How to deal with public tantrums

As an owner of a two year old, I know how inquisitive, wonderful, and energetic they are, with a huge thirst for learning. Unfortunately, with such education comes the bad stuff; the whining, the crying, and the constant need to test boundaries. 

I’m told this never ends, and that this is just the beginning. I 100% Fucking hope not, because they don’t call it the terrible twos for no reason. 

Tantrums are bad enough. The SCREAMING, the planking, the howling, the wailing and the soul destroying whinging. All of this is bad enough, without the public element. So, here is a survival list to try and avoid such things, what to do when the inevitable tantrum begins, and how to ride that motherfucker out. 

Make it a game – use a really high, overenthusiastic voice to make simple things seem much more fun than they’re going to be. For example; “Wow! Let’s go to the shop and see how many cars and buses we see on the way!” Or “Quick! Let’s go go gooooo! Mummy is going to win!” 

Keep firm boundaries in place – if you agree to buy them a treat for being such a good little darling, a Peppa Pig ball for example; make sure that they’re aware that they shouldn’t dick about with it. I tend to go with the three (eleventy hundred) strike rule. If they throw that ball around a busy shop whilst laughing at you, they’re going to have to suffer the consequences. They’re going to have to put that ball back, and say goodbye to it because they can’t follow the rules put in place for them. Now, that’s not to say that this isn’t going to trigger a whopper of a tantrum, because it is. But, unless your richer than the Queen of Sheba, you can’t physically buy your child’s silence with toys every time you need to pop out for a pint of milk. So it’s here that the storm begins. 

sit and think (them, not you) – They’ll need a warning, obviously, but chances are that you’ve already droned on and on about that for about ten minutes before that. You won’t find me carrying around a mat or a chair for N to sit on when he’s in arsehole mode so come rain or shine, he sits on the ground if he needs to think about his behaviour. In public, this is attractive to old dears who feel the need to come and stick their wrinkly old noses in and offer toffee pennies or a hair ruffle. As hard as it is to be rude to these do gooders, I cannot have my kid’s bad behaviour rewarded with sweets and attention, so I kindly ask them to not do that (with a twitchy eye because I really want to tell them to fuck off and mind their own business). Two minutes to think, and the tantrum is over. Right? WRONG

Carry on like the whole world isn’t staring at you right now – Hide those misty eyes under your sunglasses and keep that smile etched onto your face. Your kid might be being a dick, but at least you look like it isn’t bothering you. You’ve got this shit covered, mama. 

As hard as it is – Try not to give in to the kid’s ridiculous demands, and don’t feel like a shit human being if you do. Today, N was constantly asking for his ‘dibby’ (his dummy) and after what seemed like an eternity, I gave it and plugged that noise. You do what you do to get by and to save face. 

Move, move, move – it doesn’t matter how you move, just keep going. Today, I actually held N under my arm like a contorting human rugby ball as I walked through town whilst making sure that everyone knew WHY he was being the way he was with a; “Oh isn’t two such a DELIGHTFUL age?!” “They don’t call them terrible for nothing!”  

This won’t last forever – even if it feels like it will. Kids will be kids, and if people can’t accept your kid having a tantrum, then you either suck it up and get your shopping done, or abandon that sinking ship and leave your trolley full of shopping and do it online instead. Either choice doesn’t make you a failure or a bad mother, it just means you are only human and that your tolerance level has peaked and passed. 

I’ve heard the terrible twos are nothing, so I’m buzzing to have a threenager next year! 


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