Family LIfe

Would You Give In To A Tantrum?

Tantrums. The bane of my existence right now. And they’re getting increasingly worse.  Last night we suffered a doozie! So it got me thinking, would you give in to a tantrum? Or at least decide to compromise a little?

This epic meltdown was over toothbrushing. Normally, X is brilliant at both brushing and having his teeth brushed, but for some reason last night he was adamant that he was not going to do it. Perhaps he was just over-tired – he had a busy day with Moldy and Pops, and a long car journey to get home. But we entered into a stalemate – I said no story until he’d brushed his teeth, and he insisted that he was going to have a story without brushing his teeth.

I wasn’t going to back down, and neither was he. This went on for 20 minutes; he was hitting and kicking, screaming and crying and yelling “no” at the top of his lungs.

I tried to comprise; he could have a story WHILE we brushed his teeth; this placated him for all of about 30 seconds. We offered him a choice of tooth brushes – green one, blue one, or Lightening McQueen one – and yet the screaming continued.

He worked himself up so much he threw up.

So that meant a battle with clean pyjamas, washing his vomit covered feet, plus that fact that now he REALLY needed to do his teeth.

Eventually, having been punched and elbowed in the face, kicked and screamed at, we had to put him to bed. Nothing we could do could calm him down, and I wasn’t about to give in and give him a story – I know rewarding tantrums doesn’t encourage good behaviour.

Did I do right?! He didn’t get his story, but equally he didn’t brush his teeth. The compromise meant we had peace, but was that the right decision?!

It’s so upsetting to see X so upset and frustrated, and putting him to bed after that broke my heart. 

He’s woken today absolutely fine. We’ve had two minor meltdowns today (over sausage rolls that were too hot to eat yet, and over me daring to offer him some juice…) but I’ve managed to distract him before they really got rolling.

Have you got any tips for handling the most epic of toddler tantrums?! What could we have done differently?

5 thoughts on “Would You Give In To A Tantrum?

  1. Hi Becki, as hard as it was I think you did right. You don’t want to make a rod for your own back by giving in to tantrums, and I’m sure that X not brushing his teeth for one night isn’t going to have too many long term repercussions.

    I think you’ll notice that if you don’t give in to a tantrum, then they will start to become few and far between, but if you start to give in X will know how to get his own way.

    One parenting philosophy I try to stick to is to choose my battles carefully, but never be swayed by strops and tantrums.

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  2. Hi Becki, I have 5 children. Ages 9 years to 18 months. I do not have the time or patience to give into tantrums. It is hard to not give in sometimes, especially to my baby, because she is after all the baby. But I know in the long run I am doing the right thing! Keep on rockin mama!


  3. I think you did the right thing. I often use bribery or compromise! If you brush your teeth you can bounce on the bed etc! It’s so hard when they work themselves into such a state ?
    If she’s kicking etc I tell her I can’t let her do that so I’m going to cuddle her until she calms down, or often I’ll lay on the floor next to her, after all she is just expressing her emotions on a subject! Even if it’s badly! Then once she’s stopped we can have a chat about it! I have no idea if this is right, but her tantrums are getting less and less. It’s so hard not to give in sometimes!

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