If you’re a mom or dad, you’ve dealt with it. You say “no” to a child and the meltdown begins. They cry, they beg, they fall on the ground and do the worm thing and that’s the worst. If you pick them up, they go limp and spongy…..so you leave them on the ground. The crying and screaming is not just embarrassing it’s infuriating and frustrating. But more than anything, they cry baby makes us all mad….really really mad.
My oldest daughter, Mary, was a cry baby. When she was little, every time we left a store and I didn’t buy her something, candy or a little toy she went “Three Mile Island” on me. The meltdown was epic. Kicking feet, waving arms, crying, screaming. People looked at me like I was a child abuser or kidnapper.
Here’s the reality. If you spank your kid for being a cry baby you are a moron. Spanking, hitting and smacking makes them cry more.
You have to find a way to be smarter……than a three year old. You have to be more clever than a four year old. You have to be wiser than a five year old.
Here’s what worked with Mary. When Mary started getting mad because she didn’t get her way she’d start slow with a pout face, then kicking feet. I would smile. Then she would start crying and I’d keep on smiling. Then the eruption would hit with hands and feet, tears, wailing and screaming…..And I would start laughing. Often times I would take pictures. And that made her really really really mad.
As we rolled across the parking lot I’d say something like, “Good job, Mary. Keep it up. Your’e doing good.” This made her so mad she went nuclear. After a couple of days she began to realize something was wrong. I wasn’t responding the right way. Kids do this because they want you to respond in a certain way. They want you to say, “Oh baby what’s wrong?”
After two weeks Mary was burned out. Throwing fits is exhausting…and futile if it doesn’t work. Her fury failed….she realized it and gave up. But it took two consistent eeks of smiling and laughing every time she melted down. And if you are in a house….you have to leave the room, as though it’s no big deal. Who wants to put on a show when nobody is watching.
Once, when Mary was three and Jack was four I walked out on her temper tantrum. She stopped crying instantly and said to Jack, “Do your like our mom?”
Here’s another idea that worked. If you are at somebody else’s house and your kiddo turns into a cry baby and throws a temper tantrum….every body hates that. It sucks. Pick that child up, take them to a different room, and walk out of the room. They don’t get to act like that in front of folks. It’ll work out.
A child finds no joy in melting down if nobody is watching. And following in order to melt down is no fun.
Not only was Mary a crybaby…..she was a bully. We spent 2 years telling jack not to “hurt the baby” so he’d never defend himself and she tortured him. It was awful.
Finally, we realized at age three, Mary was a total jerk and bully. It was time for a sit down.
“Mary, everything you do to other people, to bug them….we’re gonna do to you. So, if you turn off the lights and slam the door and leave Jack in the dark to scare him…you have to sit in a dark room for 30 seconds.”
It took a while. But finally Mary, The Boss Bully, realized if she took stuff away from Jack we were gonna take it away from her. If she turned off the tv, we turned it off for thirty minutes for her. If she pushed his plate or cup on the floor….we threw hers away. And if she pinched or pushed him….he had permission to pinch and push back.
It was pretty simple. It was fair, there was no yelling or shouting…just simple retribution. And it worked.
Bottom line…if you have a crybaby….if you have a baby bully. Stop being violent and loud. Instead…be smart and crafty.
Outsmart that kid and you’ll win. Spanking and screaming is for amateurs and losers.