Mercy When it Matters: The Three-Year-Old's Tantrum


Copyright 2015 Tami Kiser. All rights reserved.

By the age of three, all tantrums are to cease, nevermore to resurface. And I, after all, am a veteran parent. Why is my child having a temper tantrum? She generally is the sweetest and most lovable child. At age 3, she should never have a temper tantrum again.

But as every parent knows, or will soon discover in her parenthood, “never” is never to be said.

So there it is—the three-year-old girl, who thinks she is twenty, trying to put her baby into a baby carrier with the straps properly fastened. (Why did I ever get her that ——- carrier?) And so being the generous parent, I reach over and tighten the strap. This of course increases the screams and tears. “I want to do it myself!”

At this point my blood is beginning to boil. Having been through many situations like this before, I know to relax and take it easy, but the timing of this situation with the amount of patience I’ve already shown is putting me over the edge. I can feel it. . .

I want to lash out. “What is wrong with you?—I just want to help” or “The STRAP IS FINE!” Even worse, I want to grab her baby, the carrier, and throw them out the nearest door.

But miraculously, I do something different. I show her mercy.

Mercy like God shows towards us wayward children when we insist on our own way and crying about things not going our own way. Mercy that only a loving parent can show.

I quietly wait for her frustration to cease, give her a hug, and ask her if she’d like my help. It works. She actually craves my affection at this point. (And if this strategy would not have worked—I would have tried the famous standby: “Let’s make cookies!”)

Praise the Lord for this grace to be mindful of His Mercy.
Praise the Lord for this Year of Mercy!

Wait!  I actually hear her screaming upstairs–what now?

I am back.  And it was extremely frustrating to stop my writing about “Mercy” to see what was up.  Didn’t she know that I am late for this post?

She was changing her clothes for the third time today.  She was naked except for a pair of leggings and undies that were stuck over her tennis shoes she was still wearing.  Who wouldn’t be crying if she found herself in such a predicament?

Lord have Mercy!

Disclaimer: I have been editing the video presentations for the Faces of Mercy Catholic Conference 4 Moms. What a blessing—tediously going over and over again these bits of wisdom about mercy. Please be on the lookout next month for your opportunity to take part of this conference in your own home or parish.

Copyright 2015 Tami Kiser


About Author

Tami is the author Smart Martha's Catholic Guide for Busy Moms and the founder of She lives in Greenville, SC with her husband of 29 years.  She has 10 children:  8 boys and 2 girls ranging in age from 27 to 4. She also has 5 grandchildren.   Tami runs the Smart Martha ministry,, the, and teaches dance classes.  Thinking like a Smart Martha has helped her to constantly seek to “sit at Christ’s feet” even in the midst of piles of laundry and sinks of dirty dishes. Visit Tami at


  1. Thank you for the reminder of mercy during temper tantrums. I have a 3 yo who has quite a few temper tantrums and there are days I just want to put him in his room and leave him to scream it out. These temper tantrums often seem ridiculous to me, but I need to remember that in his mind things are a much bigger deal and need to show him mercy just as God shows me mercy when I feel like throwing a temper tantrum.

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