Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tantrums - aaagghhh!

His motto is 'fight to the death!'...

They happen in the morning, the afternoon, the middle of the night, there really are no limits as to when, where or how long they last - 3 year old tantrums are just part of our every day life!  Whether we're at home or out & about, they come pretty thick and fast.  In fact, it's kind of like living with this little walking, talking time bomb that could just explode at any moment without warning!  It doesn't matter where we are, my coping techniques are always the same, I don't give in, there are always consequences for him, I try with every ounce of my being not to get upset.  I stay calm (at least it appears this way on the outside, if the inside were visible I think I'd be committed) and I pretty much wait for it to be over.  At home he'll go on the 'naughty mat' until he's ready to stop screaming like some crazed feral cat, always telling him I'll be there when he is ready to be nice & have a cuddle.  When we're out, say in a cafe, I'll take him outside and tell him he won't be coming in until he's ready to be nice. 
All of this usually works well and fairly quickly, until today when we were out for a nice day in town, to have treats, spend Christmas vouchers, & basically hop from one toy shop to the next.  He wanted to go on the Wiggles ride, you know the ones, they are everywhere you look & make life a flipping nightmare at the best of times, so anyway, I explained that after we'd been into a shop where the other two were planning some very exciting purchases, we'd come back & have a ride.  Of course this was totally unacceptable in his 3yr old mind & so began the loudest, longest most disturbing & offensive tantrum every known!  It continued all through the store, through the checkout, through the shopping centre, down two escalators, through to the car park, in the car & home.
Needless to say we didn't get around to doing most of the things we'd planned, but I was determined not to let the other two miss out on making their purchases that had been long planned & looked forward to.  He, on the other hand got nothing, in fact lost a few of his favourite things which he can earn back with good behaviour.  What is most extraordinary & embarrassing is the way people look at you or feel they are entitled to make a comment or a judgement about your out of control child or parenting skills! While others look at you with that look that says 'You poor woman, I know just how you feel' or 'I am so glad to see this happen to someone else & not just me' - you know, a little solidarity! 
Fortunately, he is as adorable as he is horrid, and I take great comfort in that...


  1. It sounds like you are handling this phase in his life the best way you know how. He will outgrow this stage but he may always be your challenging one. I think we all have one or two of them! Someone once told me to 'pick your battles' and that it doesn't hurt to sometimes let them have their own way. Another thing to consider, and you may do this already, is to give him lots of choice when you can. This way he feels he is getting some control over his life, which they need as well as structure. This comment has turned into a sermon! Didn't mean it to, it sounds to me like you are doing an excellent job of keeping calm, it's not always easy is it? my lot still keep me on my toes with their moods, phew! xo

  2. Thanks Beck, your advice is most welcome & appreciated - & you are right 'picking your battles' is certainly one I've stood by in the past & must remember in future x

  3. I don't have any of the little cherubs myself (through choice), but you sound like a wonderful mother. Sounds as though you are doing what you need to do, and I'm sure it will pay off in the end. He'll grow up knowing he has boundaries and that his mother loves him!
    p.s. thanks for your lovely comment about my little cushions. x

  4. I feel for you, I don't have any lovelies but spent a night recently with my two year old goddaughter and she had a 2am 2 hour tantrum. Terrible twos?? Not fun!!

  5. After being a parent for nine and a half years I still think I have no idea how to deal with the public tantrum. It is so hard to deal with the situation while being watched by a heap of strangers who you are sure are judging your every move, your child is going bananas and there are two more children that need attention too. It sounds like you are doing a great job. It is hard and we must try and remember to be kind to ourselves too. Ahhh I hope he grows out of it soon.


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