Ways to defuse a child’s tantrums in public
If you are someone who dreads public outings with your child, for the fear that you could be in for a major embarrassment on account of your child’s tantrums, you are not alone. Most of us live in mortal fear of not just the tantrum but also the act of parenting in full public scrutiny. Here are some handy tips to be able to diffuse your child’s tantrums when you want it the least- under full public gaze!
- Keep calm- Now this one may sound easier said than done. However, nothing works better. This stands to reason! After all if you give in to the child’s bawling and give him all your attention or worse still, give him whatever he or she is asking for, the behavior you are reinforcing is that tantrums are the best way to achieve one’s goals. Instead remain in control and pass a strong message that a public tantrum cannot be used as a means to get their way!
- Validate the child’s feelings not the behavior– Ever so often in a scenario where we witness a public tantrum, our focus invariably rests on people around us and their thoughts (most often, unflattering!). Instead this is the time to connect with the child and validate his feelings while unequivocally letting him know that you do not approve of his behavior. For example, if the child is crying about a toy that his friend owns, you need to validate his feelings that he is upset because he cannot have the toy, but that he needs his friend’s permission to play with it.
- Distract the child– Often distracting the child with another task, helps channelize his energies elsewhere. Try telling him to count the number of things you have bought at the grocery store or help you find the best apples. You may see his attention shifting and the rest of the outing going by uneventfully.
- Say yes or delay the no- Don’t get us wrong. We aren’t asking you to agree to his demands only to be able to end a tantrum. In fact, walk that lane once and you would have trapped yourself for life. However, if the demand isn’t outrageous, consider saying a yes. Or if the situation so demands, delay the no. That candy for which he is bawling his heart out, for example, could come to him after dinner tonight! While on the subject of delayed gratification, it will help you to know that a study conducted at Stanford University showed that children who were able to withstand delayed gratification turned out to be far more successful as adults.
- Call it a day– For a tantrum that does not show any signs of relenting, it may be a good idea to be able to end the outing. Not only will it relieve you of the public scrutiny, it will also pass the message that such tantrums can lead to the outing being scuttled.
Above everything, remember to strike a balance between setting reasonable limits and connecting with the child. Also remember that humiliating a child in public is unlikely to elicit good behavior. Pro tip- Do not forget to give yourself some me-time after a typically hard day! No one deserves it more!