One Question to Help Stop a Tantrum

Bill Bounds

The other night, our little girl had what my wife and I call a nuclear melt-down of a tantrum while we were in a store. It was one for the history books. It was our fault in that we went to the store with her after her bedtime, so the littlest thing was guaranteed to snowball into a melt-down of at least some proportion. This one, however, was a monster.

Because I won’t tolerate a tantrum in a store or similar public place, I left my wife doing the shopping and took our girl outside. Normally, this separation from the venue and a firm talking to will start her calming down. This time, calming down wasn’t in the cards.

After a short time, when it became clear to me she wasn’t going to calm down and when passers-by began looking at me very suspiciously, I took her to the car. Realizing we were going to the car and that we were definitely not going back into the store caused her head to literally explode with rage (okay, not literally, but the tantrum most definitely escalated beyond its already extreme state.)

No kidding, when we were finally driving out, with our girl’s tantrum still in full effect, I was pulled over by a police officer who, when he walked up to my window, looked at our girl then at me and asked, “Um, everything okay here?” Someone had actually called the police out of concern that we were abusing her! (He quickly assessed we weren’t and let us on our way.)

There’s no real advice to share here in my anecdote. I decided to document this for no other reason but to show that, no matter how hard you try and how good at tantrum-avoidance you feel you may be, those occasional full melt-downs are just going to happen from time.

Bill Bounds is the author of Forty Weeks of Keeping Your Head Down,  the story of one man’s journey from “guy” to “father” and all it took to safely make it across that particular finish line. The trip wasn’t always fun, wasn’t always easy and wasn’t always pretty to look at, but it was a great one!