What Not to Say to a Screaming Toddler's Mother

Have you ever been in the store, only to have your toddler break down into a sobbing, inconsolable bloody-murder-screeching temper tantrum? I have, repeatedly. And what have I learned from the experience? I ain't no Mary Poppins.

I have a confession to make. I used to think that temper tantrums only happened to other people's kids, and apparently, so do many of the people I see at the grocery store.

My daughter is a pretty even-tempered kid. When she was a toddler, I could take her to the store in small doses. I brought snacks, a toy, a drink, and I changed her diaper before we left. People would complement me on how well-behaved she was, and tell me what a beautiful girl I had. And I would smugly smile, so proud of my clear-cut and excellent parenting skills.

My next kid is another story. Let's call him Chucky, to protect his identity. He hates shopping, period. And he doesn't like being in the car, either. Nevertheless, my family still needs to stock up on toilet paper, laundry detergent, and the basic food groups from time to time. Predictably, once we make it into the grocery store, he begins unbuckling his seat straps (he's just gifted that way, I guess), tries to stand up in the grocery cart, and starts wailing like an ambulance siren. If that doesn't bring on the consolation he's looking for, great big tears well up in his big brown eyes, and stream down his face to a pathetically maudlin effect.

I've been a parent for 10 years now, and during the early years, I spent my free time boning up on self-help books. These books usually suggest that you take a screaming child out of the store, leaving all of your groceries in the cart. Take the child to the car and hold them firmly until they stop crying. Time out, that's what they call it. But I don't do that. Because I live in a rural area, leaving the store just means marching right back in again to finish the job.

I do my best to prevent these tantrums. I stock lots of toys, snacks, drinks, and 3 or 4 diapers for these trips. I try not to torment my son with needless extra stops or browsing. The goal is to get in and get out, guerrilla style.

The screeching, whining and fussing (him, not me) often begins immediately after we place him in the shopping cart. I am beginning to build a small arsenal of "helpful comments" I've heard during these times. Here is my rant. My own tantrum if you will:

 

 

Strangers' Comments Couldn't Be Stranger

The little guy looks like he needs a nap.

But it's only eight o'clock in the morning!

I'll pray for him!

Recently, as I was leaving the store pretty thoroughly embarrassed, my usual state these days, a woman turned to me and said, "I'll be praying for him. I always pray for the little ones that cry." I wondered as I took my exit why she wasn't praying for ME. I was the one dealing with the little terror.

And on a related note...

Sure makes you believe in original sin...

I kid you not. Someone really said this to me. Actually I don't believe in that but let's not go into that here.

Tell your mama to hurry up and finish shopping!

Today when a "nice lady" directed this comment to my 21 month old son, I turned to her and said, "ma'am, I'm almost seven months pregnant and moving as fast as I can." If you must direct a snide comment at a kid's parent, through the child, don't expect him to pass it on.

What did you do to him?

I have heard this question so often now that I have a standard response. "I've been beating him with a wet noodle." Once someone didn't hear the wet noodle part and responded, "Oh, well I wouldn't do that if I were you."

What's wrong with him?

Do you mean besides the demon child inside of him that's making his head rotate 360 degrees on its axis? I have never actually said this to anyone, but the temptation grows stronger each time the question is posed to me.

Staring and head shaking

This one falls more into the category of non-verbal communication. I don't have a comeback for this one, but it isn't helpful. Save your disdain for the trip back home in the car.

And you're having another one?

Sheesh. Gimme a break, will ya? Don't kick a pregnant woman while she's down.

MY grandbaby loves to go to the grocery store!

"...His mother has really trained him well to sit quietly in the cart." Obviously, people who say such things are just looking to affirm their own positively perfect parenting skills. But every once in a while, just for a moment, I think, "Oh yeah? Wanna trade?"

