Documenting Meltdowns!

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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Admit it: you do this! And if you haven't been doing this, there's a twinge in your soul begging you to start. With the advent of iPhones, Androids, and all the other smartphones out there, it's easy to document full-blown temper-tantrums and meltdowns in all their glory. It's one of our favorite things to do!

Mind you: we know the difference between a meltdown/temper-tantrum and a real need. When one of our kids is hurt or has a bad day, we can tell, and we tend to their needs like any good parent would do. But boy oh boy, with a family of our size and scope, the meltdowns are many, and frankly, quite silly, deserving the tap of an iPhone camera. And we have plenty documented.

When you’re constantly fielding complaints such as, “Mommy, she said my face is stupid,” or , “They called me a poopy head and won’t let me play with them,” or “He smiled at me!” you need a release. (And, yes, those are all real reasons our kids have melted down!)

Our youngest son, Sam, and our 6-year old son, Eli, are classic examples of children who melt down over everything, big or small! Sam’s feelings get hurt very easily. The other day I told him, gently, as he was about to pull the opened milk container from the kitchen counter, “Oh buddy, wait a second for daddy to help you.” He lowered his head as if I had just told him Disney World burned down, tears poured from his eyes, and he retreated to the living room where he threw himself on the sofa and sobbed. Yep…iPhone pictures commence!

I’m sure you have some stories that relate. If you do, or if you’ve been frustrated because you’ve tried to put your annoyances over meltdowns into words, I have the solution. Here’s my attempt at documenting, but also classifying, the types of meltdowns you and I may experience with our children. See if I’m on track or not:

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 6.18.00 AMFirst, there’s the “Timeout Meltdown.” This occurs when your child has been busted for anything from slapping his sister (because honestly she probably deserved it) to screaming ‘no’ at you when you say it’s time for dinner. This meltdown is a given because their crime is now public- they’re sitting on a chair in the hallway.



Following that is something I like to call the “Sad Superhero Meltdown.” What I find fascinating about this particular meltdown is that usually the child was extremely happy just seconds before everything in the world did not go their way. The word “no” or “wait” is like Kryptonite!



And then there’s the beloved “I”m NOT Tired Meltdown.” This meltdown can usually be identified by aggressive squirming, high-pitched shrills in response to any word spoken to them, gentle or not, and an abundance of waterworks. I like to think of this one like a summer thunderstorm. There’s a lot of  noise and thrashing on the front end, followed by a steady downpour afterwards.


samwalkofshameLets not forget the “Marathon Meltdown.” This is a fun one because the child in meltdown takes off in a full-blown sprint through the house. When you pursue with camera in hand, they kind of resemble a rabbit in a backyard being chased by ravenous dogs: Zig zag, zig zag, zig zag!


sambrushingteethOne of my personal favorites- the “Everyday Occurrence Meltdown.” This one always catches me by surprise because it’s a meltdown over something that we do every single day: like brushing teeth or bedtime. Up until the moment when it’s time to do these things, everything’s great. We’re playing, we’re having fun, life is good, and then BOOM! Meltdown city. It’s futile to attempt to explain that brushing your teeth helps you to not be toothless, or baths actually keep you from being “that kid” at school.

elinosantaI can’t end this post by not sharing a humorous, but tender-hearted meltdown. Actually, when we were dealing with it, we were compassionate, but afterwards, we chuckled a little! It’s the “Santa Isn’t Bringing You Any Presents This Year Meltdown.” This was committed by an older sister and not the result of anything we said or did. Not cool! But kind of funny. Our kids are probably going to all be in therapy some day. But it made for good blogging.

How about you? Any favorite meltdowns you’d like to share?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.