Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | February 26, 2013

One of Those Days

We all have those days where life is chaotic, laundry needs done, the sink is full of dirty dishes, and your child is having a complete meltdown. While we cannot help with your dirty laundry or doing your dishes, we can offer some handy tips for helping your child regulate themselves.

Many adopted children have never had the opportunity to learn how to control their emotions and express their needs and feelings in appropriate ways. So as a result, they can explode and throw a tantrum, because that response got them the attention they wanted when they were in their previous setting.

Dr. Karyn Purvis, who will be hosting the Empowered to Connect Conference, has given some excellent advice on helping children through these tantrums. Dr. Purvis explains that a parent’s typical immediate response is to address and correct the behavior. She goes on to explain that addressing the behavior is imperative, but when a child is having a meltdown, first a parent needs to calm the child down before addressing the situation. Here are some pointers for helping your child calm down so that you can address the behavior and underlying issues:

  • Get down on their level. Kneel with them so they know you are present.
  • Explain to them that they need to calm down so that you can understand them.
  • Hold them gently but firmly.
  • Talk calmly to them.
  • Help your child calm their breathing down… have them count out loud (this will help you calm down as well).
  • If possible, make a green tea smoothie (recipe below). The smoothie helps their mind calm down. This tea especially helps if it is a generally chaotic day.
  • Take time to let your child express their need in an appropriate way (give them a do-over).

I know what you all are thinking right now… I don’t have time to do all of that. It is difficult, and often meltdowns happen in the most inappropriate places and at the most inconvenient time. But one must remember that most likely no one has ever taken the time to teach your child how to respond appropriately. This time taken will be beneficial to both your child and yourself as you use these times to bond with your child and deepen your relationship.

Does this always work? Not always. Children will be children at times. Not every meltdown can be explained or treated the same way. But taking time to help your child learn to express themselves appropriately will prove fruitful in the end. Remember, your child is a unique individual, and so each child responds differently. Hopefully this can provide some good pointers though in helping your child learn appropriate ways to express themselves.

Here is the green tea smoothie recipe:

  • 1 cup brewed caffeine-free Green Tea
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice

Brew tea and let cool. Add tea, milk, and yogurt to blender and blend until smooth. Add crushed ice to blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.



  1. What an excellent article!!!! I think we’ll try green tea smoothies every full moon as those are the worst days around here. Another thing we do with our fit thrower (who, by the way, is NOT our adopted child), or any of them really is to allow them to throw the fit. They can cry, scream, punch their pillow, whatever (but not throw things, or slam doors or any other dangerous thing)….but they have to do it alone, in their bedroom, with the door closed. They usually very quickly get tired of it and quit. Then they’ve worn off that negative energy and we are able to then do the things listed above and actually gain something. It also gives me time to pray and consider what to do and respond instead of react. Also, I sometimes throw the fit with them. I cry and carry on like a fool and they see how ridiculous they look (it works great with my older kids and in public-hehehehe!). And it usually stops things right away, we all have a laugh and move on. But I’m sure strangers think I’ve lost my mind but what do I care! 🙂

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