Mary Poppins I am Not

There's one thing for certain, I am a much humbled mama. I have to let go of any delusions I have about being perfectly in control of each situation that arises. I'll just have to let the disapproving onlookers keep looking on. I still believe in doing my part as a parent, teaching and setting boundaries and limits, and minimizing the conditions that make tantrums more likely to happen. As his mother, it is my job to keep my child safe, comfortable, and happy. But I have had to let go of the notion that I'm some sort of Mary Poppins.

My son is normally a delight. And I would never trade him, so let's be perfectly clear on that fact. But as soon as we enter the grocery store, a dark side emerges. During those times when my son's dark side wins, I sometimes wish for the good ol' Mary Poppins days of parenting, when I was positively perfect in every way. And a few dancing penguins might not hurt, either.

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Comments 63 comments

wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 8 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Do you have a child that hates shopping? How do you deal with the situation? If you have more than one kid, do you think his or her personality plays a part in this?


elisabeth reid profile image

elisabeth reid 8 years ago from Colorado

I've been here. There. Everywhere. I've gone to the grocery store (on a regular basis -- like several times a week) with up to 8 kids in tow. Did I say 8? Yup. And little ones, too.

What worked for me? It started with my oldest (he's 24 now...life was a little simpler back in the 'old days') when I taught him to fear The Look. The Look...when offered in public...promised the withholding of something dear once we got home. No tv. Ninja Turtles put in a box on the shelf. Something. He dreaded The Look....and it carried. It passed down through all the rest of the children...even the daycare kids. Eventually they didn't know what The Look threatened...but it struck fear into the heart of every one of them. It was enough to stop a tantrum in mid-tant.

Funny thing is...it still works. I don't do daycare any more. My youngest is eleven...but The Look still works.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 8 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thanks for your comment. I'm working on training my son to mind, just find him much more willful than my other kid. My daughter was born to fear "The Look," while my son sees it as an invitation to test the waters. At what age did you find your kids started responding to "The Look"?


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago

Great hub!!! My children are now 38 and 36, respectively. This brought to mind my experiences, and one in particular.

Off I went to the supermarket, kids in tow. They, at that time, were beyond sitting in the carriage, although I did try to coax my daughter in one, but she wasn't having it. So I dispensed the standard rule, both of you stay with me right by this carriage. Of course, it fell on deaf ears. The moment I reached for something on the shelf, off they would run. So, one day, as I was filling my cart, I hear this huge crash. Because my kids had run off, I quickly ran down the aisle around the corner, and there, to my chagrin, was a whole display of tuna fish cans spread all over the aisle. I stood there, frozen. A woman was approaching my cart, and said, did you see those brats? their mother should have better control over them. I was so embarrassed, but had the presence of mind, or inspiration? to reply, yes, isn't that awful? the mom should be shot, and I kept walking, pretending they weren't mine. Needless to say, they were reprimanded.

LOL elisabeth, 'the look'. Apparently that's something I never mastered. I've seen it work with other moms, but sadly, not me.

Wannabwestern, thanks for a great hub!

Patty


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 8 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thanks Patty. I loved your story. Lately I've been using my hubs for a bit of cheap therapy. :). I had a lot of comments on this other one too:

http://hubpages.com/literature/What-NOT-to-say-to-...


tjmum profile image

tjmum 8 years ago from Isle of Wight

My eldest has always hated shopping, and has now got to the stage where if he is in the trolley with his brother he'll annoy him until Jack cries. If he is out and walking (always on reigns) then he'll pull on them until it almost breaks my husbands back. But that is where I am lucky. I have my husband to come and shop with me (we live in the country too and I don't drive). So they go off on their little missions getting things for me and it will keep him occupied - for a while. The worst bit is getting to the checkout; the belt is prodded, he'll get in the way, he tries to run away and the worst time he headbutted the trolley and split his lip. I normally get the sighs and rolled eyes. Just wait until someone says something though, cos I bite back! Still, he also gets upset that no-one takes any notice of him anymore, all the old dears want to speak to his brother Jack (who is 10 months and who screams at them!). Glad to see you kept your cool though, it is very difficult when you're a slave to your hormones.


