Sometimes a girl just needs to cry

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?

10 Comments on “Sometimes a girl just needs to cry

  1. Forgive me for chuckling but this so reminds me of my youngest girl, who was (and is) generally cheerful and cooperative, but also knew exactly how to manipulate things to always avoid the worst consequence.

    IMHO, you handled it all admirably.

    Maybe during the bed time talk she’ll be able to explain more what was going on in her head and that’ll give you a clue as to what to do if it happens again.


  2. Landed here on a fluke. Had to laugh. Today my oldest daughter and I had one of those homeschool days that make you want to start the day all over or make it end quickly. Different scenario than yours but the bottom line is she needed to cry and so I let her. I don’t have any boys but I’m thinking this is a girl thing and it’s only just begun!


    • Though you landed at my blog on a fluke, I’m glad you stuck around for a few minutes to leave a comment. Thanks for the encouragement. It’s good to know I’m not the only mom who’s learning to parent a daughter. I have two boys, too, and they’re so different!


  3. I learned early on that “snap out it” was a sure-fire way to disaster πŸ˜‰ Giving that girl some time (within reason) to collect herself is reality based discipline with some grace for good measure!

    As hormones progress and life appears to be “UNBEARABLE” to the teenager we have to be careful how often we allow for these moments of weeping … cause they could last all day πŸ˜‰

    I love this precious little glimpse of your day … and thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement … they mean a whole lot πŸ™‚


  4. It sounds like you handled it well….you showed her grace, but also let her know her behavior was unacceptable. My daughter does this kind of thing, but she’s only 3 and it’s hard to figure out how to handle it right.


  5. I managed to subscribe to the wordpress “homeschool tag” feed, and came her from my reader. My 4 y.o. has fits so often, especially when she’s looking for control, and I can’t give it to her. We always just tell her to go cry in her room- it’s fine to cry if she needs to, but we don’t want to listen to her tantrum. Not sure if it’s the right answer, but it’s what we do πŸ™‚


  6. Hey Leslie! Loved the story. πŸ™‚ Leah may be following in Abbey’s footsteps. I’ll try to keep you posted on that in the future. πŸ™‚ How are things going with your almost-11-year-old? I’m finding that girls are a little more complex than boys so far. Your opinion?


  7. Oh, my, yes we’ve had those days! Not so much from my 4 year old, but buckets of tears from the ten year old. Her dad is the one who really understands her, though. And he is really good at knowing when to say enoughs enough. I’ve also found that sometimes just taking a break to go outside and hug cats or walk to the mailbox is enough to reset her temperment as well. For me it’s hard to know if it’s rebellion about not wanting to do school work, or something else like being really upset about her grandfather passing away. I think you did a great job. Sometimes it’s so hard to know what to do in the moment. Taking a few minutes to let it out seems pretty reasonable to me! I read somewhere recently that for some women crying is like sweating. Just a natural resonse to “whatever” that sometimes just needs to come out. Wierd.


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