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Public meltdowns are the worst, but they are often worth it in the long run.

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Public meltdowns.

They are kind of the worst.

Arms flailing. Wild eyes. Escalating screeches.

It’s just not pleasant for anyone---for the kid, the parent, or the gawking bystanders.

I wanted to high-tail it out of the store as my youngest’s screams filled the air, but I couldn’t, because my oldest was leaving on a trip, and I needed to buy a few things for his adventure. So we persevered. Of course, it had to be the longest line in the history of lines. Or at least, it felt that way.

Parenting isn’t always fun. It could have been so easy to give in to my child’s demands, step out of the line, and go back and grab the item he wanted to avoid a scene. But I also recognized the experience for what it was---a teachable moment.

Sometimes you have to push through the meltdown in order to teach your child an important life lesson.

It’s not easy. It’s not fun. You might not see the fruit of your efforts for days, months, or years to come.

But it’s worth it.

And you know what I’ve learned over the years?

There are going to be others who look down on you. Some will give you dirty looks because your child is disturbing their peace and quiet. They will judge your parenting skills based off of one tantrum in the grocery store. Try not to let these people get under your skin. They don’t know your story.

And if you look closely, you will also probably see an empathetic smile. Or an understanding nod. Or maybe there will be a sweet stranger who offers to let you cut in front of her in line, because she was once a parent of littles too, and she knows you are trying your best. These are your people. They might not know all the details of your story, but they have lived enough of their own version to know a public meltdown might not indicate a parenting fail. It might just be a parenting success in the making.

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