Joy M profile image

Joy M 8 years ago from Sumner, Washington

I can relate. My first child was a little angel, but suddenly when the second one came along it was a whole new ball game. Even the older one doesn't want to behave now. I also do the guerrilla style shopping as well and when that doesn't work I have to admit that I resort to bribery in the form of bakery cookies. Something I told myself I would never do when I became a parent, then real life happened.


jim10 profile image

jim10 8 years ago from ma

My oldest son gets dragged everywhere because he never wants to go anywhere unless it is Chuck E Cheese or the movies or he things I will buy him something. He never made much of a tantrum but still always reminds me that he doesn't want to be there. My next son is always more than happy to go. I wish I had "the look" that Elisabeth mentions. that would really come in handy.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

My only son adores shopping. But I don't fool myself it's anything I've done, he just likes it!


mkagdchcetdy profile image

mkagdchcetdy 7 years ago from Indiana

I just joined hub pages and your hub is the first one I've read. I have to say that I have a 3 1/2 yr. old and I can totally relate. Good hub!


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 7 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Wow, I am so honored that you read this one first! Good luck and have fun hubbing!


mkagdchcetdy profile image

mkagdchcetdy 7 years ago from Indiana

Thanks!!


conundrum profile image

conundrum 7 years ago

Every time I hear a child screaming in a store (like Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway, etc.) I feel sympathy for both the child AND the parent! I'm an adult and I don't really like shopping either! Kids express what adults have trained themselves to suppress.

Regarding all of the comments people have made at you: HOW RUDE! All they have to do is walk away. You're the one who has to deal with the tantrum.

Thanks for being a fan, btw.


hinckles koma profile image

hinckles koma 7 years ago from nyc

So funny. Toddlers, especially the ones that can't speak yet learn to communicate by screaming. That shows their confidence in themselves. Opinions are like... every ones got one. Try doing a 4 things at a time with kids and a million thoughts about what you have to do in your non stop action packed mom, wife,maid, chef role. Give me an opinion when i start yelling and screaming in the store that will be interesting to hear if you dare.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 7 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

That is an insightful comment, and I appreciate it. We are still in the toddler stage, and shrieking and screaming seem to be common among my younger kids. I think we lavished attention on my oldest and that helped her not to be a screamer. But there is only so much individual attention we can give to our children, and the grocery store offers that to a child.


OTmommy profile image

OTmommy 6 years ago from Southern USA

Loved your article, it made me chuckle! I believe that every child is different and some just prefer to not go shopping! That doesn't mean the parent is a bad parent! I have been lucky so far that both of mine are okay with shopping. Glad you have learned to deal with this situation with laughter.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

OTmommy

I agree with you. My middle child is sensitive to noises and crowds and shopping makes him very uncomfortable. My oldest child, 12, doesn't like to shop either! My youngest (now 15 months old) LOVES it. When I wrote this hub the drive to the store was about 45 minutes each way. He especially hated that drive! Thanks for your comment. Fortunately I have "evolved" since then. :)


privateye2500 profile image

privateye2500 6 years ago from Canada, USA, London

"Do you have a child that hates shopping? How do you deal with the situation? If you have more than one kid, do you think his or her personality plays a part in this?"

I don't think kids hate shopping. I think they hate not getting what they want! What I used to do was give them the first thing they *grabbed* once in the door, they had it and were quite happy and by the time we were ready to leave; they didn't want it anymore.

Done.

(Still works with the grandchildren too. :}

But still - as some of you have mentioned, shopping IS stressful and not knowing what exactly bothers a child can be a real problem.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Privateye2500 I agree with you to a point. We've moved to the city so our shopping trips aren't as long as they used to be. I've discovered over the past 15 months or so since I wrote this article that my son is hypersensitive to noise. He is easily startled by loud noises and especially dislikes crowds. I needed to write this article to blow off steam and agree that is very frustrating when you don't know what is bothering your children. Now that I know this about my child, I have to shake my head at writing so vehemently, but humor is always a good way to handle life's challenges.


