People think I'm a calm person, they think I stay calm in a crisis. What these people are failing to recognise is that my lack of response is actually my fight or flight response. Confronted with a highly charged emotional or confrontational situation I am rooted to the spot whilst my brain works out how to get out of the situation. This response comes into play rather well during toddler meltdowns and has the added bonus effect of people thinking you are employing some genius parenting technique to diffuse the situation whilst staying very still and calm, I'm not calm inside my head neurons are firing like popcorn and normally by the time I work out what the heck to do said child is calming down.
And this quirk of mine has helped on numerous occasions. Of course there are times when everyone including me loses it and it's not pretty or enjoyable but is indeed part and parcel of caring for small humans. Generally these scenarios are realised in public when the whole world and their dog is watching, but what can you do? Keeping your own emotions in check keeps helps your kids to deal with the maelstrom of emotion.
It's tempting to experience your child's every trauma as keenly as they do. To let their anger boil up and become your own. To feel their disappointment as keenly as they do. What happens then? In my experience then you have to find a way to make it better. Not only to soothe your child but to take away your own uncomfortable feelings, and that's not always healthy.
In my experience to be any good at this parenting thing it's best to be the anchor, to allow children to feel the things they feel so that they can slowly master handling all the range of human emotion without being overwhelmed or lost at sea as it were. More often than not, they'll work through it themselves and come out of the other side, unharmed and next time better able to cope. And who knows perhaps you've just made an important step in helping to raise a self sufficient, emotionally balanced human being.
If confronted with a toddler tantrum, just play it cool. Freeze, be an anchor, don't join the storm, or if you're witnessing one be gracious and don't snigger, deal?