A little while ago, Aidan’s father gave Elspeth a DVD. It is an animated film featuring her own face in a short re-telling of The Little Mermaid. Frankly I think it stinks, but Elspeth loves it.

This afternoon, she asked to watch it – “Watch Mermaid please mum?” As she’d been a good girl today, I permitted her to watch it. Once.

When it finished, she asked for it “Again!” I said no. Once is enough.

That was twenty minutes ago, and the last twenty minutes has been filled with sobbing, hyperventilating, and nothing but the word “Mermaid” screamed over and over again.

The first few times I simply said no. My voice got firmer and firmer. “Not again. Once was enough.”  I also tried distracting her with some favourite toys and books.

But now I’m just sitting here watching and listening. This is the longest, loudest, most persistent tantrum she’s ever had. It’s very interesting, and I have no intention at all of giving in or even giving her any particular attention to reward this behaviour. I’ll just wait for her to get bored or distract herself with something.

Oh look. Thirty minutes since the start of the tantrum and she’s quiet – she asked for playdough, and is now making playdough chickens with a cookie cutter.

I knew ignoring the tantrum had to work eventually!


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