If you're out shopping and your child throws a tantrum, what would you do?

Kayla - posted on 06/08/2011 ( 227 moms have responded )

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I believe that you must be consistent with the punishments you give to you children. All is well when your at home in your own comfort zone, but what happens when you step outside? We all experience embarrassment, but do you stick to you guns or try and bribe them?

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Paula - posted on 06/12/2011

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I honestly will let them cry for a minute or two, lay on the floor what ever. After 90 seconds or more, I pick them up and set them on my lap and talk to them very calmly about all the things we have yet to do today. "we still need milk, bread, etc.. and have to go see so and so, feed the dog..." and after a few minutes my sons usually calm down. The more I react to it, the more they seem to do it. So I barely react at all. When they get older, I will actually discuss the situation and their feelings, so they dont grow up thinking I dismiss their feelings. Good luck

Faye - posted on 06/12/2011

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I NEVER leave the store due to a tantrum. If my 2 year old starts a tantrum while she's walking then I give her 1 warning that if it continues then she will be buckled into the cart for the rest of the shopping trip. Sometimes it works and the tantrum stops and sometimes she continues the tantrum and gets buckled into the cart. ALWAYS FOLLOW THROUGH!!! Once she's in the cart and buckled (which can occasionally be a challenge when she's having a tantrum but be sure you do what you say you will do), I ignore her behavior and almost every time, her tantrum stops in just a few seconds. I do try to be sure that I don't shop with hungry or tired kids but every once in a while, it can't be helped. If they are hungry then I will try to pick up a snack such as goldfish or something that they can hold and know that as soon as we pay, they'll be able to eat it. I do this before a tantrum can start. If you offer something like that after the tantrum has started then they are being rewarded for their behavior. Since starting this technique, I have very few tantrums. I don't ever take my kids from the store when they are having a tantrum. They quickly learn that they are in control and by acting up that means they get to control the situation. I have found that for my 3 children and the children that I care for in my daycare that ignoring a tantrum is the best and fastest way to get it resolved. I do try to talk with the child after the tantrum and explain them that they have words and they need to use their words. I also tell them that I can't understand them when they are screaming and crying. I hope this helps!

Stifler's - posted on 06/11/2011

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I actually leave my kids at home and shop in peace to tell the honest truth. Much easier.

Lori - posted on 06/11/2011

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I leave everything were it is . Ask one of the people that works at the store if they can please put it all back. Then I take my child and go out to the car. Put them in there seats , buckle them in and head home.

Rhonda - posted on 06/11/2011

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Its a great idea to ensure that all needs are met befor a shoping trip, but let me also tell you all children are different. My youngest son can go for 0-60 in 1 second flat so it is not fail proof. At home when he would have a melt down the best thing that worked was for me to walk away. Children throw tantrums to get your attention ( good or bad attention is still attention). Of course you cant simplly walk away from a child when you are in the store. The best response i found was pick up the child and walk out. Its hard because we are usually not at the store just for fun and it does mean you have to try the trip later but eventually he learned that it was unacceptable and was calmer when things did not go exactally to his plan. After you leave you can try to sit in the car and let him calm down or go home and calm him there. Once my son learned that tantrums were not going to get attention he found other ways to deal with his stress. From the time he was 5 and even now at 13 when he gets upset usually he will go to his room and them come out later and talk about what upset him when we can talk calmly. Sometimes he does need a reminder. I calmly say to him I understand you are upset and thats ok, I love you and I know you love me too. So why dont we go to our rooms and meet in 30 min to talk about this so nobody gets their feelings hurt. We give each other a hug and seporate. Bottom line what ever you decide to do the most important thing is that the same action always gets the same consequence this make it clear that if kids will know with out a doubt, if i do this then this will happen and i dont like that.

Alexandra - posted on 06/11/2011

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i would always stick to your guns. if you don't, you give mixed messages.

