Tantrums in the Aisles

by Mum Dee on May 17, 2010

If you haven’t lived through it yourself I am sure you have seen it happening, a child having a fit in the middle of a store. I remember those days all too well when one of my children would seem to transform from angel to demon in the blink of an eye. When it is your child it is painful on many levels. Why here in front of the whole world? I don’t have time for this right now, I need to get this stuff and go home to make supper. What can I do HERE to correct this? The bottom line is that you have to deal with it at the moment because if you don’t you will surely go through this again and again and again.

The key here is to be in control of yourself and not allow yourself to shrink to the same level as your child. Don’t succumb to whining or yelling because you don’t want to exhibit the same behavior you are trying to stop. Keep a cool head and a calm sure voice. Since you’re already in the middle of a tantrum you have probably said “no” to something so whatever you do don’t give in now. You can’t surrender!

In a calm strong voice tell your child how you want them to behave. If they don’t conform to what you want from them you might have to abandon your cart and take them for a time out in the car or on the sidewalk. Give them a few moments to calm down and then explain, in a simple way, what behavior you expect from them. Be specific even so far as telling them how they should answer you when you say “no” to them. Let them know what the consequence will be if they don’t behave. Perhaps the loss of a privilege at home for the rest of the day, or the loss of a possession for a time. When you return to the store your child will have the opportunity to practice a new behavior while you shop together. Don’t forget to praise your child when you see them following your instructions. You and your child will feel rewarded when you see the results.

Keep in mind that no matter how you choose to deal with it someone observing you in the store is likely not going to approve of your choice so you might as well forget about them and do what you know will be good for you and your child. Children will use the public situation for all that it is worth. They know that you are more distracted and can be easily embarrassed in public so stick to your resolution and they will quickly realize that they can’t discourage you and give up on these antics.

It is a good idea to plan ahead how you will deal with these issues before they come up again. You know your child so you know what the triggers are likely to be. Discuss this with your spouse so that you can be consistent and show a united front. Avoid shopping when you or your child are tired or hungry. If you can’t avoid it have a snack in the car on the way to the store to restore their energy level a little.

Shopping with your children can be a fun time to share together. They can be in charge of looking for certain items you wish to purchase and help bagging and carrying packages. They get a chance to learn how to make good food choices and they will see that even you have to decide not to buy what you want sometimes. Mostly your children just want to be like you!

Do your children like to help you with the shopping?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily May 18, 2010

I love your blog! Positive parenting messages, thank you!

Mum Dee May 18, 2010

Emily: Thanks! I hope you will find lots of encouragement here.

Fran May 18, 2010

Hi Mum Dee,

I love your blog! Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom. I’m a friend of Mariah’s. She told me about your blog and I had to check it out. I’m very glad I did. Keep on blogging!

Junko May 18, 2010

Thank you for your blog.
Actually I found I had a lot of mistakes when I brought my kids up…
They are already 6yrs and 8yrs old. Is that too late I rearised just now?? Sign…
A regret won’t make anything, so I’ll try my best next time.
I could get some hints from your blog. Thanx.

Mum Dee May 18, 2010

Junko: It is never too late to make change! I am glad that you are choosing not to regret but to make positive change instead. I am sure that there are many things that you are doing well. I hope you find the blog posts useful.

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