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Would you punish a three year old who has just wrecked three room in a tantrum?

(53 Posts)
Caligula Sun 14-Aug-05 17:32:06

3 year old DD has just had a wild tantrum precipitated by her desperate desire for control and my refusal to oblige her.

As usual, I just left her to get on with it and went and made dinner while she screamed and shouted upstairs. I figured she's safe and she'll eventually tire herself out and come downstairs.

Dinner's now ready (and going cold as I type) and so I went to fetch her (tantrum has lasted about 15 minutes.)

Papers, books, bedsheets, toys, towels, shampoo, all strewn all over the rooms and up and down the stairs. I'm tired and have a cold and it's going to take at least an hour to clear it all up again. I feel defeated by the mess.

Should I punish her and if so how, or should I accept that this behaviour is a challenging part of a tantrum?

(That word challenging - it always sounds like such an understatement, doesn't it!)

Twiglett Sun 14-Aug-05 17:33:21

I would make her help tidy things up

Dior Sun 14-Aug-05 17:33:49

Message withdrawn

Twiglett Sun 14-Aug-05 17:33:50

be very quiet and eerily calm

it really messes them up

Caligula Sun 14-Aug-05 17:36:09

I am so tired that I can't even be angry, so I am very eerily calm! She's still screaming and demanding that I help her tidy up!

littlemissbossy Sun 14-Aug-05 17:36:33

I would tidy up most of the mess then have a quiet,calm chat to tell her that it was naughty to do it and make her put a few toys away herself

Lmccrean Sun 14-Aug-05 17:37:35

tell her firmly now how it made you feel without appearing angry..after all temper tantrums are her way of expressing how she feels and it will show her that even tho you are cross you can talk about it. make it clear her behavoiur is not acceptable and that it will take a long time to tidy up. when you finish, ask her how it made her feel not to get her way. and maybe if she would like to help you tidy up a few things

i posted abbouts dds behaviour here a few months ago...dd used to have awful tantrums..still has the odd one, but in general will say she is very very angry at me because xxxxxx and dosent want to see me right now, and then goes away for a few minutes. comes back and is fine. (shes 2.5)

charliecat Sun 14-Aug-05 17:37:57

see if she wants to sit on the sofa with you for 5 mins and then tidy up with her later

MrsGordonRamsay Sun 14-Aug-05 17:39:07

What I do, and I may be flamed for this, is I go upstairs very, very calmly with a black sack and I say in mock surprise................look at all this rubbish on the floor, lets bin it.

The removal of the toys will provoke a reaction, so your next ploy is, well ......if you want to keep your toys. I would like you to put everything back where you found it or stack it neatly. I will be back soon to check.

It generally works, but if it doesn't bag the toys and place them in the wheelie bin. That works every time.

Sorry you are feeling like this.

Much love


expatinscotland Sun 14-Aug-05 17:41:24

My dad did this. For real. He stayed cool as a watermelon in Texas summer then entire time. His only comment was that if we didn't know how to treat the things God blessed us with with respect, they should be given to some child who can. And he promptly gave them to a charity shop the next day and would not replace them. We used some birthday money later to buy new items.

No pudding, either.

We never pulled that stunt again, I can tell you.

Chandra Sun 14-Aug-05 17:42:31

I think this one of those times when is better to foget about other things (like having dinner ready or your cold -I know...they choose the worse moment or better said the moment when you are about to give up-) and concentrate in the discipline.

I would ask her to help tidying up and tell her there's no dinner until you finish. Now, if she seems full of regret (sorry for getting biblical but my language skills are not at their best at this time of the week), then you can ask her to say sorry and go for dinner but keep a bit hard faced for the rest of the day (which won't be difficult having a cold)...

Lmccrean Sun 14-Aug-05 17:43:02

what age were you expat...seems kinda harsh for a 3yr old!

