All Woman

Moms tell: How to deal with kids misbehaving in public

By NADINE WILSON All Woman writer wilsonn@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, March 04, 2013    

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A temper tantrum is something no parent wants to deal with, especially when done in public. Having to deal with a toddler screaming, hitting and back-talking you is frustrating enough, but when it is done in front of others, there is often a feeling of either hopelessness or anger.

But every parent will eventually have to deal with a child who refuses to follow the rules or blatantly defies orders. Although experts will explain that it's a natural part of growth and development, it's very hard to grasp this concept when all you want to do is get them to shut up as they scream their heads off in the middle of the supermarket aisle.

Parents over the years have found ways to deal with the situation. While some of these methods would probably receive strong rebuke from the Child Development Agency, others have actually been found to be very effective for the mothers who use them. Below, a few mothers tell how they keep their children from misbehaving in public.

Tashi Wallace, mother of a four-year-old daughter:

I threaten her. So, for example, I will tell her I am going away and I am going to leave her and I am not coming back. Sometimes when she misbehaves, I don't pay her any attention unless she is doing something out of the way, in which case I will slap her and talk loudly to her.

Claudette Allen, mother of two:

I usually warn my children from home. I also ensure that they eat before we go out, because oftentimes they will act up especially when you are at the supermarket. I often tell them where I am going and tell them that if they don't behave themselves, I won't carry them back again. Sometimes I will pinch them, but I do it in such a way that other persons can't really tell what I am doing, because I will have a blank expression on my face or I squeeze their fingers together. But I would only do this if they are really giving me trouble.

Sherell Charles, mother of one:

Well, I talk to my son before he leaves the house and I tell him the dos and don'ts. If I see any of the behaviour we talked about, I quickly remind him of our little talk. If he continues, I remind him of the things he likes and tell him they will be taken away from him and he usually stays in line.

Karine Duncan, mother of one:

My daughter doesn't really give any problems, but in those cases when she does, I usually just speak to her sternly and that usually works. On those rare occasions when she misbehaves, I slap her, but truthfully, it almost never gets to that point because as I said, she doesn't give me any trouble.

Joan Campbell, mother of one:

I usually promise to reward him if he is good and I usually remind him that Jesus loves good little children. Although that recently backfired on me because he asked me where Jesus is and I told him He's in his heart. He then looked down on his chest and asked Jesus to come out and I had to tell him He couldn't. I also tell him sometimes that I would be proud of him if he behaves and if this doesn't work, I just give him that look that says I have had enough.

Pauline Clark, mother of a seven-year-old:

I tell her I'm going to call the police and put my phone to my ears. Sometimes I will let the store security talk to her sternly. When she was much younger and would throw tantrums in the supermarket, I would just leave her there to bawl, while I finished my shopping.

Asia Thompson, mother of a three-year-old:

I squeeze the fingers together, or I leave the store, go in the car and smack him in the car, then return to what we were doing.

Anna John, mother of a six-year-old:

I keep a ruler in the car at all times. Then before we go into the store, I take it out and remind her what will happen when she gets back to the car if she misbehaves. That works all the time.

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