12 Year Old Baby
NOTE: While this is a question and answer dealing with temper tantrums there folows a stream of conversation about teens who want to wear diapers that may interest, and hopefully inform, you.
Dear Little Miss,
I have a 12-yr-old daughter who yells at me every single day about one thing or another and still has some pretty big tantrums. It’s usually over things like being asked to clean her room or do her chores, which are definitely appropriate for her age in terms of both difficulty and scope. Her idea of “fair” is getting what she wants. She cries unbelievably loudly when she’s really bent out of shape and if I want to be heard over her bellowing I have to raise my voice. She wants us to have a close relationship but she’s driving me not only insane but further and further away with each of her episodes. Please help!
Dear Tantrum Tamer,
It sounds to me like your daughter forgot to leave the temper tantrums back with her diapers and old baby toys. If she isn’t willing to give up the baby manners then I see no reason why she should have given up everything else from that stage in her life too. I suggest that, the next time she is away from the house, you should restore things to their proper order. Remove all of her big girl toys (hide them where she won’t be able to get them) and leave in her a room a basket of diapers, binkies, and rattles. I’m sure she will throw one doozie of a tantrum for you after seeing what you’ve done, but at least her room will fit her actions. Once the screaming stops just firmly state that when she can prove that she has given up acting like a baby, you will stop treating her like one. Make sure she proves herself by behaving like a big kid for 2 weeks straight, which includes doing her big girl chores, before you give her toys back. If she acts up again then start the count all over again. She will be bored out of her mind so make sure you have some grown up things for her to do such as her chores, good books to read, letters to write to family, or maybe you two could start spending some grown up time together. Let the room do the punishing, just ignore any tantrums and love your daughter whenever she is acting in a mature manner. If you start to do something fun together and she decides to throw a tantrum, just calmly stop what you are doing, turn around and go home or put the game away, and let her know that she must be tired and needs a rest (you would do the same for any little baby). I think a desire to enjoy big girl life again will help her to change the way she behaves rather quickly. And if she repeats the behavior once her toys are returned then just give her another dose of the same medicine.