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 6 years ago from Great Britain

wannabwestern you really a diamond, my dear. You sound like a wonderful mother to me.

I haven't forgotten the huge difference between my son who'd behave like an angel and my daughter who seemed to be occassionaly 'possesed'.Glad you have such a great sense of humour. . x


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thanks for your comment Dim. I especially needed to hear that just now. You are too kind. I'm cooking up another child humor hub, but it may be a few weeks before it's done.


dfantasy profile image

dfantasy 6 years ago from Singapore

i love this article! it's funny. i love children as well, but they are quite a handful when they cry


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

I agree dfantasy: children are wonderful but when they are crying and you just can't seem to figure out what it is they need, that is just about the worst feeling! Thanks for the complement.


itcoll profile image

itcoll 6 years ago

i will never say those things for sure.


sunflowerbucky profile image

sunflowerbucky 6 years ago from Small Town, USA

This was great! When poeple expecting their first baby say, My kid will NEVER throw tantrums", I just laugh and say "I hope I get to witness the first one". NO kid is perfect. That does not mean you have failed as a parent. And I too had an easy child first, followed by the spawn of Satan. Great hub!


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thanks Sunflower. My second child is soooooo different from my first. He's a wonderful kid but very strong-willed and quite startled by loud noises. People who don't have kids usually have no idea. Kids are like a forge and we parents are the metal.


Army Infantry Mom profile image

Army Infantry Mom 6 years ago

I can relate,...LOL. My neice Sammie (Oh My). I think this is by far one of the most funny hubs I have ever read that is so true life.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thanks Army Infantry Mom, Toddlers are the best generators or writing material. My youngest daughter was just mauling me with a gigantic smile on her face. She may be dressed in footie pajamas, but she knows she wears the pants.


Army Infantry Mom profile image

Army Infantry Mom 6 years ago

Thats so funny,....God Bless her,...


LaVieja profile image

LaVieja 6 years ago from London

I am so sorry, but I can't stop laughing! That has happened to me soooo many times. It's just shopping rage. That's what I call it, when a child just goes off on on for absolutely no other reason than the fact that you are shopping! My eldest was fine but my little one has the shopping rage. I refuse to blame myself for it, but have to admit am just shutting my eyes and hope he grows out of it soon!!


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

LaVieja, I'm glad that you enjoyed the toddler tantrum humor. Laughter is great medicine for the soul. Next time we're in the middle of a toddler tantrum, I'll have to remember that it is just shopping rage! Blaming ourselves for our children's behavior is counterproductive, I think. You sound like a wise parent.


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

My sons were holy terrors and hated shopping. Most of the time I left them home with dad when I could.

Love the blog. It is funny the crazy things total strangers will say to you.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thanks Pamela. We have all been there. I leave mine home when I can, too. It is crazy what strangers will say. I've heard a lot of different things. Fortunately I get a few wonderful remarks, too. They're just not as funny to write about. :)


Hannah Ministries profile image

Hannah Ministries 6 years ago

Definitive a good Hub. ANd the title was just fabulous! i loved it.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thank you, I'm glad you stopped by. :)


Dixie W profile image

Dixie W 6 years ago from Odessa, Texas

Yep, I warn my daughter all the time that she is gonna be the person who pulls up outside and they close the blinds and turn off all the lights. I can just hear them saying "Quite, its that crazy woman with all the bratty girls, maybe they will think that we are gone." LOL I truely love my four(4) granddaughters but they are a handfull. Dixie W


