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Parents of kids mid-meltdown get support instead of judgment, and it's so dang beautiful

Practically everyone who has had kids knows that meltdowns happen. Whether it's a two-year-old who doesn't know how to express themselves or an older kid who is having a particularly rough life moment, children sometimes lose control of their emotions. Unfortunately, meltdowns that happen in public can bring the Judgey McJudgertons out of the woodwork—which is why a Twitter thread of parents receiving kindness and support instead of side-eye and judgment has parents breathing a sigh of relief.


Writer Joy McCullough shared a brief but beautiful story on Twitter that got thousands of shares and prompted parents to share their own stories of strangers' kindness in their darkest parenting moments.


"Toddler is melting down in the library," McCullough wrote. "The mom is mortified. A stern old lady approaches & I hold my breath. 'It's okay,' she tells the mom. 'I've been there. You're doing great.' And then to the toddler, 'You're doing great, too. You're doing your best.'

Now THAT is what every parent—and toddler, for that matter—needs to hear in the midst of a meltdown moment.

Other parents chimed in with stories of their own, and they're the balm all parents of young kids need.


One mom shared how her son was having a public meltdown a few years ago and she was on the verge of tears herself trying to calm him down, when and older woman came over and asked if she could walk with them for a bit.

"She pushed my cart with my son in it while I grabbed our groceries (and monitored) and just talked quietly to my son for a few minutes. He was quiet and listened to her. Once he was calm she patted my arm, said 'it takes a village, right?' and went on her way. She was my angel."

Seriously, unless you've been there at your wit's end as a parent, you can't imagine how helpful someone's kindness and understanding can be.


And other times just a few words of encouragement while you're trying to wrangle an unruly, overtired kiddo can make a world of difference. A simple shout out like "Be strong, mama!" can be just the boost you need to not completely melt down your self.

The thread includes a few "yOuR ToDdelR iS mAnipUlatTinG yOU!" comments from the get-off-my-lawn crowd, but they are far outweighed by stories of support and understanding.


"7yo melted down in hardware store," wrote Melissa Harris. "I did my best to keep calm and calm him. Get to checkout & woman came up to me. She wanted me to know that she thought I had done an amazing job and even in a meltdown my son was cute. Made my month."


"Those moments mean so much to a parent," added Alexa Winton. "My 4yo daughter had literal Roid rage on a flight (steroids for asthma) and the lady next to us only said to me "I forgot how hard it is to travel with young children" And I will never forget that act of kindness."

RELATED: 10 ways kids appear to be acting naughty but actually aren't.



You just never know what a child or parent is dealing with. Even in the absence of special needs, occasional meltdowns are a developmentally normal behavior. With gentle guidance and consistent parenting, kids do eventually move beyond that phase and gradually gain more control over their emotional regulation, but it takes time. And once the tantrum train has left the station, it's usually just a matter of waiting it out until they can actually be reasoned with.


Indeed. It's not like parents teach their kids to throw fits in public. I can't count how many times I heard people say, "If you don't give in to tantrums, they'll stop," when my kids were little. Yeah, no. I never gave my kids something they demanded during a tantrum, but that didn't stop them from occasionally melting down because they were overtired, overstimulated, or simply taxed beyond what their tiny human psyche could handle in the moment.

The whole thread is worth a read. It will restore your faith in humans and remind you of the importance of everyday heroes.


Parents need support, and going out of your way to be kind is far more helpful than going out of your way to judge. Let's hear it for kind old ladies trying to save the world, one little pep talk at a time.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


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As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

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A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

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Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

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Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

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Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

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I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

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Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

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No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

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The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

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Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

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Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

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Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.