Everyone in the store held their breath. No one knew where the yelling and screaming was coming from. The entire store seemed to be moving toward the checkout line where the sounds were coming from.
The child was furious and chanting over and over again, “No, I have to have it. I don’t care what you say, you have to get it for me.”
The poor mom was overwhelmed. She even seemed a bit afraid of her son’s intensity, but she hung in there. She stayed focused for as long as she could and then it happened. She got that look on her face, we’ve all done it, the look that says, I’m about to cave in. Then she asked the dreaded question, “How much is it?” The child seemed to sense he was going to win, and so did everyone else in the store.
Then a miracle walked up, the store security guard arrived at her side and said, “Son, I will hold this for you. Go with mom, the next person in line needs to checkout, but I will hold this for you, I promise.” He was a godsend. Mom was off the hook.
But what else could mom have done?
Mom needed to send a clear message to her son that implies, “This is not the way you behave any where or any time, especially if you want me to buy you something. In order for him to really learn the lesson, mom needs to send that message without threats, character assignation or punishment. How?
Mom can do these three things.
1. She needs to leave the store, even if her child is still yelling.
2. So the child can feel heard, even though the tantrum was a train wreck, mom needs to honor his feelings and allow him to tell her why this is SO important to him. And she needs to explain that just because I want to hear why this is so important to you does not mean I’m walking back in to buy this.
3. Finally, she needed to wait for him to calm down and shift her words to explain how she wants to handle this. If she says, “I am never buying that for you,” she’d better be prepared for the major tantrum to start up again. Or, she could teach him about money, patience and respect.
I, of course, vote for the latter.
I just wanted to relay this story to all of you so you know you’re not alone if this ever happens to you. This has happened to us all!
See you then.