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Dixie, I use the "my child is intelligent and spirited" argument all the time in regards to my children. Sometimes it is like doing battle with them, and from the outside it sounds like they are being beaten. We were at a store this week with my two youngest, now three and one, and the youngest one tried to stand up in the cart. She screamed bloody murder when I tried to sit her back down. As a crowd gathered round me (well, actually we were in line at the checkout) she looked imploringly at the bystanders, and I remarked to my young child, don't look at them, they're on my side!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Very entertaining hub. Loved your humor in difficult times. My own kid, who's a grown man now, used to embarrass me in the checkout line saying in his booming kid voice: "I wish I could have this (insert something outrageously expensive here), but I KNOW we can't afford it. Hmmmm. Funny, yeah.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thank you, PegCole17, I appreciate your comment. Children have a special affinity for embarrassing their parents. I hope he no longer makes those types of remarks when you are at the store together! ;)

It does make me feel better to know that you survived those early childhood years. Why is it that children do like to use shopping as special mommy and me torture time?


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 6 years ago

Hi again,

Have you ever seen the show SuperNanny? That woman is simply amazing. Families who have kids out of control, whether at home or in public, apply for her to come to their home to help them get a grip on the situation. On several episodes, I've seen where she has the parent give the kids a list (in the case of older toddlers) and the parent is to engage the help of the child with the purchases. In the case of younger kids, say one or two years old, the mom will just ask the child to hand her something. The point being, by engaging the child and appealing to their liking to 'help' tends to keep them occupied long enough to get through the shopping experience. I wish I had thought of that when my children were young :)


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Hi Trish1048, thanks for commenting back. I have seen that show. In fact I think that show does a great public service to parents who need guidance, and we all need some! That is a great idea. That would be a great hub topic--parenting tips and tricks from Super Nanny! I'll let you write that one because I have only seen a few episodes. One I saw showed a guy leaving his wife on the show. She was devastated and it was such a public spectacle. But Super Nanny really helped her through it in a sensitive way. Still, it was really despicable. Oh well. Thanks again!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

Hey Wanna B, I have had times, but most of the time my four kids obeyed their dad right away. I developed, not the look, but "the voice." In a stern (not loud) and authoritative voice I would shorten the time between giving the instruction and my point of response. Instead of a number of these: "Didn't I tell you to stop that?" "Do I have to tell you again?" "Do you want me to come over there?" I just let them know that they had until I counted to three to stop. If I reached three, they would get a punishment. Only one of the four ever experienced the "punishment" but the legend was enough that they always stopped when I got to one. If traveling in the car, I would say "Standard speech in the car number one"...it would get deathly quiet. It was years later that I found out they thought it was if I said the number two, not three and when I was merely saying which standard speech it was (#1), they thought I had already started counting. =:)

I think kids want boundaries and when faced with a store full of choices it intimidates some of them. They know at what point you will stop shouting or whispering sternly and actually move to the action that stops them. Criers like your child want that uncertain interval eliminated so they can feel secure. I think. =:)


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thanks Winsome, for your insightful comments. Sounds like you are a great parent.


Sarusakbeth 6 years ago

Thanks so much for this article! I have three kids now, ages 3, 21 months, and 3 months, and, even though they all miraculously seem to like shopping, there are days when I'd rather get a root canal than drag them all out! I've gotten those "what a bad mom" looks, heard all the comments (my absolute favorite being the snide, sarcastic ones addressed to my kids) and felt all the shame. Ironically, the only time I've actually ever responded was when the two oldest were being perfect little angels! I was pregnant at the time, and a 19/20 year old girl walked up and said, "I just wanted to say that you are obviously a great mom! Usually you see the moms yelling at the kids or the kids throwing fits... it's nice to see someone who knows how to deal with kids!" I feel a little bad now, because I lectured the poor girl for several minutes about how EVERY parent has those days, and its not because they are a bad parent or because the kids are bad kids! I know she was trying to give me a compliment, but I guess it hit a nerve! lol. So here's to all parents, kids, babysitters, etc. This too shall pass!


