Toddlers on the Brink: Worst Tantrums Ever

Filed under: Behavior: Toddlers & Preschoolers

Let's set the scene: You are out (running errands, in a store, in a restaurant) with your young child and seemingly out of nowhere, your kid completely melts down. You know what we're talking about -- the resistant arch in the back, the giant tears, the red face and the wails of pain and anguish that go hand-in-hand with a huge temper tantrum. People stare and shake their heads as you helplessly try to get your child to calm down, but to no avail. Your toddler is mighty unhappy, and they are going to make sure everyone knows it! Check out these terrible tantrum stories that members from the ParentDish and CafeMom.com communities shared with us.

Toddlers on the Brink: Worst Tantrums Ever

    I took my son (who is now 9) shopping at Macy's when he was about 4. I was buying clothes for him and the entire time he was moaning and whining that I was taking too long. He began to yell at me that I was a slow shopper. I was completely ignoring him and saying, "Mmmhmmm". When we were at the check out, he threw himself on the floor face down, kicking and screaming. I finished paying for my things and said to him calmly, "Are you ready to go?" He replied, "Mommy, you're fired!" I replied, "I've been waiting for you to say that for four years!"

    Corbis

    Once, when my brother was 2, and of course, couldn't talk well, he could only say "f*ck" instead of "truck." My mom was about 18 years old at the time, and she brought my brother to the store with her. They passed a toy aisle -- my brother saw a truck, and said to my mom something like, "Mommy! Can you buy me a f*uck?" She said, "no" and he started a temper tantrum, saying, "I want my f*ck, I WANT MY F*CK!" over and over, while people watched and stared.

    Photodisc

    My most memorable child meltdown came when I was five months pregnant and grocery shopping with my 2-year-old and 4-year-old. We had finished shopping and we were on line to check out when my 2-year-old son, much to his amazement, found himself at perfect eye level with about 75 different candy bars. He just assumed that the candy buffet was free for the taking. It was only when my 4-year-old started screaming that his brother was getting candy and he was not that I realized what was happening. I quickly started prying the candy bars from his little hands when he tried to bite me, kicked me and called me, "stupid mommy" before backing himself into a display of batteries. Five candy bars and a clean up on the check-out line later, we were on our way out when my 2-year-old, now in a sugar coma, grabbed onto my maternity pants and pulled them down to my ankles. For the last year I have been driving clear across town to the only other grocery store in our area.

    Getty Images

    One afternoon when she was 2, my daughter decided that she wanted to go outside and play. Usually that wasn't a big deal, as our backyard was fenced in. But no, she wanted to go out and play in the front yard, which was a problem because we lived on a busy four-lane street and if the kids played in the front yard, an adult had to be with them. Well, it was dinner time and I was in the middle of cooking, so going out front wasn't an option. I told my little angel (HA!) that her only options were the back yard or inside. The lip started to quiver and the tears welled up in her blue eyes, but the answer stayed the same -- no front yard. Then the screams started. And they grew. I don't know how loud they were in decibels, but apparently they were loud enough to be heard, not only outside of our house, but all the way on the other side of the busy four-lane street where a police officer was giving out a speeding ticket. He came to my house, knocked on my door and asked if everything was okay; all the while my youngest is still having her screamfest! When I explained what the problem was -- and offered to let him take her for the sake of peace and quiet in the neighborhood -- he turned me down and walked away laughing.

    Corbis

    When I was little, I was traveling on a plane with my parents. According to my mother, I had a big, loud tantrum -- I was cranky, my ears were bothering me and I was teething...so I was not really receptive to strangers coming anywhere near me. At one point, the flight attendant, in an effort to calm me down, came over and leaned in to help. She was soothingly touching my face, anything to cheer me up and stop me from fussing. I was clearly not too happy in general, so a strange woman touching me only made things worse. Finally, I clocked her right in the face!

