How To Survive Your Toddler's Public Tantrum
Every parent dreads the day their child decides to "let loose" in public. It's like, the day the child turns two, parents start readying themselves emotionally for the dramatic "terrible twos". What's a parent to do? Should we start keeping stashes of little treats with us in case of a public melt down? Well for the honest truth, every culture and even every household can differ in their approach. I'm sure there was no such thing as the "terrible twos" in my household growing up. One look of disapproval from my mom would set the world straight. Okay, well at least it did my siblings and I.
This current generation is a far cry from the techniques of discipline just thirty years ago. Back in the day, normal techniques included grounding, spanking, "whooping", and possibly, slapping. Whereas, these days parents could be arrested for taking a child's iPhone away. I kid you not! Look it up. However, here are a few tips to keep you out of the jail cell on account of your toddler's tantrum.
1. Stay Calm
Whenever your child, unexpectedly, decides to stop, drop, and roll in the grocery store while screaming their own rendition of the Rolling Stones' I Can't Get No (Satisfaction), stay as calm as possible. Refrain from any firm talk or stern looks. Talk in the same manner and tone as you were before the outburst. In this stance, you are showing your child that you are not affected by negative behavior.
2. Acknowledge The Issue
Playfully, squat down to them with a smile upon your face and acknowledge that you understand they would like to (feel in the blank) and then proceed to let them know a simple reason why. Do not attempt the dreaded and very heartless answer, "Because I said so". This will only aggravate the situation and serve to hurt their problem solving skills later on. You want your precious little human to be able to problem solve situations such as this, at an early age. Simply, explain the reason and subsequently, further justify your reasoning by explaining what would happen if you gave them what they desire right then and there. Follow it up by saying something along the lines of, "We wouldn't want that to happen, right?" and slowly start resuming your previous activity.
After the acknowledgement and their understanding of your reasoning, there will possibly follow a sort of constant begging. Since you've already stated the facts, there is no longer a reason to go into any depth so, continue as you were however, as you continue shopping or so, nonchalantly answer their begging with the same response each time and some sort of sudden distraction: "I know, Honey, but if I give you more candy today, you're stomach may end up hurting and I get so sad when you're hurting. I don't want you to hurt. Oh my goodness, look! She's wearing my all-time favorite color! Ooh! What about your favorite color? Let's look for your favorite color. Come on! Let's hurry! This is super exciting!"
These tactics have worked wonders many a times with my four kids. It wasn't always easy, especially, when a child will repeat their request for what seems like hours but, hold fast to your patience and you will be rewarded. Continuously engaging in a playful, childlike demeanor can easily disarm a child because, they tend to feel that you are always on their side, wanting good things for them versus the strict parent who comes off as selfish and cold-hearted to such a young soul. Your goal is to make your child feel that you always have their best interest at heart.
So, go and try out these tactics on your little human and report back. I'm sure you'll do great.