Michelle - posted on 06/11/2011

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Walk away and ignore them. I dont do fits or tantrums. Let them be embarrassed by themselves

Jackie - posted on 06/11/2011

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i would take the child out to the car and expalain to them that if they are going to behave like that we would not be going out in public when my child was small my husband and i would take her to the car if she miss behaved and believe me she didnt want me to take her to the car because she usually got a spanking you have to let them know that this behavior is unaccepatable as an older person now with no young children bc my daughter is now 25 i cant not stand being in public seeing children throw fits or running wild

Val - posted on 06/11/2011

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moms need to train children from young and when they throw tantrums nothing workslike the look stare them down with a serious face and you will be suprise how it works

Lynette - posted on 06/11/2011

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I handle the situation out and about just as I do at home. We find a corner and he has to stand in time out. There are corners every where these days ;)

Xiaoling - posted on 06/11/2011

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I will talk to them nicely and tell them to behave,honestly i never had such embarrassment with my children because we always plan a fun outing

Brenda - posted on 06/11/2011

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Do not give in to the child's demands. This only rewards and reinforces the negative behavior. Remove your child from his/her audience. Use as few words as possible,(do not try to reason with a young child). Tell your child what behavior you expect, and when your child has gotten him/herself back under control you can return to your previous activity.

Karen - posted on 06/11/2011

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Stick to your guns. Let your child know that there are consequences for bad behavior. Simply take your child outside or back to the car for a timeout so they can calm down and you can compose yourself. No need to stand in the mall and yell at your child or let people give you condescending stares. Stay in control and control your temper. Children will have tantrums - it's a part of growing up. Some adults still have them! But if you give in and let the bad behavior continue, you are letting your child know that bad behavior is OK and in fact, reinforcing it.

Troyann - posted on 06/11/2011

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I have always stuck to my guns. If you bribe them to be good your only looking for trouble and it will only take you longer to get the child to behave while your out and about with him/her. I understand it can inconvenience you but in the long run it makes things much easier. I have raised kids for 26 years with my youngest being 4 years old and with everyone of them I told them if they didn't behave properly then we would leave regardless where we were and it he/she acted up on 2 separate occasions and we had to leave the then they were not allowed to go with on the next outing whether it be the store or an outing. Believe me it is worth your effort and sanity to put your foot down...been there many times!!! Good luck

Ann - posted on 06/11/2011

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ok so don't think i am mean but when my kids behave poorly when i am out i still put them in the corner but i do it by the door so when every one walks by they can tell the people that they was not behaving. I have only had to do it a couple of times but the kids that i had to do it to do not act out at the stores no more. They ask why I embarrass them like that and my reply is because when you act out in a store it embarrass me.

Jenn - posted on 06/11/2011

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@A Offenberger - I'm pretty sure the reason kids are in diapers for the first 2 years of life is because they don't know how to use the toilet, not because it's meant to be padding for a smack. :/

Jenn - posted on 06/11/2011

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I don't feel embarrassed if my kids aren't perfect angels - it means they're human. To be honest, I've never experienced a full-on tantrum out in public. If my kids start getting carried away with their behaviour, I put a stop to it before it escalates into something more. Like, let's say we're getting groceries and one of my kids is getting loud, I will stop the cart and use my "mean mommy voice" and tell them to stop immediately, that their behaviour is unacceptable, and if they do not stop then we will leave and they won't get to come with me next time. That always works for me, and if it ever came down to it, I would leave my cart there and leave the store. So yes, I stick to my guns no matter where we are. My kids are made well aware of the type of behaviour that is expected of them before we go anywhere though, and I think that is important.

Lin - posted on 06/11/2011

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FIRST: DO NOT THROW YOUR OWN TANTRUM! LOL!

I remember being in the grocery store with my cart full of groceries when my 2 year old threw a major tantrum, writhing and screaming on the floor of the cereal aisle. I left the cart full of groceries, carried her to the car and we went home. I think you have to remove them from the environment at the very least until they calm down, and ABOVE ALL ELSE, never let 'em see you sweat! Stay calm. NEVER worry about who is judging you. Your child is your priority and kind, loving energy is what you want to exude. Stay cool, mama! xo

Ashley - posted on 06/11/2011

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My daughter (almost 4) threw a whopper of a tantrum in ASDA yesterday and I took the pajamas she wanted off of her (which increased screaming volume) took her outside, told her she was having a time out and plonked her on the bench for 4 minutes. I left her to scream and cry (stood a couple of feet away) and after her time was up and she had settled down , I went over explained why she had been taken out and given a time out and why it wasn't acceptable to act like that and got her to apologise to me and we had hugs and kisses and went back inside and enjoyed the rest of our shopping trip.
I had people looking and me and obviously judging but I've got thick skin and know I'm doing the best for my child and being consistant so I don't really care - It needs to be done.

