Public tantrums

  • There he is in the grocery store: flailing in the middle of the aisle, frothing from his mouth, tears pouring down his red face, and shouting commands for everyone to hear. Out of obvious desperation, his poor mother agrees to buy him sugar puffs, a balloon, and a Shetland pony if only he will stop making a scene. Grateful that it isn’t your child going nuts this time; you smile sympathetically and keep strolling down the aisle.


    How do you prevent these public tantrums? First, remember that children are very smart. It only takes giving in once for your child to realize you would rather cave to his demands than be embarrassed. Being consistent and not rewarding undesired behavior will help prevent public tantrums. It is also very important to set realistic expectations (no child wants to sit for 2 hours of shopping).Share those expectations with your child and reward him with plenty of praise when he does a good job.

    1.         Share your techniques for avoiding public tantrums.

    2.         How do you deal with public tantrums when they occur?

  • Distraction, distraction, distraction. Anytime we're out in public the first thing I look for in a store is something to put in my daughter's hands - toy, cookie, plush doll. As long as she has something to keep her mind focused she doesn't realize mom isn't holding her at the moment. In the case of toy aisles, when they can't be avoided I do my best to keep her focused on one object until we get out of them and I can refocus her attention elsewhere. Aside from the cookies, the rest are never purchased however because that isn't the point, and if she throws a tantrum in the aisles because she saw something she wants I am always willing to carry her outside.

  • I do that too. I am constantly handing her something to play with. Today a bag of peas held her for a good ten minutes! :)

  • Yeah, distraction is a good thing. I also make sure I don't take my tantrum-prone children to places I'm not willing to leave if they throw a fit. I'm a big believer in being consistent with your consequences, so if I'm not willing to follow through with the threat of leaving due to bad behavior, then I won't go there at all and reschedule my trip. I also make sure my daughter is well fed and napped. That cuts down on the tantrums.

    I must say, my older daughter was always very well behaved in public, but my little one will throw the public tantrum and won't sit still for anything. So I look to these times as teaching opportunities for her and lessons for myself.

  • I walk away.... literally...but not too far... if either of my boys start I look at them straight in the eye and tell them I'm not putting up with it and they can throw the fit all they want but they won't get what they want and I'll leave them there throwing the fit so I start walking away.....It Immediately works because they switch thinking and go " mommy's gonna leave me in the store "  I have a 3 and 5 year old.... it's harder to do with a younger child which I found out in a halmark...sometimes kids have a bad day and EVERYONE who's had kids knows that... its only the people that haven't that every truly have a problem with kids acting up....It happens.  I'll never forget I was in a Hallmark store and they were transitioning cards out so half the shelves were empty well my now 3 year old decided he wanted to start pulling out the partitions I repeatedly told him no and he threw a fit screaming and carrying on flipping out on the floor.  I told him to continue all he wanted, that he wasn't get his way and he wasn't allowed to do that.  There was a woman who thought I was satan and told me not to talk to him like that..... Boy did she get a piece of mind and literally ran away.  can you tell I don't put up with anyone's misbehaving?  It was an amusing scene because he quite literally got up from the middle of his fit all red faced and acted like nothing happened because all the attention wasn't on him.

  • Okay what I would do, if they started acting up in a way that they shouldn't i would bend down and tell them that if they didn't behave we would leave the store ( my kids love to come to the store with me). If it continues, i put my items down and take them out of the store, when we get to the car I explain to them why we left and that we will try a trip to the store another day when they want to behave. Then arms empty handed I head home. I then hit the store when either my husband is home or he can pick up whatever we need on his way home from work. It takes somewhat of a pain in the butt effort to go through that trouble but after doing it a couple of times my kids are saints whenever we go out in public no matter where, and I can take all 3 and in march all 4 without worry, and that is as a great thing.

  • My little sister used to throw the public "on the floor screaming, kicking, pulling her own hair" tantrums, and my mother finally broke her of it using this strategy.  She would try to leave saying, "If you can't behave then we will leave I and I will come back by myself" but my sister would throw herself on the floor and refuse to move.  So Mom would take my hand, say loudly "Come on Leslie, we're going to leave your sister here because she's naughty" and walk just far enough away that Ashley couldn't see us, but Mom could watch and make sure she was okay.  After a couple of minutes Ashley would look around, see a bunch of strangers, and the crying went from tantrum to "Oh my God where's Mommy?"  As soon as that transition happened Mom and I would reappear and we'd all leave the store or mall or where ever, so Ashley learned that tantrums were not okay but still had the support and comfort of having Mom there when she was frightened.