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Tantrums in public. Rss

How do you discipline your child in public?
How do you deal with an absolute melt down and kicking and screaming tantrum in public?!

At home this behaviour is not acceptable, and our son gets three warnings and then a smack. But I know that smacking is not appropriate in public.
He is 2.5.
It's causing a lot of tension between me and my husband because he gets very mad when our son acts like this, he has anxiety problems and having something that embarrassing happen in public sets him off.

Any advice is appreciated!





I have a two and a half year old also and she is testing me to the limit. The tantrums and meltdowns are hard to handle sometimes. It frustrates me so much that I can't just give her a smack in public because I have learnt with my other children that they learn so fast that they won't get a smack when you're out so they are free to muck up. At home it's different because they know you WILL give them one. With my last child I would take him to the car and give him a smack. At two nothing else works, and there is no 'time out'and 'talking quietly to them and explaining what they should and shouldn't do. They are too little.'
My husband doesn't handle the stress of her out in public too well either, so I would much rather him stay home!!
I have no advice expect to say that it will pass in time. They do grow out of it eventually but it is sure hard work while it lasts.
My son is 3 in April and we have been on to him lately.

For example, last week we went to the library and he wanted to run off and play in the kid area while I was returning books. I said no he had to stay with me until I returned the books then we would go over to the kids area together. He cried, threw himself on the floor. I told him we would leave if he didn't stop. He didn't stop. We left.

Today he asked to go the library and said "Hold mummy's hand". He was great and stayed with me. I would say lesson learnt for him smile

Similar at school drop off. We walk DD into her class and I didn't even realise he was running around the room playing chasey with the boys, sounds silly I didn't notice. But I was so focused on DD and when I noticed I had a chat to DS and said "No more running inside, if you can't not run you need to hold my hand the whole time" I didn't want to carry him as he is getting bigger but wanted to teach him the right way to behave inside. The first day he had a very sad look on his face as he stood in the doorway of the classroom not moving. The next day he walked around with me holding my hand and now he walks around. He likes to look at the fish in her room and talk to the kids, and thats fine. But he isn't allowed to run.

Bit long, but thats my experience with DS the last couple of weeks!

Both DH and I are a bit over being embarrassed by the kids if they are misbehaving. We discipline how we would at home and deal with the tears. They learn pretty quick and actually are generally quite well behaved. Most of the time smile People actually comment quite a lot on how well behaved they are and DD's teacher this morning commented on the change in DS behaviour at school. But they certainly have their challenging days when its all on!
Dd is 2 1/4 and I wonder if shes just starting to test the limits out and about, yesterdy we were out having coffee after swimming, wouldn't sit down to eat wanted to jump on the seats, laughing and thinking it's funny and not generally not listening . Told her if she didn't listen and sit down nicely like was being asked she'd be put out in the car (which was parked just outside the shop) sure enough I was tired and my patience ran out so she got strapped into her car seat for a few min while I went back inside. So it was far from a complete meltdown and I think my friend thought I had over reacted but I have high expectations of her out in public and she's usually very good, am hoping she'll remember this next time it happens!

My DS will be 3 in April and I am finding it helps to talk about where were are going and what we will be doing so that he knows what to expect/what not to expect. We had a hospital appointment last week where I had to take both kids and we talked about it beforehand in detail and he was perfectly behaved, in contrast to last year's nightmare appointment.
It is a phase, and maybe at 2.5yrs your DS is not quite ready to try this advice out, but he will be very soon. In the meantime don't be embarrassed by tantrums in public, pretty much all parents have been there and it could be anything that triggers it. Usually it is too much stimuli for their brains or they are tired/hungry.
And I'm sorry nursenellie, but i think it's a bit unreasonable to have high expectations of a 2yr old's behaviour in public. It's lovely when they do behave but they are toddlers after all and still learning how to control their feelings and emotions.
honeyspider wrote:
And I'm sorry nursenellie, but i think it's a bit unreasonable to have high expectations of a 2yr old's behaviour in public. It's lovely when they do behave but they are toddlers after all and still learning how to control their feelings and emotions.

