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Children & Parenting
Hysterical child in public
By MuffinHeadmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5172, member since Thu Jun 10, 2004
On Sat Nov 16, 2013 06:49 PM

For the holiday season, I am working at a major mall. I am in a kiosk-- so it's not truly a "store" in the sense that I have four walls. I am smack in the center walkway of the actual mall.

We are situated very close to what the mall calls a "recharge" station (as in I could take about 15 steps and be at one of the smooshy chairs they provide). Normally, people sitting there are charging their phones at the charging dock, having a bite to eat from the nearby food court, gathering their belongings so they can exit the mall, etc.

Well, since we opened on November 1st-- this situation has come up MULTIPLE times every single day. A parent has a screaming child, typically between 3 and 6, if I had to guess, who is throwing an absolute tantrum. I mean SCREAMING at the top of their lungs to the point where I've actually gotten considerable headaches from the continuous noise level.

Now-- I am NOT a parent, nor do I want to be a parent in the future. But I am a dance teacher and I am a pretty skilled babysitter too. And anytime I've been babysitting and bring the child in public-- when they scream... I leave the vicinity of people.

These parents take their screaming child... not out the door which is literally an escalator ride up. (The escalator is situated directly next to the recharging area.) They take them to the recharging area and let them cry it out. Despite the fact that they are directly next to me... and between the crying/overly loud Christmas music/general mall noise- it's tough for me to even hear my customers.

As a parent, what do you do in a situation like this? Do you sit and let your child cry it out basically directly next to a store? Or do you take them outside and out of the situation? Why?

15 Replies to Hysterical child in public

re: Hysterical child in public
By Dancing_EMTmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3466, member since Wed Dec 08, 2004
On Sat Nov 16, 2013 08:13 PM
As a parent, what do you do in a situation like this? Do you sit and let your child cry it out basically directly next to a store? Or do you take them outside and out of the situation? Why?


My nephew is autistic, he threw a tantrum with me one time in wal-mart. Per his mom he could have a candy bar OR soda. He wanted both, I said no. He started to cry and I told him if he kept up, we'd leave right then and he would get nothing. He continued, true to my word, he got nothing. I carried him out like a football.

Why did I do it? Because it's rude to make people put up with his tantrum. I never had a problem with him in public again. Some minor issues, but never a tantrum again. I don't like hearing kids scream, so I figured I could show some common courtesy.

My sister has the same approach. Granted my nephew is older now, so his behavior has also improved.
re: Hysterical child in public
By tumblebugPremium member Comments: 10100, member since Fri Mar 29, 2002
On Sun Nov 17, 2013 05:09 AM
I am very grateful to not really have that problem with my daughter. On the rare occasion (when she was much younger), I simply removed her from the situation. My daughter and I both are auditory sensitive and if we are in walmart and some little brat throws an over the top tantrum we have to remove ourselves from the situation when really it should be the other way around.
re: Hysterical child in public
By MuffinHeadmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5172, member since Thu Jun 10, 2004
On Sun Nov 17, 2013 08:41 AM
I want you to know that I appreciate both of you! If I had a child, I would take them right out of the situation. No reason for everyone around us to hear my child throw a tantrum.

I don't mind a screaming child going by me if the parent is clearly just trying to get them out of the situation.

It's the parents that sit in the rest area directly next to my kiosk and let them "cry it out". It's driving me absolutely insane. And it happens FAR more frequently than you would probably guess.
re: Hysterical child in public
By Dancing_EMTmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3466, member since Wed Dec 08, 2004
On Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:17 AM
I don't mind a screaming child going by me if the parent is clearly just trying to get them out of the situation.


I'm the same way. If a parent is actively trying to manage their kid's tantrum, fine. But just ignoring the kid? There's a time and place for that, in public isn't it. Plus, letting your kid flail all over the ground isn't safe for them or others.
re: Hysterical child in public (karma: 1)
By chrispbinmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2188, member since Sat May 06, 2006
On Sun Nov 17, 2013 01:30 PM
As a parent, what do you do in a situation like this? Do you sit and let your child cry it out basically directly next to a store? Or do you take them outside and out of the situation? Why?


It would depend, for me, on the reason for the tantrum. If the tantrum is being flung because the child does not want to be in that situation, ie shopping/holding my hand, then I'm going to stay in the shopping centre and manage the tantrum by ignoring it, and continuing on with my shopping.
My son did a bit of flinging himself on the floor and refusing to walk, so he got the football treatment reasonably often, up to age 5, but by then the tantrums had become very few and far between.

If the tantrum is because the child wants something in the centre that I'm not prepared to buy/do/go to, then, sure, removal would be my first option.

Having said all that, I personally would not sit in a communal area with a child in full tantrum.
re: Hysterical child in public
By PogMoGilliesmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3157, member since Tue Apr 24, 2007
On Sun Nov 17, 2013 08:14 PM
It could possibly be that the parents in question don't realized that there are kiosks right there. The kid is having a melt-down, and they are trying to find a place that isn't in a store to get them back in control.

