Boy was I wrong!


Active Member
I thought the public rages were passed us. I was thankful, because I can no longer just pick her up and force her into a car seat with a 5 point harness that she can't get out of.

I took her to a thing with her Brownie troop yesterday, at the mall. After the little party, we all went to Friendly's for lunch. She did well until she lost a bracelet that she had gotten in her goody bag. We couldn't find it anywhere in the restaurant.

We left and went next door to a Sears so I could use the bathroom. Now, just last week, there was an 8 year old boy who was molested in a bathroom at a very upscale department store. We were just talking about it at Friendlys. Well Missy decided to plant her but in the lounge area on the other side of a wall separating the stalls, right by the door. I asked her to come around. She refused. I finally got her to come around, but she screamed and cried the whole time I was in the stall. Then she said she just wanted her bracelet. I told her that had she not behaved the way she did, I would have gone back to the store and gotten it for her, but I would not, now.

We walked thhrought the mall and right past the store, where she again asked if we were going there and I said no. Well, the rage started. She screamed all the way out to the car, refused to get in, got in, then got back out. Kicked the car, the seats, refused to put her seatbelt on and refused to close the car door. I called husband and asked him to come and get her. In the meantime, I'm concerned for her saftey regarding the mall parking lot. Hundreds of people are walking by wondering what the heck is going on. I didn't even care. Finally, after about 20 minutes of this, she got in the car and put her seatbelt on and I drove off with her screaming at the top of her lungs over this stupid bracelet. Then husband met me half way. We switched cars and I drove home withh easy child.

That will be the very last time she goes to one of these parties. I absolutely refuse to put myself in that position again. She has a couple of them coming up and she will not be going.

Have any of you been in that position in the middle of a mall parking lot? What do you do? I fear for her safety. I was just hoping she wouldn't take off on me. I threatened to leave without her if she wouldn't get in (which I wouldn't have done) but that finaly got her in the car, but she still wouldn't close the door or buckle her seatbelt. It still didn't stop her from screaming so stinking loud that my ears are still rining the next day.

Ya wanna know the kicker of it all? She had to spend the afternoon in her room. She took a nap and when she woke up, she went through her stuff and found that [email protected] bracelet. I told her that I should take it away, but I won't. I told her to enjoy it, because that would be the last time she'd go to one of those places.


New Member
Hi...I feel your pain. I've been in this situation as well. It seems to be getting better then something happens (my child is 6 1/2 as well). This is probably terrible advice but one time I threatened to call the police and that seemed to get mine in better control. I actually got out my cell phone and pretended to dial....

I wish I had some brillant advice for you. I guess I think back to the Explosive Child book. Was this really worth the meldown? Could you have negotiated with her on her behavior and retrieved the bracelet with her also improving her attitude?

Gosh, this is the hardest thing for me. I don't want to reward bad behavior, but mine has got me terrified of meltdowns in public. I'm ready to throw in the towel, too.

I have to go to church but I'll think on this awhile. Let you know if I have any ideas.


Well-Known Member
I remember those days only too well. I think I have PTSD because everytime I read something that reminds me of the horrible years I went through with difficult child I get a tightness in my chest and I feel myself getting angry.

I use to tell my difficult child the same thing, enjoy it because it's the last time you'll ever go, hoping it would make her think about what she did and maybe behave better the next time, but it didn't, it never had any difference, Te rages still came anytime she didn;t get what she wanted.

And I too have played the switcheroo game with husband while driving just so I could calm down and have some peace.

Sorry it worked out that way.



New Member
been there done that. In fact, it was one of these refusing to get in the car, buckle the seatbelt, and close the door rages that landed M in the psychiatric hospital the first time. We'll call it the straw that broke the camels back, if you will. Thankfully :::knock on wood::: we haven't had one of those on the new medications....yet.

In a way, I sort of agree with Suzy. Looking back, was it *really* worth the meltdown? In the big, grand scheme of things, would it have been appropriate to "Basket C" this event and call it day?

