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5 year old MEGA tantrum

(42 Posts)
Rubeydoobie Sun 14-Aug-16 20:32:04


I'd appreciate some ideas on how to do things differently after a really rough evening with our eldest daughter (5).

She hadn't been eating much dinner at all the last week and a bit and we felt that she was suffering from it, being very low on energy. We moved house a fortnight ago so we had been giving her a bit of slack, but over the last three evenings we told her that she had to eat everything we gave her, and although she got really fed up and it took about an hour each time, she did finish her food. Our hope was that she would recognise that it was important, and in fact each time she finished she would say sorry for getting grumpy and say that she would try again tomorrow.

Tonight we planned to give her a meal she usually really likes but as soon as she came to the table she started flopping everywhere and poking at it again. We told her that the same rules applied and that we would help her if she needed it.

Nearly an hour later and not much had been eaten (she is capable of wolfing down a meal by-the-way) and then she started growling as she pushed the chair away from the table. When I moved her back and said that she had to finish her food the tantrum started...

"You're making me angry!"


Arching her back and trying to get away

"I just want to leave this family!"

I think we were really calm, as we've had a few of these from her before, and mostly we just say that we won't go away, that we do love her, but that she has lost control and needs to take a moment to breathe. Writing it down makes it sound ridiculously perfect, so on reflection we probably do get exasperated too.

It got worse so that she was trying to run away from the table, and at one point my wife shouted at her after the daughter told her that she "wished you weren't my mummy and I just want to leave you for ever."

At this point I thought she needed to be alone so I picked her up (through flailing limbs) and took her into a bedroom to be alone. On the way she was shouting things like "I just want to destroy you!" and "I want to destroy this family which means you will be dead", which was pretty horrible to hear her say. I said that she could come out when she was calmer and ready to talk.

There were a few rounds of her trying to run out, and about ten minutes of full on screaming but then it calmed down.

My wife and I were gutted this evening. the daughter said lots of sorrys, had a bath and then went to bed, but i just don't feel that it can be left and discarded as 'another' tantrum. I'm pretty emotionless and it hurt, but my wife was absolutely gutted and has been talking about how much it hurt her and how angry and upset she was inside.

Any ideas?

SpaceDinosaur Sun 14-Aug-16 20:39:00

Honest to god, don't use food as a battle ground. It won't lead to healthy associations.

If she's not hungry, leave it.
If she's hungry later, present her cold meal.

Is she eating well for breakfast and lunch? It's entirely plausible that she's not hungry or has cottoned on that she can use food to control you.

veryproudvolleyballmum Sun 14-Aug-16 20:40:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ineedamoreadultieradult Sun 14-Aug-16 20:41:50

Please don't start a food battle. Lots of kids go through periods of not really eating a lot especially if unsettled. My kids don't eat as much during the school holidays as their routine is out. Just give smaller portions than usual and if she doesn't eat it after a reasonable time remove it. She will not starve herself.

Missgraeme Sun 14-Aug-16 20:42:40

Sounds like she is rebelling against the move and trying to take control of one thing - her eating. My ds cried for weeks when we moved. He loved our old house. Maybe talk about plans u have for the new house /her bedroom /Xmas there /birthday parties etc. Turn the move into a great event if she is missing the old one and the memories she has from there. Maybe make a scrap book of the old house and things u did there so she won't forget it!

veryproudvolleyballmum Sun 14-Aug-16 20:46:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Rubeydoobie Sun 14-Aug-16 20:46:42

Okay. I'll definitely take that on - food not a battle ground and I'll just take it away if its not being eaten. What about the stuff she was saying - is that of concern?

Rubeydoobie Sun 14-Aug-16 20:47:29

What would you do?

bakeoffcake Sun 14-Aug-16 20:48:41

Making a child eat a full meal when they aren't hungry, is ridiculous.

Would you and your wife like to sit there for an hour, looking at a plate of food with someone telling you you must eat?

Bloody bonkers!

Let her have small bits of food, if she doesn't want it tell her she can leave the table. Don't mention food ahain until the next meal. She'll eat when she's hungry.

veryproudvolleyballmum Sun 14-Aug-16 20:50:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Passmethecrisps Sun 14-Aug-16 20:51:44

She is learning that words can be used as weapons. nothing more.

