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Tips: What to do when your child Throws a Tantrum and Misbehaves in Public?

When your child throws a tantrum in public can be a frustrating and embarrassing experience. And if you’re a first time mum, there are likely to be moments when you just want the earth to open up and swallow you when the tantrums begin. And trust me, sometimes you’re just not in any healthy emotional state of mind to deal with tantrums or bad behaviour – you may have had an a stressful week or day or had some really devastating news and the last thing you want is to have to deal with tantrums and bad behaviour.

So What to do if your child throws a Tantrum or misbehaves in public? Here are my top Five tips :-

  • Stay Calm and Ignore everyone else

Stay calm, even if you are really annoyed and upset or embarrassed by the whole situation. Forget that people are around – their opinion is irrelevant – focus on your child and the situation at hand  and what you need to do to calm your child down.

Go down to their level by stooping down and make eye contact. In a calm firm but gentle tone of voice, talk your child and ask why he or she is upset.  If the child is younger and cannot fully say why he or she is upset, still talk to him or her. And if it’s something they want that they can’t have, try not to reward the unacceptable behaviour by giving in just to save face. because kids are psychologist in training, they will throw a tantrum because they know it gets them what they want in the end.

Sometimes it may just be a case that they need attention, tired, hungry or simply bored.

  • Don’t allow other people to make corrective assertions in place of you

I have also learnt that at times, other people may feel the need to offer you help and that’s fine. Bless them! But some people in offering help, will try to  try to take control of the situation and make corrective assertions. But please try your best to avoid this, even when you feel like you’ve lost control, embarrassed and about to break down in tears. If you think you need to leave the store or move to some where no one is around, then do just that or if you feel that your little one needs a hug , then that’s exactly what you do. But take control of the situation. It may take a few tantrums before you feel confident in knowing what to do and how to do it. It takes patience and a calm approach.

  • Always have your tantrum ammunition at hand and know exactly when to use it

My secret – lollipops. They Work!

Whenever I’m in an important place or somewhere that requires silence like the medical centre or bank, I always have two lollipops ready. The second one is for just in case the first one falls. But I have to ensure its the hard ones – they last longer. Yours doesn’t have to be food. It could be a favourite toy, whatever your child likes.

  • New environments can be overwhelming so give your child time to adjust

I find that sometimes when children are introduced to new places, especially if crowded with a lot of people like malls, it can be an overwhelming experience for them. So I think the key thing is to gradually introduce them to new environments and eventually they will adjust and adopt.

  • Say exactly the type of behaviour you expect from your child when  in public and what would be the repercussions for defying those expectations

I noticed that sometimes people with older children would give warnings before leaving the house. So for instance, if they know that their child has the tendency to be rude in public, they would explain to the child that if they misbehaved or was rude, there would be certain consequences. They may, for instance, loose certain privileges or if it’s some place where the child really wanted to go, they might say to them that if they misbehaved then everybody goes home.

This approach works most of the times for me so I hope it works for you as well.



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