tantrums whilst out and about

Suzanne - posted on 08/03/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )

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any advice would be great cos am at my wits end. my lad is nearly at his terrible 2s and boy dont i know it. am getting to the point a dont want to go out with him any where cos all he does is scream. he is a very active lad so being put in a stroller or trolly or high chair doesnt go down very well. shopping is the worst. a cant trust him to walk by me as he will just run off but rains he hates so 9 times out of 10 he will be just dangling their on some string lol. av tried everything to stop these outburst by just talking too him or giving him something too keep him busy but nothing seems to work. people stare at me and roll thier eyes and a feel so terrible. when a try and get down too his level and tell him not to scream it makes him worse and a then get hit kicked and screamed at evan more. a cant stay in all the time but going out is becoming such a chore. a need some advice to try and make things easier xx

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Samantha - posted on 08/04/2011

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Okay, I have delt with this to an extent myself. One of the best things I can say is there are more moms than you think in the same position. It kills you to get the stares from others, but in the end who really cares what they think or say. They are not you and have not delt with it as much or long.
Second a couple of things that help me avoid a melt down in the store are: Staying away from nap time, giving my little one a job to help me, and when those do not work using yes or no questions. Would you like a drink? Are you hungry? Did you see that elephant (when there is nothing of the kind around)? Do you want to go home? Is it raining in the store? I know some of those sound crazy, but it is a distraction and can help...There is a book called What's wrong Little Pookie by Sandra Boyton. I read that to my child at home for like a week and then tried saying some of the lines when we wnet out. It was funny to see the reaction the first time I started my questions to her. She was like mom has to have lost her mind or something lol...But that book has saved me a lot of head aches. Not being understood in your wants can be fustrating...Maybe he sees something he wants but does not know how to communicate it the way he thinks he should be able to. So yes or no questions and keeping it simple can help.
Another thing you can try is hard, but ignoring the tantrum and acting like absolutly nothing is wrong. There have been times when the above things do not work, and so I force myself after trying all I can think of to continue, but act like everything is ok. Yes, you will get the looks and stares, but again who cares. If someone says something to you ask them if they would like to try. Generally they will back off and give you space to do what you feel as the parent is best. It is hard dealing with this, and I hope you make it through. These things helped me and I hope you find something to help you...Last thing... Be consistant. You have to have a plan and do it the same way everytime to start ( like the first 2 months) then once that works you can change it here and there depending on the situation, but mostly stick with your plan whatever it may be.

Catherine - posted on 08/08/2011

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My third daughter was very advanced with her speech at two. From her I learnt that toddlers are often trying to tell us much more than just 'I want'. It could be they want your feedback about a flower they saw on a label (just for example), and when they don't have the language to express this, they become quickly frustrated, which they can't deal with, and melt-down.
This probably doesn't help in the moment, but is worth considering with regards what triggers his tantrums.
I know some people swear by teaching babies and toddlers sign language as a way around this.

Jenni - posted on 08/05/2011

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Sometimes no matter how much you do, at this age they are simply unavoidable! Maybe your little guy is highly sensitive to becoming overwhelmed in public situations. It may not be too far fetched to think that children, like adults, can suffer from social anxieties. And like adults, we all experience some form of it from time to time.

When my child would/have had a fit in public I always remove them from the 'stressful' situation. We go somewhere quiet (a bathroom or outside) to go work it out. Practice breathing or counting and calming ourselves down. Then return once we are calm.

It's generally just a phase because toddlers have not learned to control their emotions like older children and adults. My kids are now (3) and (4) and public outbursts have become extremely rare with maturity.

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Karin - posted on 08/05/2011

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A child throwing a fit literally will get the cold shoulder in our house. When they were too little to go to their rooms, everyone was not allowed to look at the child throwing the tantrum. We calmly told our other kids to turn their backs to the guilty party (which they thought was funny). Once our kids are old enough to understand that tantrums are not allowed; they are sent to their room, and calmly told they can come back out once they have calmed down. I do not help them calm down unless they are literally incapable of doing so themselves. You will know the difference.
Outside the home, we do not allow tantrum thrower's to spoil our time out of the house. If we are grocery shopping, they can yell all they want as we finish up, but we will get our shopping done. Do not panic, get flustered, or angry. Most parents get it. I tell other people to please ignore our child when I get comments or nasty looks, as my child wants the attention (and they are encouraging it). I do not bring my children shopping if they are hungry or overly tired, as you will get a tantrum every time!
If we are at a restaurant and one of our children pitches a fit, then one of us will take him/her outside (either for a walk, or to the car depending on the tantrum's trigger), all the while calmly stating that they can go back in once they are done with their fit. "I know you want (fill in the blank), but we cannot do that right now. When you have calmed down, we can go back inside and eat our food."
It's all about not getting verbally or visually angry, frustrated, or crazed by their behavior. Your son has somehow learned that sometimes the tantrum works (whether with you or someone else), but he really needs to learn how to calm himself down. Some adults don't know how to do this! It will also teach him that he cannot always get what he wants when he wants it. He will test you REALLY hard, and you will want to rip your hair out, but consistently stay calm, cool and collected.
Good luck!

