Guest Blogger – Family Life Intern Mackenzie K

You are at the grocery store and just about done with your shopping. It’s been a pretty pleasant trip, but then you round the last aisle. Your child sprints toward the Fruity Pebbles. “Please please please”. You respond, “No, we aren’t going to get those this time”.  And it begins: the kicking feet, flailing arms, and high-pitched screaming. You are the victim of another grocery store tantrum via Fruity Pebbles or Death.

When it happens to you as the parent, it makes you feel embarrassed, and (let’s be real) frustrated with your child. You just wanted a quick simple trip to the store, and now you have a screaming child drawing a lot of unwanted attention to you.

So how do we address the problem of our screaming child? Some of us may want to spank or threaten. Some of us may want give in to the child’s request in order to stop the fit. Some of us may yell back. Some of us may simply walk away.

According to researchers at Zero to Three, the key to this scenario  is staying calm rather than losing it. Don’t let your anger get the best of you. Also, make sure to validate your child’s feelings. They really do feel frustrated! There are some great tips and techniques to try in the article below:

Zero to Three: When he doesn’t get his way
Have you used any of the techniques in the article before? How has it gone for you?

Lori Korthals, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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  1. I agree with the author of this article. The mother should remain calm and not to provoke the child continues to cry. She should do as she needs it – leave the playground and go home.
    To prevent child’s tantrums in the store, I try not to take little kids with me for quick purchases.

  2. Planning and prevention can help a lot towards reducing tantrums and behavior needing discipline.

  3. We lived in a small town years ago when my kids were little. I remember carrying my flailing 3 year old out of the grocery store football style under my arm one night. He was tired and hungry and so was I. I left the grocery cart and we went home. An hour later, I returned to the store, alone, and the cart was still there except for the frozen items which the grocer had put back. I finished my shopping and learned the BIGGEST lesson – don’t go to the store tired and hungry with a child in similar condition. We did snacks or naps before we did that again and our trips to the store were much happier.

  4. Many parents have learned that same lesson. A little planning can derail situations like the one you shared. And that’s a lot easier than needing to discipline a tired and hungry child.

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