It is 4:00PM, and after school snack time. It feels like you have not been home more than a few minutes, when your child has some form of a meltdown about something minor such as the snack options, starting homework, or for no apparent reason at all. Does your child seem to hold it together well at school but then fall apart at home? Do you repeatedly feel surprised when your child’s teacher has nothing but positive reports? Many of us have either dealt with this personally, or have heard the stories of other parents who have.
Possible Reasons for After School Melt-downs:
First or all, it is natural and healthy to evaluate this and consider all the possibilities why. There are certainly times where this is in some way a result of a strained parent-child relationship and/or a need to alter one’s parenting style to better suit the needs of the child. However, it is also possible that this holds no reflection on your parenting. Let’s consider all the factors that often go into behavior such as this…
- Home is SAFE. Your child may see home as a safe place to be able to let it all out. (Though of course, we sometimes wish they wouldn’t let it ALL out). It is very possible your child worked very hard to keep it together at school and is DONE by the time they reach home. At least you can be glad that they are not displaying this behavior at school!
- Is your child INTROVERTED? This is another reason that your child may have held it together at school (because being the center of attention, especially negative attention is far from a fave past time of introverts), but then they are exhausted by the time they reach home. Introverts can be around and enjoy others company, but this drains their energy. We all know how we get, especially kids, when we are tired!
- What does the TEACHER say? The teacher may have some valid observations since they do see your child in group settings. Consider how the teacher manages your child’s behavior and if there are strategies you can utilize from them. Also, consider if there may in fact be issues at school that are overlooked, such as depression or anxiety that are not easily noticed because the child is not acting out.
- Lastly, consider your RELATIONSHIP with your child. It is not uncommon for parents to go through a difficult time with their child at some point during their development. Is your child’s behavior mostly in response to you?
What to Do About It?
If the first two, then it would help to provide a calm and relaxing environment and some down time after school. You may also want to be cautious about bombarding your child with questions at this time, and instead ensure they know you are there to listen if need be. Lastly, as they get older, it is good to educate them on these needs and how to manage them. Seek some outside assistance if it becomes too difficult to manage.
If the latter two, then you may try out some different parenting strategies. Ask yourself if your expectations are reasonable. Ask yourself if you are “picking your battles.” Who cares if your child wants to wear two different color socks to go out and play? This may also be a good time to seek some outside assistance to help as well. Everyone needs help every so often!
Photo Credit: mdanys via Compfight cc
15 Oct 2014