Usually, Abbey is my most cheerful little student. She loves to “do school.” But this afternoon, after her spelling lesson, I guess she had just had enough.
She started to pout and grumble a little bit. I asked her to check her attitude before we had to do some discipline. A few minutes later she was in full-on fit mode: obstinate, fussy, kicking her feet under the table. Then she started to scream and cry — a rather fake cry, if you ask me. Not having any idea what triggered this outburst, and not getting any answer from her about it, I asked her to go stand in the corner. I told her that she had five minutes. If she didn’t calm herself by the end of five minutes, then I’d have to paddle her. I set the timer.
She screamed for four minutes.
After four minutes she walked back to the school table, picked up the book I had asked her to read to me, and started to read. Happily. Then she did her copywork happily.
I have no idea if I handled this the right way. I guess it all ended well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I did the right thing. I certainly don’t want her to think that was acceptable behavior or for this to become a habit. What would you have done? Should I have spanked her immediately and “given her something to cry about,” as my parents always did for me? Or is that an acceptable coping mechanism? I mean, what woman hasn’t needed a few minutes to cry and decompress?
I think I’ll have a talk with her before bed about what happened to make sure she understands that she needs to deal with her stress in her room without subjecting the rest of us to her drama.
Do your daughters ever do this?