Dylan spent at least half the day throwing one tantrum after another, the earsplitting tearless kind that are driven by pure anger and frustration at not being allowed to engage in a variety of undesirable behaviors such as, for instance, attempting to shatter the television screen with a metal spatula.

I joke a lot about how he eats dog hair when he’s mad, but he really and truly does this and it’s seriously demented. I mean, I have never heard of a kid lashing out in that way. I even googled it, and sadly, the only result was my own website.

That’s not his only retaliatory response towards hearing the word NO, of course. There’s also biting furniture, pulling up his shirt and biting the fabric, walking over to my bookshelf and pulling out books, reaching to pull things off the kitchen counter, throwing toys across the room, pushing buttons on the DVR, and spitting.

But the thing where he sits and plucks fuzz and dirt and pet hair off the carpet and jams it in his mouth? Drives me out of my goddamned mind. Which, of course, is the point, as far as he’s concerned. The entire time, he’s staring directly at us, so it’s perfectly clear to all involved parties just what’s going on here: this isn’t simply an idle taste-test of carpet filth, no sir. This is a RADICAL ACT.

Sometimes it’s kind of funny, you know. The pint-sized fury, the beetled brow, the fact that he’s so deliberate in his revenge. But other times I just feel dragged straight to the end of my rope by the screaming and the chaos and the obnoxiousness of it all. More than once today I lost my patience and shouted at him to STOP IT, goddamn it. Stop the crying, the spitting, the throwing, the fucking dog hair, just STOP IT.

Shouting in rage at the little boy I’d take a bullet for. Yeah, that’s a good feeling.

After today I realize that I’ve got to head off the behavior when it’s getting out of hand, because this thing where I follow him around getting more and more pissed off by the things he’s doing for the express purpose of pissing me off is . . . well, for god’s sake. I’m 35 years old. He’s not even two. Someone’s got to be the grownup, right?

If it were Riley who were acting out, I’d send him to his room in a heartbeat. When I’ve tried this with Dylan, though, he just stands in his crib screaming at the top of his lungs. But it’s true that sometimes it’s more that mom is the one who needs a time out. Next time, he’s going in his crib and I’m going outside for a nice long count of ten. Maybe two hundred.

The moments of scary, angry yelling are the ugliest I’ve ever known. The brief helpless feeling of catharsis, followed swiftly by shame and regret.

I’m so sorry, little guy. Sometimes I really suck at being the grownup.

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Nicki
Nicki
12 years ago

I feel your pain. Seriously, put him in the crib, or wherever else you deem the best time-out spot, and walk away. He’ll yell, but you will get a chance to walk away and calm down. I wish I had some great and helpful advice, but I’m still working on this crap. It does eventually get better, or maybe the level of tantrum crap just changes. :) My three are still alive, though, so I figure I have been vaguely successful.

Also, the water thing? That just pissed my kids off even more.

SKL
SKL
12 years ago

Wait until he’s old enough to say, “don’t be angry, mom. Be happy.” Like you’re supposed to forget it as fast as they do. (Which would be a wonderful skill to acquire, wouldn’t it?)

Jen in Dallas
Jen in Dallas
12 years ago

Holy crap – I used to read your posts about Dylan’s temper tantrums and think “Thank GOD my three kids have had mild tempers”. Until my son hit 14-months. OH. MY. GOD. My two girls were so easy compared to this thrashing, screaming, limp-noodle-when-we-try-to-remove-him-from climbing-the-stairs, kicking, banging-his-head-on-the-floor mean kid! I can so relate. What the hell?

So, when he acts like this, I’ve started just walking away. I’ve thought about putting him in his crib, but I wondered if he would start associating his bed with being in trouble and would start having sleeping problems because he didn’t want to be in his bed? Sort of the Pavlov effect, ya know? I think it’s a good idea to leave the crib for calm, peaceful sleeping moments, and not necessarily for punishment. Especially since Dylan already has sleep issues. Just my humble opinion, though.

So me? I’ll continue to just walk away and let him throw his tantrum while I do my own thing, because I have found that the only time they really bother me (as long as he’s not hurting himself) is when I react to them. I do the same thing with my 5-year-old who still has occasional melt-downs. I tell her, “you may have a melt-down if you’d like, but you have to do it in another room. You can come out when you’re feeling better”. Seems to work every time!

Good luck, Linda. This too shall pass!

Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

I also agree that just putting him into the crib and walking away for a minute is a good idea. Sounds like he loves your reaction when he acts out. This way he doesn’t get his way and you get a minute to cool off. Love the picture – his lips are to die for.

Robin
Robin
12 years ago

My grandmother used to do the water thing during tantrums. I haven’t yet, not sure how I feel about it.

My 3 year old has entered a terrible stage of being contrary as fuck. Everything is a battle, even getting dressed to go to the park. C’mon freak, it’s the PARK! You should be excited, not running from me yelling “NO! I can’t!” And then cue mom losing her shit.

We also just moved him into a toddler bed and bedtimes are now a nightmare. When stories are over and it’s time for lights out, he jumps up and attacks me. He also hits his 17 month old brother just to get a rise out of me. Staying calm during all of this isn’t working. There’s so much parental screaming over here lately I’m paranoid about the neighbors calling CPS.

Ginger
12 years ago

I wish I could say I don’t know what you are talking about, but sister, I feel your pain, becauase I too tell at my child when I want to teach her patience – parenting fail!!

Tony
12 years ago

I don’t buy the “once you give him timeouts you can then threaten that later and he’ll give in” idea.

As with everything, it depends on the child. My sister can tell her boys that they are in time out and they’ll willingly go sit on the couch until she tells them it’s over (Yes, I suspect she has them on Ritalin too).

If we tried that with our daughter, she’d probably pause for a second, give me a “are you frackin’ kidding me?” look and continue her tantrum.

The lengths that Sofia will go to in order to not give in amaze me. The other day she wanted to play with “her computer” (Computer Cool School). She grabbed one of the software discs because she has it in her head that she needs it to play with her computer. The software is installed on our laptop and you don’t need the disc to use the software.

So, I told her to put the discs back (about 8 feet away from where she would be sitting with the computer) and she preceded to argue with me that she needed it and refused to put it back.

I told her she could not play with her computer until she put the disc back where she grabbed it from. Simple, right? You put the disc back, you play with your computer, you don’t, you can go pound sand. NOPE. She would rather argue, kick, scream, bite, give you the “I will burn you with the fire of a thousand suns” look before she’ll give in to this argument (she might get that from me by the way). Result….Sofia didn’t play with the computer. Think that will change her behavior next time….

Lesson: Just because it works with your kid, doesn’t mean it’s the rule. And, just because it works with ONE of your kids, doesn’t mean it will work with the other.

Christina
12 years ago

My son was like this. Maybe it is a boy thing. It was like I would see RED with him and just SHRIEK at him and he would keep doing whatever and it would make things worse and everything would spiral out of control till we were both mad and/or crying and/or exhausted.

I hated how rotten I felt after. I have a low patience tolerance, this I know, and it sucks. I was NEVER ever good at walking away though I have been working on letting shit go, and not harping on things and trying to laugh at my own stupid anger (b/c usually it is/was over something SO trival.)

Anyway, it sucks. I hear you. I have been right there at that moment and the moments after. Hang in there!!!

Krissa
Krissa
12 years ago

Uhm, by 18 months, I was standing in the corner with my hands behind my back for 10 minute stretches.

I was naughty AND stubborn – a familiar combination, yes?

I could cry and blubber and sob and whatever, but I had to stand nose-to-corner until I was done. That was my punishment. My older brother never had to stand there for longer than the standard “one minute per year of life” rule…I was special. Maybe Big D is the same kind of special. :)

Lauren
Lauren
12 years ago

Have you considered just letting him eat the dog hair? I know it’s disgusting, but maybe he’ll stop doing it once HE realizes it’s disgusting to have a mouth full of hair. Or maybe if you ignore him and let him do it, the power of that action will be taken away and he won’t do it anymore? I have no idea, really. I’m the mom of an 8-month-old and I read your blog while bracing myself for what is to come in my life. So this assvice is from someone who really has to clue but is routing for you from the parental sidelines!

Carrie (in MN)
Carrie (in MN)
12 years ago

You are not alone – we have ALL been there. I liked the baking soda idea – freshens the carpet and doesn’t taste good. Another trick I used with one of mine who used to throw those monumental tantrums before she was old enough to stay in time out when told – was to sit with her in my lap, wrap my arms around her to immobilize her, and let her go as long as she wanted. I didn’t talk to her or try to reason with her, I didn’t hold her so hard I was hurting her, I was just keeping her from doing harm to me or herself. I can’t remember where I learned this, but part of the idea was that my presence and the gentle pressure of my arms around her would help her calm herself. And I found if I just tuned out and got stoic, I wasn’t upset either. Maybe this would work for you? Hang in there, Carrie

AmyMusings
12 years ago

“I even googled it, and sadly, the only result was my own website.”

