I recently wrote a post about the reason my kid cries in the store. Most of the time, it’s not because I am ignoring them or am a sub-par parent. Usually it’s because I’m a good mom. I’m enforcing rules and not giving in to their tantrums and whims.
Opening this discussion has also opened a can of worms. Comments on the post are already exploding and I thought I’d share a few reasons why I DON’T leave the store when my kid starts crying.
Usually it’s short lived. When they see they aren’t getting their way and I’m not giving in, they cool it. they also know that if the tantrum persists there will be consequenses for that, so it’s usually just a matter of getting the tears and disappointment under control. Rushing them from the building would only heighten their emotions, and also likely create a greater disturbance than the initial working through of tears.
I have to buy food. While there are wonderful seasons of life in which I can go shopping for groceries sans kids, there have also been many seasons when I have no option but to take my kids with me. I don’t think children should be viewed as a burden or blight on society and so yes, I’m going to the store with them and I’m going to buy what we need. Sure, I do everything to make sure they are well fed and well rested before we darken the doors of any store but that doesn’t mean every tantrum can be avoided. Tantrums are inevitable sometimes and we just deal with them.
Leaving the store sometimes means giving in. Oftentimes kiddo is fussing because he/she WANTS to leave the store. If i just walked out the door every time a kid cried, I’d never get shopping done and my kids would quickly figure out that they could get their way simply by raising a stink. That’s not something I am going to teach my kids.
I shop at appropriate places. If I was at a 5 star dining location, the first whimper from my kiddo and I’d be out the door. Actually, I’d never go to one in the first place with kids, I know it’s not going to end well. The same goes for super-fancy quiet stores. I just don’t go to them. There were entire periods of my children’s lives when we avoided certain locations because people go there and pay for an experience, and children would put a damper on that experience. This is not true for places like your average grocery store, Target or Walmart. The latter are kid-friendly locations. If you are going out and expecting a quiet, noise-free, stress-free outing, you don’t go to those places. If my kid whines or even throws a fairly short-lived tantrum in one of them, I’m going to muscle through and teach my kid the lesson that the world doesn’t revolve around him.
So, if you see my kid crying in public, know that I’m dealing with it and teaching my child. You know, that whole village thing.
Also, if you see some one else’s kid throwing a tantrum in public, maybe shoot them a grin, remind them they’re a great parent and know they every one has trouble managing their emotions from time to time, that’ part of being human. As adults, we usually learn to handle it better, but kids are still learning that lesson. I just want to let them learn in a way that is safe, calm and that doesn’t teach them it’s fine to throw fits to get their way.
Related: why tantrums are okay
So yeah, kids throw tantrums. And that’s not always a sign of bad parenting, sometimes, it’s a sign of good, intentional parenting with a child who is still learning. Let’s all be more gracious with the way we let parents, parent and kids learn.
More parenting must reads:
- Things every GOOD MOM has in common
- The one trick that stops tantrums before they start
- Why I’m convinced tantrums are okay
- When tantrums mean you are a good mom
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Well said and well done Mama. Agree and understand completely. Keep on keeping on…
Allowing kids to run around a store screaming isn’t OK. I usually ask the nearest)and obvious) parent if the kids are their animals.
ANY restaurant with screaming/crying kids isn’t a place I want to eat, I call the manager and it gets handled or we walk without paying.
The above are instances where parents allowing THEIR kids behavior to upset and disturb others is wrong and bad parenting. Period.
Hi John, thanks for your comment, although I think you misunderstood or missed the majority of my post.
1. Never did I say that I allowed my kids to “run around screaming”. This post is about when a child loses their cool and begins crying/tantruming. Usually said crying is done within the confines of the shopping cart, not “running around” causing danger to the child and others in the store.
2. I specifically stated that I immediately leave a restaurant if my child is crying.
I think John understood perfectly.
There’s also a difference between a child who is throwing a tantrum and a child who is not being monitored by parents. Children running and yelling in a store is inappropriate and needs to be addressed by the responsible adult, for sure, but that’s not what this post is about. We’re several generations away from the “children should be seen and not heard” mentality so public areas should be anticipated to include children learning appropriate behavior (and also children being fed as needed to avoid meltdowns – including nursing.)
John, nowhere did the writer say anything to make you think her children are running around screaming and acting wild and reckless. Anyone that gets offended because someone’s small child is crying in the shopping cart while mommy tries to shop (especially if he/she is crying because they wanted a toy or candy and were told no, and mom is standing her ground and NOT giving in) is not someone I care the least about impressing. As the writer stated, you don’t allow a child to scream bloody murder in a nice restaurant, and you don’t go to fancy upscale boutiques with them. But at Target or your local grocery store it should be understood that the parent is doing her best to get errands done while keeping her little ones calm, not always an easy task.
That’s awful… Who would leave a restaurant without paying???
Apparently people like John. He finds it disturbing and wrong for a young child to be crying or making a fuss at young learning age but John thinks and feels that it’s ok to eat and walk out of a restaurant without paying because he hears a cry of a child. John I pray to god you don’t have or ever have children I can only imagine them being locked up in a sound proof room or beaten. Well it’s Friday go look in the Windows of restaurants that may have children in there with their families perhaps you can have another free meal tonight you cheap inconsiderate bastard.lol you are living proof abortions don’t always work.
