Lately we have been experiencing a bit of both here at home with Kristofer. Sometimes it's hard to figure out which he is having and other times it's very easy. Sometimes....
Meltdowns usually consist of crying and lots of tears. Generally all do to being tired or overwhelmed or even frustrated because something (homework) is just too hard.
Tantrums involved lots of grumbling, mean words, throwing things, hitting things, stomping around the house, hitting the wall or even hitting himself with no direct reason that I can tell.
Either one breaks my heart because generally I have no idea what may be the real reason behind it. Like yesterday we had the tantrum of all tantrums because I told him he HAD to do his homework. After two hours of working on it and grumping, not focusing, ect he finally finished what should have taken maybe a half hour. Now mind you during this time I was also working with 3 other children getting their homework done as well. Thankfully 2 of the three generally accomplish it on their own until it's time for them to read to someone.
So after those 2 long hours I thought ok we are home free. OH NO! I was so WRONG! He continued to get mad, throw things, stomping, saying mean things...YES TIME OUT was used ALOT as well as losing privileges. He spent quite a bit of time in his room.
Once he calmed down for a little bit then started the crying. I was like ok what in the world is going on tonight. This is not generally his normal behavior at all. Well it all came down to him finally getting out what was upsetting him so much. He apparently found something at school and showed a little girl in his class who told on him. The teacher made him throw it away and he had wanted to use it to make a robot. So for 4 hours we got the grump. Once he was able to verbalize what had happen at school his mood changed and he was happy again.
Sometimes being a Mom is tough! We have to know all things, be all things, do all things and if we can't we get blamed for all things....ugh!