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Today’s “Dear Mom” question comes from Tiffany Fannin, a young mom, attorney, and dedicated bargain hunter who blogs at Bright on a Budget about style, beauty, and life!
In public, where do you draw the line between disciplining and letting it go?
Once when my oldest was 4, she threw a screaming fit right in the middle of the grocery store. It wasn’t typical behavior for her, and we were quite bewildered. My husband took her out of the store to deal with her behavior so I could finish shopping.
Fast forward 23 years. Ironically, I was in the grocery store with her son (my grandson), the Tiny (two-year-old) Tornado last evening when he had a melt down over a race car. My husband had just bought him a small toy truck at Cracker Barrel, but when he saw the “race tars!” and we by-passed them for the freezer aisle, He lost it.
He cried all through the store. When we finished shopping and returned him to his parents, he started up again and we could still hear him as we checked out.
The difference between these two scenarios is that one kid was screaming and the other was sobbing.
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Screaming, flinging, smacking, kicking, or yelling should never be tolerated in public and must be dealt with immediately. If not, the behavior will continue. Even though it’s inconvenient and you may have to leave the store, teaching your child to behave in public is just as important as teaching him at home.
Because if he knows he can get away with it in public, then baby – he’s got you!
As for the sobbing Tiny Tornado, he was just sad, and it was a grocery store (where people can escape from the wailing down another aisle). He wasn’t disobeying or being mean, he’s just two and two-year-olds don’t always understand when mom says no. He was also tired at the end of the day. But the important lesson is that he didn’t get that car and won’t get a car every time he goes to the grocery store.
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Wrapping it up:
1.) What are your surroundings?
If you’re shopping, you can stop and correct the behavior – adjusting discipline according to the offense. If it’s somewhere that requires quiet (such as church) but he’s screaming, it’s best to take him out.
2.) Is the behavior deliberate disobedience?
Disobedience must be dealt with in public, even if it means you leave the public area to discipline your kid.
3.) Is it a smaller offense that can wait till later?
If so, and the child moves on from that behavior, make sure you revisit it at home and talk about why he needs to keep said behavior reined in next time – or there will be consequences.
4.) Is your child tired?
If junior has skipped nap time or been up since 5:00 AM, there’s a good chance he’ll have a melt down. Give grace in these situations – after all, you need grace for your blow it moments too!
Always remember to pray for wisdom. Study your child, watch for manipulation in public, and stand your ground on unacceptable behavior. Learn to pick your battles and when to save discipline for later.
Consistent discipline is extremely important or our children will become confused about boundaries. Even though it’s a lot of work now, you’ll be glad you did later!
*If you have a “Dear Mom” question, I’d love to hear it! reply in the comments below!