When Good Kids Go Bad

Of course, I was under no illusions. I may not have known much about motherhood but I knew that the chubby-legged, gurgling, happy baby who loved me with every fiber of his tiny being wouldn't stay that way forever. I knew there would come a time when the foundations of our house would shake under the slamming of bedroom doors and my ears would ring from bellows of 'I HATE YOU!'

I just didn't think it would be so soon.

At two there were plenty of tantrums but they were mostly whiny and cry-y. The type of sulky defiance that has an 'it's not faaaaiiiiirrrr' vibe to it but doesn't really go anywhere. At three the tantrums are apoplectic, furious and have more of an 'I WANT YOUR HEAD ON A STICK, MOTHER' vibe to them. Wild eyed, red faced, flailing, shrieking, flinging, thrashing, violent, fury that often erupts from something as simple as being told 'no, you can't put that expensive, battery operated toy in the bath' or 'please don't stand on the cat'.

Truthfully, it's an eyeopener. Sometimes I'm horrified and other times I just stand there agog, stunned by the drastic change in my usually placid, loving, well mannered son. It's like he's a different boy. Not one that has been raised by me - a (mostly) civilised human - in a rural farming village. But one that has been raised by wolves in the deepest, darkest depths of the jungle. Sent out into the wild to test his strength of character like on the film 300 and returned to me as an absolute savage.

While I joke, it's actually not that funny when you have a stocky three year old flailing his limbs in your direction, bellowing inaudible fury into your face and throwing objects at your head (lesson 1,323,434 of parenting: a plastic tractor to the eye socket hurts...bad). And if I'm honest, I still don't really know how to handle it. I'm not a believer in hitting back. If I shout at him, he shouts back and we both get angrier. Mostly I try to ignore it but it's really quite difficult to ignore those sort of decibels. I find myself wondering what Supernanny would do but I really don't feel that getting down on his level and telling him 'his behaviour is unacceptable' will cut it when he's thrashing about his bedroom floor like a rabid weasel.

Thankfully the rages don't last long. Within minutes he'll calm down and sidle up to me sheepishly, offering a half hearted apology. I'll explain that what he did was wrong and we'll go about our day. It'll be a while before the Hulk will raise his ugly, green head again and the rest of the time I'm blessed with a lovely, happy little boy. But the rages bother me. I can't help but wonder what can possibly make a three year old so angry? Why is it always directed at me? Does he really, properly hate me? I've read up on it and apparently these sort of tantrums are common in kids his age - hormones and all that. But still...

I'd love to know how you handle your children's tantrums. Especially ones that turn particularly savage. Time out? Smacking? Ignore it? Or hide under your bed until it's over?

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows


  1. Oh gosh, my girl is 3 next month and we've had a few mega tantrums lately but nothing that hasn't been sorted with a time out on the stairs. I'm sure she'll take it up a notch soon! I'm with you on not hitting back, I just can't justify telling her not to hit others if it is ok for us to to do it to her. For me, ignoring (and that is SO hard) really is the best way, then loads and loads of praise for good behaviour during the rest of the day. It also depends if its near mealtime/bedtime as I can make allowances if she's getting hungry or tired.
    And no, he doesn't hate you at all. It's just his frustration talking x

  2. We're starting to get a little taste of tantrums. So far I have been hiding. No idea what I'll do in the future. Cross my fingers and hope it doesn't happen to me? I'm sure we'll get some terrible ones too. When I was little mine were infamous. Chin up, chuck. At least you know the majority of the population has had kids who does that so should be understanding.

    Thanks so much for linking up with #fartglitter

  3. I just wrote a comment, internet ate it. I really have no advice. I hate the tantrums, the growls, the screams, the yelling, the fights, the stress of asking for something and being answered in growl. I wil send good vibes and I hope you find the inner peace (like kungfu panda) to be able to overcome the tantrum era. #fartglitter

  4. I really feel your pain. Mine doesn't yet have the vocab to scream he hates me - but I know he thinks it! He managed 'Not love you!' the other day - owch. I kind of thought I'd escaped the 'terrible two's' but S was clearly just a bit delayed as they have come out in full force lately and I have zero idea how to cope. Just like you, I appreciate it can seem funny in hindsight, but at the time it is pretty gruelling. I pass you the wine and chocolate and hope this phase passes soon x