Having just survived the terrible twos for a second time, I’ve had plenty of advice from random strangers about how to raise my toddlers. Don’t get me wrong, there have also been many kind people in the grocery store line-up who have sent an encouraging smile my way mid-tantrum. I’ve learned to develop a thick skin for the people who take it upon themselves to give me their “helpful” unsolicited advice. I polled my Facebook friends to see if they had similar experiences.
Here are some of the best (worst) things my friends and I have heard mid-tantrum:
- “My children didn’t do that. I had a 2-year-old AND newborn twins.”
- “My grandchildren don’t do that. And there’s four of them. And my daughter home schools them.”
- “Wow! He’s really upset!”
- “You should really be more consistent. That would nip this in the bud.”
- “Can I give him a piece of candy?”
- “Keep your cool.”
- “Get that kid to shut the hell up!”
- “She has a very loud scream.”
- “What a shame. He’s so cute.”
- “You are horrible parents for not buying your kid that toy.”
- “Oh my heavens!” (said with a patronizing, disgusted look)
- A friend’s toddler was screaming near a hotel elevator. A woman thought my friend and her husband were abducting their own child. My friends had to scream and get help from strangers to restrain the (elderly) woman who was convinced they were kidnappers!
So what would be helpful for a parent who’s dealing with a screaming child in public? How about:
*An empathetic smile
*”That is a tough age.”
*”Can I help carry your groceries?”
One by one we can support other parents and drown out the dreaded, unhelpful grocery store comments!
Leave your best “things people say when my toddler is screaming” in the comments below. Soldier on, mommas.
Spring 2010. Shopper’s Drug Mart. My 2-year-old. He wants Smarties. I say no. Tantrum hits. Naturally, we are in the lineup and there are about 57 people behind us. Of course it is 5:00, the busiest time of day. We leave.
Last summer. At the park with friends. Our friend’s 4-year-old throws the worst tantrum ever. He sits in the car, about 100 feet away, windows open, screaming for 20 minutes. “He never does this at home,” the mom is quick to remind anyone within earshot.
Last night. A 3-year-old boy sits on the sidewalk near the beach. He is wailing. His mom is waiting by her car. She is exhausted. She refuses to give in and pick up her miserable boy. He refuses to give in and go to the car. The Italian tourists watching the sunset are gossiping furiously (in Italian) about how terrible Canadian mothers are.
Why are the worst tantrums always in public? Maybe because as parents, we know we are being watched (and judged) so we don’t handle it the way we would at home. I’d love to hear your best (worst!) tantrum stories.