does happen, you can still validate their feelings of fear, sadness, loneliness, shame, and anger. It’s good to say “It’s OK to feel what you’re feeling” even if it wasn’t ok to do what they did.