MrsGordonRamsay Sun 14-Aug-05 17:43:04


I am obviously a tad softer, because I always give him a way back, but Lord God, do I admire your Dads nerve.

fairyfly Sun 14-Aug-05 17:43:37

My four year old did this when his father left. I remember looking in the room and letting him get on with it to rele ce-- his anger. After ( because he is such a good child as i am sure yours are) he sobbed in my arms and told me he didn't undersatand why he was so sad and cross... he couldn't connect anything with his anger, i realise now when he is upset he cant bring it too the adult basic thing and understand why, he just feel wrong. I hug him.

expatinscotland Sun 14-Aug-05 17:44:58

I was 4. I distinctly remember it b/c he was very, very calm. He always was. Never lost his cool w/either of us.

He was strict, BUT he grew up so dirt poor it was pitiful and was then drafted into the Army at 18, got his university degrees at night whilst working full time to support his wife and family, so I can see where he was coming from.

expatinscotland Sun 14-Aug-05 17:47:22

He NEVER smacked but twice - didn't have to. One time, it was when my sister ran into the street.

He and my mother were both born before WWII and took discipline seriously. As my mom always said, 'Discipline teaches children to respect themselves and other people.'

fairyfly Sun 14-Aug-05 17:49:05

Discipline is incredibly important. I know , when i give that look, my children should shit it as i am in charge and they need to know that. Boundaries i tell you boundaries,

expatinscotland Sun 14-Aug-05 17:54:30

I have a strong self-esteem. I think A LOT of it is due to the discipline I had at home. As my dad said, it's very hard to parent, but you have to show your children to respect boundaries or their lives won't go well. I now see what he meant, b/c I love my daughter as much as he loves us, and sometimes I find it hard not to give in. But doing what's easy for me isn't necessarily doing what's best for her. I want to protect her, but I know what's really important is to teach her to protect herself.

Also, I think discipline shows kids that their parents care about them. It also teaches you to respect yourself and your things. You can't respect others w/o respecting yourself.

In my case, I was able to recognise an abusive man or manipulative 'friend' from a mile away and quickly get away from such people.

TwinSetAndPearls Sun 14-Aug-05 17:57:23

If it is the first time she has done it, I would tidy it together, I would then say if this ever happens again I will expect you to tidy it on your own. What isn't tidied will go in the loft until you have kept your room tidy for a specifies period. You can then have one item back and each day that your room is kept tidy you can keep having more items until everything is back.

This is what we did with dd when she wrecked her playroom in a temper and it worked.

Caligula Sun 14-Aug-05 18:04:36

Back again.

Just had dinner. (Sorry, I had to, I was starving!) She's still downstairs eating hers with DS.

One of the rooms she's wrecked is my office, so I can't even do the "It's all going in the loft for two weeks" trick - it's my work files.

I told her that what she had done was a horrible thing to do and Mummy is very sad and angry about it and that we will have to tidy it up after dinner.

We were all in the middle of watching a video, and I paused it so that we could take a dinner break. (We spent the whole morning in the park with a picnic lunch and then came back and started watching this film.) I want to tell her there's no more film this evening, because we have to tidy up the mess instead, but then that would be so unfair on DS. Any views?

Easy Sun 14-Aug-05 18:06:52

Can ds watch the rest of the movie while you and dd tidy up?

Chandra Sun 14-Aug-05 18:07:27

I'm not sure FF, though I understand that children some times have good reasons to explode, they also have to learn to control themselves, my SIL still tells the line "I don't understand why I got this angry" after a tantrum involving throwing to the floor everything that was on the table, being rude to people, etc. and she is 37 yrs old.

Gillian76 Sun 14-Aug-05 18:07:44

Oh, good suggestion, easy. I was trying to think of a way round it!

fairyfly Sun 14-Aug-05 18:07:54

I have smacked my children, out of temper, i was a disgusting out of control mother, i shook them both, hit them, not smacked, hit their bottoms, scared them to death and then slid down my wall in an out of control eastenders way. I was fucked, i hated myself and hated what i had done. The only dignity i get out of it these days is telling my boys i have never felt so sad in my life and its important they always know to tell people how they are feeling and not ever build it up.

Chandra Sun 14-Aug-05 18:08:26

Start the film for DS and go upstairs with your DD to clean the mess

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