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NO more tantrums! How to teach your child to behave.
Teaching Children to Behave
Right this very minute my two teenagers are at my brothers house visiting with family. This visit is going to extend for almost three weeks. Basically my husband and I are sans kids. I know you are jealous. What does any of this have to do with child tantrums? Well I was having a Zen shopping trip without my teenagers and at one point there were at least three children pitching full on crying fits in the store. Besides the fact that it destroyed my peace, it reminded me of how I handled this situation with my own children when they were little. On the off chance that this information could be useful to other parents I am writing this hub.
From the time a child is born their needs are catered to immediately. If a child is wet they are changed and if they are hungry they are fed, and that is how it should be (forget Dr. Spock he was a jerk). Once a child hits the age of 15 months, they start to do some things on their own. This new found independence conflicts with a child’s previous roll in which they were waited on hand and foot. Since the child got what they wanted previously it would seem logical that this mode would continue, but as any good parent knows you should not give a child what they want. In fact, giving a child everything they want is a good way to make a child a miserably lazy person (we will come back to that).
The casual trip to the store becomes a nightmare as a child makes the decision to have something that is off limits. The parent saying “no” causes a tantrum just short of the child’s head spinning around. People within earshot, turn to see if they can get a video tape of you beating your child. Let’s face it, at this point you are irritated. You would like nothing more than to muzzle your own child, but there is probably a law against it and rightly so. What do you do?
Stay calm. It is difficult however, calm is important in this situation. Pick the child up and walk out of the store (leave the cart). Calmly tell the child as you leave that his/her behavior is not allowed and you cannot stay in the store with that child behaving this way. Once you are outside reinforce to the child that unless proper behavior is displayed, you will not go back in the store (and mean it). I know what you are thinking “what if I really needed to go to the store?”. I am going to tell you that unless you want to spend the next four years listening to your child scream in the store, you will not give in to this behavior. Once the child has calmed down and agrees to behave, reenter the store.
There are extreme cases where it may become necessary to do a mock shopping trip and actually leave the store when the child misbehaves. Skeptics will say that this does not work, they are wrong. It does not work when parents yell and spank. By the time my children were three years old we started taking them to antique stores with us. As a parent taking a small child to an antique store sounds like a good way to have to pay for something, however the boys never broke anything and they never pitched a fit. We called these stores “don’t touch” stores. If I can train up kids that survive antique stores than you can train up a child who does not throw fits in the store.
By the way we are completely enjoying a few weeks of adult time, I recommend this for all parents (after 22 years I think we earned it!).
*As a side note it is always a good idea to carry a Ziploc bag with crackers just in case your toddler is hungry while you shop. A hungry toddler will not be reasonable.