I am getting more patient with my son's meltdowns (only taken me a few years). Last night coming home after after-school play, at 6.30, he was clearly tired, having slept an hour less than usual the previous night. I drove back home from school as I was on my way back from town and we passed a little boy who is in J's school and who lives near us. As soon as we got out of the car, J declared he was going to play with this boy. I said firmly that no, it was time to go inside and have bath, supper, etc. Cue: meltdown. Shouting and crying, and trying to run away, but whenever I shouted his name he stopped. He sat outside my neighbour's house having his meltdown and she came out to look at him and then shut the door - but I don't even care any more. What's clear to me now is that these meltdowns are NOT happening because he is naughty, which would be the take of about 99 per cent of people here, the remedy being that I should be much tougher and more authoritarian with him... It's not to do with that. I just rode the storm, allowed him to make his fuss but insisted that we were going inside. Which he eventually did, where he calmed down and I was soon reading to him. What is happening to me now is that I feel compassion for him in these moments rather than anger and it is helping us both. Just need to work on my anger when he is defiant/oppositional without known cause now This morning he was so sweet, started "reading" some of his books to me with great pride - basically he knows some of them almost by heart because we've had them so often. Really I tell myself to live each day of this age to the full because it will so soon be gone, this innocence.