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To think DH shouldn't be embarrassed by his own child?

(121 Posts)
BatCave Mon 03-Dec-12 10:04:59

DD is 2.4, and going through, well, a toddler stage of demanding stubbornness with a screaming fit if she's told "no".

Busy shop yesterday and we had foolishly foolishly decided to take her and the baby shopping. She was bored, tired etc and had a screaming fit in the middle of a busy shop. I mean ear splitting shrieking of epic proportions. DH was getting stressed with her, moaning and shouting at her - it wasn't working so I took over trying to calm her down and get her back in the pushchair. HE WALKED OFF!!! I had the baby in a sling was trying to wrestle a screaming toddler and he just walked away.

When I questioned him after he said he was really embarrassed and had seen one of his mates. He thinks we have the worst behaved child in the world, keeps asking me where we've gone wrong?!

I'm sure we have a normal toddler.... Don't we? Please tell me this is normal...

bedmonster Mon 03-Dec-12 10:40:02

We were braving the shops because he really kept nagging me to do it, I knew it would be a disaster. I've done all my xmas shopping online.

Why couldn't he go to the shops on his own? confused Shopping needn't be a family activitiy.

I wouldn't attempt it now, it's the reason i've always tried to be organised at Christmas. I have young children who don't appreciate spending time strapped in being pushed around while I browse.

Neither of my DDs had tantrums, really, never. I know others who do and count myself very lucky indeed, but had mine have tried it they would have been on the receiving end of a very firm ticking off. However, by not taking them shopping for prolonged uncomfortable trips they had little need to stress out.

InNeedOfBrandyButter Mon 03-Dec-12 10:40:57

Oh gosh pand please read my post instead of nitpicking, then you would see I would take my tantruming dc out of the shop. Sure if I copied and pasted parts of your post I could change the tone of yours to hmm

molo Its where you pick them up across your shoulder so your holding on to their legs and their head and arms are over your back.

BatCave Mon 03-Dec-12 10:42:20

I would probably have employed The Firemans Lift. But I did have a baby in a sling and a pushchair to navigate out too. As it was she got levered into her pushchair.

There is no negotiating with her when she's like this, it was a toss up between forcing her into the pushchair and leaving her on the floor to get on with it. Reminds me of that advert a few years back where the mum throws herself on the floor and starts screaming in response to s,all child's tantrum!

OwlLady Mon 03-Dec-12 10:44:37

I understand what InNeedOfBrandyButter means too. I think with small children, actually scarp that any children you need to pick a good time to go shopping. It is such a sensory overload even for an adult, imagine how a small child feels. It's like hell. Literally.

and yes, i have one with autism wink

MolotovCocktail Mon 03-Dec-12 10:44:57

Cheers, Brandy

I actually think you've got it right; to not allow the tantrum to continue/escalate. Toddlers just don't understand reasoning, so it is best to physically remove them from whatever the situation might be.

Now, if only the OP could have fireman's lifted her DH to her side yesterday ...

OwlLady Mon 03-Dec-12 10:45:12

but your dh was a prat. I would have poisoned mine but alas he doesn't ever come shopping with me

AlienRefluxLooksLikeSnow Mon 03-Dec-12 10:45:41

Yes, you had a baby in a sling, that's why your DH should have picked her up and took her out TBH

aleene Mon 03-Dec-12 10:46:35

i remember that advert. My DS once threw himself on the ground, right in a shop doorway and had a tantrum. A young shop assistant, he looked about 19, took one look and said "Ooh, just like that advert!" grin

OP, tell your husband walking off is not an option. An octopus toddler needs 2 pairs of hands if they are available.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 03-Dec-12 10:47:52

I don't think he's that 'great' a dad if he thinks it's OK to walk away from his wife and children when they're struggling because he's embarrassed in front of his mates. Is he 12?

Why was he 'nagging' you to all go shopping together?

Mockingcurl Mon 03-Dec-12 10:48:52

My youngest son (now 18) had terrible tantrums all the time. The best advice I was ever given was by a friend if mines Norland trained nanny. She said to remember that you are the adult, you are in charge not them. Be very firm with them and give them no attention whatsoever. I would firmly strap him back in his buggy and completely ignore him. No eye contact, nothing. Yes it's embarrassing in public, but just smile at people. Everyone understands.

They will stop eventually.

