How to handle public tantrums

There's something about your child throwing a tantrum in public that sends many moms into a state of panic: what do you do to help discipline your child in front of all those people? Even though many people are quick to judge, what are your best tips to handle public temper tantrums?

22  Answers

8 20

I Believe in Spanking. So when My daughter doesn't stop after I tell her to stop throwing a fit I take her either outside or to the bathroom and she gets a spanking. Most of you probably don't believe in spanking and thats your choice

16
23 13

violence breeds violence.. stay calm and collective... EVERY parent I know no matter how easy or difficult their child is.. when they scream/yell/spank they get children who match them.. monkey see, monkey do.. and all parents that stay calm, talk to their children and use time-out (in the store or car/bathroom) or even a GENTLE restrain (sit down holding the child in your lap for a time out together) have calmer, more emotionally balanced kids in the end.

View More
115 28

I always told my boys "when your done i will be over here" then take about 10-15 steps away, it only takes a couple of minutes for them to realize that it is not working and they stop. eventuly they realized that they were the one that looked silly and stopped doing them altogther

14
23 13

yup.. I agree.. any attention is good attention (including spanking) so why give it?

View More
41 21

The first thing you need to remember is who cares what people think. Fortunately my son does not have many tantrums in public but he has had them. I bend down pick him up and walk outside. We talk about it and if I can't control it we go home. I once had someone try to discapline my son while I was standing there. He was upset but definately not throwing a tantrum. First thing that happened is that she made it worse and my son did throw a big tantrum and the second thing is she got a few words from me. Its easy for people to pass judgement but unless they are in your shoes it means nothing.

13
7 6

My daughter is now 5 years old...she has thrown a total of 2 tantrums in public. Once with myself and once with my husband. We have different degrees of discipline...time outs, things taken away and the most effective for the most outrageous and intolerable actions, spankings. For public displays of fury, its hand-to-bottom...we have a ZERO tolerance for such things. She is now one of the best behaved children out of 5 Kindergarten classes so its obvious she learned something from our rules, lessons and forms of discipline. Dont be afraid of your kids...they will use it against you.

11
116 0

Thank you! My almost 3 year old is the same way. I was raised that way and my CHILD is not going to behave that way just because we are not at home where she thinks she wont get into trouble. I can take her anywhere with out fears/worries that she will act out or be uncontrolable. I have taken her to resturants and other places where while leaving or after people tell me they cant believe how good she was.

View More
0 15

My friend was in a store where a boy was throwing a 'fit tantrum' on the floor. The poor mother was so embarrassed she tried to ignore her son. My friend (Being an overweight woman with an extremely outgoing personality) threw herself on the floor next to the boy and screamed just as loud while kicking her legs in the air. None the less the boy immediately stopped shouting, got such a fright that he jumped up and ran to his mother. Extremely embarrassed the boy kept dead quite at his mothers side the entire time his mother spent in the store looking over his shoulder for the 'mad' women. People thought my friend was crazy but I doubt the boy will do it again. ;-)

9
0 14

That is awesome!!!

View More
149 34

My oldest son was famous for his tantrums. Any person who ever went some place with me, knew about my son's tantrums. (FYI he is now 21 yrs old). I tried walking away from him, letting him scream it out, that didn't work and irritated fellow shoppers. I tried taking him out of the situation, physically removed him from the store, restaurant, etc. He just screamed louder because we left, he once took off across the parking lot, I had to chase him, at night in a department store parking lot. UGH! So, what finally worked. I was shopping one day and he wanted a toy, I said no, he started throwing a tantrum, loud and unbearable. I tried to quiet him down, as I needed to finish up my shopping, when an older man came up to me and said "If I were you, I would take him in the bathroom and give him something to cry about." So, that is exactly what I did. I had to do this a couple of times, but after the second bathroom visit he never threw another tantrum. So, goodluck.

7
8 60

I know the feeling I have 4 kids and all boys and I can't do anything with them, especially if they are all together. I might try the bathroom thing if tantrums in public occur again, they leave you feeling like youre such a bad parent when they behave that way.

5 14

I give her a stern warning and let her know that if she does not calm down she's going to get spanked. If she continues, then I take her outside and spank her butt. After doing this a couple times she quit pitching fits in public.

5
8 20

I agree with that!!!

View More
58 16

i always tell my little guy to hug something when he gets mad & that it will make him feel better. in public sometimes i say hug mama, so i pick him up & he hugs me tight. or if he is mad at me, i give him something to hug like his coat etc.

4
1 0

when i was a child i used to bite things or stab boxes but it just made me more mad!

