Friday, April 7, 2017

Please, Not a Meltdown in the Middle of Costco!: Living With a 2e Child

Please,  Not a Meltdown in the Middle of Costco: Living With a 2e Child

When your 11-year-old 2e son has a (sensory) meltdown in the middle of Costco, it is awful. Instantly, it feels like everyone is staring at you and making judgments:  about you, your child, your child's behavior and perceived lack of discipline, and your parenting skills.  Worse, your child feels like a failure for having the meltdown and you feel like a failure for not averting the meltdown.  It's not exactly a bowl of cherries.

Then, the questions and self-doubts start flooding in:  How can I have a child who is so intense, so extreme and yet so bright, and so sensitive, loving and caring?  What am I doing wrong here?

My 2e son did not deliberately have a sensory meltdown in the middle of Costco without a reason. He is under a lot of stress lately.  Unintentionally, his world has been flipped over many times within the last year and half since moving to the UK, including moving last summer within the UK.

To be sure, my 2e son already feels like a freak: 1) for being born with special needs, including a sensory process disorder; 2) for having 'gifts' when they feel unearned and undeserved; and 3) for being homeschooled (or home educated as they say here).  He is 'different'.

To exacerbate the situation (which is partly the reason for the meltdown), we are literally in the middle of buying a house and about to move yet again.  IF my son had had the sensory meltdown in the real estate agent's office, I might well have joined him.

Buying a house and moving are stressful enough as they are.  However, if you have a 2e child who has sensory processing disorder, is on the autism spectrum or has autistic traits, then the dislocations with moving and sense or orientation can be even more confounding.

Sensory processing disorder and giftedness often go hand and hand.  There's an emotional component with giftedness that often gets forgotten.

Some may think that giftedness would or should preclude sensory meltdowns but this is not the case. Everyone processes sensory input differently from sensory seeking to sensory avoiding and everything in between.

Moving to a new house, town, or country is an emotional experience.  Even adults have difficulties with moving and adjusting to their new surroundings.  For a 2e child it can be much more intensified. While my brain might have transitioned to picking up the frozen blueberries and finishing the food shopping at Costco, my's son was stuck, so to speak, on the house viewings, another move, the dislocations that would ensue, and the lack of having much control over the situation.

My 2e son is an intense person who feels and experiences life fully.  I do truly love him, more than anything in this world.  I do not want him to feel like a freak or a subject of scorn or ridicule.

I want my son to have faith in himself.  I want to reassure him -- that although it may not be socially accepted to have a meltdown in the middle of Costco and that there are more appropriate ways to express his feelings and thoughts -- that he's still a child and is learning.  That it's ok to be 'different'.

This is part of the Gifted Homeschooling Forum's blog hop: Gifted and Twice Exceptional: Revisiting 2E Issues.  For more on GHF's blog hops from around the world, see:  For more of GHF's blog hop topics, see:

I am an unpaid blogger (ie. just a homeschooling parent) who uses Blogger but doesn't add, embed, or employ any additional cookies, third party features or anything else!

NOTE p.s.:  I do not work for Costco, nor have I received any money from them other than as a Costco member who shops there!


  1. IKEA is always the place of meltdowns for my family . . . No fun! And, yes, my husband and I vowed never to move again after the last one - so much stress!

    1. I try to avoid IKEA! Sensory overload and then all that food! Ugh. Yes, too much stress with moving!

  2. Oh dear me, yes. We have a particular shopping centre we avoid as it triggers the meltdowns -including in my hubbie. When stress is added, even the normal things can become overwhelming. Hugs to you and your son.