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Sarusakbeth, thank you. You really get it. One of the things I enjoy about HubPages is the feeling of not being alone in this parenting gig. It is a difficult job, and often we are far too critical of each other's differences. I loved your remark, and am wondering if you are an HP writer or if you would consider becoming one?


Ginger 6 years ago

You describe my youngest to a t in this article. The most recent trip to the store, I felt like screaming myself..Stuck in a line at walmart for a good 30 minutes, the baby had screamed all the way throught hte store but was now happily standing by me screeching at the top of her lungs. This woman behind us loudly on her cell phone said there's a two year old in front of me with a screaming problem and her mother is doing nothing (I was worn out and like whatever)...My oldest looked at me and I had to say this and some people have no manners to talk loudly on cell phones in public..I think the worst is when people just assume I have no control over my kids. My oldest was an angel child, well behaved quiet but #2, is the complete opposite and well yeah I try everything and nothing works.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Ginger I totally feel your pain. All people and that includes children have different temperaments, and some kids really don't enjoy shopping. I hope your next trip is better. My son did outgrow this phase at some point so hang in there!


ToddlerMother profile image

ToddlerMother 6 years ago

Great hub:) I know what you all mean:) I just want to add for humor sake or not that I recently saw a little boys toddler shirt say, "I take all the fun out of shopping"


sagebrush_mama profile image

sagebrush_mama 6 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

I can relate! I'm just getting past the shopping tantrum stages, youngest is now 5 yo. She's not bad in the store, but the next one up, now 6, gave me all kinds of trouble when he was 3-4.

Since my oldest have been old enough to babysit, I rarely take the little ones shopping. Very rarely. If any of the kids go shopping, it's generally the 11 and 14 year olds, so I have helpers at home, and helpers at the store. Doesn't always work, there are those calls from frustrated teens asking what to do about temper throwing siblings.

If you absolutely have to take them with you, make the stops minimal, and quick. If you absolutely have to take them on a full fledged shopping trip, it may be worth the cost of hiring a teen to babysit, or to assist in the store. If you have friends who also have youngsters, arrange a swap, babysitting each other's toddlers while the other gets shopping and errands done.

There's a huge difference now, with everyone 5 and over. Two years ago, we couldn't even stay in the library for more than 20 minutes. Now, we could spend an hour if we wanted.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Sagebrush, this is sound advice and encouraging words are so welcome! I agree with what you have to say here. It is true that some children enjoy the experience of shopping because they enjoy the experience of going out and seeing new sights and sounds. Other children, like my son, who I have learned may have some special issues, are overstimulated and overwhelmed by the shopping experience (or at least he was at age two when I wrote this).

Not everyone can hire a babysitter, even a teen, for a few hours to go shopping, though. Like you I have a now teenaged-daughter, and I rarely take my younger ones along to the store. I am also blessed to be married to someone who is supportive of me and an equal parent to our children so he often watches them so we can get things done. This means scheduling my trips into the evening and generally spending less time in the stores, though.

However, after moving four times in two years I can easily believe that there are people out there who for one reason or another don't have the support system in place that would allow them to swap sitters or even leave their kids with an adult friend or relative for a few hours. Building those kinds of connections takes time. My cousin, for example, just moved with her husband to Anchorage Alaska. She is far from friends and family there. I guess my point is that sometimes when we see parents with a particularly upset and fussy child, that we withhold judgement and show them compassion instead of kicking them when they are down. I know you would never do that and it was not the intent of your comment, though. :) Thanks for your comment and your suggestions. In the right circumstance they will be a big help and I'm sure many families could use these strategies to make getting through the toddler stage a little bit easier. God bless!


sagebrush_mama profile image

sagebrush_mama 6 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

You are right, with many moves it can be difficult to develop such a support system...hubby's are a blessing to give us a break!


