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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Taming Temper Tantrums in Public

Q: “My 3-year-old has a delayed case of the Terrible 2’s, but only in public. I find myself embarrassed when he acts out in a store. He will sometimes throw himself on the floor and kick and scream. People look at me as though it’s my issue, not his. I am not one of those parents who allows the child to run the household, but I can’t seem to get control of this acting-out-in-public behavior. How can I turn this around?”       

Joyce: I wouldn’t worry about the glaring parents who think you have three heads. We’ve all been there and done that, especially those of us with multiple children because each is different. I have found (and internationally renowned psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman agrees with me) that ignoring the behavior rather than struggling to deal with it is the best cure for your child’s ailment.

The next time Little Johnny throws a public tantrum and throws himself on the floor, simply step over him and begin to walk away as if you don’t know him. Of course, don’t actually let him out of your sight. Stepping over him as if he might belong to the parents of an “alien” rather than you will likely get his attention. Don’t draw attention to the fit; otherwise, you feed the frenzy. When the two of you get home and he wants a treat, he doesn’t get one. Then you can explain that his behavior in the store was unacceptable and the next time you go out in public, if he conducts himself respectfully, he may get a cookie then.

It’s simple: Respect = Respect. When he respects your authority, you respect his requests.

Please share with us how you tackle those tantrums.  Leave a comment below.

Need family advice? Write Joyce Oglesby, Family-Life Fitness Pro, at Check out her books and other resources today at Listen to The Just Ask Joyce Show M-F at 10am on WNDA 1570/WLRS 1600 AM, or stream it on TuneIn.


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