Inevitably, there comes a time in a parent’s life when this happens: you’re at the store, looking for groceries, pass the toys or sweets section and your child asks for a treat. You explain him or her in a nice and calm way that you can’t buy it, and the screaming tantrum begins. What do you do then?
Child Screaming in Public
I gathered below a few pieces of advice on what would be advisable when child screaming in public, mostly in the supermarket:
1. Don’t buy them the desired object. This kind of behavior would feed itself from a parent’s fear of public embarrassment or, it may be that your child is just tired and looking for a way to draw your attention.
2. Do your best in keeping composure and showing patience and love. Bear in mind that your child has not yet developed ways to communicate, lacks control or coping mechanisms. She entirely relies on you to learn how to react to frustration, anger, etc. Their purpose isn’t to annoy you; this is just another step in discovering the world.
3. Consider leaving the store. The child may notice your embarrassment and only aggravate the behavior.
4. Once you are out of the store, try figuring out what is the real reason behind her behavior. Talk to your child as an equal, look into her eyes, give her a tight hug and explain in a calm voice why this kind of behavior is not acceptable. Explain the consequences if this would happen again (parents start going to the store without her, doesn’t get the toy etc.).
Because most of the times, prevention is healthier than dealing with the situation when it occurs, I have added some recommendations to follow before entering a store:
1. Build with your child a list of expected behaviors in a store (which you should repeat before entering). Examples include: we keep our voice low, we don’t touch the merchandise, etc.
2. Adding to that list, is creating an if-then scenario. If you start crying, whining etc., this will happen… Keep your word in taking away his toy, game (whatever the “effect” is) otherwise, she might think this is an acceptable behavior.
I read a comment on Quora about this topic, a wonderful example: A father was shopping with his child and the child was asking for candies. When the father said no, the child started screaming, kicking and crying. The father left the groceries and hugged the child tight. After a few minutes, her behavior turned into crying until stopped completely.
That is one of the most beautiful examples I have read, about a parent showing unconditional love to his child even in a time of anger. How do you deal with your child screaming in public?