A mothers worst nightmare, the temper tantrum. The ultimate worst nightmare? A child having a temper tantrum while out shopping. Yes, that is my ultimate worst nightmare and it actually came true the other day. I swear I thought I was going to have the police show up at the store for having my 4 year old disrupting the patrons of this store. It was awful! I had never been so embarrassed in all of my life! My two other children had their share of tantrums but never to this extreme. She was in consolable, a force to be reckoned with! It all started over a simple Army toy that I would not let her have. It contained a ‘fake’ knife and next to the fake guns, I simply could not allow “this” particular child to have anything that remotely resembled the real thing! So, nicely I said no, she couldn’t have it but could have the other police toy with the badge. That answer was completely unacceptable to this 4 (soon to be 5) year old. That is when it began. She screamed as if someone were killing her, pushed the shopping cart into my stomach and proceeded to drop to the floor and belt out a loud yell. I simply turned to the cashier at this point and said very calmly, “Yay, the first day of summer vacation! Woohoo!!!” and rolled my eyes right back at the woman.
I continued to ignore my child’s behavior to which aggravated her all the more. She got a hold of my ankle, wouldn’t let go and so, I had no other choice but to rip her off my leg and say firmly, “Good-bye, I am leaving”. Of course, natural instincts took over and she ran out the door chasing me all the way to the car trying to hit me in the process. Thinking this wouldn’t end nice, I had my two other children get in the van, shoved all my bags in there too and went to the other side where she was holding the door handles so I couldn’t get in. Once I pryed her hands off, I got her door opened and tried putting her in to which she put up a very good fight. After about a 5 minute struggle, I told my son to hold her while I put the child safety lock on and shoved her in. He did. Both my older daughter and my son were begging this girl to just get in the car as I saw the tears well up into their eyes. She scared them both and it was something I never thought would happen. It nearly brought me to tears. One, because I didn’t know what to do to make her stop screaming and carrying on like she was being tortured, and two, because I saw the fear and sadness in my other two children’s eyes.
With all of us finally inside the van, there she stood for another 15 minutes fighting with me to put her seat belt on. I kept telling her we couldn’t leave until she was seated and buckled, over and over and over again. I just sat there in the drivers seat thinking I was a complete failure! How come my child acted out like this? Was she tired? Did she have a long day? No, she was fine all day long and then bam! She heard the word “No” and she lost it completely! Testing her limits? Probably. Expecting mom to give in like usual? Probably. The last 4 years was I creating a spoiled child, a child that expected to get everything she wanted because she said she wanted it…probably. Have I ever set boundaries for her? Probably not. This is all new to me. I wanted to cry.
I think she finally realized I wasn’t going to back down and she slowly, very slowly (15 minutes later) got herself seated and buckled and we were on the road again. Was my nightmare over? I told her we would talk later after her bath when I can have a little quiet one on one with her. Got home and everything was peaches and cream again. Bath time was over and talk time began. I asked why she behaved that way and she told me that she wanted the one with the thing that you can put the badge in and I didn’t let her have it. I told her it was because it had a knife in it and it wasn’t something I wanted her to play with. She matter of factly said, “Well, we could have given the lady the knife”. Now, yeah, I probably could have taken that out, but she struggled in her decision making until it was too late. I told her that if she talked to me like she is now and she did not yell at me the way she did, I could have done that for her, but she choose to get loud, scream, cry, flop on the floor like a baby seal clasping her arms around my legs and I don’t reward bad behavior so she got nothing. She said “Everyone hates me and everyone is always mean to me”. I asked “Who hates you and is mean to you?” to which she replied, you and my brother. First I heard of it! I calmly told her that I loved her and I could never hate her. I may not like what she does, but I will never ever hate her. I asked her what I had to do to show her that I loved her. She said, “Hug me”. I explained that I do try to hug her and she pushes me away all the time, so I asked if she wanted me to hug her now and she said yes. I snuggled her and she ended up falling asleep to me telling her over and over again that I loved her forever and ever and ever………..
You think it stopped there? Think again! It took an hour to leave the house today because she couldn’t decide on which outfit out of the two I had selected to wear today. Once again, screams, fighting, hitting, kicking doors, you name it, it was done…but I remained calm and cool as a cucumber and stood my ground. She was not going to bully or tantrum her way out of it. OMG, what is a mom to do with a child like this? How to I curb those outbursts? I don’t know how long this will last, but mom can’t take too many more! It was emotionally draining for me! A friend suggested that I have her tested or looked at for a possible sinus problem because it sounded like something her daughter went though and now she is on allergy medicine every day and has never had an outburst like I described since. Is this possible? Something as simple as a sinus problem? How long do I wait this out to see if there is any improvement over time? It scares me to think my child is suffering and can’t vocalize what is wrong. 🙁 If anyone out there has been in a similar situation, please let me know how you handled it, what your outcome has been and your advice on getting through this. I certainly could use the input.
I just hope tomorrow is a good day!