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getting a toddler to behave in public..

(17 Posts)
mardhiyahamin Wed 19-Oct-11 16:10:42

I've been a constant believer of not scolding a child in public/ in full view of strangers. but if talking nicely, getting him to understand what's right or not or even distractions don't seem to be getting u anywhere, what do we do then? It's really a mood dampner when u get stares from the public for failing to get the situation under control..

SenoritaViva Wed 19-Oct-11 16:16:09

Well I have no problem with scolding in public so we may be coming from different points of view. What is your problem with scolding in public? In my view if I was too embarrassed to do it in front of people then I shouldn't be doing it.

In my experience, consistency is the key (one of mine is you MUST be able to see mum at all times), set boundaries before you leave the house/get out of the car etc. have consequences if they don't 'obey' those rules (I try to stick to 'three things to remember' rather than countless rules. Also if I do need to scold then I try to take to a quieter corner if possible. I use a stern voice, get down on their level and tell them what will happen if they continue etc. I don't feel ashamed in doing that. That is all the theory and I've done it well quite a lot, but as reality kicks in I've definitely had some times where I've thought 'that didn't work you really did not handle that well'.

Whatever your choose to do, practise will make you better at it...

SenoritaViva Wed 19-Oct-11 16:18:02

BTW I have taken scolding to be a telling off and stern words rather than swearing/hitting/screaming etc. as I don't agree with that. I have screamed at DD before when I thought she was going to do something dangerous (shouted stop and her name or whatever). I'm clearly not promoting abuse...

MrsJasonBourne Wed 19-Oct-11 16:31:29

I had to scold dd2 quite a bit when she threw a full-on tantrum at not wanting to leave the playgroup and walk the ten minutes home. The entire walk consisted of me trying to hold her hand and make her walk and her trying to throw herself to the ground, whilst screaming and crying continuously.

We walk on a path beside a busy main road. If she'd pulled away and thrown herself into the road it could have been disastrous. If it takes a bit of shouting on my part to shock her into listening and behaving herself, bring it on.

And quite honestly once you let them get away with appalling behaviour like that it's probably a slippery slope to being spoilt and horrible children. I'm hoping it's just the terrible twos bringing out this controlling behaviour. I don't like shouting at her but she needs to get some sort of different reaction to see that I'm really cross.

The rest of the walk home was mainly her shouting and crying, and me silently sobbing inwardly to myself at my horrible demon child.

SenoritaViva Wed 19-Oct-11 16:36:46

BTW DD is now 4 years old and a pleasure to take out and about. So it does seem to have paid off...

mardhiyahamin Wed 19-Oct-11 17:36:36

as far as I can remember, growing up, whenever we misbehaved, mum will use the stern-talking technique on us. continuing to misbehave will just lead to one thing -- spanking, only when we've reached home, behind closed doors & away frm grandparents (cos they always come to the rescue hehe). so that's how I learned. if u don't wanna be spanked, u behave at all times.

most of the time I've no problems with bringing my son out. but on the days when he decides to misbehave, he'll go all out to spoil my day (or what's left of it). I have stern-talked him b4 & 1/2 of the time, he actually succeeded making my day a really unhappy one. when we reached home, I will usually leave him in a corner with no tv/ toys/ books & he'll just end up sleeping, maybe tired frm all the crying. then I'll start feeling bad.

well I think u're right. if I could be consistent in my disciplining ways & keep practicing at it, hopefully it'll all fall into place.

thanks anyway! smile

nightshade Wed 19-Oct-11 19:12:48

agree with the scolding in public.

toddlers know when you are too embarassed to do anything and therefore will push you past the limit.

once they know that you always mean what you say, they stop playing up.

it's repetitions, the more you do it, the more it will sink in.

usingapseudonym Wed 19-Oct-11 19:44:52

How old is he? Leaving him in a corner crying until he falls asleep sounds quite excessive to me!!

EdithWeston Wed 19-Oct-11 19:50:58

Children aren't going to behave well in public unless they are used to behaving well at home and in general.

I'd say you need to look at ensuring simple, clear standards with predictable sanction/reward. If you usually tell off, then for consistency you will need to tell off for public transgressions too. But perhaps you could move to a less conspicuous place first. And in the worst case, leave altogether (if you can).

StoneSoup Wed 19-Oct-11 19:53:16

I have no qualms about telling my kids off in public. I tell them quietly (but sharply) in their ear once and if that doesn't do the trick, I tell them outright and use threats tell them clearly what the consequences will be if they don't behave (e.g. no TV when we get home / no computer etc).

Who cares what other people think? I have given up caring, certainly. They are my kids and if they are misbehaving, it is MY responsibility to deal with it.

StoneSoup Wed 19-Oct-11 19:55:01

How old is he, btw? If he is 3 yrs old or under, I would just remove him from the situation if he is really playing up. I have walked out of a supermarket carrying my kicking and screaming toddler before. yes, i got stares and tut-tuts, but the alternative was stay and he has a full-on meltdown in the middle of Sainsbury's. No thanks!

Iggly Wed 19-Oct-11 19:55:40

How old? If he's nearer 2 than 4 then there's not much reasoning you can do.

DS has tantrums when he's tired or hungry mostly - so I try and preempt that (eg use the buggy or give snacks). He's 2. So today for example was his first morning at preschool and he was knackered. So I had snacks ready to hand, I don't give him choices just tell him what's happening and that keeps him calm until we get home.

JarethTheGoblinKing Wed 19-Oct-11 19:59:56

"most of the time I've no problems with bringing my son out. but on the days when he decides to misbehave, he'll go all out to spoil my day (or what's left of it). I have stern-talked him b4 & 1/2 of the time, he actually succeeded making my day a really unhappy one. when we reached home, I will usually leave him in a corner with no tv/ toys/ books & he'll just end up sleeping, maybe tired frm all the crying. then I'll start feeling bad. "


Toddlers don't 'decide' to misbehave. They don't go 'all out' to spoil your day.
Leaving you child alone in a corner with no interaction is cruel and unnecessariy.

JarethTheGoblinKing Wed 19-Oct-11 20:01:20


Iggly Wed 19-Oct-11 20:42:59

I missed that bit Jareth sad

OP that's a really sad way to think of your child. They don't have control over their emotions - hence tantrums sad

Sirzy Wed 19-Oct-11 20:48:28

How old is he? Either way as you still describe him as a toddler that sounds very harsh (for any child actually)

With DS who is nearly 2 if he won't be talked out of the tantrum I take him outside to calm down away from distractions as much as possible. Can take anything from a few minutes to 15 mins. After 10 mins I tend to leave and take him home.

I very rarely shout, seems counterproductive if you are trying to stop them doing it, but talk to him to try to find out whats wrong/persuade him to calm down.

If he has a tantrum when we are out its normally because he is over tired, and I never carry it on when we get home. What has happened is in he past!

I agree with PP that whatever you decide you have to be consistent with, irrespective of who is around. I deal with things in a very similar way when at home to when out.

JujyFruits Wed 19-Oct-11 21:28:54

I agree with those that say 2 is too young to expect all this from your child. At this age they don't intend to ruin your trip out and embarrass you in public. They have little control over their behaviour really, and if they lose it the best thing you can do is remove them from the situation if possible, or if not ignore it and ride it out until they've calmed down.

And try to be a little more hard faced, I know it's difficult but ignore all the looks and comments, and just do what you gotta do.

When they're about 4 they're a lot easier to reason with and most children of this age CAN control their behaviour so it does get better and easier I promise.

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