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Stop that Toddler Temper Tantrum NOW!

Updated on May 4, 2015

Every parent, at some point, will find themselves in the unenviable position of THAT parent as their child throws a major temper tantrum in a public place. All eyes are on you. You feel like the worst parent in the world. And everyone staring at you are just so glad it isn’t their child screaming and yelling. Preventing the temper tantrum in the first place would be best but sometimes it just sneaks up on you. Now what do you do?

My baby is now 30 years old and I used this technique just once when she was a toddler and she never threw a temper tantrum EVER again. Neither did her brother after witnessing the dreaded event. I’ve share this method with a number of young parents. Some are too embarrassed to go through with it. Others have tried it, either in public or at home, and it has worked for them. So give it a try or get a laugh out of my story – my kids sure do.

At the end of a shopping trip with my two young children, my daughter climbed out of the stroller and threw herself on the floor kicking and screaming – a fine example of a major temper tantrum. We had been shopping at the mall for quite some time (big mistake) and she was tired but the sight of a toy store and a cookie shop on our way out set her off. She screamed about wanting a certain toy and something about cookies (a screaming child is hard to understand), all the while lying on the floor kicking her feet and pounding her fists.

I sensed the staring and pointing of all the people around us. I was embarrassed but also annoyed since I had to get home and prepare for a dinner party and really didn’t have time for this nonsense. I could have just strong armed her back into the stroller but I had another child to keep track of plus a bunch of packages. And I didn’t want to EVER go through this again.

Then it hit me. It was highly unlikely that any of the staring people would ever see me again so why should I care what they thought. It was more important that my child learn to behave in public and know that I would not be embarrassed or held hostage by a child. So I got down on the floor right next to her. I kicked my feet and pounded my fists, all the while crying about having to get home and clean the house and something about making dinner (a screaming mom is hard to understand). It lasted about 20 seconds before my daughter stood up, shocked and dismayed, and said, “Mom, get up. You’re embarrassing me.” I stood up and asked my daughter to get back in the stroller. She complied and my son held onto the stroller handle and off we went to the car. However, I couldn’t help noticing a few of those staring adults nodding with approval and even a few clapping their hands softly.

In discussing this incident with my children now that they are adults, each said that was the moment they realized they had better not mess with me – they never knew what I was going to do. They knew I would never put them in danger. But they also knew they would need to find other more constructive ways to make their wishes known. And isn’t consensus what we all want anyway?


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    • Anne Darling profile image

      Anne Darling 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Thanks, prektjr, Angela and Janine. Having two children just two years apart, I had to be creative. They're now adults and we all laugh about my antics. ;-) Janine, hang in there, raising two toddlers is TOUGH!!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      As the mom of 2 toddlers, I absolutely LOVE this article. Omg, you are my hero!! I am sharing this and voting it up!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Imortant information that should be manditory teaching!

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      LOVE THIS! I love creative ways to convince children that behaving IS the best option for them! Good hub! Voted up, useful, funny and interesting!