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thanks sagebrush, I think I may have overreacted to your comment a bit, especially since you were just responding to my first comment at the top there. Well, have a good day!


sagebrush_mama profile image

sagebrush_mama 6 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

No offense taken. I know what it is to be on the receiving end of those sorts of comments, as trotting 8 kids through a store stirs up lots of opinion. My suggestions were, indeed, general ideas. Your hub has given me some ideas for others hubs!


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

That's great. I'm glad something positive came of it. I'll be interested to see what you write!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

I had to come check out your hubs since you were so kind as to come by mine! Funny stuff, WW.

Even though I'm older than dirt and have kids that are 34, 32 and 30 now....I remember this all too well. Our oldest has ADHD and man was he a trip to take to the store. I have yet to start my "Jonathan Chronicles" - I still shudder when I think back on all the escapades but many involved stores.

I hate to admit it but a couple of times, as I gazed at him atop the dog food bags for instance, I pretended he was not mine until at the very last moment I had to grab him down and plunk him back into my cart. Then the 'jig was up' and I left the store listening to many shaking heads and rolling eyes - I could hear them - have no doubt!

Anyhow - very well done - and thanks again for stopping by! See you on the hubs! Audrey


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thanks so much Audrey. I have been looking into having my son tested for autism. He is prone to extreme temper tantrums and is sensitive to sounds, and even at age four he continues to walk on his toes. He is a sweet and intelligent boy, and now he loves going to the store, but transitions are very, very difficult with him. Writing this hub at the time was a nice release, though, and has been one of my most well-read hubs. Ironically, he loves going to the store now, but usually when we get in the car he demands "what does that say?" about every warning sign he notices. Children are amazing and each one is different.


dgicre profile image

dgicre 6 years ago from USA

Just spent 3.5 hours sitting on an plane with 3 screaming and seat kicking toddlers in the seat behind me. Parents were pretty much useless and made no attempt to calm them. So glad I had earplugs, and felt sorry for the all the other passengers that did not. You hub said it like it is and I appreciate it.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

That sounds like an impossible situation for everyone dgicre. When my grandmother passed away we literally got off a plane just to turn around at the airport the next day to return home for the funeral. We had my 3 month old baby in tow. She was sensitive to the cabin pressure on the airplane, and cried continuously for almost 2 hours. My husband finally got her to sleep when one of the other passengers loudly remarked "How is the little one?", which woke her up screaming and crying for the rest of the trip.

That is one of the most difficult and challenging parenting situations, when children (usually overtired) get beyond the point of soothing, in a contained space like that. There was probably nowhere the parents could take the child. I feel for you, the parents, the other passengers, and the unhappy children!!!!


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rayechan 4 years ago from Missouri

I very much enjoyed reading this article. I'll soon be having my own little bouncing child to deal with in the grocery store and sadly, I fear it greatly! D:

I used to babysit my niece an awful lot when she was younger and found when we went to the store, it could go one or two ways. If she was having a good day we could get through with our shopping easily and often times, I would buy her something healthy as a snack. But, if she was in one of her "demon child moods" it was always a battle to get her in the cart, to sit down, to stop wailing at the top of her lungs and screaming how she wanted this toy or that piece of candy.

She did learn though to start fearing the look whenever my mother and I took her to the grocery store. I remember when I was a little girl, if I even made the attempt at throwing a tantrum, my mother would pull me out of the cart, set me on the floor and give me to swift swats to my butt. Nowadays though, you cannot seem to do that or else you'll have DFS/CPS knocking on your door. >.


ellesunrise 4 years ago

Ive never made a comment towards a mom with a screaming little one but I do mutter and will glance at both. I am sorry to hear about the rude insults you've endured from strangers. But we should bear in mind, you and your baby are not the only ones shopping. His issues with shopping have an affect on eveyones ears too.

I do suffer from migraines and when shopping, a shrieking baby is like a piercing knife going through my brain. I watch in horror as many parents adopt the "ignore the screaming and baby will get bored" method. This might work but it is painful for some people especially when you are fighting the bright lights, nausea, and throbbing pain in your head.

