The Meltdown is a modern meme, in that it’s a joke everyone laughs at and no-one takes seriously. A parent screaming at staff because they won’t give their child an actual crown is like dog shit in the street: an inevitable effect of someone careless with their bodily emissions, but you just keep away and step around it. Nobody else is going to get their hands dirty helping out.
The tragedy is that the meltdown parent is right: their child is the most important thing in their world. They just don’t understand how to use that fact. If simply telling people the truth actually worked COVID would be contained, our world wouldn’t be on fire, and “billionaire” would be a fantastical word used in a few poems about the beauty of mathematics. But screaming that your opinions are “as a mother” works the same as screaming at strangers about anything else you’ve done with your genitals: you sound crazy and they’ll avoid you.
The meltdown parent really is best explained in terms of nuclear power: the most incredible energy source available to human civilization but only if you can control it. You have to harness it, channel it, use it to drive what you really want to achieve. A good nuclear power station can run entire cities of candy stores and Christmas light showrooms, perfect lands of happiness and joy. But going into meltdown just poisons everything for a hundred square miles and makes strangers wince and warn each other not to get near that toxic mistake.
“Going nuclear” sounds like the most powerful option, but we’ve all seen public parenting meltdowns and they don’t work. Like the physical reaction they’re named after they’re an uncontrolled released of energy from a deeply unstable nucleus. Strangers duck and cover, maybe record it for the internet to laugh at. It doesn’t work because going into meltdown is the easy way out. It’s pseudoeffort, activity which feels like you’re working toward things without any risk of achieving them. Because it only requires rage and frustration, both freely provided by the modern world. It doesn’t need any thought, because that stuff is hard.
Dramatically unleashing lots of energy instead of doing the difficult task of figuring out what actually works is a child’s strategy, not a parent’s. A task so difficult it takes years to learn. So difficult it actually defines people as “children”, because they can’t cope on their own, and “parents”, the people figuring things out for them. The more urgent an issue the more power the baby puts into wailing louder and louder, and it only ever makes things worse for everyone. It’s like a CHECK ENGINE light shining so bright it blinds the driver, and turning so red it induces BLOODTHIRSTING RAGE right through their skull directly into their brain. Any parent knows this isn’t hyperbole, this is just the second hour of a screaming baby’s too-early-AM wail.
Now imagine how much worse that approach is from the parent.
So harness this new clear truth. You know your children are the most important thing in existence, and you’d level cities to save them from the slightest harm. Use that power to drive your work and play instead of a moody mushroom cloud. Enjoy plutonium-power pushing past bureaucracy and exhaustion to help your children, instead of skipping to screaming. Because a nuclear deterrent only works when you have it but don’t mention it. It keeps people from doing anything stupid. But someone screaming about how they could nuke anyone over anything, thinking it’ll get them better service, well now they’re the one doing something stupid. And everyone else has to avoid or stop them.