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.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
True

In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."