My kids are embarrassing me!

Dealing with temper tantrums

Am I the only one whose kid seems to be well behaved at home but chooses to embarrass me in public with temper tantrums? I cannot be the only one whose kid is like that. I mean, she easily just complies with whatever we tell her to do and the ones she contests, we try to reach an understanding. But in public, especially when she sees other kids, she throws all that compliance out the window and she decides to “test” Mummy. It's just Mummy because I am the one who usually loses it when she starts. My husband has mastered the art of staying calm when this happens.

Well, I am learning from him and from experts that there are better ways to handle tantrums. To observe if the kid is having a meltdown due to accumulated stress or they are just trying to be manipulative so as to get what they want. I feel like the latter is what my kid does a lot of times, especially when we are in public.

So, what do we do?

Try to stay calm - You cannot also be throwing your own tantrum because of frustration from your kid’s tantrums.

Try to go in for a hug - To see if that calms your kid down. My own child just screams through this whole process. So, we do the next best thing.

Leave that environment- away from staring eyes. Go somewhere quiet, have a little talk, and calm the kid down. This works like magic. I am also less embarrassed.

Anticipate a tantrum - Plan ahead for different scenarios (depending on where you are going) on how to prevent your kid from having tantrums. This is tricky because in spite of plans, kids just sometimes throw tantrums.

Take their favourite toy or food along with you - Something to keep them engaged and distracted from anything that causes tantrums.

Sometimes, you will have to give in to their demand - Not always, but you will have to give in sometimes. Then go home and have a little talk about it later. This is the part that I struggle with the most. Because I feel like I am letting down the reins on all those disciplines, values and principles that I am trying to instil in her. However, I am learning to give in sometimes. Because this is not a military regime. We should always be flexible, to listen and to consider things from our children’s point of view. Sometimes, they will have their way. And nothing will spoil!

A lot of time what makes tantrums embarrassing is because we pay too much attention to people’s perception of our parenting styles and skills. However, toddlers throw tantrums. There is a chance that 7 out of 10 of those judging eyes have been exactly where you are before. So, their reaction is not up to you. Focus on your child and how better to calm him/her down. Do not act irrationally to your kid just so people can see that you discipline your kids. And do not also neglect the child. Put yourself in their shoes. They are just trying to make a lot happen with limited language of communication. That must be difficult.

Just stay calm and attend to your child.

And remember…..this is just a phase. It will pass.

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