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to allow my three year old to have a tantrum?

(41 Posts)
madhousewife Mon 30-May-11 09:44:54

My mother tells me to pick my battles...

This morning my 3 year old wanted TWO straws, not ONE. I wouldn't let her have two and the whole thing ended up with her crying and screaming uncontrollably, being put in her room for a time out and me getting my way. But is it worth it? If she really wanted two straws is it that big of a deal?

Looking forward to reading some thoughtful insights dear mnetters.

ScrotalPantomime Mon 30-May-11 09:46:35

why didn't you want her to have two?

purepurple Mon 30-May-11 09:48:16

I would have offered her the choice of 1 straw or no straw.
Maybe that would have caused a tantrum too.

madhousewife Mon 30-May-11 09:48:30

i don't know - at the time it seemed excessive, I wasn't expecting a full blown temper tantrum after and I felt like once I said it I couldn't go back on my word.

madhousewife Mon 30-May-11 09:49:12

I tried the one straw no straw - but it was threat.

ILoveYouToo Mon 30-May-11 09:49:49

I do this kind of thing with DD....once I've said something, I won't go back on it as I feel she has to realise that I mean what I say and won't be swayed by arguing and stropping. It does mean that we have major dramas over totally insignificant small things though. I don't know what the answer is, tbh.

pjmama Mon 30-May-11 09:50:19

I think there's definitely wisdom in the "pick your battles" advice. This is something I have to work on, stopping and thinking first before I automatically say no to something - deciding if it's really worth the ensuing tantrum its likely to create. But you don't get it right every time and I do think it's important that once you've said no, you have to see it through even if you regret it! Kids do have to learn to handle a "no".

belgo Mon 30-May-11 09:50:27

Did you let her choose which straw?

I probably would have let her have two straws, but it's your decision.

TheOriginalFAB Mon 30-May-11 09:51:11

It wasn't worth the battle tbh.

Think before you make a snap decision.

activate Mon 30-May-11 09:54:33

with the benefit of hindsight of course it wasn't worth it - and if you could go back you'd probably have said "yes of course, here you go"

but at the time - and this is really important - once she started to have a screaming fit / tantrum then absolutely not - becuase that's not about the straw - that's about "my way / I want / don't you dare say no / I will scream until I get my own way" and giving in then just reinforces that next time you say no to something I just need to start ramping it up - and if she still says no I'll ramp it up even more

what you've done is teach your child that when you say no then you mean it and her tantrums are not the way to change your mind

beesimo Mon 30-May-11 09:54:43

Let them have their paddy, you must never ever go back on what you have said/told them until the reach seven. Mam has spoken thats it. Because by seven they can understand if you rethink for a reason and you can be fair and renegoiate if they have a valid point to make to you.

Before then they think I will scream hard and long enough then Mam will do my bidding. Also ignore breath holding my dd3 was champion of her playgroup- at it they never actually DIE so don't fret.

You have to be strong to be a good Mam no surrender or you'll end up with a pack of back answering cheeky little brats

wudu Mon 30-May-11 10:00:49

I agree with the pick your battles thing, but have to admit that I've been caught in that exact scenario on far too many a number of occasions.

I don't foresee the battle and once I've said 'no' feel that I have to follow through it else dc will think crying and footstamping gets their own way


It's a toughie.

LisasCat Mon 30-May-11 10:02:47

Exactly as activate said - if we stop and think before every single answer we give to their demands, we would definitely identify some that are worth an argument and some that really aren't. But once you've said no, you absolutely must stand by what you've said.

I find with my DD I can't necessarily predict what will set her off anyway, because as well as the usual factors (tiredness, hunger, presence of an audience, etc) there can be a totally unknown factor at play. For example, a purely hypothetical situation for OP's scenario might be if a friend of DD's at nursery had recently made a comment about 2 straws being the best way to drink, and only babies have just one straw. Suddenly DD has it in her head that having 2 straws is as important as breathing, and I wouldn't have a clue that I was about to enter WWIII!