[deleted account]

I just thought I'd put out there that I'm a horrible mother. :O) I shop when I'm bored and I totally bribe my children to behave. They're mostly really good but my 3 yr old is starting to talk back and take her brother's toys away all the time. I think I'm going to try and consistently implement the time out stair. And thanks everyone for sharing your methods.

[deleted account]

Distract distract distract! I find more and more as my daughter gets older that shouting and threatening just don't work. A few times at home when she refuses to eat her food I've threatened to throw it in the bin and actually have (so she eats MUCH better now) and I've done the same thing out at a restaurant. If she won't eat what she asked for, I get the waiters to take it away. We really do try to be consistent, but once when she was throwing herself around on the floor I actually DID copy her... I got some funny looks, but she has never done it since... I still get a lip pooched out now and again, but asking her to help me get the things we need off the shelf usually ends that pretty quickly. She loves to help, so in a way, that's the way I bribe her.

Irene - posted on 06/10/2011

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I have a very mean look when she's acting up.....sometimes that's all it takes, if that doesn't work I still stick to my usual punishment, I ignore her, and let her know what's gonna happen if she doesn't change her attitude!!!!! I've noticed that talking to her like i would any grown up works more than the bribes, bribes only hurt my pocket and it only lasts for a few minutes.

Angel - posted on 06/10/2011

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I just let my daughter throw her tantrum, and talk with when she is done, no sense in talk while she throwing tantrum she won't hear me. That's what I do

Castillo - posted on 06/10/2011

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i did this with my children and now my grandchildren. if they are totally out of it I will remove them. I will let them know we will leave and if they cannot calm down I will leave my cart and walk out. I do not respond to the crying or screaming. Just pick them up and take them to the car and wait it out. I also prepare the kids before we go in and if we leave, I wait until they calm down and discuss the behavior.

Maria - posted on 06/10/2011

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Dale said not to bribe kids, but also said to tell them if they behave, they can go see the fish or go to the pet store. That is also a bribe!

Dee - posted on 06/10/2011

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I would take the child home with the understanding that if they cant behave they cannot be along. Leave them at home wth a responsible person and go back without them.

Ashley - posted on 06/10/2011

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I stick to it.. My daughter threw an extreme fit when we were at Kohls a few weeks ago because she decided she didn't want to hold my hand and tried to run off.. I told her no, and took her hand and she just lost it and wouldn't let up.. So we just left. So I'm not going to be like one of those parents who when they are at the store and they are throwing a fit for something and then giving in and getting it because it makes them stop.
My daughter usually behaves better when we are out though than when we are at home

Dale - posted on 06/10/2011

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Never Bribe them, they have to know your in authority over them for they need to see that there is limits, You tell them their behavior is not acceptable, if too young just tell them we don't like that type of outburst in a public store. It is hard because you need not yell or raise your voice or handle your child in an unappropriate matter, just firmly and in a calm voice and I realize this is very hard to do but tell them if they stop then you will take them to look at the fish in the store or the pets. Distract them and don't give in. Give them choices but tell them this all before u walk into store, someones home, church, etc. Be mommy's helper when we get in the store and point out the can of green beans for me. Make them feel they are the shopper and have to spot the grocery or item. Then a kiss and hug and a big you did it will do, they beam at winning.

Donna - posted on 06/10/2011

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they get 3 chances to straighten up. After that I WILL find a store manager and give them my shopping cart. I let the manager know my child is not behaving there fore we MUST leave. I will return later with out child. And I take the child home and they sit in time out. I have done this before.I remember when I did this with my oldest ....he was in shock, didn't think I would leave as almost full cart. He never again acted that way, to that extent. All I had to say was do we need to leave?? and he would straighten right up!

Maria - posted on 06/10/2011

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I had this problem with my kids before they started school. Bribing didn't help because I used to give in even if they shouldn't have gotten anything. The tantrums stopped when I stuck to my guns. One day I told them what I expected and if they did that, they would get a treat and if they misbehaved, they would get nothing. They didn't believe me and in the end they got nothing. The next time they did as I asked. I have even left the store without anything and went back the next day.

