Toddler tantrums in public & stranger intervention.

Mazy - posted on 04/17/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )




So, I really, *really* had to get some things from the store (Walmart) which is about a half a mile away. My toddler (almost three) typically loves outtings & was happy to get in the truck & go. However, as soon as he stepped out of the vehical he started SCREAMING! I got my other son out (16 months) & put him in a cart thinking that #1 would calm down soon. Nope. He started punching, kicking, biting & even ran into the lot in front of a car. He was screaming that he wanted to go home. Afraid, I picked him up & put him back in his car seat, but he was flailing wildly, so I couldn't strap him in. I didn't want to drive back home for nothing, but he HAD to calm down & couldn't bring him in the store like that. I was also so shaken up that he'd run in front of a car...and this was all behavior that'd he never done. Tantrm, sure, but nothing ever like this. I was holding his head in my hands trying to stabalize him & telling him sternly that he needed to breathe & stop screaming (while trying to hold the cart holding #2 with my foot). Suddenly a woman came out of nowhere & grabbed my arms from behind yelling "STOP STOP STOP! He's a baby!! You can't do that!!" She told me that I was hitting him, throwing him & screaming at him while he didn't know any better...that I needed to have better control over my children & to control my own emotions. I just put my other son in the car, told her she was sorry & waited for her to leave. Was I really in the wrong? Does a toddler throwing a tantrum automatically mean that a parent doesn't have control over them? Honestly, what would have been the best move in that situation...what would you have done?


[deleted account]

I think the only reason I would have stopped myself from slapping the shit out of that woman would have been because I wouldn't do something like that in front of my child(ren). She actually laid hands on you....and when I read that it literally sent this huge swell of anger up in me. Had I seen you in a parking lot, trying desperately to calm your child, also knowing that you were scared and upset from him running out in front of a car.....if I'd witnessed all of that and then saw a woman lay her hands on you and accuse you of abuse....I probably would have yanked her off of you and told her to mind her own business.

I think you did what I would have done, and have done with my own son. I have held his face in my hands and told him to breathe, calm down, blown cool air into his face (because usually by that time he's all red and hot and sweatty). Going by what you said happened, I honestly don't think you did anything wrong.

Edited to add: Also, I don't spank my son anymore and my MIL is absolutely convinced that whenever he has a tantrum or misbehaves, it's because I have no control over him and she blames it on the fact that I don't spank. I think there are times when we really DON'T have control over our kids and that's ok. The goal as a parent isn't to "maintain absolute control" over our children. The goal is to try and teach THEM how to control THEMSELVES. Seems like you were only trying to teach your son to calm down and breathe.


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Pamela - posted on 09/01/2015




I no how you feel my 2 year old dose that to when he see a toy or just want to run around I hate going places I just want to stay at home when my son dose that I spank him and tell him what he did wrong people be giving me looks im trying let him no he cant act like that you a mom it hard your doing good job just try to relax when you can it help lock yourself in car or go outside while there watching cartoons take a breather it help a lot

Kelina - posted on 04/17/2012




Well obviously you had no warning that this was about to happen so it's not like you could have prevented it. It sounds like you did everything you could. Like Dove, my son would have gotten a spank for running away from our vehicle but I also know that many moms aren't comfortable with that. The woman coming up to you-was totally out of line. I'm not a confrontational person so I probably would have done nothing but wait until she was gone and then sit there and cry. A toddler throwing a tantrum is a toddler. It doesn't always mean that a child is out of control. Tantrums are an emotional response to different things like being tired or hungry or not getting their way. Yes they do eventually need to learn different ways of dealing with those things but a 3 year old is still on the beginning of that learning curve. Just like you don't expect them to go from diapers to underwear overnight and never have an accident, when they're learning to deal with their emotions there are going to be outbursts.

[deleted account]

Yeah, I never would have actually hit her, but I definitely would have wanted to. And really, it IS good that she was concerned. The part I think that bothers me the most is that there are other things she could have done if she was that concerned. She could have asked if you were ok or if you needed help, rather than jump to the conclusion that you were doing something wrong. I think the only reason she should have touched you should have been to maybe tap you on the shoulder to get your attention or to stop you IF you had actually been abusing your child. And now, I'll give you the same advice you gave your son....breeeeathe lol I'd still be shaken too.

Rhiannon - posted on 04/17/2012




Kids have tantrums there is nothing anyone can do about it and often once they are in full flight the best course of action is just to put them somewhere the can't hurt them selves and let them scream it out.

This woman was completly out of line, if she thought you were hurting the little one she could have offered to help but she should not have put her hands on you.

As for running out in front of a car you handled that much better than i did. when my daughter ran out in front of traffic i have to admit that i smacked her across the rear and shouted at her (it was a heat of the moment thing something that i am not at all proud of).

Mazy - posted on 04/17/2012




Ladies, thank you for your comments. I'm feeling better. It's been hours since it happened & I'm still mad & shaken! I didn't respond to her because she actually scared me! And she had a child behind her & I didn't want to make a scene in front of all these kids. I turned around really quick & yelled "what" because she startled me & then I was afraid that if I said/did anything else she might not let go. In a way, I guess I'm glad that she stepped in when she *thought* something bad was happening to my child, however, in the moment (well, and even still) I was mostly embarrassed & resentful to her actions. But yes, thank you for your support!!

S. - posted on 04/17/2012




Well then i don't have control several times a day then as my 18 month old is a expert at having a tantrum!
I think the woman clearly had gotten the wrong end of the stick and thought you was hurting him when you was really trying to calm him down, I dont think you did anything wrong what more could you have done?

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