Btw, IMO your husbands tantrum was worse. You might want to point out to him that he has a child that is copying him.

littlemissnormal Mon 03-Dec-12 10:49:12

Haha I firemans lifted my 4 year old all the way to school last week, much to the amusement of everyone driving past! Worked up a right sweat too, no need for the gym after! wink

MrsGeologist Mon 03-Dec-12 10:49:25

So he thinks your DD is uniquely embarrassing, but instead of doing something useful to help you deal with it, he wanders off.


BatCave Mon 03-Dec-12 10:50:12

He wanted to do something "as a family" and he needed to go shopping, plus I really didn't want to be stuck at home (again) on my own with the two of them. Lesson more than learned though.

Good tip SP I will try it.

Baby is too little to be left but actually it's easy shopping with him strapped to me in a sling, he still sleeps for a couple hours in it. But actually I loathe shopping pre christmas anyway.

Just wish DH didn't think so badly of our daughter, she's such a sweet loving loving child usually smile Jekyll and Hyde

SayCoolNowSayWhiptheReindeer Mon 03-Dec-12 10:51:02

I think it's all very well to say 'don't take small children shopping' but sometimes you have little choice.

Shopping sometimes can be a family excursion - I'd much rather get DD out the house and risk a tantrum than keep her cooped up all day. Are we never to take small children out at all in case they misbehave?

The logistics of trying to do a firemans lift with a shrieking toddler whilst carrying a baby in a sling, manoeuvring a pushchair and carrying shopping, whilst dealing with an unhelpful DP, quite frankly escapes me. OP I think you coped admirably and your DP is an idiot (insert harsher word here)

OwlLady Mon 03-Dec-12 10:53:00

I don't think anyone has suggested you don't take children shopping, just that if you plan it at certain times when it's quieter you do get a better response for them (usually) Mornings, they are fed, have had a play before hand, have a bribe for park after, all make it easier for yourself

OwlLady Mon 03-Dec-12 10:54:27

Also if you take them out shopping when they are tired, hungry, it's really busy, peeing down with rain, it's very noisy, father becomes anxious. Well that's not really the childs fault. Not that i am suggesting it's your fault OP at all, we have all had to do it at some point and I have the incredible swearing teenager when out shopping so my place isn't to judge anyone

TrillsCarolsOutOfTune Mon 03-Dec-12 10:54:36

YABU to think he shouldn't be embarrassed.

It is embarrassing.

He does need a better way of dealing with it than walking off though.

BattlingFanjos Mon 03-Dec-12 10:55:23

My dad was always the embarrassed parent if one of us 'kicked off' in public. He's told me now I'm older he used to smack us for misbehaving (it wasn't often, I don't remember getting smacked) because he was embarrassed. He struggled with my DS when he played up (usual toddler stuff) and he now doesn't see him. It's very difficult to get around it unless that person is willing to work through it and change. Think it's always harder when there is another parent there that will sort it out, as much as you tell him that he can't just piss off when it gets hard, he knows subconsciously that they are safe with you. sod not shopping with the kids! Me and my ds have adapted to each other, he has to do some things he doesn't like and that includes shopping, he's thrown some spectacular strops in public, he's almost 5 and we have none at all now! It's all totally normal!

Spero Mon 03-Dec-12 10:57:07

Mine never tantrumed in a shop <proud> mainly because I avoided taking her as a toddler. I find busy shopping places hell on earth, noise, stress, people, so it must be an utterly miserable experience for a small child, all hot and bundled up in a buggy.

Your child soinds normal. But you need to have a serious talk with your partner. My ex used to do stuff like that. Note I say 'my ex'.

Pandemoniaa Mon 03-Dec-12 10:57:14

Fair enough, BrandyButter and I agree that the best thing to do is take the tantrummy child out of the shop as you say. I suppose where I disagree with your post is the idea that you don't let them have a tantrum in the first place. Because no matter how many distraction techniques and the like, sometimes you find yourself in the midst of a tantrum anyway. So it's damage limitation you need and in the OP's case this is a great deal easier if your partner doesn't go missing at the very moment they could be the most help.

TartyMcTart Mon 03-Dec-12 10:58:36

OP, there's no point saying you shouldn't have gone shopping. Yes, it's not ideal on a busy pre-Christmas weekend but we can't stop doing things just because we have kids, they have to learn that not every trip out is fun and get used to it.