Candyce - posted on 06/10/2011

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Depending on the setting, I'll either remove my son and then discipline him, or discipline him right then and there. If we're at a fairly nice place, I'll remove him (usually outside now that he's too old to be in the ladies' room) then impose certain restrictions depending on the offense. If we're just at Walmart or something, I'll swat him one good time to get his attention, then make him remain in the cart absolutely silent until we get back to the house. For him, it works since he loves to talk about anything and everything. Having to keep his mouth shut and being embarrassed is worse than a full spanking, lol. I haven't had to deal with that in ages though, thank god. He's better behaved when we're out in public than in private now.

Stephanie - posted on 06/10/2011

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There are a lot of good things here. I would recommend the book 1-2-3 Magic for Christian Parents. It was recommended to me and helped us out a lot.

Angela - posted on 06/10/2011

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I try to slip in some "kid-friendly" activity along with a long day of errands. Either taking a break and riding the merry-go-round at the mall, or stopping by a park somewhere in the way. I tell my 3 year old that we will be doing these activities, but first mommy has to go to the store, bank, post office, etc. If she starts to act out, I simply tell her she isn't going to get to do some fun activity. If this doesn't work, I find a corner of a store or a bench and give her a time-out, just like at home.

Debbie - posted on 06/10/2011

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My kids are 10 & 12 now, but we still go over the routine in the car just like when they were toddlers - "what are we going to do in the store?" behave, "what happens if we aren't behaving?" We go home. when they were young, there were a few time I had to walk out of the store and take them home. This happens whether its the Store, Restaraunt, Play group, Park, whatever. They know their boundaries and they know I will follow through. Now that they are older, they are very respectful and responsible in the store. I see pre-teen kids running around, chasing each other - not listening to their adult. Not happening on my watch.

Pamela - posted on 06/10/2011

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My kids are older now, but when they were younger I would take them to the bathroom for punishment. I never waited til we were home, cause kids often forget what they are being punished for. I always took care of them no matter where we were at.

Cheryl - posted on 06/10/2011

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i've put their things they wanted on the counter picked them up and walked out of the store,after a couple of times they realize a temper tantrum isn't going to get them anywhere. People look but i have six kids and when they were little it worked for me.

Cheryl - posted on 06/10/2011

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what would you do if your 4 year old had autism and when you go out people stare at him because he acts different and looks like he just doesn't want to pay attention, when in fact he doesn't understand what he is supposed to do because of the communication problem.People just look at you like he is spoiled and a brat when really something is overwhelming him and he is upset because he can't tell you what it is.

Patricia - posted on 06/10/2011

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from whatever age they can eat a lollipop or cookie, etc. (my kids are 12 and 15 so i forget, lol!) but, until age 2 all u can do is distract them. i don't call it a bribe when they're that little becuz in my experience my children and charges could not understand language, until they start speaking it. my kids were 2 when that happened. they couldn't speak it very well but they understood a lot more.

therefore a 2 min. (boring) time out got my kids to act like i requested: to play and talk quietly when in church or a mtg.

one exception seemed to b when my son was 3. i didn't notice it as much w my daughter. but, i think it was all the stimulation at his eye level in any CVS or Walmart. he'd b nuts, seriously! so the little vixen i just took him out and breathed after i had him strapped again in his car seat and went another time. lol! a year goes by fast and we had no troubles after that. good luck! always think "loving and constructive".

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 06/10/2011

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With my 14month old I try very hard to treat him the same way at home as I do in public. When he throws a fit here at home I Ignore it as best I can, when we are out and he does it, IF I can I do the same or I will distract him....all depends.
With my 8year old I give him the evil eye and that alone works 9times out of 10

Jenny - posted on 06/10/2011

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Depends how old they are. Right now my daughter is 19 months and as long as its after her nap she's fine but if she does act up I just kinda ignore her until she stops. With older kids I found if you just pull out your camera phone and start recording them throwing a fit they will stop. My friend's son is horrible anywhere so that's what I do to him.