Also, as for future parties...had it not been for the misplacement of the bracelet, how did she do? Did she get along with the other girls? Did she follow the rules? Did she behave? I always try to remember that my main goal is to improve the quality of life my difficult child has and to give him as many opportunities to create relationships with others (he isolates himself). So, for me, I think I'd be more willing to let my difficult child attend future parties and work on a more proactive approach on how can I prevent future meltdowns at these things and maybe schedule some post-party time for myself to recover! LOL

I hope you're feeling better today. It sounds like a rough day. Like I said, I've TOTALLY been there done that! It's no fun. It's downright stressful and embarrassing! Hopefully you took some time to pamper your inner self last night. :::hugs:::


Active Member
I think most of us can count on the fact that even when our difficult child's seem through with public rages, many still have a fight left in them if the conditions are right.

I feel your pain, since my difficult child loses things as well and perservates until them item is found. He's reached the age now when I can suggest we put off looking for it until ____, but for years this situation usually meant we stopped everything and did the search. I learned after a lot of fusses that oftentimes the item was right beneath his nose somewhere and he just couldn't see it.

Like Suzy suggested, you might want to think back over the situation to see if it was really worth the meltdown and cutting her off from future social situations which probably would be beneficial to her. That's something only you can decide but I generally will overlook a lot to continue a variety of social interactions since so much of a person's future success depends on their ability to function with other human beings.

Sorry you had to go through this--it always feels terrible.


Active Member
The reason I didn't go back for the bracelet was the blantant disobedience regarding the bathroom situation. To me, THAT was the basket A and the punishment was not getting the bracelet. Like I said, there was a recent child molestation in a bathroom at the mall. Where she was sitting was way too accessible to someone walking by and grabbing her. It was a Saturday afternoon with rain in the forecast and the mall was packed! It was just too accessible to someone grabbing her and they would have been gone in no time, as the exits were also near by.


Well-Known Member
I, too, wrestle with-the conflict between blatant defiance, and whether to avoid a meltdown. Now that my difficult child is older, I can delay the consequences, and say, "You are not behaving right now. I will do this for you (ie go back to look) but it will cost you a whole day of videos. Is it worth it?"
Now, a 6-yr-old probably can't negotiate that, so I don't know what to offer.
Sosososososo sorry that the bracelet was still at home!
Can you get her to do something special for you, since she inconvenienced you and she had the bracelet all along? I have difficult child write "I'm sorry for throwing a fit at the mall," 10X once he's calmed down.
At any rate, been there, done that.
So sorry.


New Member
Ya know, I'm still really new to this group but just reading about other people's kids doing stuff like this is sooooo theraputic for me. My difficult child is 9 now and doesn't have those full out rages in public TOO often any more but I look back at some of them and just roll my eyes. My favorite ones were in the school parking lot when he'd refuse to get out of the car. You have 100 other parents in cars around you watching as you fling open doors, hit the remote open button repeatedly, dive head first into the car like a speeding bullet through various doors and tailgates and eventually emerge with a foot attached to a body that has hands still clinging to something that won't budge in the car. Once he made the mistake of trying to hold onto the booster seat so that came out with him and made it all the way to the sidewalk before he let go. Sigh.

And someone tell me why it's so much easier to see what you could have or should have done in the heat of the moment and not be able to do it when needed? Must be one of those rote things that after enough time we can do it right?



Well-Known Member
I did everything I could to avoid the meltdown. My difficult child did not step foot in a mall with me for about 4 years. I just refused to bring her there. Not worth it. As for birthday parties and such, it was so stimulating to her that I never would bring her anywhere afterwards - except straight home. She could then wind down from the event. I agree with your Basket A reasoning, but I would rethink the cutting off from social gatherings all together. I think that could be detrimental to her social growth. Just be sure to remember after the social event, it is time for quiet time at home.


Active Member
The reason I didn't go back for the bracelet was the blantant disobedience regarding the bathroom situation. To me, THAT was the basket A and the punishment was not getting the bracelet. Like I said, there was a recent child molestation in a bathroom at the mall. Where she was sitting was way too accessible to someone walking by and grabbing her. It was a Saturday afternoon with rain in the forecast and the mall was packed! It was just too accessible to someone grabbing her and they would have been gone in no time, as the exits were also near by.