ScrotalPantomime Mon 30-May-11 10:10:55

Not worth the battle in hindsight - there's nothing wrong with having 2 straws. But I agree that it would have in the long run been bad to go back on your decision.

smallpotato Mon 30-May-11 10:11:02

I have definitely learned to pick my battles. I would have let her have 2 straws as long as she asked nicely. I also let DD do things like, for example, not wear a coat when it's cold if she doesn't want to- she'll soon ask to put it on once we get outside.

But I agree once you've said no you shouldn't back down.

smallpotato Mon 30-May-11 10:11:02

I have definitely learned to pick my battles. I would have let her have 2 straws as long as she asked nicely. I also let DD do things like, for example, not wear a coat when it's cold if she doesn't want to- she'll soon ask to put it on once we get outside.

But I agree once you've said no you shouldn't back down.

NorthernGobshite Mon 30-May-11 10:17:16

Parenting is hard enough without a fight over straws! I would have given her 2 before it got ugly smile but agreed that if you have said no, you should stick to your guns. The key is to only say no to things you feel strongly about or you end up dealing with tantrums about silly things!

tomhardyismydh Mon 30-May-11 10:18:57

i think it depends to be honest if you have a box of 100 straws and lots left and 99p for the next box no issue financially. then I would have allowed her to have 2.

on the other hand

if you only had 2 and this ment her dd or db would not have one then no i would not have let her have 2.

picking your battles does not have to be about constantly pacifying your dd but rather reasoning with your own actions regarding your dcs. I do often pick my battles, but that does also mean general good behavior tends to get a far more positive result/responce and dcs know that. my dd tends to demand 2 straws for instance rather than kindly ask for 2 straws this is unlikely to get her 2 straws.

QuackQuackSqueak Mon 30-May-11 10:19:58

I agree with everyone saying that you need to pick your battles, that was a pretty silly thing to put your foot down about.

I do the same thing about never backing down once they have started having a tantrum, but what you can do is if you say no and then they ask again just stop and think before you say no again and then it escalates. You can say "actually yes you can have 2" then I think, but once it escalates or you have said no twice or more then you have to stick to it. Take that little chance to think about if it's worth it. (not sure that makes sense!)

MonstaMunch Mon 30-May-11 10:20:22

you could have cut the one straw in half

then you can both save face


MerylStrop Mon 30-May-11 10:20:35

I would have let her have two straws.
but generally, I think it's no bad thing to say no sometimes.
But why did you pander to her attention and do the whole time out thing. Seems to me like you added fuel to the flame, let it escalate and then "won". Yuck.

belgo Mon 30-May-11 10:23:47

Agree MerylStrop on the time out - as far as I can see there was no reason to do time out.

And I also disagree with all of the posters saying that you should never back down.

Of course never back down over the important things, but in some minor scenarios, I do back down if I think I was probably too strict to begin with. Parents can be wrong sometimes.

skybluepearl Mon 30-May-11 10:26:37

I agree you couldn't give her two after you had said she could only have one. you had to stick to your guns. if you had given her two you after saying only one then you would be setting yourself up for being nagged and pestered until you give in everytime she wants something.

if my kids ask for something - i do tend to be reasonable with what i allow but they must ask for things nicely. i would have said yes to two straws BUT if they had been asking for another half an hour of TV or a second chocolate treat the answer would be no cos it would spoil dinner/have already watched enough TV and should play.

wolfhound Mon 30-May-11 10:26:38

I would have let two straws too (unless I didn't have them/needed them for something else etc.). I don't think it's the end of the world to go back on things sometimes. Not just giving in, but thinking again and feeling you made the wrong decision. But my two don't tantrum a lot, so it's easy for me to say that. I like MonstaMunch's idea! And, like tomhardy, i tend to tell my 3yo that if he asks for something nicely he's more likely to get it than if he shouts for it.

Weta Mon 30-May-11 10:30:40

I agree with Quackquacksqueak.
We do 'time out' for a tantrum though - not so much a punishment as 'that kind of behaviour is unacceptable in our lounge/kitchen/wherever and you can go to your room until you have got it out of your system and are ready to come back and be a pleasant member of the family'.

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