What to do when you see a parent with a tantruming child.

I recently took all the kids shopping with me to a well known supermarket (it begins with ‘S’ and ends in ‘ainsburys’). Worst shopping trip. E.V.E.R! The kids were tired. I was tired and pretty stressed…..So perhaps not the best decision I have ever made, but it needed to be done. The younger 2 Freckled Faces were awful. Freckled Face number 3 definitely takes the crown of ‘Drama Queen’ / ‘Biggest Tantrum Ever’ / ‘Most Ridiculous and Embarrassing Behaviour’. In the first 5 minutes she asked for a millions things. She then found this hair clip that she HAD to have. I said (in the nicest way possible) “No, sorry sweetheart. You already have lots of clips and you have one very similar to that.” …….ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE!

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This was half way through the tantrum. She toned it down a bit to get some energy for the second half and grand finale.

The tantrum of all tantrums came. She screamed and shouted and cried and hit for the rest of the shopping trip. Needless to say I cut the shopping trip short! Her behaviour can be awful at times. I have tried many different things and have realised that there is no short term way to stop that behaviour. So I ignore her until she has calmed herself down. When she is calm I can talk to her and give her her consequence for the bad/unreasonable behaviour.

Anyway, the whole way around the shop I got very dirty looks and lots of “tuts’ and eye rolling. Believe me people, I don’t want her to be behaving that way or being that loud either! As we came to the checkout one lady decided to comment “Oh what a racket!” and gave me a very judging look. Wow, thanks for that! Really appreciate your help! Luckily it was saved by a ‘look’ from a staff member who then said to me “you seem very calm and have a lot of patience”. I smiled and rolled my eyes; “I’m learning!”

What to do/say when you see a parent with a tantruming child.

I thought I would give some advice to people of what might help in those situations. Now, we’re all different, parent differently, every child is different, etc and what works for one, might not work for another. I am fairly sure any parent would appreciate any of these though.

  • Smile at the parent
  • Give the parent some encouragement. “You’ve got this!”
  • A pick me up! A chocolate bar, packet of sweets/candy, whatever you think. 
  • Let them know they’re not a alone in having a kid who tantrums. Just a quick “been there, done that! Good luck!” with a smile on your face. 

None of those things take a long time or much effort, but they will make that parent feel better.

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, we’re all just doing the best we can.

Just in case you’re wondering little Miss Drama Queen lost all of her pocket money and she had to sit on her bed for 30 minutes…..I needed time to calm down and breathe, so she needed to stay away!

After it had all been dealt with she apologised, and we spoke about it calmly. We then went for a nice walk and she was no longer the devil child!

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She spotted a squirrel! 

Parenting eh! It’s a rollercoaster ride! Have you ever had a kid tantrum in public?

7 thoughts on “What to do when you see a parent with a tantruming child.

    1. Thank you! Me too. I get that it can be hard not to judge sometimes…..but we need to remind ourselves that we 0nly see part of what is going on. If we don’t know all the factors….we need to refrain from judgement.

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  1. So glad I am not the only one who has a child who those outrageous tantrums. Once he gets going, there is no way to get him to stop, so like you, I have to ignore him until he can calm down somewhat. Hugs to you! Sorry you didn’t have a good experience in the store. I try to avoid shopping with kids now. Haha Great advice though!

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  2. Sometimes I think the ones judging must be the ones who have never had children or maybe it’s just too long ago that they don’t remember. I liked your advice. I have been there and done that and know what it feels like to get those looks. I like to share with people that are going through it that I have kids too and know what it’s like. Thanks for sharing. It’s a great message and a great reminder.

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  3. I’m not a parent, but I observe and watch a lot of things like TV shows about parenting (never hurts to be prepared) and its refreshing to see parents who “get it” like you do.

    I know I shouldn’t judge, but too often you see parents screaming at their kids to stop crying which is exactly the wrong thing to do.

    Young children live in the moment and mostly don’t KNOW why they are upset, their emotions are completely unfiltered and you are exactly right that the ONLY thing that will help is letting them calm down on their own.

    I get it, its hard to stay calm if your kid is having a meltdown, but if you lose your temper you just feed into it and give them something else to be upset about.

    Nobody likes to be shouted at, you just have to imagine how you would react as an adult if someone shouted at you, you’d likely shout back and it would escalate until one if you backs down/walks away. But with children, they can’t just shut it off like that, they don’t have the luxury of walking away (if you are away from home or don’t let them), the adult HAS to be the one that backs down.

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    1. You make very good points!
      None of us are perfect and we all have good and bad days. There’s always so many things to factor in to any situation we come across…..and we all just do our best. I find kindness tends to help better in most situations.
      Thank you so much for your comment! 🙂

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