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Coping With Child Tantrums in Public

by Intan
Posted on 22 February 2012

I am a mother and honestly, I dread to deal with my kids’ tantrums in public places. Have you ever gone out of the house with kids in tow and pray that there will be no drama or shouting that you have to endure from your kids while you go out shopping or eat out? Well, I usually do.

My eldest son for example will keep asking “when are we going home?” after like 15 minutes into our foray at the shopping mall. His questioning will end up with his crying if I just ignore his questions and continue shopping.  Meanwhile, my 17 months old daughter is just so restless and cannot sit still. She hates to be on the stroller, refuses to be held by me or my husband and prefers to walk alone. Sometimes she starts throwing food around and cries while shouting at the top of her lungs. Of course people around us will start looking at her and wondering what is happening and no doubt judging my mothering skills. Well, because that is usually what I do when I see other people’s kids do the same things, so I guess it’s only natural that others will be looking at me the same way too!

My auntie once told me a story about the time when her son was 5 years and was throwing a fit inside a fast food restaurant just because he wanted toys that were on display. The problem with that is that those toys were not available for sale so of course her son ended up crying loudly. My auntie ended up ‘dragging’ her son outside the restaurant without buying anything

So what should a mother do in desperate times like that?

I usually use the ‘distract my kids’ attention’ tactics whenever they start throwing tantrums. If my daughter’s screaming at the restaurant’s table gets too deafening, either my husband or I will remove her from the table and carry her around to somewhere that will attract her attention. The fountains near the restaurants, chirping birds or a run outside usually will help. If not, we usually carry her until she falls asleep.

As for our eldest son, if he keeps complaining that he’s bored (especially when he has to follow me going in and out of clothing stores! ), we will bring him to the toys section, not necessarily to buy any toy, but just to look around and see his excitement when he finds his favourite super hero characters. But beware, some kids end up throwing another tantrum when parents bring them to the toys section and not buying anything. So I guess if that’s the case, you have to find another way to deal with your kids’ tantrums. Maybe drop him at the play room (some shopping mall have this facilities) or give him a treat at his favourite ice cream shop.

Don’t be so quick to be angered by your child’s behavior and try really hard to control your temper, and definitely no spanking please! Instead of thinking about “my son is embarrassing me” or “why is my daughter so ungrateful?”, replace that thought with “maybe my kid is tired and in need of sleep” or “I guess my spending hours shopping for clothes is making my son bored since he has no interest in clothes at all!”.

Most of all, remember, it’s not always about you, you have to look at it from the kid’s point of view too.


Us at I-City recently. Even at this supposedly fun place, they do throw tantrums!


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