This is where every parent has to make their own Basket A calls. Once my difficult child reached that point of total defiance heading towards meltdown, no lesson ever penetrated through regardless of the consequence. Believe me, it wasn't for a lack of trying on my part either! In the end I found I usually gained more ground overall by avoiding the meltdown and reinforcing the lesson I was trying to teach using explanation when he was calmer.


New Member
Boy oh boy I can relate, my difficult child is now 16 so her rages in public are a bit more eye catching than they were when she was just learning how to rope me in. I have had many of those experiences in my day. To be honest I miss those tantrums, screaming and kicking. Now my public humiliation is being cursed out and threatened. Thats always fun!! People looking wondering how on her earth I could let her get away with that, what kind of mother am I? Or the best is when they actually have the "you know whats" to insult me. I always had the urge to explain to them what really was going on. It drove me nuts, these people judging me, thinking Im such a bad parent. Meanwhile I have probably done more for my child in one week then they have in their lifetime!!!! Now I just try to shrug those sneers and little comments off, I know that I am a warrior mom and those people dont pay my bills or offer any help so who gives a S**t what they think!!!!!!!!

And of course she had the bracelet the whole time. I think we all live right in the thick of irony everyday.


Well-Known Member
Staff member

I have to start with saying that my perspective on this may be skewed because my difficult child never had public rages or tantrums. Even her school behavior was perfect. She saved her rants and rages for us at home starting in her teenage years. Her speciality was doing sneaky things like sneaking out of the house at night and drinking and doing drugs.

Having said that, I would have a very hard time rewarding such blatant disobediance and disrespectful behavior with getting her another bracelet to stop a tantrum or avoid a rage. I agree with you on safety being basket A (although I'm not a big fan of the Explosive Child anyway).

As far as future parties, maybe you can have her skip the next one as a consequence of her behavior and then let her try the one after that. Maybe she will put two and two together. . . or we could only hope.

Sorry that you had such a hard time. I hope that your ears have stopped ringing.



Well-Known Member
I have another opinion. If she has early onset bipolar (is she taking Trileptal or just a supplement of it? I'm confused) she is going to have meltdowns. If she gets on the right medications, they may go away, but otherwise they are going to happen and they are not particularly within her self-control without medications. I speak from experience. Bipolar is a serious medical/psychiatric condition and I wouldn't expect the child never to rage, even in public, until completely stable and even then there could be a slippage. Maybe the party was too much stimulation for her so maybe it's good for her not to go to them, but not as a punishment, as a preventative. I remember rages as something I couldn't stop once they started--not until I got on the right medications. They continued on into adulthood. Take what you will from this. I just don't feel bipolar kids are totally in control or that discipline helps as much as finding the right treatment. Hopefully, she can be stable by the time she reaches eighteen. Hugs and I'm sorry you had it rough and sorry for her that she lost control. Raging like that is NEVER fun for the child nor is it over a bracelet. It may START because of a bracelet, but, at the end of the day, it's about not having the same controls as other kids and not being able to back down once you get upset. Been there/done that--it's hard to explain if you've never experienced it. These kids cycle and may have "up" days, months, or even years, but they will cycle unless they take something to stop the cycling and the rages often happen in between mania and depression. I think your child knows her behavior is inappropriate and I'll bet it scares her. I doubt, no matter how hard you punish her, it will help her because it's, in my opinion, not within her control. She knows right from wrong. She just can't do it. I don't think it's a "brat" issue. Ask her how she feels after a rage. I used to feel like killing myself to save my family from my behavior, but I couldn't stop the behavior completely. (My psychiatrist said that Lithium and Lamictal are the best medications for bipolar. I don't know if he's right about the Lamictal, but I've heard really good things about that one and know Lithium is good)


Well-Known Member
Just a quick offering....I don't think delayed justice works with
complex difficult children. Chances are there will be no "cause and effect"
connection were you to keep her from attending another party.

