Responding to Tantrums in Public

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Don’t you just hate when your child starts screaming in a shopping center and everyone turns to look at you?

Are you torn between doing something to pacify the child to take the onlookers attention off you, and holding your ground as you know you should to curb this behavior permanently? Despite your knowledge, do you often choose the former option anyway for fear of judgement?

Well, I have some news which is both good and bad. You don’t escape judgement when you give in to the tantrum. People will always judge you. For everyone who thinks “I wish this parent would just shut their kid up” there will be another who thinks “Yikes, they are giving the kid what they wanted after it had a fit. What terrible parents who can’t discipline their child.”

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The reason this is good, is that it means you can parent based on what you know is good in the long term. Seeing as the outcome is the same either way, you can do whatever you like.

My husband is much more prone to feeling self conscious and guilty when our son cries. If our son starts crying in public, he will usually pick him up and carry him. This is despite that our son is already riding in the child seat of a shopping cart or a stroller (so he is obviously not tired from walking). When discussing this issue my husband told me a story about Nasrettin Hoja, who is a popular character in stories in Turkey (where he is from).

Nasrettin Hoja was travelling with his son and his donkey. Nasrettin preffered to walk with his son riding the Donkey. While they were travelling, people would pass and say “that’s today’s youth for you! The boy rides and makes his poor father walk”

The boy feels guilty and insists that his father ride the donkey. When they pass more people they say “Look at this cruel man riding the donkey and making his poor son walk”

Nasrettin then offers his son to ride the donkey with him. People then say “That poor doonkey! Carrying two people!”

Nasrettin then says “maybe we should both just walk”

Passersby then say “Look at these fools, both walking in the hot sun and neither riding the donkey”

No matter what you do, you will be judged. This is true of everyone. People make judgments about each other all the time.

For every person who just wants your child to stop causing a disturbance, there will be just as many who want to see you make the right choice and succeed. The latter will usually be more silent, as people tend to like complaining more than giving encouragement. If you have no complaints, you tend to be silent.

This is also why people tend to feel unappreciated in relationships. People will speak up when something is wrong, and if nothing is wrong they stay quiet. So, they tend to mainly hear criticism and not much positive.

But, just know that some people are looking on with complete understanding and want to see you be a good parent.

Has your toddler ever made you feel embarrassed with a tantrum? Tell me your story in the comments. Don’t forget to pin if you’ve found this article helpful.

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