When Hanger Strikes: 6 Real Life Examples of Kids Getting Hangry

If you’re like me, you have at least one hangry kid story in the vault.

The anger/hunger hybrid is a real phenomenon, and it’s just awful when your kid has a no-holds-barred tantrum just because his stomach is rumbling. But as they say, misery loves company, and plenty of other moms have experienced it.

It doesn’t make you a bad mom just because you forgot the snack, or you forgot the time, or you got stuck in traffic, or whatever the scenario happened to be; it makes you human!

To that end, I’ve collected six stories to share — including one of my own — so that we can all commiserate and laugh at our mutual hanger traumas.

P.S. Here’s one pro tip: These 10 no-cook snacks for hangry kids (and happy moms) will help!

“Stranger Danger!”

When I was six months pregnant with twins, my body was HUGE and unwieldy, making it very difficult to carry my two-year-old son. In fact, the doctor had told me not to carry him, under any circumstance. We were at the park one day, and we’d been there an unusually long time (considering a two-year-old’s short attention span), so I checked my phone and realized it was past dinnertime. My son, Sam, needed regular snacks and meals or else he acted like the Tasmanian Devil, and this particular day was no different.

As soon as I told Sam it was time to leave, he bolted away from me and climbed the highest structure in the playground, and then just stood there at the top, refusing to come down. I begged and pleaded with him, but he wasn’t budging! Finally, a nice man, who was there with his wife and toddler, took pity on me and offered to go up and get Sam.

When he went up to get him, Sam screamed, “STRANGER DANGER!” and jumped into the long, winding tunnel slide, with the man close behind him. When Sam landed at the bottom, he took five running steps, and the man caught up with him and picked him up, holding him at arm’s length so as not to be punched or kicked by the screaming, writhing toddler. He even put Sam in the car for me!

Like a Bull In a … Crafts Store

“My oldest daughter threw a tantrum in a crafts store when she was 2 years old. As I was carrying her out of the store to cool off and get food into her, she started screaming, “Help me! Help me! This is not my mommy!” An older gentleman stopped her and said, “Sweetie, stop it. You look too much like her for her to not be your mommy.” When I got her to the car, my legs and arms were bruised from where she kicked me the whole way. I got her into her car seat and loaded the tray with cheerios. Silence….” –  Rona L., Kaplan, Louisiana

Trouble at Church

“Years ago when my daughter was about four, my mom and I had taken her and my older daughter to church. Now, Emily didn’t want to go to church that particular time, so she gave me a hard time about getting up, getting ready and getting out of the house. We got there, and she finally quieted down.

“Then it came time to go up and take the sacrament, but she refused to go! So I whispered to her, ‘This will be quick and easy! We’ll just go up there, and the priest will give you a tiny bit of something to drink with a small piece of bread in it.’ Do you know that this child shouted during the most solemn part of the service, ‘NO! I’m NOT hungry, I’m NOT thirsty!’ The congregation was duly horrified and amused. Suffice it to say, we didn’t take Emily back to church for a while. We still tease her about it!”  – Cat F., Montreal, Quebec

Hangry and Heartbroken

“I was crossing the street to pick up food for dinner at a fast food restaurant, and my daughter was ‘starving’ and asked to go too. I told her no, and that I would bring back her food as soon as I could. As I walked away, I could hear her screaming from the other side of the door, ‘You’re killing me! You’re breaking my heart!’ We still use this quote all the time as a family joke.”  – Renee G., Spokane, Washington

Taking Things Into Their Own Hands

“My 4-year-old boy is always hungry. Well, one day we were out running errands and had to run into Costco. He kept saying he was hungry every 30 seconds, followed by screaming and tantrums. I kept telling him we’d get some food in a few minutes. I turned my back for a second to grab a case of water, and he grabbed my purse and headed to the food court to go get himself a slice of pizza!”  – Susan H., Wynne, Arkansas

Bummer on the Beach

“I have a 4-year-old, Henry, and a 2-year-old, Maggie, as well as two older kids, and we recently went on a family beach vacation. We had just gotten everyone packed up, sunscreen on, snacks and lunches packed, and trekked down to the beach, when the hanger struck. Instead of waiting for me to just bend over to the cooler to get him some food, Henry started screaming, then bent his back and froze, like he was being electrocuted with a taser gun, and fell directly to his back. He quickly moved onto picking up beach chairs in a rage and tossing them around like Godzilla. Maggie, the whole time, had her sandy little hands on me, waist-high, crying, “Uppy, uppy, uppy” on constant loop! Yep, that one will go down in the books. – Brittany T., Sussex, Wisconsin

Whether you beat the hanger or the hanger beats you, it helps to know you’re not alone. After all, just like Scarlett O’Hara says at the end of “Gone with the Wind,” “Tomorrow is another day.”

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