My kid's first full-fledged public tantrum

[deleted account] ( 17 moms have responded )

OMG...This is not really a debate, but it could turn into one if y'all want. I don't care, I have tough skin. Basically, I'm kind of wondering if I did the right thing, and it's been annoying me all day.

So I took Eliza to a children's clothing consignment store today. They have a corner with a little table and paper and crayons for the kids. So I took her over there, sat her down, and immediatly the older girl that was already there grabbed the box of crayons and yelled, "MINE!" I wasn't dealing with that, so I gave Eliza her toy cell phone to keep her busy and we walked away.

After several minutes of going through the racks I noticed the little girl was gone. So I took Eliza back over to the table and set her up. She was coloring in bliss while I shopped for several minutes. UNTIL the spoiled brat ran back over to the table and ripped the crayon box and color book out of Eliza's hands, and yelled, "I HAD THAT FIRST!" I heard this and immediatly went to the little table. I said, "Here you can have the color book, and Eliza can have this page she was working on." Then I ripped Eliza's page out of the book. The girl said, "No I want that one!" At this point her grandmother/mom(?) came up and asked what was going on. I said, "We're leaving."

I picked Eliza up and was about to check out, but she was wailing. So I took her outside, gave her a minute to calm down, and went back in to pay. When we went back in, she saw the other girl still there coloring and started crying again. I decided just to go ahead and check out and leave asap. Meanwhile the grandmother/mom said, "I'm sorry, she doesn't know how to share." Seriously? She didn't even try to reprimand the girl. She was still sitting there coloring page she took from Eliza. Anyway, I said, "Yeah, it's a hard concept." I paid and left, and apologized to some of the other customers for my screaming child as I was leaving.

I'm so frustrated. I know my child is not perfect. But she has never had a meltdown in public before. I wasn't even sure if I handled it correctly. I didn't want to "punish" because the situation wasn't even her fault.

Ugh. Did I do the right thing? Has that happened to you before? Thanks for letting me vent. =)

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Tracey - posted on 09/12/2010




Having worked in a toy shop and seen hundreds of tantrums from toddlers up to teenagers, and seen hundreds of parents giving in to their spoilt brats I say good for you, it is very rare to have a customer take responsibility for their child and rarer still to apologise to other customers. You handled this perfectly.

[deleted account]

Dana, thanks for the reminder that my job is to raise my child and to not worry about others. That is so true! Tah, I wish I had your guts! Jennifer, thanks for sharing the story, I'm not the only one this has happened to! I really do feel better after reading everyone's responses!

Jenni - posted on 09/11/2010




Yeah you did the right thing. I wouldn't blame Eliza for having a meltdown over it. The other girl was being rude to her. I'm sure even as adults when we experience rudeness we get pretty POd too.
I had a similar situation at the doctors office. An older girl (maybe 6 yrs old) was playing at the table. When we came in her mother asked her to slide her chair over a bit so my son could play too. The girl flat out ignored her mother. At least the mother was making some kind of an effort. After asking her about 5 times to give my son some room, the girl slid over about an inch. The girl quickly moved her favourite toys out of my son's reach. He was left with some age inappropriate puzzles. The mother tried to encourage her daughter to let him play with some of the blocks she had. Again the girl flat out ignored her mother. I tried to distract my son with some books but he was fixated on his favourite toy, a shape finding bus. The mother noticed this and tried to convince her daughter to let him play with it since she wasn't. Ignored! So this went on for about 5 mins, me trying to distract him with books, the girl hoarding all the toys and the mother's 'pleas' to the girl to get her to share. Eventually my son had enough and started to cry in frustration. I asked my husband to take him to the clinic across the hall to play.
I was pissed. My son is two and has a better grasp on the concept of sharing than this six year old. My 3 year old SD and him share far better than this 6 year old. He's at an age where he is very impressionable when it comes to learning to share. I didn't want this older girl spoiling my efforts. But when i think about it I am still teaching him about sharing by my reaction to the situation. If someone isn't playing nice, you do what you can to resolve the problem peacefully and if you can't resolve the problem, you walk away.

Dana - posted on 09/11/2010




I don't think you or she did anything wrong. I also wouldn't worry about what anyone else thought. You're there to raise a good child (and it sounds like you are) not to speculate or worry if others know what's truly going on. Whenever I see a child having a fit, I don't judge the mother, I feel her pain becasue we've ALL been there.

Ez - posted on 09/11/2010




I was reading your story Sarah, waiting for you to describe how Eliza turned into the she-devil and started frothing at the mouth.. and then nothing lol! She didn't do anything wrong, and you were very civilised in dealing with the other little girl's mother. I would not have caused a commotion, but I would definitely have made sure the mother knew the whole story in the hope that the other child's unacceptable behaviour would be addressed.

Meghan - posted on 09/10/2010




pfft, I have bigger tantrums than that on a daily basis! :) You did the right thing, good job!

Tah - posted on 09/10/2010




i'm not sure what your child did the grandmother/mother needs to apologize to you, your child, the store and anyone in the free world that comes in contact with that child if she doesn't teach her to share...i would have handed out her first move you lose sugarfoot, my baby is over here working on her first picasso and you can A) share..or B) get over it or C)...go get your mother and let me explain it her...i prefer C...and anyone who knows me apart from COM knows i really will...

[deleted account]

Thanks ladies! You made me feel better. I'm just embarrassed because of it, not that I blame Eliza for it. I'm not sure if any of the other customers saw what happened, so I'm sure I looked like the idiot parent.

[deleted account]

Your child was fully justified in throwing that fit and I certainly wouldn't have punished her either. I wouldn't have let the little brat have MY kid's picture, so your a bigger woman than I am. ;)

Rosie - posted on 09/10/2010




i agree with the other ladies. definitely not her fault, and you handled it beautifully. poor eliza!! kids like that make me ill sometimes-well i should rephrase that, PARENTS like that make me ill.

Kate CP - posted on 09/10/2010




The older kid was the one having a tantrum, not your's. You did the right thing, Mommy. :)

Isobel - posted on 09/10/2010




That's not a tantrum...that's her being justly upset by a nasty big kid (which will also happen often, by the way :('s kinda like an orgasm...once you experience one, you KNOW it hahahaha.

Jodi - posted on 09/10/2010




"I'm sorry, she doesn't know how to share"....

WTF???? So she's gonna learn with you just standing to the side and letting her get away with it? Sara, I would have been fuming if I were in your shoes. Definitely NOT Eliza's fault at all and I don't blame her for being upset. I think you handled it well.

Krista - posted on 09/10/2010




I think you absolutely did the right thing. And it sucks and it's not fair for Eliza, but that's how things go sometimes. And you were right to not punish her for it -- she had every right to be upset. Poor kid.

Tara - posted on 09/10/2010




You did a right thing. Meaning you didn't punish her and you didn't make a scene.
I would have told the other parent/grandparent what had happened and suggested splitting the number of crayons in half and each picking a page to work on. If that hadn't worked I would have said out loud. "Eliza honey, I'm sorry but we're going to go look at some other clothes/toys etc. because this little girl isn't able to share right now."
I wouldn't have left, however I understand your frustration but be assured your child did nothing wrong. She was simply expressing her feelings about a valid injustice.

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