10 Craziest Reasons for a Toddler Meltdown

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Posted by Miriam Axel-Lute

Before I became the parent of a toddler, I harbored what I figure is a pretty common belief: That toddler tantrums are generally caused by being told "no." Particularly things like "No I won't buy you that shiny/sugary thing on the shelf," "No you can't stay up any longer," or "No it's not your turn."

Those things cause their share of fits, to be sure, but the dirty little secret is that it's rarely so predictable. One of the major problems with toddler tantrums is that it's often hard to keep from giggling at what causes them, even though your darling child is in the middle of heartfelt distress.

Here's a sampling of 100% true meltdown triggers I've collected. Can you top them?

  1. "There was the 'I want to eat your eyeball' tantrum. I am not kidding. You probably think I made this up, but I cross my heart and hope to die-one of mine went into all out hysterics that I would not let him eat my eyeball."

  2. "My daughter had a bit of apple peel stuck in her teeth and asked to floss. When I got out the floss and broke off a piece, she said she didn't want it after all. I laid it on the sink and 10 minutes later she wanted it, but it had been knocked on the floor or under something and it couldn't be found. Instant and sustained panic. A new piece wouldn't do. It was like that one previously spurned five-inch piece of floss was a beloved puppy gone missing."

  3. "Mine actually scared herself while telling her own scary story and freaked out tremendously."

  4. "We went into the bedroom at bedtime in the wrong order (not that we knew that there was an established order)."

  5. "My daughter has been known to lose it if I start to sing 'Sugar Mountain.' She told me later that only daddy can sing that because he knows all the words and I only know a little bit of the words. At least it's not because I can't carry a tune."

  6. "We got new silverware for Christmas, and my daughter FREAKED out when my husband walked out the door with the old stuff to give to a guy moving into an apartment. She was inconsolable."

  7. "I gave my 3-year-old a sippy cup of juice and when he didn't say thank you I said, 'What do you say?' And he mumbled, 'Thank you.' Then I turned around and he started wailing. I thought he stepped on a nail or something. I asked him what was wrong and he said, 'I don't want to say thank you!'"

  8. "Smile for the camera! Oh, OK, you don't want to smile ... that's fine, no big deal ... wait, why are you crying ... it's OK! You don't have to look at the camera ... no, you don't have to be in the ... wait, sweetie, please stop screaming ... please stand up ... too loud, too loud ... f--- it, honey, put the camera away."

  9. "My four-year-old cries over the irrationality of pi. Can't blame her. Infinity's harsh."

  10. "I'm remembering the one thrown over the Spiderman attached to the toothbrush (it was part of the toothbrush design, a spider-man climbing a building). 'He wants to get off the building!' followed by screaming fits and toppled furniture. Then, after he was successfully removed by a sucker adult (not me folks, I knew better): 'My toothbrush is broken! Spiderman's broken!'"

(Thanks to everyone who shared a story with me! Add yours!)

Photo by hyperscholar.

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