Happy Monday babes! This blog post is one of my most requested posts, and its long overdue! Keep in mind that I am writing this from MY point of view, and everyone will have a different experience or a way of dealing with tantrums in public. To be honest, Beckam has never had a full out tantrum in public or in private. This has a lot to do with who he is, but also how I discipline him. He is just over 3 years old and he had his first mini “freak out” in the mall the other day when we were with our friends. He wanted to stay and look at the toys and it was time to go, so he screamed. That was it, just screamed to let me know he was mad. I’ve seen situations where this will happen and I can tell the parent is embarrassed and just wants it to stop and needs to get out of the store. But does that stop kids from doing it again? Absolutely not. I’m not saying that my solution will help kids never have tantrums in public, but I’ve tried it both ways and my newest technique has worked the best.
So after Beckam screamed, I noticed someone look at him probably wondering what was going on. I know some people get embarrassed when this happens, but don’t! They are kids and this is normal. If someone gives you the stink eye- who cares?! I’m also not afraid to stare right back and make someone uncomfortable if they act like they’ve never seen a kid do this before (but thats just me). I don’t get embarrassed if this happens because they are kids, and people understand and have usually been in the same situation. If they don’t understand, that’s their problem, not yours. Your focus should be on your child- not on what other people are thinking. Instead of grabbing Beckam and leaving the store out of frustration, I took a different approach. I got down to his level and just tried to distract and calm him down. Some things that I would have said would have been along the lines of “you know what, we can definitely come back here and play with the toys again, but let’s go see if there is anything else cool in this store”, or “come with mom, I have to show you something so cool”. I calmed him down before it could get out of control (which it hasn’t ever come to that yet). Then I took him over to see something else and he got so excited and we BOTH enjoyed the rest of the time in that store. I didn’t want him to have a bad experience there and leave with both of us mad and frustrated. We have to remember that they are the kids. Kids WILL be kids, and its up to us as parents to guide them and help them find calmness in these situations. If I would have got mad and left the store with him, we would have both ended up mad and neither of us would want to go back to the store again (at least, I wouldn’t have wanted to). The approach that I took, allowed Beckam to show me how he was feeling (even if it was through a scream), we dealt with it, and moved on. We were able to enjoy the rest of our time in that store, and now we always go back there because we both have fun there!
Let’s keep in mind, that people will stare. People will judge. But their opinion has nothing to do with you or your parenting. They do not have a say in your child’s life and its up to you to choose whats right for your child.
Also, recognize why your child is feeling this way. For Beckam, it was that he wanted to keep playing with toys. So I told him that I had something else cool to show him and that he had so many good toys waiting at home for him when we got there. I promised that we would play dinosaurs together and for him, it worked. Each kid will react differently, but we need to recognize that they are KIDS and to help guide them through their feelings. Getting mad at Beckam would have been useless because then he wouldn’t feel like I cared about his feelings. For example… ladies, do you ever feel hurt/frustrated and you try to explain that to your husband but your feelings get disregarded and then NOTHING gets solved? We can’t be like that towards our kids. We need to hear them out and see why they are feeling a certain way and help them through those feelings.
I’ve seen kids scream or have freak outs in stores, and I’ve seen parents grab them by the wrist and take them out while scolding them. Did that accomplish anything for anyone? Most likely not. The parent would have got more frustrated and the kid would have got more upset and nothing would have got resolved. If our kids are acting a certain way, there is a reason. Figure out why they feel the way they do and help them through it. Sometimes I think there is too much pressure put on kids. Beckam is THREE, he doesn’t know how to express himself so screaming was what worked for him. It helped him so much when we worked through that instead of me getting more frustrated with him.
I had a few people ask me how I stay calm and don’t lose my mind when Beckam throws a “tantrum”. I didn’t quite know how to answer this at first. I didn’t even really know exactly what they meant by this. I don’t “lose my mind” easily and since I’m the adult/parent, I know its my responsibility to stay calm. If someone were to come up to me and hit me, yes I would lose my mind. If someone tried being rude to my kids, yes I would lose my mind. Things that I don’t lose my mind over are simple things like a 3 year old expressing emotion (even if it is with a scream). I find it very unnecessary to “lose my mind” over something like this. Kids have a harder time controlling their emotions. As a mom, I have learnt how to keep control of my emotions. If Beckam screams or is upset, it doesn’t make me mad. It makes me want to help him figure out how we can work on it together.
What approaches have you tried?