As for your DH walking off grin I would have loved to do this when mine were younger! Instead I mastered the art of getting them in the pushchair when they make themselves stiff as a board - not easy but a quick push to the stomach and you have 3 second to manhandle them in wink

Goldmandra Mon 03-Dec-12 10:59:18

The issue here isn't how you managed the tantrum, Batcave. It's the fact that your DH couldn't manage to even remain near it.

If he thinks coping with a baby and a tantruming 2 YO is bad, how on earth is he going to cope with a tantruming 4YO and a tantruming 2YO ina couple of years?

He seriously needs to learn to use calm authority to remain in control at times like this because you won't be able to deal with three of them tantruming at times like this will you?

Your DH needs to go on a parenting course so someone can explain to him how toddlers think and how to manage their anger and your own. There should be a family support worker linked to your school who can direct you to the best place to access such a course.

These courses are no about training poor parents. They are about helping people to understand their own children, offering helpful strategies to avoid major conflicts and advice on how to manage them when they do kick off.

With a bit of support and explanation hopefully your DH will start to feel more in control and be able to help you manage difficult situations rather than abandoning you again.

FutureNannyOgg Mon 03-Dec-12 11:03:35

I've been there before, not with DH, but out with baby in sling and toddler throws himself on the floor shrieking.
IME it is not possible to fireman's lift a thrashing toddler with a baby in a sling. The combined weight of my baby and toddler is well over 50lb. Assuming I could manoeuvre DS1 over my shoulder, getting to standing from squatting or kneeling on the floor to pick him up, with a 50lb deadweight would be very hard (and I have strong legs, I dance so I do a lot of squats grin) Doing so when the toddler is resisting and protecting the baby from kicks is ridiculously hard, the best I have ever managed is the toddler under my arm, and that was a lucky catch. My solution for this (apart from avoiding getting into the situation, but sometimes you just have to, and hindsight is just fabulous, especially when it is about someone else) is a pair of Tommee Tippee reins, that are strong enough to lift him back onto his feet with.

All of this is moot though. OP had another adult there to wrangle the toddler, she should not have had to do anything at all, he should have been the one to handle her. You can afford to be a bit ambitious about taking kids out if you have 1:1 care, and a buggy for them to nap/rest their legs in. He walked away and left her in a difficult situation and that was not on. I would suggest for future outings you spell it out, even give him an option "which child would you like to take today?" "This one is your responsibility now, I need you to keep an eye on her/hold her hand/keep her out of mischief/carry her" so it is absolutely clear that it is not a case of you looking after both and him coming along for a jolly.

Kalisi Mon 03-Dec-12 11:04:36

Are you me OP? My DS has award winning public meltdowns and he's only 16 months dreading terrible twos and my DH has done exactly that before. It makes me so angry and I'm sure DS behaviour is always ten times worse when DH is around to sigh and tut and stomp around!

rainrainandmorerain Mon 03-Dec-12 11:04:50

I'm actually really gobsmacked by your dp's reaction. That's just not being a parent, I'm sorry. Fine to FEEL embarrassed - not fine to just walk off.

Do you both have an agreed strategy for dealing with toddler tantrums, btw? Personally I am not a fan of extended 'negotiations' and explanations with toddlers when they are in a state, I just don't see it working, they don't have adult reasoning skills, and parents get just get even more frustrated and upset. In any case, shopping trips or public places make everything worse, and if you don't have an agreed, shared approach, it's going to be very hard.

If you are both on a shopping trip with the kids (would avoid that, myself, but whatever suits!) - then the technique of 'remove upset toddler from shop physically' works fine. The parent left behind can carry on the shopping bit while the other parent takes charge of a wailing toddler outside.

Otherwise, something like a 'one reasonable warning/request' followed by 'direct action' works (child is asked to put something down and come - they refuse - go and take object off child and pick them up' for example). That takes the 'oh, god, what do I do with them' element out of it all, because you have a strategy - and if both parents stick to it, then it avoids that difficult moment when one parent takes over from another, as if they can 'do it better'. Which often causa another argument....

All that said, I do dislike, intensely, the too cool for school attitude of a dad who won't go to a dad and child group, or who gets embarrassed when his friend sees him with his own child misbehaving. Kids will be kids, and they need a dad. He needs to step up to the mark. And if he won't pay any attention to childcare books or advice, then he's just being very selfish and letting his family down. Including you.

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