Due to the safety issue, however, I think it "might" be a good
idea to focus on avoiding a repeat of that behavior. DDD

PS: GFGmom used to sneak out the door after dinner and "go visit" neighbors. It was terrible and my two PCs and I would
have to go on scouting missions to find her..praying the whole
time that nobody had offered her a ride. She would have said
yes in an instant and she was a beautiful little girl. Anyway...
I decided to draw a line in the sand and told her "if you EVER
go outside our house after dark again I will give your Bobo
bear to children who have no toys!" Her eyes got big. I thought
I had finally made my point. A week later she snuck out the door
and went to visit a neighbor. We found her and brough her home.
I had her get Bobo bear and the two of us drove to the Salvation
Army drop box. She begged. She sobbed. She shook. I stuck
to my guns. Bobo bear went down the slot. Forty years later I
still remember that evening vividly. It did NO good as a learning experience about the dangers of going out after dark.
The only thing she remembered was "my Mommy gave my Bobo bear

Moral: Some of our children are not capable of understanding
the lessons.


New Member
You have my sympathy.

It's been a while since Seb has had an ongoing, knock down drag out meltdown in public. But I've been there. And I have had the looks and that anxiety about just getting through the moment in time.

We've graduated to short bursts of rage / inappropriate emotion in public.

Take today for example. Seb had a sensory moment at baseball; he won't wear his team cap and he doesn't like the feel of the batter's helmet. Today he started to scream bloody murder when he donned the helmet. He was jumping and writhing and crying all the while two teams and eager parents were waiting for him to get on with it. It's painful to watch. He proceeded to strike out as usual.

Then, later in the game, when a member of the other team hit a home run he had a full melt down-- crying, throwing his glove, lying in the dirt by third base. Mortifying.

I didn't want him to play baseball because it's always one misery or another but he begged.

I just want to offer my sympathies. It's so draining.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
You know - I've been here so many times that it's not very often that kt goes to a store with me. Her world has gotten very very small.

I don't blame you - this terrifies me. I've learned to take a book & my phone along. I can wait out most rages; I have been known to call husband for help or if it's beyond that the crisis team or 911 for help.


New Member
i too have had many public meltdowns (usually in the school parking lot) the last one we had was because he wanted to use the restroom at home instead of school after an appointment. well home is about 2 minutes away, but i had told him that he could go to the restroom at school and i didn't want to go back on what i said. now that i look back on it, i should have just taken him to school and discussed it later. meltdowns are so hard on the child and the parent and they usually never end with either parent or child getting anything that they had wanted to get out of it. over the years as difficult child 1 and difficult child 2 were younger any time we had a social gathering of any kind i arranged it so that i could take them home right after. then we had a calm period of reading or watching a family movie. also anything that they recieved at the party i would hold on to, so that it wouldn't be misplaced, and result in meltdown. I think if i remember right, we always left everything at home or in car that wasn't clothing, just so it wouldn't get lost. i understand completely about the bathroom thing. but me having boys, it was a little hard. so if i had to use the bathroom, i would talk to them the whole time so that i knew that they were still there. if they had to go, i would stand at the door of the men's restroom and talk to them as well. hopefully this helps, "hugs" sent your way panda


I can't count how many times I've left a cart full of groceries in the middle of the store because I've had to leave due to a raging difficult child. (I used to feel bad about that, too, until I saw the look of relief on so many faces when I left.) As a single parent, the option of not taking her with me was just not there. Unless I wanted to pay a babysitter everytime I went to the store, and I didn't and couldn't anyway.

If she is bipolar, then she does have little control over her rages and the reward/consequence thing is just not going to be effective. If she gets overstimulated, then next time just make sure she goes straight home to quiet time after. My opinion is that they need to have an opportunity to have these experiences. Besides the social aspect, they need to have opportunities to learn how to cope, with our guidance, with the feelings/emotions/stimulation that these things prompt.


New Member
It's been many years since I've had to deal with a situation like this. My difficult child usually saved his worst behavior for home, when he had a melt-down in public it was big trouble. He was in a bad way, not in control of himself at all. The situation usually escalated quickly to the point that safety was a concern (physically attacking me, running wild in the parking lot, throwing open car doors in moving vehicles). It was very frightening. I had no time to think about consequences or baskets or anything other than getting him home safely. I carried a cell phone too. Consequences came later, after he was calmed down.

I agree that delayed punishments do not work well for difficult child's. I would not prevent her from attending all social gatherings in the future either. Maybe "restitution" could come in the form of a written apology or an additional chore.

I'm sorry you had to go through this-it's definitely not a fun place to be.