Emotional Warfare and Other Soda-Related Evils

Let me start by saying – this all started with a soda.

My ten-year old daughter has a big report due tomorrow. Knowing I didn’t have time to cook, help her and tend to the other two kids – I decided to buy a pizza for dinner. I decided to treat the kids with a soda. I bought one 20 ounce Sierra Mist. My toddler was the only child with me when I made the purchase. He proceeded to scream the entire way home, demanding soda, “RIGHT NOW!” I explained he needed to stop whining or he wouldn’t get any soda… at all. He managed to survive the ride home.

When we got home, my seven-year old son, realizing I’d only purchased one 20 ounce bottle, hollered, “WHAT? Only one SMALL one?!” I told him he should be grateful for what he was being given and that soda was a treat – a treat he would not get if he didn’t behave.

I poured all three children a small cup of soda and went downstairs to set down my coat and purse. In the seconds it took me to accomplish that task, the two oldest children had already begun fighting. My ten-year old daughter was crying, saying something about her seven-year old brother saying he hated her. He claimed she did something to him, yada yada… he said, she said. I walked to the table, picked up both their glasses and dumped them out in the sink.

This small act on my part was met with the child-size equivalent of civil war. My son tore his glasses off his face, crumpling his homework in a ball. My daughter stormed off to her room. My toddler guzzled his cup of soda – the only one not taken away.  

Minutes later, as my first grader and I were having a long talk about acceptable behavior, my daughter appeared with a piece of paper. She threw it down in a huff and returned, dramatically, to her room. This is what she left for me.

Let me again say, this entire event began over a single, 20 ounce bottle of soda.

She returned a few minutes later with another piece of paper. This one asked me to “check yes or no” if I hated her. She left it in the same dramatic fashion. When there was no response on my part within her designated amount of time – she came back again. This time she asked if I had read her letters. I said, “Yes. I don’t respond to emotional blackmail.” She said, “Oh, okay then.” She then completely changed course, told me she loved me and sat at the table like the most pleasant fourth grader you’ve ever met. WHAT THE… ???

I’ve learned a few important things tonight:

Soda will not return to my home.

My kids really need a refresher course on what is acceptable behavior.

If this is what the tween years hold… I should start preparing now for life with a teenager.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Suzanne
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 21:38:45

    Oh my gosh! Yes, the teenage years sound very daunting! There are definite triggers to highly emotional child behavior. It’s very odd how a seemingly generous offer to your child (watch a little tv/dvd, have some candy/sweet treat) makes them moody, irritable and/or mad: clearly the opposite anticipated and welcomed behavior! Good job on standing firm and being clear headed.


  2. erin
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 22:04:29

    I am so totally laughing out loud right now…. sounds like an evening in my house and mine are 7 4&4. My son(7) wrote a note pretty similar to that to his dad saying he wasn’t going to speak to him for a WHOLE WEEK!!!!!!!! (That is how he wrote it) although it lasted all of 10 minutes.. here is my hope he is going thru all the pre teen stuff early so when he actually gets there he’s going to be perfect……yeah I know I’m reaching, but one can hope right???


  3. cabg
    Nov 01, 2012 @ 23:05:06

    Don’t forget to inform your daughter that she is right, you are not her friend. A mom’s number one job is safety, not making everyone happy. Happiness only happens after everything is moving smoothly.


    • Mom Land
      Nov 02, 2012 @ 16:43:08

      cabg, fine line. We want to be there from them, but yep, she still needs to learn respect.


      • cabg
        Nov 05, 2012 @ 00:49:01

        30 years ago my sister left an equally angry and childish rebuttal on her bedroom door. My dad still giggles about it to this day and I’m sure if I asked he could go run and find that note within a 10-minute notice.

  4. Stephanie
    Nov 02, 2012 @ 16:08:06

    All I can say is oh my gosh! I often wonder what goes through little kids minds.


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