I often have conversations with parents that tell me that their child acts completely different around them. People will complain that their child will throw epic meltdowns, scream, yell, cry, or are rude to them. I will then congratulate those parents.

Say what!!!

When children feel safe they unload feelings. Feelings are unloaded through tantrums, verbal expression, and other actions. When a child unloads feelings they have found their safe place to land.

Your child is not being difficult and saving it for you. they are letting go of all the day’s frustrations and hurts that pile-up. You may be thinking “awesome I am the dumping ground, sweet!”. If your child did not unload the unwanted feelings then your child could end up having mental health issues.

How do you know if there is more going on and they are not just unloading?

Typically, if the meltdowns are happening in other situations with other people I begin to look at other possible reasons for the behaviour. The golden rule is if the behaviour is occurring in at least 2 different places. The most common places are at home and at school or daycare.

I also get concerned if the child’s meltdowns are increasing a great deal in intensity for a long period of time or the meltdowns include harming oneself or others.

Okay, now I am concerned. What is next?


1. The first step is take a step back and breathe. Try to take a realistic look at the behaviour. 

2. Next step, talk to your child’s doctor and make sure there is a note made of your concerns. Then follow the advice of the doctor.

3. The next step is to speak to your child’s teacher(s) to see if they are concerned. Ask for a referral to services they have access to. This can take a while to get your child resources that are available.

4. Look for private resources. Ask your network of friends or family for their recommendations. The best way to find the appropriate resource depends on what you think the underlying issue is. If you are not sure what is going on you can start with an appointment with a child psychologist or counsellor.

5. Develop a plan of how you can help your child through the difficult emotions and be your child’s advocate.


As Always, Be the Parent You Want to be!!