Thank you for that. I have coffee all over my keyboard.

Lucy Fisher
Lucy Fisher
12 years ago

Urgh. Going through the same thing right now with my 17 month old and it’s awful. The screaming, the patience-losing, the immediate sense of relief followed by instant shame and guilt. All of it. We’ll get through this – all of us. In the meantime, thanks for writing this. I feel a bit better knowing that I’m not the only one. I hope you do too.

Karen Chatters
12 years ago

That’s the kind of face that when I’m trying to be all SERIOUS AND I’M THE MOTHER HERE, I burst out laughing and my “authority” is completely undermined.

marcoda
12 years ago

and then they throw that face at you, just to twist the knife a little bit more. Here’s hoping at least the dog hair eating thing stops once he figures out you’re not reacting anymore. Sneaky little devils, the lot of them!

Try not to beat yourself up too much. Grown ups throw tantrums, too.

geri
geri
12 years ago

Linda, my son is a couple of months older than Dylan, so I sympathize with my whole heart. We’ve had a bit of luck using the techniques from Dr. Karp’s “Happiest Toddler on the Block.” His writing style is annoying, and following him is kind of like being in a parenting cult, but it works. He’s got lots of good tools for communicating with a tantrumming toddler to get them to actually hear you (apparently the calm soothing tones we instinctively use when toddlers are screaming just piss them off further – who knew?). I’d recommend the book, or, I believe there’s a DVD for instant gratification.

Courtney
12 years ago

Linda in some weird way, I feel more prepared for children after reading your website. Thanks for letting it all hang out, bumps, bruises and dog hair eating alike.

I have no answers for you, but know you’ll work through it.

How does Riley react to Dylan’s tantrums? Does he find them funny?

Mandy
Mandy
12 years ago

My daughter is 3.5 years old, and has kind of gotten over timeouts – so we’ve moved to the removal of a Favorite Toy for bad behavior. Once we realized that she was SO over the time outs and they had lost their power, we realized taking away a favorite toy for a day/night had the most power (for now). Each kid is different, all we can do is keep trying to figure it out, right? Of course, as soon as we do, they will change the rules of the game. When we did time outs successfully, we put her in her room, shut the door, and checked on her once she quieted down – sometimes this took several attempts. It was always her decision to come out, once she was calm enough to listen. Good luck!

Eileen
12 years ago

The Today show had A bit about that too. There is a book by Susan Callahan and Katrin Schumann “Mothers Need Time-outs, Too”

It was pretty insightful. The interview, havn’t read the book.

How can we be better parents if we are at the end of our rope and gladly about to hang ourselves with it?

At least we are able to admit tho. These little suckers are a handful.

:)

Mary
Mary
12 years ago

My first is due in 2 months. And if you’ll all excuse me for a moment, I’m going to go sit in the corner and breathe into a paper bag. :)

Amy
Amy
12 years ago

Thanks so much for this post. I know it’s really hard to admit it sometimes, so thank you for putting it into words. I deal with that same anger.

It’s frustrating as hell. Especially to think that only a few years ago before I had kids I thought I was generally a pretty mellow, happy-go-lucky person who laughed off my frustrations. Fast forward to dealing with a 4-year-old and a 17-month-old (who, although he does eat dog hair, just not out of anger, does plenty of his own annoying things when he hears the word no). I find myself yelling my head off many days of the week. My god, who is this person, I wonder to myself in shame. I take a deep breath and try to calm myself, only to be frustrated again to the point of yelling minutes later.

It’s really comforting to hear that other people are learning how to deal with this too. Not that I’m glad you’re going through it, but I’m glad you’re sharing about it. I’ve been doing the “time outs” in the crib and it is saving my ass, I tell you. So keep doing that. Now all I have to say to the toddler is the phrase “time out” and he gets less crazy and realizes he might have to go to his room alone. A miracle.

Good luck. You’re not the only one. Thanks.

Jennifer
Jennifer
12 years ago

Mary – LOL! Don’t hyperventilate – you’ll be fine. Kiddos go through these things in phases and just when you think you can’t take anymore and are ready to grab the paper bag, they do something extremely sweet and adorable. I’ve told my husband “God really knows what he’s doing with these kids – he puts just enough sweetness in them to keep you from ripping their heads off!”.