    Getty Images

    My brother was over at my house, and we decided to take a quick run to the store. My 4-year-old daughter really wanted to tag along, but it was a small errand and would have been more of a hassle if she joined us, so we told her she should stay home with her dad. She was so angry we didn't let her come that as soon as we left, she marched up to her room, slammed the door and proceeded to completely trash her bedroom. Ripped posters off the wall, threw things off her furniture, stripped the bed, threw stuffed animals around...she made a total mess. Needless to say, once she calmed down, she was responsible for cleaning it all up.

    Getty Images

    I was in a crowded drug store one day with my son when he was around 2; he was in his stroller. Normally, we would go to the store at a time of day when it was less crowded, but I was in a rush and just needed to pick up a few items. There was a huge display in the store of small, Matchbox-like toy cars; my son was obsessed with cars and when we have time, we stop to look at the display and I let him pick one out. So of course this day, he wanted to stop and look at the cars, but I said, "no" because we didn't have time. He started to freak out, and then when I tried to wheel his stroller down the aisle, he put his feet through the foot rest and let them drag on the floor, so I couldn't push the stroller. He was screaming and crying, and I'm begging him to put his feet back on the foot rest -- which I couldn't do myself because my arms were loaded with items -- and everyone was staring. I took one look at the huge check-out line, dropped the items, put my son's feet back on the foot rest, and got out of there. Lesson learned -- we never went back there unless I knew we had time to check out the toy cars.

    jupiterimages

    When I was little, I attended a neighbor's birthday party. All the neighborhood kids were there in the yard, and we were playing a bunch of party games -- Musical Chairs, Pin the Tail on the Donkey, etc. Every kid who won a game got a prize; some of the prizes were in big boxes, some in smaller boxes. Clearly, I had my eye on the bigger prizes, so when I won one of the games, I was excited to get the prize I wanted. However, my neighbor's mom was the one giving them out and I was given a tiny prize. I completely freaked out! Crying, screaming, carrying on...yelling that I wanted a big prize. My parents were so embarrassed. We had to leave the party early...and I didn't even get to keep my tiny prize.

    Getty Images

    My daughter was about 3 and we were at the doctor's office to get her tested for kidney reflux. They had given her a mild tranquilizer to keep her calm while they were doing the procedure, but they didn't wait for it to kick in before they began. It finally kicked in AFTER her testing. When we were getting her dressed, she was crying and calling the nurse and me "a twit." I have no idea where she got that from, but I was trying really hard not to laugh because it was just so funny. She had never said that word before. When we got her dressed, the nurse was walking us out and we had to walk down a long hallway. During this walk, my daughter turned around many times and started running and yelling, "I need to see the doctor!" This was funny until about the fifth time. I picked her up and she fought back and promised not to run if I set her down so I did, but of course she turned and ran again. We finally got out of the clinic, and she decided she was going to drive home and would not get out of the driver's seat. I picked her up and put her back in her car seat in the back seat, and she kept unbuckling and getting into the front seat. Then, she decided she would just sit in the front on the passenger's side -- not in her car seat. I tried to explain to her -- big mistake trying to rationalize with a high 3-year-old -- that mommy would get a ticket for letting her do this because it was illegal. She really didn't care. I finally got her to stay in her seat in the back after about half an hour. She was sleeping before we even left the parking lot, thank goodness.

    Getty Images

    I was in the middle of the grocery store looking at prices of meat when my youngest, who was about 18 months, wanted something from the cart. When I told him "no" he threw his head back and forth, side to side, screaming at the top of his lungs...he reminded me of something from "The Exorcist." And of course, people are looking at me like I am the worst mother in the world, because I was letting him do this. I could not leave the store without getting food -- we were completely out of groceries -- and I knew if I picked him up it would get worse. Done this too many times and knew how it would go...I just wanted to sink into the floor.

    Getty Images

ReaderComments (Page 1 of 25)

FollowUs

Flickr RSS

TheTalkies

AskAdviceMama

AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.