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Child therapist explains how she handled her 4-year-old daughter's meltdown over spaghetti

The child was bawling over noodles and that's when the mom knew, it wasn't about the spaghetti.

Child therapist explains how she handled her 4-year-old daughter's meltdown over spaghetti
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Pavel Danilyuk, Instagram | @nurturedfirst

Parenting is no child's play and Jess, who goes by @nurturedfirst on Instagram, knows it very well. She is not just a mom to three kids but also a child therapist and in one of her recent posts, she has shared how she handles her kids when they throw tantrums over various matters. In the caption of the carousel post, she described what one evening in her household looked like. "It’s important to note that meltdowns are a crucial part of a child's development. Our kids aren’t born with the ability to regulate their emotions. They learn this through repeated exposure to our calm. In those moments, imagine how you want your child to respond to their feelings as they get older. They’ll eventually learn to take on your calm for themselves," the caption read.


Jess reminded other parents that co-regulation is one of the most beautiful gifts a parent can give their child but it is hard to execute because most parents do not possess enough skill to deal with their kids' meltdown. "In the hardest moments, imagine what you might have needed from your parents when you were crying about spaghetti. Imagining this can help us give our kids the grace we both need," the caption concluded. As we shift our attention towards the actual carousel post where Jess has described the whole incident through a bunch of pictures and overlay text on them, she shared how her 4-year-old daughter was mad because her sister had more spaghetti in her bowl compared to her.

Image Source: Instagram | @nurturedfirst
Image Source: Instagram | @nurturedfirst

At first, Jess tried using her logic and told her young one that both the sisters had the same amount of spaghetti in their bowls and she knew it because she scooped it for them. But her daughter started crying even more, refusing to listen to any kind of reasoning. "I hear you, you really want more spaghetti. Let me get you more," Jess offered to make the situation better but instead of accepting more spaghetti, the little girl pushed away her bowl and started crying harder. She noticed her husband from the corner of her eyes and they both exchanged a look which made them realize that their daughter's tears were not about the amount of spaghetti in her bowl and they had witnessed these meltdowns earlier as well.


"She had to do something today that made her nervous. She held in her tears all day long. she came home from school telling us she was brave and now, our brave girl was eating dinner with her family where she was safe to release all these big feelings she had to hold inside her body all day," Jess wrote. As the little girl yelled about noodles and sauce, Jess scooped her up to comfort her. "These meltdowns are not as common for her now but I know all she needs is me. I stopped trying to use logic and reasoning with her," the mom continued and later grabbed some iced water for her daughter as she sat in her mother's lap and cried. Slowly, her complaints about the spaghetti and all the tantrums started to die down.

"She didn't need reasoning or logic. She just needed to release this build-up of emotions from the day. Once all the tears were out, she hopped out of my arms and went back to her chair to finish her food and move on with her night," Jess further described the incident. According to Jess, the answer to moving past her daughter's meltdown about noodles was simply to welcome the tears. "This process of lending your child your calm is called co-regulation," Jess explained. "Research shows us that repeated exposure to a trusted caregiver's calm will teach our kids how to find their own calm when they are older."

Image Source: Instagram | @nurturedfirst
Image Source: Instagram | @nurturedfirst

Toward the end, Jess expressed how she likes to imagine that one day her daughter will come home from a long day of work and she might be suppressing some big feelings. She imagines her grown-up daughter grabbing herself a glass of cold water, sitting at the table and crying to someone she loves and opening up about how she feels. "She doesn't have to repress it or try to please her way out of it. She can feel her feelings and move forward," Jess concluded. The Instagram audience appreciated Jess' thoughtful move as a parent.

@captivatingchangecharlie wrote: "I get this. I wish I could be as calm as you each day. You’re rocking it, mama!" @cailiefordnurtition mentioned: "This was the reminder I needed. Start of the school year here and we have many big feelings flying around at the end of the day between my 3 boys." @valeriemeaghan added: "I love these small examples you provide so much. They truly help me so much as this perspective isn’t always natural for me!"

You can follow Jess (@nurturedfirst) on Instagram for more therapy content.

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A post shared by Jess | Nurtured First Parenting (@nurturedfirst)


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