6 Things You Must Do When Your Child Misbehaves in Public
Trying to discipline your child who is throwing tantrums or misbehaving in public without provoking him further is a challenge. Do you know how to do it?
By Ivan Palen • 7 min read
A child bursting into a tantrum is the worst thing to happen and one of the biggest challenges for parents to deal with. But, when a child displays such bad behaviour in public, drawing the attention of everyone passing by, parents are filled with embarrassment. The situation can spin out of parents’ control and take a turn for the worse when they don’t know how to help the child calm down.
Crying for reasons that may seem silly to parents or making unrealistic demands is normal for toddlers and preschoolers. However, careful observation of their child can help parents understand what induces these meltdowns. Usually, certain situations like being in a crowded place or being left alone or stopping a fun activity can make young children throw a tantrum.
So, what would you do when your child is about to throw a tantrum or is in the midst of one? Read on to find out.
- Talk to your child: The old saying, ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ works in almost every aspect of life. But, how would you put this old adage to work to prevent your child from throwing a tantrum or having a meltdown? Very simple. Develop the habit of talking to your child before going ahead with any activity. For example, if your child is uncomfortable in crowded places and you need to go shopping with him, tell him beforehand where both of you would be going. When your child is playing at the park or engaged in some fun activity and it’s time for him to stop, remind him a little in advance that it’s time to end the activity— first 20 minutes beforehand, then again in 10 minutes, and finally when it’s time.
- Stay calm: The moment you see your child beginning to act out, put aside everything and address her. However, before you do that, make sure that you keep your voice low and your expressions calm. Speaking to your child in such a way will help her calm down and make her feel relaxed. Even when your child begins to behave badly in public, which can be embarrassing or provoke your anger, stay calm. For, if you let your anger get the better of you, your child will begin to think of you as her adversary who isn’t paying attention to her needs. This will worsen the situation.
- Know when to turn away: A lot of parents will attest to the fact that turning away from a crying child works. Not paying attention and turning away will send a strong message to your child that you won’t tolerate his bad behaviour. But, do intervene if your child indulges in self-harm or tries to harm others during tantrums. If done the wrong way, this technique can create a rift between you and your child. So, use this technique only after other techniques have failed to work.
- Always stay prepared: Always make it a point to carry some snacks or comfort food, toys and other items your child is fond of. These would help you redirect her attention from the issue that is bothering her and could lead her to throwing a tantrum.
- Grant some independence: Allow your child some independence when it comes to doing a few things like which dress to choose to wear to the park or in which cup to drink water and so on. This will make him feel in control and boost his confidence.
- Appreciate good behaviour: It is common for parents to point out to their child the bad behaviour she engages in; however, appreciating your child’s good behaviour every time she displays them works better.
The sight of a child screaming and crying can be a very disturbing one, especially to a parent. However, as parents, we should keep in mind that it’s normal for children to throw a tantrum once in a while. Therefore, having a knowledge of what causes your child to throw a tantrum and how to deal with a child in the midst of meltdown can save your day.
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