Sarah
12 years ago

My son is two and has been throwing the craziest tantrums for a good six months now. I have stopped taking him in public except when absolutely necessary, because it never fails that he has a meltdown of epic proportions. I have had eyes rolled at me and muttered comments about my kid needing discipline or a spanking so many times that I totally tune it out now.
And I have to confess there have been times when I wondered seriously if smacking him would help, not to punish him but just to snap him out of it before he further injured himself with his head banging and his furious biting OF HIS OWN ARM. He has seriously appeared to be deranged at times, or possessed.
I have survived without smacking or spanking or even TOO much screaming by simply laughing at him. Maybe it’s mean, and maybe it’s shaming and more psychologically damaging than hitting would be, I don’t know, but while I can’t bring myself to use my hands on my kids for anything other than restraint, I sometimes can’t help BUT to laugh out loud at their shenanigans. So that’s my only advise. Stay out of the public eye until this phase passes, and until then, keep a safe distance from the tantrum and laugh. Even if it’s just to keep from crying.

Marie Green
12 years ago

Know what parenting moments I love? The ones where you have to learn something that you already know. Like *lightbulb!* let’s be proactive about this or that situation instead of reactive. And then the light bulb feeling of glory is quickly gone when I realize that I had the SAME LIGHT BULB MOMENT last week.

Why is it that all small children are biologically programed to try and drive their parents to the edge of sanity? How is that helping the survival of our species, anyway?

Frema
12 years ago

I’ve feeling the same rage when my son wakes up in the middle of the night the last couple of days, and he’s not even ONE yet. So…yeah. Grown-up lessons, sign me up.

Briana Pavey
12 years ago

I was catching up on your blog, so my comment on “Shortfall” was meant for this post. But I work part time too, and was warned that after having kids, I would feel like I was no good at either job. Sometimes it is like that, but I usually remedy it by cooking a super healthy meal for my family and reading an extra book or two to my son to ease my pain (and his)

Racher
12 years ago

God Almighty – THIS IS ME.

My daughter is only 11 MONTHS OLD, and already she has learned that when she’s angry she can smack me in the face or grab my lips and yank and it hurts, dammit. I have had more than one frustrated conversation with my husband about how awful I feel about getting mad enough to yell at a small girl who is not even a year old. Whom I would also take a bullet for.

Frankly, being a grown up sucks sometimes.

Also, you should see this commercial, you might relate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxXIhM9nd2o

Renee
Renee
12 years ago

I feel like such a jerk when I find myself gritting my teeth to deal with something annoying my 5-month-old is doing. He’s FIVE MONTHS OLD, if I can’t deal with everything he dishes out NOW, I’m definitely screwed when he’s 2!

Pam
Pam
12 years ago

Look at that FACE! So awesome. Put him in the crib. Time outs are great for them and you. It will give you the time to breathe. It works for us. We don’t want to yell but you need to do SOMETHING. We love the “1,2,3 Magic” Book. The biggest mistakes (we all make as parents) are too much talking and too much emotion. Just throw him in the crib, walk away, then go back and resume the day. After awhile, he’ll get it.

patois
12 years ago

My personal best was counting to 742. My demon spawn was still going strong, but I was calmed immensely.

Sunshyn
Sunshyn
12 years ago

I liked “Happiest Toddler” a LOT. It was really helpful. Remember,Dylan is getting SOMETHING from throwing his tantrums. Be careful NOT to reinforce the behavior by attending to them (it’s the applied behavioral analysis training coming out in me now). We also use “1,2,3 Magic,” and what a great book on parenting that one is!I’d agree with others on the idea to stick him in his crib (assuming he isn’t capable of jumping out…)! Set an audible timer and tell him you’ll be back after the timer sounds. Meanwhile, what does he get from his tantrums? Attention, I’d imagine. If you don’t give him attention, he’ll have to stop (eventually; how long can you stand it is the question?). Try that suggestion I offered before of whispering, “I can’t hear you when you’re screaming” into his ear. And try not to act mad at him. Be very matter-of-fact. “Oh, Dylan has decided to have a tantrum. Ok, here you go, here’s your crib. I’m setting the timer now. I’ll be back after it rings and you’re calm.”