I'm sorry but if there is anything you can do to quiet your little one, please do. Please understand, there's not much anyone else can do but pray your child will simply stop screaming. I'm not trying to and hope I don't offend anyone but this is my perspective on screaming toddlers. If I cant get far enough away from the screaming, I usually end up leaving the store. Sometimes, its just too much.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 4 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Dear Elle, I am sorry to hear about your troubles. I suffer from migraines too, though fortunately they are infrequent. I think you will probably encounter fewer screaming toddlers if you shop later in the evening, when most of those children are hopefully home in bed, though I know I can't speak for everyone and some people have to take their children to the store at odd hours. Another idea is earphones. My dad is an avid shooter and has some specially made ear plugs that fit him perfectly. They are inexpensive and can be worn over and over.

Fortunately, only one of my four children was a store-screamer, and though I tried everything I could think of at the time, he found going to the store to be an upsetting venture. Unfortunately, I still had to shop, and didn't always have the luxury of leaving him at home. Thank goodness he grew out of it.

Your comment brings to mind the many single parents and other folks who are dealing with traumatic experiences. My husband was recently diagnosed and treated for a brain tumor: that was a major upheaval for our family. I think the bottom line for me is not to be too quick to judge. Most parents whose child is throwing a temper tantrum are not allowing their children to scream because they are neglectful. Children have minds of their own and sometimes tantrums happen at stores, even to the best of people.


iValbona 4 years ago

Sighs. Glad to have gotten that off my chest.

Thank you for sharing this article. I know how it is when a mother is unable to leave her child anywhere, having to take them everywhere she goes. It's actually a wonderful thing because it enabled me to learn my son's personality and also teach him a lot of things. For instance, I take an extra half hour in the store teaching him stuff. For everything I need, I go through each isle getting my own stuff, and at the same time teaching him what some of the foods in the isle are. I would keep him busy by asking him to show me where flour is, or where bananas are, for instance. I would ask him to help me get a bag and help me put some apples in the bag. I also try giving him a drink and maybe a little snack. Some supermarkets have PLAY ROOMS that your child can stay in for free in care of someone else while you shop. I think that is a wonderful idea and I wish all stores would have that because they are helpful for a lot of parents. I also try to go when my son is at his best, like after a nap or after he eats. It all depends on each parent. In my opinion, a screaming child does not bother me. Sometimes, I would approach the parent and child and ask them whether they would like to shop together with my son and have a bit of company. What would really bother me is SCREAMING PARENTS. I have encountered very verbally abusive parents that would make their child even more tense. I have raised my voice before and become very serious, but these parents are VERY loud and spew VERY unkind words. I felt like going over there and saving the child from the parent because my hear could not take it, but I resisted. Although they have every right to parent their own way, it just makes me sad to see a child be treated that way.


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wannabwestern 4 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Thank you for your long comment. I wrote this piece four years ago and that two year old child is now 6 and does fine at stores. I have three other children (one is two), and none of them reacted to shopping the way this child did. This article was written in desperation. My child was hyper-sensitive to stimulation and couldn't handle shopping, no matter how well planned, how much I attempted to engage him, or how kindly I spoke. Now that I am further down the parenthood road I realize that the distance between nature versus nurture is a little greater than we think sometimes. I strongly believe my dear son is somewhere on the Autism spectrum, but shy away from those types of labels because in his case, at least, he is very high functioning. I hope this article in some way helps people to show a little compassion on parents in grocery stores. I always give harried parents and their screaming children the benefit of the doubt. So many people have almost no family safety net, so they are forced to "do life" without the helping hands of extended family. Add the pain of divorce, job losses, brain tumor surgeries (yes--that happened to us too), and you just never know why people are not behaving the way we all know we are supposed to. All of us, except the screaming toddlers, that is.

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