Tantrums about mittens and flip flops

Three of the past four days, my daughter has thrown the biggest fits I have ever imagined. I’ve always known she was emotional and passionate, but she has just begun to show her true “color.” I’ll give just one example.We were leaving the mall yesterday just before lunch time and she was whining about one thing after another. She didn’t want to leave. She wanted to be held. She wanted to ride in the stroller. She wanted me to push but nobody else. Push with two hands, not one. Finally, we made it to the door. Now she wants her mittens, but they are in the car. She doesn’t believe me, so she whines and pouts her way through the parking lot. I find her mittens but now I don’t give them to her because she hasn’t asked nicely for them. That really set her off. So, now she’s screaming and thrashing her body so it takes a while for me to buckle her in her car seat. She screamed and kicked the entire way home, not so much about the mittens now but just trying to get my attention. “Mom-mmy! Can you hear me? Mom-mmy! Look at meeeeee when I say to you!” As she’s kicking the seat, she loses a flip flop. Now that’s her number-one demand: “Get my shoe for me! Now! Mom, get it!” Ha. Like that’s happening. I tried to reach it so I could put it in the front seat to show my lack of cooperation, but couldn’t. So, eventually, I took the shoe off her other foot.

After some time passed, she seemed to calm down and she asked politely for the shoe. I handed her the one I had removed. Clearly, not the way to go. She threw it at me! I was so shocked, I couldn’t believe it. In retrospect, I should have pulled over right then and there to spank her, but I wasn’t in a place that made that easy. So, I yelled something motherly like “How dare you throw a shoe at your mom?” Adding a loud, emphatic “grrrrr” to emphasize my displeasure. We drove the rest of the way home with me fuming and her screaming. At some point, I threw the remains of my Ice Mountain water at her. Good or bad, I am not sure, but it’s about the only thing she remembers from the car ride (other than the fact that she wanted her mittens and “I threw a fit”). When we got home, I put her straight to her room. She came downstairs 20 minutes or so later for lunch after she calmed down. She had screamed so hard that she broke capillaries in her face.

She didn’t nap that afternoon, which is happening more and more all the time. So, when she wanted to come down early, I put her down in my bed and laid beside her so we could talk about what happened. I cannot stress enough the importance of talking with your kids about their (or your!) breakdowns. I’m always amazed how smart she is when it comes to talking about what happened and what she could have done differently. And I know I didn’t handle the situation perfectly, but it’s always a victory if I don’t beat her senseless. Honestly, there was so much more that I wanted to say (um, scream, actually) that I can know that God had laid the foundation for that very moment. All of the testing and counseling and reading and praying was in preparation for such a time as this.

Unfortunately, who knows how long she will keep it up, so I’ll be praying that He’ll give me the strength to persevere (as much as I want to give up sometimes!).

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36


7 thoughts on “Tantrums about mittens and flip flops

  1. Anyone dealing with a child’s anger might be interested in a new book recently released through parentingpress.com called, “What Angry Kids Need: Parenting Your Angry Child Without Going Mad”. I co-authored it with Jennifer Brown, MSW. It is helpful for parents with typically developing kids, or those with a real anger problem. The main theme of the book is how to respond so that you will not only do the best in the moment, but also to raise emotionally mature children over time.

  2. I’m relieved to be a granny instead of a mum now! Some of your readers might like my story about a very angry 9 year old. It could help some people I believe. Peace (shanti)to you.


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