Some of his behaviors seem sensory to me, the biting things, the eating fur. If that continues, you might want to have him assessed for sensory processing disorder, because those tantrums and the biting/eating fur, together, those might point in that direction. Or not. I’m not an expert, just a parent who’s seen A LOT.

Occupational therapists test for sensory processing disorder, which isn’t that big a big deal all by itself (it’s a big problem along with developmental delays, though, and Dylan seems to not have any of those!), and there are LOTS of ways to address sensory issues.

You might want to read “The Out-of-Sync Child.” I learned great ways to entertain ANY kid with “The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun.” He’s probably just being what we used to call “two-ie.” And he seems to be something of a redhead…! It’s true what they say about redheads and temper, you know!

kristylynne
kristylynne
12 years ago

We’ve all lost it. Don’t feel bad. Sounds like a case of the terrible twos, early. Perhaps distraction is in order? Get him out of the house and run him ragged for a while at a park or in your backyard? Hell, turn on the cartoons! Whatever you have to do to get a sanity break.

amber
amber
12 years ago

If it makes you feel any better, my youngest, who just turned 2 in July, used to stuff dirt and/or rocks in her mouth any time we were outside and we had to discipline her for anything. Doing that same direct stare-down, with that blank, “what are you going to do now” expression on her face. OH I HATED THAT.

Shin Ae
12 years ago

Oh my goodness. He is so cute. I’ve totally been there, and I feel for you. I can say with almost 100% certainty that it will get better. I found with my boys that as soon as we could talk about things and understand each other, the yelling got a lot less.

I’ve laughed at my younger son when he’s throwing a tantrum. I don’t mean to do it; it just comes out. He looks like his face is made of clay which I think is hilarious. After I stifle the laughter often I have said (very sarcastic voice) “Are you done now?” At a very early age (maybe two) he began to say “yes” and calm himself. The older son though? Tantrums–not funny to me & made me want to die. Sarcastic voice–no effect at all.

Oh, and the older son? If he found something small enough to use as a spoon in the sandbox at the park would just shovel sand into his mouth and eat it. Every time.

He doesn’t do that anymore, either.

Beth in SF
12 years ago

I have found myself saying almost those exact words, I think we all have. There’s just only so many stimuli we can wrap our brain around, and when there’s a lot going on, it’s easy to lash out at the loudest, most obvious stimulus. My toddler has taken to screaming, and I mean SCREAMING when he wants something, and I kinda think it’s because when I’m really angry with him, I yell. So I’m trying super hard now to not do that. I try to remain calm, explain why what he’s doing is wrong, and if it comes to brass tacks, I too put him in the crib and let him scream. We just need a moment away from each other. Then I go back, we hug, it’s all good.

KateB
KateB
12 years ago

I’ve never replied before, but had to today. You and I are leading the exact same life! (Though I could NEVER do a triathalon). Two boys who you love to tears, but can just as easily drive you to tears. I second the Love and Logic suggestion. It’s more about the parent staying calm and in control. When I can do that, the kids magically behave better. Hmmmmm.
Also, the crib is fine…don’t feel bad about it. You will do better if you get a break. We also use a gate in my 2 year old’s door to keep him in, but not as separated from us.
Thanks for the great blog! I ALWAYS feel better after reading your posts. Thanks!!!!

victoria
victoria
12 years ago

(1) You are an awesome grownup in every way.

(2) Why not let him cry in his crib? I know you have wooden floors and sound really TRAVELS in your house (it does in my wood-floored house, too) but you could (a) put a rug in his room and (b) get a heavy “windstopper” carpet “log” to put against the bottom of his door (I think L.L. Bean sells them — they’re for winter drafts) and that would also contain the noise.

Maggie
Maggie
12 years ago

I truly believe that you are the funny, more articulate incarnation of my brain. My kids are a bit older and girls but good lord I share these feelings all too often. My youngest doesn’t eat dog hair (maybe she would if we had a dog) to spite us but does other things like cut her sister’s American Girl doll’s hair or pee in her bed. She once told me that if I didn’t give her candy she would poop on the floor. How does one stay calm in that situation?? (she is a redhead too by the way)

Christy
Christy
12 years ago

Maybe a time out specific playpen with no access to dog hair? I don’t know. We are going through this (tantrums) with my youngest. She has mastered the red-faced, screaming, throw your whole body to the floor, dramatic tantrum. I usually try to walk away, sometimes having to move her away from sharp corners or furniture. I need advice on the very loud screaming tantrums in public.

Penny
12 years ago

I have been there, and still am, with not exactly being a role model for my tantrumy tot. But the time out thing you mentioned made me remember this article about boys and time outs that was interesting. My girl responds to time outs well, and we have very few of them, but that article address why time outs don’t work for some, and what to do.

Tia
Tia
12 years ago

Yep, I hear ya. Just the word no sends ours off the deep end. When I’m in a hurry or just plain had enough I’m quick to scream also. I would love to send him to his crib but sometimes it’s in public, like at his brothers football game. Do you just up and leave one kid to go and talk some sense in this screaming child? Or do you make everyone else sooo glad they left theirs at home and stay put? I’m a seasoned parent (I have a 12 and 10 year old) so I do know that they do grow out of this but man it does really suck alot.
Just remember what a little lover he is and it’s not his fault he’s such an ass most of the time :) This is what I say over and over and over…….

telegirl
telegirl
12 years ago

Do I *ever* understand where you are coming from. The other night, my 2 1/2 year old wouldn’t let me change his diaper and kept climbing up on the back of the couch and jumping down. I lost it as well, I didn’t yell, but I did grab his PJs in my fist and hiss “STOP IT!”. His response? To cry and say, “Mommy don’t hurt me”. I felt like total shit.

I feel like a prisoner sometimes to the little guy. He really is a good-natured little boy but we cannot seem to get the discipline thing down: we can’t get him to sit down for dinner, he climbs all over the furniture and I feel like a total failure of a parent when I see other parents give their children a warning in a stern voice and they are obedient. How the hell do they do that?! So, I just try to keep my shit together and be as adult as I can but man! Is it hard sometimes!!

How are we going to do this with two kids, if we can’t seem to handle one? We’re due in less than four weeks so I guess it’s a little late to ask that one, huh?

Val
Val
12 years ago

I have not read the other comments but I just wanted to say that you are not alone, sister! I have felt that way SO many times with my 2 1/2 year old. From reading your web site for many years (pre Riley) I have to say that I think you are a great Mom! Keep on truckin and hugs to you.;)

Brenda
12 years ago

You can even loooooooose it when your kids are in their late 20’s and YOU KNOW they KNOW better.

And I think he’s very normal…. but that face! How can that face scream and throw tantrums. He’s innocent.

agb
agb
12 years ago

Carrie, I tried the whole “hold the kid in my lap to immobilize” thing until my angel reared her head back and proceeded to break my nose. Yah. Fun times…..Tantrums are awful, but the awfulness isn’t as much fun for the tantrumOR when they are ignored and/or put somewhere without an audience/tantrumEE. Crib, room, playpen, whatever. Then do like I did. Lock the bedroom door AND the bathroom door (of course making sure you can hear your bundle of joy) and enjoy a beverage.

agb
agb
12 years ago

I forgot to say “thanks” Linda for a great post. Once again reminding us, once again, that we ARE NOT ALONE.

Amy W.
Amy W.
12 years ago

My Henry tries to bite the walls. He also does commentary on his acts of rebellion as he is engaging in them, “Hitting! Throwing! Breaking! Bite this!”

And I have the same “brief helpless feeling of catharsis, followed swiftly by shame and regret” when I inevitably yell at him. And I tell myself all the same stuff about being the grown-up and how his behavior is age-appropriate, but mine in unacceptable. And then I go and do the same damn thing the next time.

I hate myself so much for doing that. I have made an appointment with a therapist and I’m going to follow through because I’ve got to figure out a way to short-circuit my own anger.

Amanda
12 years ago

Between this post and the last one about your sick household, I feel like we’re living the same life right now. I mean, exactly.

.303 Bookworm
.303 Bookworm
12 years ago

Linda and Amy W, I think maybe it’s so hard to hold onto your temper BECAUSE you love them so much.

Of course I have no kids so might be talking out my ass but please hear me out anyway.

At the start of the year my partners 7yr old son came to live with us. And he throws tantrums or deliberately does things to get a reaction.

Initially I was quite dispassionate so I could stay calm even when he tried to press my buttons. He had no handle on me. It’s gotten harder to deal with as we spend more time together because I’m starting to care for him (damn those emotional ties). But when I can feel myself starting to lose it I put us both in Time Out and just keep reminding myself that once I yell, he’s won (thanks supernanny).

So yeah, the timeout thing does work for us, most of the time. But still, tantrums at SEVEN yrs old, I mean, seriously, WTF?