3 year old meltdowns over choices


We are struggling with how to teach our 3.5 year old daughter how to accept the consequences of the choices she makes, good and bad. For example, if we give her two choices for dessert after dinner, she will pick one, eat it, then spend 30 minutes crying that she didn't want the cookie she ate, she really wanted the other one. We never give into her, but after 30 minutes of a meltdown just giving her the other cookie is very tempting! Another example of this is when she gets in trouble about something. If she lies, and is disciplined, she will start crying "but I don't want to lie mommy" over and over again. Trying to explain to her that I don't care what you want, that you are getting in trouble because this is what you did, is impossible! At this age she really seems to believe that reality is based on what she says, not what she actually does.

In all other regards she is a lovely, very well-behaved girl. She sleeps well, eats well, we can take her anywhere - we just can't seem to get through to her on accepting the consequences of her good and bad choices. For the past year or so I've just avoided giving her choices, but I'm worried avoiding the issue is not helping her at all. I also have to note that most of these exchanges occur when she is overly tired, so it may simply be a matter of her getting more sleep!

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