How would you handle this? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 04-19-2003, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I've come across a "problem" with my son that I don't exactly know how to handle. When we are in a public place at a time when he cannot be in a shopping cart or high chair, and he cannot be walking around either, obviously I have to hold him. Well, he HATES being held in a public place and wants down, so he basically pushes away from me with gritted teeth, screaming, and I have to try to hold on to him without dropping him, which is no small task. (He is a 26-lb. 18-month-old and STRONG.) Not to mention it's embarrassing. And if he isn't pushing away from me, he is pulling my hair. HARD. I have tried telling him, "You can get down and walk around as soon as we get outside," but that just makes it worse, because then he starts screaming "ousye! ousye!" at the top of his lungs and pushing away from me even harder. He does this in places like at the check-out in stores, waiting to pay at restaurants, etc., so there's no possible way he can get down and run around. It's really strange behavior for him, because he is normally very even-tempered and laid-back.

How would you handle this?
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#2 of 8 Old 04-19-2003, 11:16 PM
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As long as you are taking him as quickly as possible to a place where he can play safely, I think you are doing just the right thing. If it makes you feel better about what other people think, talk calmly to him and tell him all the facts. "You can play outside. You can run outside. I'm carrying you quickly to a safe place to play." That way, the other adults get the message without you having to tell them.

If you really hate it, you could try leading him by the wrist, but I have never found that to be all that much more successful.

The truth is that sometimes being a mom is just plain embarrassing... the good news is that if you treat your children with kindness, those moments are fleeting and they quickly change.
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#3 of 8 Old 04-20-2003, 08:38 PM
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bestjob, well put. i second her post.
i've been there many times. it can be very hard. many errands have been rearranged or just not gotten to. for example, grocery carts have been left half full in the middle of the store.
treating the child with patience and respect is very important!
your son is being a natural healthy 18 month old. and you're being a wonderful mom for treating him with love and patience.
we moms know how hard even the simplest of outings can be. hang in there. it does get easier.
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#4 of 8 Old 04-20-2003, 11:35 PM
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I could have written your post! I was with my eighteen month old dd in WalMart the other day, and the tantrums started as soon as she realized she couldn't be down pushing the cart. I couldn't leave because this was stuff that I neede right then, so the tantrum continued all the way through WalMart. At one point, she literally threw herself out of the acrt in frustration. (Thank goodness she was okay!) Eventually, she decided that sitting in the front part of the basket was okay, because I kept giving her interesting things to play with as I put them in my cart. If it wasn't such an errand of despartion, I probably would have left, but it had to get done right then. I just tried talking to her in a soothing voice, and explaining what was going on. It didn't help soothe things until she was ready, but at least it made me feel like I was doing something about it. And I try to tell myself that all those looks I am getting from people are looks of sympathy and not condemnation. :

Violin teaching, doula-ing Mom to Abby, (8) Ashlynn, (6) : and Max (11/13/08) Diagnosed with Metopic Craniosynostosis. First surgery 5/1/09, Second surgery March 2010.
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#5 of 8 Old 04-21-2003, 02:21 AM
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i don't have any answers, but as a person who can be VERY annoyed by crying children in stores I wanted to reassure y'all (and I hope I remember this when my time comes,) that crying/upset children only bother "us" when mom is either 1) completely ignoring the child and clearly has been doing so for some time or 2) saying mean things to the child, threatening spanking, etc.

You mama's who obviously care & are being kind & respectful to your kids, trust me when I say that no one minds at all - we just wish we could whisper in your ear "you're doin' a great job, Mama" but are too shy.
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#6 of 8 Old 04-21-2003, 09:43 AM
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great point, n2thewoods!
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#7 of 8 Old 04-23-2003, 08:13 PM
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Ditto on the annoyance at mothers simply ignoring tantruming babies. HOWEVER, one thing I cannot STAND to see is a mother who will silence a tantruming child at any cost.

I mean, I think that how we respond to a tantrum can take a natural response of the child's (unorganized nervous system, lack of coping strategies, etc.) and turn it into a very learned pattern. That is, as far as I know, the only thing that will prematurely end a true tantrum is bargaining with a child, or giving the child what it wants, when it wants it. And that, I'm afraid, is when tantrums become the province of will, rather than the involuntary, utter lack of will due to young age.

In my experience (being a full-time nanny for many years, not a mom for 6 more months, I admit it) trying to intervene too much is fruitless. I think it is a really good idea to say, "I know you're frustrated. I know, you're very upset. I understand, you would like to get down. That's just not possible now." And then to some extent, along with the acknowlegement, letting the kid go. THAT kind of "ignoring" it isn't being neglectful, it is a matter of not starting a cycle.

It seems to me that when a child screetches and whines in a store and you cut short your errand and take her outside to play, you are letting her know exactly what needs to be done for her to get what she wants. Sure, at first she won't make the connection, because she isn't doing on purpose -- at first. But babies/toddlers are pretty darn efficient at getting their needs met, and I think they catch on, quick.

As for being embarrassed, screw that. I say do your best to relate to your child in a developmentally-appropriate way, and that may mean he needs to express anger and being upset at not getting his way every hour of the day. It's an important lesson! It's equally important to be able to feel okay about being upset and angry about things, sometimes, even at 2.

Personally, once outside, I would still hold the child, but while sitting, in a relaxed way, until the child calmed down. I would say "There are times when Mommy needs to hold you, and I am not doing it to make you mad. I'm sorry you don't like it. I love you, but you can't play until you can calm down with me." If hair pulling was going on, I would put the child in my lap (his back to my tummy) with my arms crossed in front of his body, holding his hands only strongly enough to keep him from breaking away. Again, with as relaxed a body posture as I could manage -- adding your anger won't help. I've done this through several tantrums, but because of hitting behavior. It gave the boy a secure, safe place to be upset, let yet him know physically what was unacceptable (words are a little lost on an upset toddler).

I guess some people would find this too authoritarian, too "because I said so." I prefer to think of it as setting loving limits. To each his own ...
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#8 of 8 Old 04-24-2003, 02:59 AM
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austinelizabeth, you must have been a great nanny!
I for one do not think your approach was "too authoritarian" at all.

And Moms, just wanted to share some words of wisdom from a friend on another (non-parenting) board I'm on ...
"sometimes it's just your turn to be the one with the screaming kid." Anyone who does glare at you or make rude comments is either child-free or has forgotten what it's like to be "the one with the screaming kid."
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