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April 11, 2009

My Daughter's Constant Freak-Outs

At some point I have to believe my daughter will stop having constant freak-outs. The only reason I maintain this hope is because none of the adults I know have them, which gives me hope that there must be a point in a child’s life where freak-outs lose their appeal. Of course, I have heard about high-powered executives who launch regular tirades at underlings, but I don’t consider that the same thing. To me, that’s a judicious display of power. That’s just showing the little people what’s what. When the little people do it, however, that’s grounds for termination. Unfortunately, according to the state laws of Connecticut, you cannot terminate your child.

Today’s incident occurred when my five-year-old daughter, whom I will call Her Shittiness, broke the propeller off a cheap paper airplane with which she was playing. This lit the fuse which soon exploded the bomb, when five minutes later the wings became detached. Now, I have certainly experienced my own frustrations with shoddy Third World workmanship. (The plane was manufactured in a country which shall remain nameless, but which is best known for their billions of people, their tasty cuisine, and for their poisonous baby formula.) But even when I am upset with poor craftsmanship, my reaction is never to start screaming at the top of my lungs, tell my father I hate him, and run away shrieking, making sure to slam every door en route to my destination, which in this case, was her bedroom.

As far as freak-outs go, it could have been worse. She might have stabbed me, for example. But the point isn’t that it might have been worse; the point is simply that it happened at all, and that these behavioral transgressions occur so often, that in my house such antics are considered de rigeur. They are as regular as the toilet clogging. I do know not the proper way to deal with either my Her Shittiness or the shittiness.

Moreover, I am not soliciting parenting advice from anybody who might be reading this post. If you offer such advice, I will not respond to you, but I will read your helpful insights and have the following thought: “Go fuck yourself.” No, I do not want your help. Because I am not the one with the problem. The problem is with my daughter, who I am beginning to think is out of her mind. Maybe that’s not a productive attitude to take towards one’s offspring, but at this point I see no alternative explanation. I have looked on WebMD to see if there is possibly a known medical condition that would explain these outbursts, and there was one: being batshit crazy.

There will be certainly be those among you who will blame her parents for her acts of domestic terrorism. But these are the same people who blame America for 9/11. Like America, I am benevolent and good. I am forthright and just. On the other hand, my daughter at some point undoubtedly lived in a cave and trained with the Mujahideen. Perhaps that’s what she was doing when I thought she was at day camp. I do not know.

What I do know is that I am quickly running out of options for dealing with her. Time-outs are ineffective. The Naughty Corner has also lost its deterrence value. Taking away toys does not work. Taking away food works, but it takes days. We do not spank our children, which is increasingly starting to feel like a foolish decision. I have so many wooden spoons, and increasingly I have found that they are talking to me. They whisper to me when I am feeling particularly frustrated. They say, “Nobody will ever know. Just one good paddling.” But I will know, and I could not live with myself if I hit a child. Strangle, perhaps. But not hit.

Only moments ago Her Shittiness came dancing downstairs from her bedroom wearing her sparkly red shoes and asking if she could have a marshmallow. I told her no, and she did not freak-out. Instead she gave me a hug and ran off singing a song about puppies. Her deviousness knows no bounds.

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Dichtenstein

It is not Parental Advice for me to casually refer to Nermal of Garfield fame, who was swiftly and effeciently dealt with by being shipped to Abu Dhabi.

christy

I think your daughter and my daughter may be related. That would be weird, huh? That would make us related. So why don't you call or write? You think you're too good for your family now?

Anyhow, I always find that the threat of a foster home will buy me a good 30 minutes of peace while my daughter cries into her pillow.

notasoccermom

I dont mean this as advice. And I apologise that I chuckled at your pain. However, I have been in your shoes. In the middle of department stores, when I seriously pretended it was not my child when others glared icy stares of judgement.

I wish I could give you an age when it disappears. I have two girls. One is 18 and an angel, now. One is 16 and still has tirades.
Hang in there. Hug her, like she does you, and tell her you love her.
Chances are if you tell her that you love when she runs through the house screaming, throwing things and slamming doors, she will stop immediately. btw- glad I found your blog on twitter.

ishkcp

The outbursts stop, but are replaced by being a complete asshole. Makes me miss the outbursts.

Nate

To be honest, I think what you described is an inherent flaw in all humans with an extra X chromosome in place of the Y.

Bexy

I think the answer might be at the bottom of a bottle. When she hits her teen years, you may need to turn to hard drugs.

Jane Wiedlin

If memory serves, I stopped at 22.
Good luck!

Steve

I don't know, man. I know adults who still throw tantrums and I may or may not be one. Be wary. Consider electroshock therapy, if worse comes to worse. For yourself.

Meg

Take heart. Before long she will be old enough to shove outside for the day. Just think, your kid could be one of those wandering-the-neighborhood types. Maybe she'll even turn tricks and bring in some income.

Heck, I don't know where my eight-year-old is right now, but if she doesn't come home with cash in hand, I don't unlock the door. That's parenting 101, my friend.

Anna B

Very cute of you, MIB!!

Reen

Neener, neener, neeee neeer!

Is God punishing you for terrorizing your parents as a child?

Is it Karma for your evil deeds?

Oh, who cares. Your pain is our pleasure.

Thanks for the hilarious read.

lauren

If you think that's bad wait till she hits her teenage years. Have fun.

Dani

I think my husband ghost-wrote this for you.

JP Lobo

Dude, you gotta get some DVDs of Supernanny. You'll see kids who freak out way worse than yours, and you'll feel tons better...probably.

Ashley

It is your fault. God is punishing you for something horrible you did earlier in life. At least, that is what I have determined as the reason anybody would be cursed with a 5 year old daughter. In my case, it was probably the time I tried to drown my sister in the pool (we were teenagers and well aware of the dangers of water). In your case it is most likely because you chose to procreate instead of adopting a baby from a 3rd world country. You should have known better. Bastard.

aj

this is why i love borrowing other people's children....you can give them back when they start acting up haha.

Karey

I see no problem with this parenting method at all. Kids are turds.

Cat

I don't have any non-advice because I don't have kids. So, thanks for the free birth control!!

Luci

Liberated Parents Liberated Children - Faber + Mazlish

monica

i need to believe that my child won't still be freaking out constantly by age 5 (he's 2 now).

i'm going to go ahead and blame your parenting just so i can get through the rest of the day.

good luck to you!

Zane

"They are as regular as the toilet clogging." - this was my favorite part.

sylviasproblem

Yeah, age 22 sounds about right. (Although well before that, I had downgraded from "constant" to "sporadic" and shifted the primary freak-out burden from my parents to my boyfriends.)

I recently had occasion to check with my dad about his strategies for addressing my childhood Behavior, and he was like, "...yeah, we pretty much decided that all we could do was assume it would level out eventually." I suspect at some point they also realized I could be batshit crazy *and* a productive member of society, and that may have helped.

thecitychicken

My 6 year old hates me on a daily basis. If anything bothers him, it's MY fault. I just go about my business, or "re-direct," as they say. I don't punish him for losing his shit. He can't help it. His emotional control is not developed yet. I do punish for hitting his brother.

sharon Hays

How old is she? that is the question in my mind

Jennifer

I'm really digging that you don't end sentences with prepositions and use "with which".

My 22 month old has just learned how to freak out, so I see I have plenty of years ahead of me.

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