You obviously didn’t read the article correctly! No one said anything about children running around in a store. And let me tell you something you were a child at one point where values, and rules were put into place. It’s called the circle of life! If you can’t handle seeing, hearing or dealing with a screaming child. It’s wise you displace yourself far from the public. Because children are going to restaurants that you eat in and stores you shop in. What makes you privileged to not have to deal with an occasional child getting upset. Turn your negative additive towards something more positive !!
I’m so glad to read someone else with the same philosophy! So refreshing to read this as I feel like the textbook answer always is “remove the child from the situation.” Heck no, he’ll just learn to make a fuss every time he encounters a situation he doesn’t like, and darn it, I just need to get a few groceries (trust me, I wait until I absolutely have to go before dragging all three kids out with me).. And yes, kids really do learn this! My baby sister (16 years younger) when she was really little and potty training used to insist that she needed to use the bathroom – multiple times – every time we went anywhere she didn’t want to be or anytime she became bored. Of course, it was a bit of roulette to call her bluff, but still, it was all about distraction.
Oh, and when John asks parents if their kids are animals (not as clever as I think he believes himself to be), I hope they in turn ask him if he’s the zookeeper and insists he takes them home… You know, put up or shut up.
I really appreciate it when people take my explanation for my children’s behavior. Example: my kid is crying and an employee or other person asks if everything’s okay. If my child is hurt, I may need help. If my child has sensory issues or has some other issue going on that I am capable of handling without help, I appreciate it if that employee or other person accepts my response and goes on about their business. Specific example: My 3 year old who didn’t get a nap today and had cake at dinner time at the end of the birthday party before we left to go home and eat dinner threw a fit. A big fit. And my response to him, which other parents heard, was “No, you cannot have a third piece of cake. We’re going home to have dinner with Daddy.” And I super appreciated the encouraging smiles I got and (thankfully!) lack of comments on my kid’s behavior.
I really loved reading your article because I have had the looks and stares for letting my daughter cry and pull a tantrum in a store but truth is my daughter is now 10 and very well behaved in stores.
Since when does the general public think it’s their right to go grocery shopping in peace and quiet? Oh, yeah, I forgot, everything is a right. Libraries aren’t even peaceful and quiet and it’s certainly not just the children’s area that is noisy. If you need peace and quiet stay home. Children are unpredictable, but adults can be loud and obnoxious, as well. Ever been in a restaurant during a football game? Or when a group is getting drunk? Or in a store (just yesterday I was in a Wal-Mart near a group of young adults using the F-word — they needed to be spanked). I’d say a child crying in the grocery store is the least of our worries, but I do get annoyed at parents who have a child crying at the grocery store at 9 p.m. That’s a tired child!
Stick to your guns, mama. And don’t worry about what other people think — you have to answer for your parenting to a higher power one day.
I’d venture to say that Family restaurant s should expect children and possible tantrums too. You don’t always have a choice for timing or waiting (moms 80th bday at 5…coming straight from work, forgot the snack and now tot is crying because food still isn’t here 45min later… Or whatever) That doesn’t mean that maybe I don’t step out with my kiddo until he calms down…but sometimes that’s not an option. Example, I saw single dad with 3 younger kids, 1 having a complete meltdown, the other 2 behaving fine. Dad had tried everything, (later we found out he was dropping off with mom afterwards and dinner eating was a must.)…so many at our large table snickering- why doesn’t he just take his food and leave, that’s so rude, I would never allow that….. The waitress came over and said, “can I take your little guy for a walk so you guys can finish eating?” The exasperated dad agreed…. Baby got out was happy, they rushed through their dinner, thanked the waitress and left. I tipped the waitress big time and told her, if more people were like you, instead of complaining about dad- we’d all be better off!! Do b the guy who leaves without paying and calls children animals- well if venture to say your probably a very selfish person and your behavior is just as wrong as a tantrum! (And worse because kids are learning-adults should know better)
I saw a full blown adult throw a tantrum at an aiuport recently, like children are the only people who do this! Right.. That’s laughable.
You go mama! I am right beside you with a set of toddler twins. Keep putting in the hard work while they’re young and one day they will be honest, respectful and responsible adults… Values that too many lack much of.
I recall these days only too well. Youngest (of 5) of mine was awful to take shopping. It wasn’t until he was near school age that we found he is high functioning asperger, and over-sensitive to noise and smells. The supermarket just set him off – and it was all downhill. I had to shop – otherwise we wouldn’t have eaten at all. I used to go in the morning during the week, and I imagine that all the checkout staff must have seen us coming and groaned. It was an elaborate affair too – if he was refused whatever took his fancy he would trail behind, then throw himself on the floor, wailing that it wasn’t fair, and that he was starving, and that no-one ever fed him. Luckily, because of his speech, most people were hard pressed to understand the guttural sounds emanating from small person!! Generally there was nothing for it but to step over the prone body, and move on with the shopping. Trying to reason with him was absolutely no use – it just poured fuel on the fire, because he felt that he was winning, and would wind up louder. By the time I got to the end of the aisle and was just about to disappear out of view, he had usually cried himself out, and the fear of being left unattended was worse than the fact that he had been denied today’s whim!! You go girl!!
All three of my little darlings (son 10 and daughters now 30 and 35) have been removed from the store leaving behind the basket with the items I planned on buying them. My 30 year old still reminds me about the time her and her sisters new bedding was left at the store due to tantrums being thrown after several warnings. They never did get new bedding. I don’t want to listen to my children throw a tantrum so why should I expect a stranger listen to them. the next time we visit the store and my child starts I quietly remind him I don’t mind leaving without what we came to buy and if that doesn’t work home we go.