Ok so lets have a positive debate smile

I'm actually with NN, we too have pretty high expectations for our kids behaviour. Like the incident at the library, I took him home and he didn't get to go to the toy area and he remembered next time we went to the library how to behave. I'm all for don't make a consequence your not willing to follow through. So if my child was told to sit down or we would be leaving and she didn't sit down. We would be leaving.
honeyspider wrote:
And I'm sorry nursenellie, but i think it's a bit unreasonable to have high expectations of a 2yr old's behaviour in public. It's lovely when they do behave but they are toddlers after all and still learning how to control their feelings and emotions.


I read this just before going to bed last night then lay awake wondering if I was being that unreasonable!
Maybe it's naive of me to expect it as well... But she's a bright kid and I try to work within her limits I.e. Plan majority of outings in the morning when she's at her best, make sure I have enough food / water so hungers not an excuse, give ourselves enough time so it's not always a mad rush where I'm trying to hurry her along, go home when it looks like the situation could deteriorate but before it gets to that point... like mummsy will often get comments about "what a good wee girl" she is and how good her manners are.
Perhaps I'm lucky that "generally" she's pretty good - but yes, unreasonable or not, I do expect it!
Thanks for all your replies.

I understand both sides of this debate. Our little guy is generally very well behaved, and in a sense when he plays up while we are out, I get disappointed because I know he does know better than to act in this way.
But I also realise he's still learning and quite often even I myself feel overwhelmed by how busy or crowded the shopping centre is so I can only imagine how he must feel. Especially if he's overtired or feeling unwell etc and can't tell me that.
I personally think it's his delay in speech and him not being able to communicate effectively that causes these melt downs in public. At home he usually takes us and points to what he needs or wants.

For those of you who implement the same discipline at home and out and about to ensure consistency, what exactly do you do?
Stopping and just trying to talk quietly to a kicking and screaming toddler is near impossible. And after trying that the other day and having my shirt ripped and my face scratched I don't know if I would try that again. I could see how frustrated he was which made me sad that I as his mum couldn't work out what he wanted.

Thanks again!





Thanks for all your replies.

I understand both sides of this debate. Our little guy is generally very well behaved, and in a sense when he plays up while we are out, I get disappointed because I know he does know better than to act in this way.
But I also realise he's still learning and quite often even I myself feel overwhelmed by how busy or crowded the shopping centre is so I can only imagine how he must feel. Especially if he's overtired or feeling unwell etc and can't tell me that.
I personally think it's his delay in speech and him not being able to communicate effectively that causes these melt downs in public. At home he usually takes us and points to what he needs or wants.

For those of you who implement the same discipline at home and out and about to ensure consistency, what exactly do you do?
Stopping and just trying to talk quietly to a kicking and screaming toddler is near impossible. And after trying that the other day and having my shirt ripped and my face scratched I don't know if I would try that again. I could see how frustrated he was which made me sad that I as his mum couldn't work out what he wanted.

Thanks again!





Hi Mandy, I have 4 chn now and have had 4 different experiences of 2 yr old tantrums and have had to use many different approaches. I personally believes that your child's personality is a big factor in how well they respond to you and their environment. Don't beat yourself, up the days can be long and difficult. I found watching 'super nanny' really helpful and she's very practical and knows toddler so. It is probably available online or you could task your library to get it in for you.
Just wondering, why would you give THREE warnings? As a teacher and a Mum, I've come to realise, that if you give THREE warnings, you give an extra two chances for poor behaviour! Implement a first and final warning system...that way, they have a chance to change their behaviour, after that, they have CHOSEN to misbehave!!!
In public, I think I'd aim for consistency and do what you do at home!! To hell with what other people think, it's a smack, not a public flogging!!
I absolutely agree with Ficus. You have to act immediately because many times children don't even understand what they are being punished for if the punishment comes way late. So, you're just being counterproductive. Also, you're stressing yourself longer. If you ask me, a smack, even in public, is a good disciplinary measure as long as you use it responsibly (I know, it sounds like a beer commercial).
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