Rebekah - posted on 08/04/2011

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First off, consistency is the key... so you need to sit down and think about what discipline method you want to use when your son is screaming while you are out and about.

Will it be dropping everything and leaving?
Will it be a quick run to the bathroom to calm him down?
Will it be rewarding him when he is good?

Whatever method you choose - stay consistent!

Other ideas you can do is give him activities while you are out and about:

If he has to sit in a cart, give him a book or snacks or a toy.

If your at a grocery store and he doesn't want to sit, print up pictures of items you need and have him find them and put them in the cart. Stuff that won't get broken and is easily picked up by him (so not too heavy).


Next thing, pick a time of day when your son is not hungry or tired to go out. If your son is hungry or tired, the more he'll be apt to act out.

My son used to do this, but I stopped it in the very beginning and just blatantly told him, if he continued to scream, we would go home and he would have to take a nap. He would quickly straighten up and behave. If he tested me, we left. But if he good, I always rewarded him, because it makes him want to do it again!

Good luck!

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Debbie - posted on 08/15/2011

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Firstly don't worry about the "lookers" most of them are probably remembering a time that it was them and are relived to see someone elses child doing it not there own . we have always removerd the tantuming child at home usually by just picking them up no eye contact and putting them in the hallway untill they calm down when out and about they would have one warning and then we would leave wherever we were (not always practical but effective) we only needed to do it twice for the warning to be effective enough I am now able to take them anywhere. ignoring tantrums and staying calm are the most effective way to deal with them . afterward when they are calm you can listen to them calmly explain what they wanted

Terri Lynn - posted on 08/15/2011

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I would suggest not carrying him to stores or shops until he is older. Leave him with a friend, his dad, grandma or in a drop in care and consolidate your shopping. At this age they get tired and cranky and they also need a lot of activity. He would be better off staying somewhere where he could run around. You can also work it out with another mom that you will watch her child while she shops if she will watch yours. This will pass, I promise. My daughter did the same!

Keri - posted on 08/15/2011

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If you want to take something with you to keep him busy, let him choose it. Kids want to play with the things THEY chose to play with before they'll play with something because it's the only thing around. When I started running in to issues with my son not wanting to be in strollers or shopping carts or high chairs, I made a deal with him - and it's worked ever since: if he stays in the chair, cart, etc. I won't strap him in. The minute he tries to wiggle out or squirm too much, the straps get put on - but not often, because he likes the freedom.

Suzanne - posted on 08/08/2011

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thank you everyone one for all your comments. a will just have too try and be consistant. fingers crossed it will work. my partner has been talking about having another baby but their is no way am wanting anymore untill i have sorted out justin first xx

Valena - posted on 08/05/2011

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When my daughter had started to throw tantrums I completely ignored her, i didn't even look in her direction. She realized that she wasn't going to get any attention in that manner so she abandoned the practice. As much as I love my children, ages 2, 3 1/2, & 7 I have started to discipline them at home, which takes time, so that when we r out they will behave or respond positively to corrections.

Lisa - posted on 08/04/2011

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How is he at home? You need to get him to behave at home and learn that fits don't get him anywhere. Give him a choice - you can walk with mom or go in the cart. The second he wanders off put him in the cart. He will have a fit. Dont worry about what others think or faces they make. Your kiddo has to learn that fits won't result in getting what he wants, even in public. If you give in or reward to quiet him down you are only making it worse for the next time. If he continues or you just can't shop have a friend or family member there as back up. When he has his fit they take him home and you shop. Then have him pay for the trip home and babysitting with some of his toys. He can earn them back by helping you around the house and following instructions and behaving.

Michelle - posted on 08/04/2011

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I agree with Shima. Even do a couple of trial runs. Go to the shops when you don't actually need anything. When he starts let him know if he keeps going you will go home. If that doesn't work walk out of the store and go home. He will soon learn that you are serious and he won't get anything.
The trick is that we have to be consistant from a young age. They learn quickly that if they keep going with the tantrum thay can get what they want.

Shima - posted on 08/03/2011

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I know how you feel! My daughter was like that as well (and still is sometimes). The best advice I can give is that when you do go out, try not to get TOO frustrated when the tantrums get out of hand. Just calmly tell him that if he does not behave then you will leave. If he still acts out, leave the store, bring him to the car and let him finish his tantrum out. Afterwards (if you still want to finish shopping, etc), tell him that if he acts out again, you'll leave and go home. Try to go in again and just sees how it plays out. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. My daughter now knows that if she starts a tantrum in a public place that we'll leave and she won't get what she wanted anyway. *And if people are staring at you, don't worry about it. If they have kids, then they know how you feel. If they don't, they have no right to judge you anyway. Trust me, I've been there and I still have to deal with it from time to time. Hope this helped at least a bit. Good luck! :]

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