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Old 01-18-2009, 01:01 PM   #1
EBentley
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What to do with screaming toddler in store?

It wasn't mine. But it had me wondering, what do you do?

I was in the grocery and there was a mom with a 3 yo and a 6 yo (approx.) 6 yo is just being bad, pulling out tons of coupons from the little dispensers, making a mess, etc. 3 yo is screaming bloody murder. We got there about the same time and are apparently both slow. So we followed this screaming child throughout the entire store. By the near end, he actually vomited and she finally had to leave.

Not whining (my son is a whiner sometimes) but all out screaming, unable to catch his breath, freaking out for over 30 minutes. It was 830 am, so there weren't many people there. I don't think he was sick, just upset about something, as tends to happen.

At what point do you take the child out? Do you stop in the middle and leave? I usually calm the whining, but if it gets bad, I hurry and check out, even if I'm not done. Before I had kids, I couldn't stand crying. Now I'm deaf to some of it. But what do most people do in practice (in a real world we'd calm them so we could continue shopping or never take an unhappy child out in public)

ETA: My first thoughts were "mom, I feel for you. Why do they have to do this in public?" Then it changed to "o.m.g. take him home before he pu-.... oops, too late." Not criticizing her, only asking what's the norm.

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Old 01-18-2009, 02:14 PM   #2
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Re: What to do with screaming toddler in store?

I've been to Wal Mart with my sister and her two sons a few times. A couple of times her older boy who is now 3 threw a fit in the store over something he starts screaming and grabbing for everything and anything he can and knocks it down. Once he even took off his socks and shoes and threw them at people he was so mad.

In those cases I take him out to the car and put him in his car seat. We just sit there in the car where he can continue to have his fit in "Private".
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:26 PM   #3
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Re: What to do with screaming toddler in store?

In extreme situations like that, if I HAD to shop for some reason, I absolutely would use bribery. I keep suckers in the diaper bag for the purpose. I've only ever had to use one once (in his 3 years), but yeah. I'd rather my kid have a sucker or snack or even high frutose corn syrup for a few minutes before letting them scream like that for 30+ minutes. I mean, even at 3 that's not good for them.
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:36 PM   #4
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Re: What to do with screaming toddler in store?

I would leave ASAP in that situation! At least out to the car like the pp said, to have their fit in private.
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Old 01-18-2009, 03:12 PM   #5
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Re: What to do with screaming toddler in store?

At that age, IMO, he wasn't too young to be given a very serious and stern talking to about his unacceptable behavior, a warning, and then if he didn't let up, I think I would pack it up and go, with discipline at home for the incident. The 3 year old was, I'm sure, just reacting to the older sibling's example.

I still cannot imagine what makes a kid get to that point! I mean, somewhere, this behavior had to start gradually and just must not have been consistently dealt with or appropriately dealt with (whatever that would mean to that family), right? Right? It boggles my mind. Of course, I have a 17 month old who is a dream out in public. I never ever acted this way when I was a child. I've never been around a child who behaved that way. So maybe I just lack that particular 'experience' - and thank goodness!
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Old 01-18-2009, 04:14 PM   #6
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Re: What to do with screaming toddler in store?

I hurry and concentrate on only essentials then get out. I don't discipline because my son's too mentally handicapped to understand. I wish I had the option of leaving but it always happens towards the end when the cart is full of food. I have turned into a bit of a speed shopper for everything since I became a mom.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:14 PM   #7
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Re: What to do with screaming toddler in store?

Happens at the end for me too. The kids are tired and bored so they start acting out.

I am a briber too. Seriously, I think it is worth it. Usually it is fruit snacks or a juice box.

Now screaming at the top of their lungs? IDK... I guess it depends on how badly I need the items in my cart.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:26 PM   #8
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Re: What to do with screaming toddler in store?

It's hard to say. What you are describing seems a little over the top even for me. I generally try to finish my grocery shopping if I'm already there even if one of the kids is screaming. It's just too much to get my 12mos old twins and 3 year old to the store to be willing to leave without everything I need because it means I'll have to go back. When my 3 year old gets out of hand at the store, he has to ride in the cart or I take one of the babies out of the stroller and he has to ride in there. If he throws a tantrum about it, I ignore it. I don't think I would let it go on that long and not to the point of throwing up in public. My son can be reasoned with if it goes on long enough though and he'll stop. So, I guess, I don't know. Actually, I try never to take my kids to the grocery store. I go after 8pm when they are in bed and DH is home. It's my little escape.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:39 PM   #9
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Re: What to do with screaming toddler in store?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EBentley View Post
ETA: My first thoughts were "mom, I feel for you. Why do they have to do this in public?" Then it changed to "o.m.g. take him home before he pu-.... oops, too late." Not criticizing her, only asking what's the norm.


Wonderfully written ... I feel like I'm there with you! LOL

My girls are generally great in the store, and I tend to plan my market trips around when my husband is home or my mother can watch one or two so I'm not shopping with all four on my own ... which helps! But if they DO begin to act up, I'll either hurry to check out (if I'm nearly done anyway) or try to distract them enough to grab the more essentials items, then come back another time for the rest.

They don't generally get to the point where distraction isn't enough and they're having an all-out meltdown, though, and it sounds like that's what happened to that poor mama. Seems she should have hightailed it out of there ... but then you never know what's going on with someone else. Maybe her horribly-mean in-laws were on their way over for a last-minute visit and she needed to grab some groceries or risk even more unwanted criticism? No matter what, I'll bet the little guy got a nap as soon as they got in the door. Here's hoping mama did, too! LOL
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:45 PM   #10
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Re: What to do with screaming toddler in store?

Wow. Yeah, I feel for that mom but I think 30 minutes with that kind of freaking out warrants leaving--at least taking the child to the car to let them know how serious you are.


I may bribe, though. Seriously.

We were in Meijer the other day--my 2 year old, my 10 months old, and me. It was -9 outside and once we got inside DS began throwing a fit because he wanted a ball that we left in the car. It was getting close to the point where we were going to leave w/o the groceries we desperately needed before a snow storm...

I tried bribery, but it didn't work. But I can see how in some situations mamas do.


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