48 0

On the spanking issue, the "violence breeds violence" is a bunch of horse hooey. I was spanked as a kid, I'm not violent in the slightest. To each his/her own. If you don't prefer to spank then that is your perogative, but it doesn't mean it's your place to tell somebody else it's wrong. My feeling is it's none of my business how some other parent disciplines their children. I can say what I hate- I hate that some parents hit their children in the grocery store....I think that's trashy...but will I say anything to the person? Nope. It's not my place to tell somebody else how to parent their kid. That bugs me so much about folks. How would you like it if I criticised your parenting? What if I were to say you need to spank your child because clearly just time-out's ain't cutting it. You'd be pretty mad wouldn't you? Think about how you judge somebody.

2
0 0

I just started using the 1 2 3 magic method. If my kids start acting up, I say you have 1, then a few seconds later, I say 2, if their behavior has not improved and I count 3 I usually leave them in that aisle and go on with shopping. They then realize that I am not there and will be behind me soon enough. I never go further then the next aisle. They usually get the hint and we never talk it about it while in the store. If it continues or gets worse, I will leave all my stuff right there and take them to the car until they settle down or even home. I have learned that yelling and spanking does not help. They are like sponges, if they see their parents doing it, then they think they can do it. My 11 year old is very defiant because of it and he will yell back at me if I raise my voice. Spankings do not work. Kids know how to push the right buttons and they know what they can get away with by testing you. Do not treat your kids as little adults. They are not. Reasoning with them does not help, they are too young to understand. Usually the silent treatment helps and the counting. Try it. It works...

2
8 60

Yes I agree with the silent treatment they calm them selves down eventually and become apologetic in my case.

236 440

It is always hard, and it depends on their ages. When my kids were toddlers, if I could I would remove them to the car to wait for them to calm down. If they were old enough to talk, we'd talk about why they were upset. My youngest is now 6, and even now sometimes she'll get really upset if she thinks she's not being heard. If I can get her to calm down and tell me, that usually averts or ends it.

My older kids do have older versions of temper tantrums, at ages 12 and 15, but they aren't the laying-down-kicking-on-the-floor-and-screaming variety anymore. They're more like looking petulant and not cooperating. At this age I can simply say "You need to fix your attitude or there will be consequences." They know that what I'll pick for them to loose is going to be something they really want to do, like a special activity one of their clubs is doing, or it might be spending time on their game system or online.

2
24 144

i was on my phone, it didnt hit the right button

View More
4 81

its called having loads of patience&distractions

2
37 33

My kids don't have many tantrums, but when they do, it's a time-out regardless of where we are. We were at Colonial Cafe Restaurant a few months ago when my 3 year old decided to throw food at his brother...thankfully, we were in a virtually empty dining room (there was a group there of 3-4 families that had come from the same event we were at, so we all had kids the same ages), so I walked my son over to an empty chair in the corner and gave him a timeout...when it was over, 2 of the other parents told me I did a great job and I got a big thumbs up :) My kids know that certain behaviors are unacceptable in public, and I quietly and calmly remind them of that if they begin to misbehave. Just takes consistency! I applaud those other parents out there that believe good behavior is important...so frustrating to see a child throwing a fit and mom and dad doing nothing to stop it, or apologize for disrupting everyone else!

View More
5 9

Soy madre de 62 años y crie 3 varones. Mi tecnica fue primeramente escucharlos y respetarlos. Cuando le daban un tantrum o rabieta como decimos en español conversaba con ellos si no se tranquilizaban le cogia por su brazo y le decia con firmeza no se puede ahora, tranquilizate. Para lograr esto es necesario dar en la medida que se pueda y cuando se dice no entonces ellos saben que no se puede y se tranquilizan. A mi me funciono.

1
0 35

well i think its each to own. every child is different but thumb rules are same! if your child is throwing a tantrum, i feel to start with as a parent instead of getting irritated one should try n distract a baby or get his attention to something else. BUt if things are out of hands corner him n explain that momz gonna be upset n wont be taking him to the park or bowling alley or any place of interest! It does work at times! Kids do understand your eye to eye language.

1
1

When my boys were small, ages 3 and 7 (they are now adults) I would warn them before we left home as to what would happen if they misbehaved. Once, while at the grocery store, they were picking at each other. I reminded them of my warning. They continued the bad behavior, so I left the full buggy with a store clerk, apologized, and took them home. We did not talk in the car (they were both crying). When we got home, I told them that because of their behavior, they would have to eat whatever I prepared for dinner as the pantry was not full of the foods they liked. The next visit to the store was much calmer, and subsequent outings were much easier on us all.

