This question comes from Tobi, mom of Z – the cute little Ethiopian girl with Cortical Visual Impairment. -Ann Z
I have a question that I’m wondering if others struggle with, and if so, what they do about it. My daughter is now 3 1/2 and is finally tolerating her glasses very well. In fact, she often asks for them first thing in the morning and becomes annoyed when we take them off for bed. This is great. What isn’t so great is that her glasses have become an emotional weapon of sorts. Here’s what I mean: when she gets frustrated or mad at something, she yanks her own glasses off and throws them down on the ground. Sometimes she will even kick or stomp on them!
She has some developmental delays, and so this kind of behavior is fairly consistent with her developmental age, which is about 2 1/2. When I give them back to her, after she appears a bit calmer, she freaks out again, only the second time around she will cry and say her glasses are off, she needs her glasses. Again, I give them to her, and she whips them across the room. I say “glasses all done, we don’t throw glasses” or something to that effect, and she goes bonkers — “I need my glasses! I no see!”
So my question is, how do parents deal with glasses and temper tantrums. Is it cruel to withhold the glasses until the kid calms down? (I’m inclined to say that’s not cruel, that’s just drawing a line.) What about saying: “If you don’t treat them well, I will take away your glasses” – when she really doesn’t understand this consequences thing yet? It’s so painful to watch her in one of these tantrums, and then without her glasses things really go from bad to worse. I feel I’m being manipulated, but I have no idea how to stop this cycle.