Kiddo#2, age six, wanted to go with her father on an errand to the grocery store. Fine: get dressed and he’ll take you.
She had no socks in her drawer, so my Patient Husband went into the laundry room and returned with a pair of socks.
She began screaming that she didn’t want those socks. That was at 9:45.
It is now 10:15. She is still screaming.
Here’s the timeline: at 9:45, when she screamed that she didn’t want THOSE socks, my husband turned around and left the room. Said she could come out and get the socks if she wanted. She began to scream that he had to bring the socks back. Then she screamed randomly. I blocked it out, so I don’t know what else was done. Husband got ready to go on the errand. At 10, he left on the errand.
As soon as Kiddo#2 heard the garage door go up, she came out screaming that she DID want to go to the store with him. Sorry–he’s gone now. Then she started screaming that Daddy left without her. She’s since been sobbing and screaming that Daddy tricked her, that she needs a tissue (there are boxes in practically every room, by the way) and that we’re being unfair, that she’s going to destroy the house, that she will never trust us again, that the socks my husband brought her were actually Kiddo#3’s socks (so duh, you say “Dad, those aren’t my socks.”) and that she would have gone in boots with no socks on. She keeps screaming, “I want another chance!”
Which is all fine, except that well, you HAD a chance and you blew it. Now you live with it.
Next time, make a better decision. You could have decided to calmly tell Daddy he’d brought you the wrong socks. You could have tried to find new socks on your own. You could have put on boots without socks. You could have stopped screaming at any point during the fifteen minutes before Daddy left. These were all decisions that would have resulted in your going to the store with Daddy.
And you will get another chance, I told her, but it will be next time.
She did calm down briefly when she decided to use one of her TV times (they get two half-hour slots per day) but now she’s screaming again because Kiddo#3 wants to watch TV too (her show) but she wants “a private TV.”
“If I don’t get a private TV,” she says to me, “I will not stop screaming.”
If you don’t stop screaming, I reply, I will put you in your room with the door closed and you can scream where no one listens.
This child has never been trained to get what she wants by screaming. I have never given her anything she wants just because she screamed for it, nor have I done that to her brothers. (Her older brother is a champion screamer due to his neurological difficulties.) In fact, I’ve taken things away from them that they would have gotten and ONLY because they screamed for them. They all know this.
And now she’s been sent to her room to keep screaming. It’s 10:24 according to my computer clock. She’s been doing this for nearly 40 minutes.
It’s too early to force her to take a nap or go to bed, but geez louise. This isn’t like her. I’m wondering if she’s getting sick or if she stayed awake for two hours in the middle of the night without telling us.
(Ah… NOW she’s quiet. Very strange.)
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Updated about two hours later:
I love the internet. I wanted to start hitting my head into the wall because that would feel better and make more sense, but instead I posted.
Kiddo#2 has calmed down now. I have no clue what happened, whether she finally “got it” that she wasn’t making her life any better, or whether she got tired of the constant noise.
(“Gee, it sure is loud in here. It’s giving me a headache. Hey, maybe if I stopped screaming, it would get quieter…? WOAH! REVELATION!”)
She was mad when my Patient Husband came home, and she tried to start up again, but it wasn’t with the same energy.
Apparently my daughter is back in town and coping again with life’s disappointments.