0
    Edit  |   Delete  |   Get Your Widget
40 0

My daughter is three and she barely started these tantrums. It did catch me off guard the thing that helps me is to give her long lectures before we enter the store. I have to best her bubble before we go in saying things like don't ask for anything today because you aren't going to get anything. Or if you act up I'm taking you home and I'm coming back by myself. It works any once the tantrum is on progress I take her home and say ok have your tantrum in your room.

0
58 22

When I take my son shopping I either have him in a safety harness/lead or a trolley. He's a runner and has once nearly killed himself by running away from me that fast and not looking, that he jumped in front of a slow moving bus and I nearly died a 1000 deaths. So I got the lead and now when he throws himself on the floor with a tantrum. I just stand there, arms folded and looking away from him. After about a minute or 2 I ask him "are you done?" Most of the time he's over his tantrum and will get up and walk along with me. Some time he continues his tantrum and I just wait until he's over it.

When he's in a trolley though, he gets to scream his head off without me saying anything or making eye contact. Sometimes he'll calm down after a minute or 2, sometimes he continues and I just take him to the bathroom and sit there waiting for him to finish his tantrum. All without saying a word or making eye contact.
I have learned the hard way that it's always best to prevent a tantrum, but once they started, it's best to let them run out their frustration. No point in trying to stop something unstoppable. It's almost impossible to stop a child from tantrumming. If you try and fail, you will only get angry and end up doing something you'll regret like yelling or smacking.

0
94 0

I pull my son aside where there are not many people and ask him what is wrong, if he continues i say mommy cant fix it if i dont know whats wrong..and if its something he wants he cant have, i just say mommy is sorry but we cant get that today maybe another time and i give him a kiss and let he get himself together and we move on.

0
56 0

when my son did that I stopped what i was doing and went to the car put him in his car seat and said time out and stood out side the car if raining i would sit in and not talk to him if its at a place were we r eating i would take him to the bath room and tell him he has one more chance and he's going home if you do this a few times and just leave when he's doing it or just letting the other parent sit and eat while in the car wait they not gonne want to do that

0
3 37

I actually have a question to those of you who use time out in public. How do you do it? I usually take my daughter(2 1/2 years old) to a bench or somewhere away from a crowd and make her sit. I usually sit beside her but that doesn't seem to be working. She thinks it is a game. She does fine with "Time Out" at home. We are just struggling with it in public.

0
115 28

you could try standing with your back to her because you are sitting with her she may not make the conection

View More
1 1

If we are in a place that is meant to entertain the kids, and one of them pitches a fit, I give one warning...they can stop or we can leave. I tell them to think about it because if it doesnt stop we are leaving. And then I have to stick to it...and leave. It happened twice and not again since then. But then we have the other lovely situations where I HAVE to get groceries or whatnot and leaving is what they want. These are the toughest ones. When I know its going to be a tough shop I try to set expectations before we go in...this is going to be hard, I am really going to need help, I dont think I can do this without you guys. And I try to engage them 'helping' me fill the cart. When they feel needed, they remain occupied and less likely to pitch...but we all know its eventaully going to happen. I usually get down eye to eye with them and remind them this won't help them and if they keep it up they will end up in trouble. And I try my best to save my super angry face for these moments so they know I am serious. I have been lucky only a couple really freak shows.

0
0 9

I just put my daughter in the cart and let her do her thing. In restaurants we go to the van. But I do believe sometimes a swat on the butt is less damaging than not, but it can't be used as the only discipline and it isn't appropriate for all situations. My daughter rarely throws tantrums in public now because she is either ignored or strapped in to her car seat intil she is done. She loves shopping so being removed bugs her. When she displays good behavior she gets a reward.

2 46

well my oldest daughter is 3 and i took her and my youngest one to the grocery store to get food and she threw a fit in the store so whatever i had in the cart that day i paid for it and we left and went home when we got home i told my fiance her dad what she did and from now on if i have to go anywhere like that i only take her sister with me because i was crying myself at the cash register while she did that because i got so many looks from people in the store that day because of her screaming so that is how i disciplined my daughter for doing that she stays home with her father while i take the little one out with me

-1
115 28

by not takeing her out you are letting her win and not alowing the teaching oportunity, if you only take her sister the person you leave her with likly gets the tantrum when you leave. Don't worry about what other people think, stand tall in your choise on how to deal with them. anyone with kids would relate and people who don't don't understand.

View More

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms