Wednesday 29 June 2011

Today's Review: Amelia's Tantrum

Another day of working the evening, another day that I had yet to review something before I got home. "What shall I review tonight?" I thought, getting closer to home, "Not much time to write it, it'll have to be something quite small". My thoughts were promptly cut off by the sound of a child crying. "Whose brat is playing up now?" I pondered, "My kids go to bed wonderfully and sleep through.

But lo and behold, approaching my front door, I realise that it is in fact my child screaming. In I went, to get the lowdown on the situation. We tend to put a movie on for the kids when they get into bed, call that bad parenting, but I have no idea how it is. Amelia had watched a Barbie film before bed today, and gone to sleep quite nicely. However, when she woke up later that evening decided she wanted to watch it again. At half 10 at night. My wife-to-be wasn't particularly open to that idea, so after many of an exchange of "I want Barbie on" and "No" the Barbies were promptly taken away, and Amelia was told she could not have them until the morning. This is where I came in.

Amelia decided to fill me in on her current state as well, by trying me with an "I want Barbie on". "No," I said, "You need to go to bed". I managed to calm her down enough that I could make out what she was saying, and attempted to explain that the sooner she goes to sleep, the sooner she can wake up and watch Barbie again. Unfortunately Amelia said her sleep was all broken, so the only option I could see was for her to fix it or stay in bed awake all night. She wasn't too pleased with that, and was convinced that the only solution to her problem was more Barbie.

So the tantrum continued. Various negotiations were attempted, but all met with resistance. The sleep was clearly broken. After a while I decided that taking her TV away would drive my point home, and having issued the threat I had to straddle the stairgate to get in and unplug it. It certainly made her cry more, but it didn't quite convince her that bed was the best place to be to not have her stuff confiscated.

Alex was stirring. With more screaming he would wake up, and it would be hard to get him back to sleep again. So I had to go to the last resort. Over the last couple of months Amelia has taken a toy dalmation around with her wherever she goes, lovingly named Pongo. I explained to her that if she did not get into bed at the count of five, Pongo would be taken away and she'd never have him again. Didn't work either. Persistent little bugger she is. So now Pongo is beside me, and although much more screaming took place afterwards, demanding the return of Pongo, at present the room is quiet. Amelia is sitting in bed now, and after I let her stew for a little while I shall return her toy. Fortunately, while my daughter is a very stubborn and persistent person, she takes after me, and I've had more practice. Soon she shall go to sleep, all that screaming probably made her tired. Then she'll wake up in a wonderful mood, because that's what children do.

This is probably the worst tantrum we've had in a while, but probably not the worst ever. I've rarely had to go as far as taking away Amelia's favourite toy, but it seemed it was the only option this time. Negative punishment is often an effective behavioural method, my dad used it on me when I was a kid, and although I hated him at the time, I can see it was a good thing. It sure wins over beating the crap out of your child anyway.

My rating: 1/5

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