Pam - posted on 06/10/2011

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This all depends on your views of punishment and the age of your child. Foe example: My 4 year old, since she was 2, would stop very quickly if I just walked to the next isle. She would realize I was not giving in and she would then freak out that I was gone and it would be over. My step daughter, on the other hand, was and is very difficult in stores. We use the naughty corner in our house and even now that she is 11, we still use it. In a store there are many corners and it is not hard to find one. Put your kid in time out corner a couple of times in the store and they get it real quick. Hope these tips work for you too. Good luck!

A - posted on 06/10/2011

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My 3 "stair-step"children are adults (22,20 & 18) now, but I never, not even once, had a child "melt down" in public or at home. I started disciplining before my children could even sit up on their own. A child knows at four months old that if he screams for no reason and is allowed, he will continue to scream for no reason. A repeated firm finger on the mouth and a sternly said, "No, No, No", with every squeal is plenty to deter him from this annoying-for-anyone-within-earshot habit he's forming. And at 9 months, when he smacks in the face anyone near him because he thinks it's funny, a light smack on the hand and moving it away with a firm No, No, No will stop him. And at 12 months when he's telling you "No" or taking toys from other kids or just being a brat all because he can, show him he can't. Smack him on the diapers and give him the "look" and tone that says "You will not act that way any more." And tell him "NO". Kids are in diapers for the first two years of their lives for a reason, people. And, don't tell me it's abuse. Discipline and abuse are two totally different things. I don't believe in beating a child, but a smack on a diapered butt with a stern look and sound of displeasure from you will make him start thinking in a different direction, something called "self-discipline" Children need discipline and structure. Be stern, but not mean, and be consistent, or they will take advantage every time. But you have to remember to do all these things with love and for the betterment of the child and not out of anger. You are the parent, NOT the friend. They are in your charge and a reflection of you. In my opinion, a bad child equals lazy parenting skills. You can't reason with a six month old any more than you can a two year old. They just don't get it, no matter how "smart" your child is. But they do understand that if they do "this", then that is what happens afterward, so I'm going to stop doing "this". At any age, I never had to worry about taking my kids anywhere, because they knew better than to act out and were respectful of me and whomever was in our vicinity. And when I said "NO", they knew it meant NO and there was no reason to fight with me because they were never going to win. I love my children with all my heart and always let them know, with my actions and my words. I always thanked them for being so good, but other people, even strangers would comment on how well behaved and even pleasant they were. They were happy children, even though I was strict, because I disciplined out of love. Love your kids enough to make them a working part of society, not the problem with it!

John N Laurie - posted on 06/10/2011

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Don't give in, even if it means walkin out the door with them and doing your shopping later. I f you give in then your setting yourself up for this behavior to continue.

Erin - posted on 06/10/2011

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We have 3 positive rules for our boys to follow. Be nice, be polite, and listen. We have examples under each, but those rules are easy for the boys to follow. The consequense for not following the rules is a time out facing a corner. I chose a corner instead of a chair or something like that because no matter where you are, you can find a corner for a child to face. It allows me to keep the discipline going whether we're our shopping or visiting people. I have even put both boys in time out while we were at church. I don't have the luxury of saying "if you can't behave, we're leaving" because my husband is active duty military on recruiting duty. He leaves for work at 6:30 in the morning and usually doesn't get home until 8:30 - 9:00 at night. I avoid naptime and bedtime if possible, but if emergencies happen, my boys know that if they misbehave, they'll get a time out no matter where we are.

Ingrid - posted on 06/10/2011

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Stick to your guns, you may have to leave your groceries and shoping for a few while you take your child to the car or restroom but "DON'T GIVE IN" no matter how many times you have to leave.

Melissa - posted on 06/10/2011

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stick to your guns - if you bribe your kid they are always looking for a reward for doing something. My duaghter wets herself constantly because shes not longer getting a lolly for using toilet, bribes are bad. I try to use the same punishment always but sometimes its not always possible

Danielle - posted on 06/10/2011

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Stick to your guns! Several times we have been out shopping, or out to eat and my 2 year has really acted up. I have taken him out of the cart and put him on the floor in the middle of HOME DEPOT in time out. People look at him and at me, but I ignore them and when time is up we get up and go.

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