How Do You Discipline a Meltdown at Grandmas’?

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One of the hardest parts of grand-parenting is that our grandchildren are not ours to raise. Therefore, we are often expected to discipline in ways foreign to us.

Although it seems too obvious to state, when our children marry they bring with them different parenting philosophies. This often causes real friction within the family.

Especially if the parents come from opposite parenting styles. When you consider the different backgrounds, family history and dynamics, the possibilities are endless. And so are the opportunities for conflicts with in-laws—otherwise known as grandparents.

What do you do to discipline your grandchild when she has a meltdown?

Recently, we ran into this issue with my three-year-old granddaughter. The older granddaughters wanted to have a tea-party. I’m always up for a tea-party with my little ladies.

Everyone dressed up. Seven little girls, who ranged in ages three through seven years old all dabbed on make-up and donned my Sunday hats.

The table was set. We put a fresh bouquet of flowers as a centerpiece and lit candles.

As we gathered around the table, putting our napkins in our laps, my three-year old decided she was not happy. In an instant, she jumped down from her chair. As she thumped her chubby little feet into the living room, she tossed her hat.

Meanwhile, the other little girls stopped and stared at me. So I smiled at them and asked to be excused from the table.

Entering the bedroom where it was raining baby tears, I simply said, “When you are done, you can come out and have tea and cookies. But don’t come out until you stop crying.”

Within the span of five minutes, a new little girl emerged from the bedroom. Wiping her face (and smearing the lipstick on her cheek) she picked up her hat and rejoined us at the table.

When faced with a meltdown, before attempting to discipline your grandchild, here are a few points to consider.

• Never get mad. There is no point in taking a child’s emotions personally.
• Demanding that she stops, is fruitless. Chances are she simply can’t at this point.
• Don’t try to reason, or have a discussion. There will be time for that later.

Remember, part of growing up is learning how to regulate strong emotions. Often times, a child’s immature body simply cannot process everything and the result is loss of control. Much in the same way we may feel the effects of too much caffeine and ramble. Or having too much Thanksgiving turkey and falling asleep when we should be doing dishes.

In the case of little ones having meltdowns, it’s best to wait them out. Tend to their need. Sometimes the whole ordeal can be fixed with a nap.

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