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In "Parent Acts" video series, CNN's Kelly Wallace asks parents to role play

During meltdowns, parents should try to remain calm and communicate clearly, an expert says

Editor’s Note: Kelly Wallace is CNN’s digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. Read her other columns and follow her reports at CNN Parents and on Twitter @kellywallacetv.

CNN —  

In my house, we called it going boneless. That’s when my girls, as toddlers, would arch their backs, screaming uncontrollably, usually in a public place (of course!) and there was nothing my husband or I could do to satisfy them.

If you have kids and you’ve experienced one of their meltdowns, you no doubt know what I mean and what it feels like at that moment, when you are a mixture of emotions – embarrassed, frustrated, angry and completely at a loss for how to resolve the problem. Even bribery, which we know is never the way to go, doesn’t seem to work when your child is at wit’s end and unable to calm down.