Talk when she is happy and calm and relaxed and see if you can get to the bottom of what is troubling her. She has had a tough few weeks and may not know herself what is bothering her. Tell her you love her and you want her to be happy. Let her have a slice of toast or something plain if that is what she needs. Sometimes I like 'bowl food' if I am tired or low. It is carby, low effort and relatively bland

DPotter Sun 14-Aug-16 20:54:46

Some people are evening meal eaters some are lunch time eaters. Could this be a factor ?
I agree with other posters - you should never tell anyone they have to eat everything on their plate. In fact you could ask her how much she would like, if you're worried about food waste.
Every one loses if you're fighting over food and meal times. Just don't

Rubeydoobie Sun 14-Aug-16 20:56:08

Regarding the food, I guess we were particularly worried that she is getting picky. School has said that she doesn't eat much variety, and we were concerned that it was affecting her health.

Regarding the tantrums, I worry that ignoring the tantrum will mean that the house gets smashed up, and that her brother and sister see it as behaviour that goes unchallenged.

I think what we say is more like 'we can't talk about this now'.

Also, what if they are hungry but won't eat what they are served?

Rubeydoobie Sun 14-Aug-16 20:57:33

And i appreciate the help and ideas - just hard to know what you've made mistakes.

veryproudvolleyballmum Sun 14-Aug-16 20:58:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

monkeyfacegrace Sun 14-Aug-16 21:01:12

You were upset by the words of a 5 year old? Is she your eldest?

Seriously, brush it off. They don't mean anything they say. They are little warriors.

Passmethecrisps Sun 14-Aug-16 21:02:32

We all make mistakes every day. It is how we pick it up and move on that makes the difference.

Talk to each other and make sure you have a plan for the next meal. Personally, my dd is allowed toast of she doesn't want the cooked meal we are sharing. She knows that and I am happy to offer along with a bit of veg I know she will eat. There is no debate or discussion. Everyone eats happily.

Her behaviour does not need to go unchallenged but you and your wow need to be confident in your own approach. You do not deal with poor behaviour for the sake of onlookers bit for the sake of the child who is struggling. Make sure that she knows what good behaviour isnluke and praise her for that as often as you can. Do that over and over to her and her siblings and her siblings will understand when she loses a privilege

monkeyfacegrace Sun 14-Aug-16 21:02:58

I've just read the op again and can see that yes, she's your PFB. In the nicest possible way, toughen up. That sounds like a normal mealtime in lots of people's houses! No need to be upset at all.

Rubeydoobie Sun 14-Aug-16 21:02:59

Cor - you lot are brutal!

HerdsOfWilderbeest Sun 14-Aug-16 21:05:00

The whole thing is too intense and you are probably tired and hot and bothered from all the exhaustion of the move as well.

Play it cool. Involve her in making dinner where possible. Put a small plate on the table with enough for a 5 year old to eat. Sit and have a nice chat and don't make what she is eating the focus. If she wants it she has it. If she doesn't then remind her there is nothing else, and continue chatting about something else. If she still doesn't want it then take it away. She won't slide down the plug hole. When she's hungry she will eat.

The insults - totally ignore them. It's a tantrum. she's just angry. No need for psycho analysis.

How about getting a pizza delivery tomorrow or going out for a meal, to kind of cut the routine?

Passmethecrisps Sun 14-Aug-16 21:05:33

You haven't seen brutal!!

Seriously, what does your wife say? Do you have a positive way forward? No one wants to spend days dreading meal times. It sounds like her tummy is twisting with the anxiety of it

Passmethecrisps Sun 14-Aug-16 21:07:13

Oh! Wraps! My dd lives making herself a wrap or having a quesadilla. Put all the bits in wee bowls and she can put what she wants on the wrap. You can control what she is offered and she can control what she actually eats.

mikado1 Sun 14-Aug-16 21:07:43

Don't worry a bit about what she said of course she doesn't mean it but she needed to feel she could make an impact and hit you where it hurt. Always wait till calm for a debrief and chat/plan for next time. And I know you've got it but-relax on food-she should be eating for herself not to please or appease. I was brought up on cocopops and nutella and now eat anything, particularly love veg, pulses etc, she'll be fine.

abbsismyhero Sun 14-Aug-16 21:08:40

yup! brutal is good for you!

is she snacking a lot in the afternoon? my son was ive cut out his snacks and he is now eating his tea which means he is sleeping a little more and we are less stressed!

WanderingTrolley1 Sun 14-Aug-16 21:09:35

You can't force a child to eat and she certainly won't starve!

If she doesn't want to eat, let her down from the table. If there's further tantrumming, ignore it.

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