I don't go shopping with my kids often- the grocery store and Target is as far as I've gone, but my older son has had public meltdowns in other locations. My priority is to get him out of the situation and away from people as fast a possible. However, if he was losing it in the Hallmark store, and I saw some chairs out in the hallway without people sitting in them, I might head there, thinking it's a good place for him to get it together. I would like to think that I would look around and see if there are kiosks nearby, but if it is more than 20 feet away, I might not think about it.
re: Hysterical child in public
By kandykanePremium member Comments: 16415, member since Mon May 01, 2006
On Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:24 PM
Not everyone lives ten minutes from the mall. It is an hour drive for me to get to my nearest mall and two hours to get to the one I really like. If I make the drive that far, chances are I'm going to be there most of the day. When my daughter was little, sometimes I'd bring her well knowing that it might not be smooth sailing. If she needed shoes, obviously she had to be there for the fitting.

If she had a tantrum I would take her to a place that was away from the majority of people and try to regain calm and control. If it was cold or raining, I wasn't going to drag her outside. If it didn't pass fairly quickly, I might take her out to the car for a bit, but again, not in the rain or cold. I would not just leave the mall if my shopping wasn't done. It might be weeks before I could get back.

I am not watching those parents and can't really say what they should or shouldn't do. Every kid is different. I had a kid who never, ever had a tantrum and then I had a kid who had them fairly often. Believe me, it was just as tough on me and her brother as it was on anyone around us when she had a meltdown. You do the best you can and carry on. I would take her out of our grocery store and take her home when she had a tantrum, but the mall is different for us. Sometimes, it's an all day adventure, even now. Happily, she is long past public tantrums. :)

kk~
re: Hysterical child in public (karma: 1)
By Tansey Comments: 2367, member since Fri Mar 27, 2009
On Mon Nov 18, 2013 05:19 AM
Edited by Tansey (209516) on 2013-11-18 05:25:17
Each of my kids (who are 4 years apart) tried having a tantrum in the grocery store, but it wasn't very rewarding for them as I immediately told a store employee I'd be back to pay for this cart full of food, carried the kids out of the store, got in the car and said we will sit here until you can behave and then we will go back in and pay for our groceries. When they discovered they were never going to get the treat they'd wanted by having a tantrum, they didn't bother trying it again. MuffinHead, I wonder if perhaps the parents don't notice how close by you are when they are dealing with the stress of having a child misbehaving so loudly. You have my sympathy; I'm sensitive to loud noise and would find it nearly impossible to remain in the vicinity of a screaming child for long. Can you keep earplugs by the cash register and pop them in just during screaming sessions, removing them of course when a customer approaches?
re: Hysterical child in public (karma: 3)
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 17315, member since Thu Jun 06, 2002
On Mon Nov 18, 2013 05:33 AM
I'm trying to be more tolerant of screaming kids. Me being internally irritated at them is not ever going to make them stop - so I manage my own behaviour since I can't manage theirs, and try to tune it out. As a non-parent I used to condescendingly berate parents who gave in to tantrums by buying their kids the sweets they were after or letting them sleep in mommy's bed, but I've never had to deal with a tantrum and now that I've grown up and out of the "I effing hate kids" phase, I can see how giving in is tempting when you're exhausted.

So if I saw a non-chavvy parent letting their kid 'cry it out' in public, and they didn't look otherwise neglectful, then I'd probably assume they were doing as Chrispbin described. If a kid is throwing a wobbly because they don't want to be in the shopping centre, then removing them from the shopping centre is reinforcing the behaviour so there'll inevitably be a tantrum next time too. If a parent knows their child and knows they are screaming for attention, then letting them cry it out is also probably the best course of action.

Jesus are screaming kids annoying. I don't disagree with that. But it'd be worse to live with them. So if a parent is trying to wean them out of tantrums, I can only support them by not tutting and whining and making sarcastic comments and winding myself up even more.
re: Hysterical child in public
By MuffinHeadmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5172, member since Thu Jun 10, 2004
On Mon Nov 18, 2013 07:22 AM
Louise, I fully enjoy that you referred to them as "non-chavvy" parents. We don't use the word chav over here-- but I wouldn't hesistate to refer to the majority of the parents as "chavs". And nine times out of ten-- the parent is yelling back at the child... as if listening to your child wail isn't enough to send me over the edge.
re: Hysterical child in public (karma: 1)
By tumblebugPremium member Comments: 10100, member since Fri Mar 29, 2002
On Wed Nov 20, 2013 02:40 PM
Maybe my tolerance is low because if I ever misbehaved in public there was an immediate trip to the restroom, if you know what I'm getting at. We learned really quick as youngsters the importance of manners and appropriate behavior, especially in public! Yes I understand there are children with various disorders, many over-diagnosed IMO, and I am not referring to anyone with a medical condition that may trigger this type of behavior.
re: Hysterical child in public (karma: 2)
By SiyoNqobamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7113, member since Fri Aug 02, 2002
On Wed Nov 20, 2013 04:06 PM
Edited by SiyoNqoba (34789) on 2013-11-20 16:10:17
Edited by SiyoNqoba (34789) on 2013-11-20 16:11:14
Yeah, it's easy to say "If I were a parent, I'd do this" or "I have done this, on one day with one child, so it should be done like this." But there are so many variables of children and of situations. I'd hazard a guess that most of the people with children having tantrums in the mall aren't inconsiderate, hopeless parents.

I have to be honest, sometimes when my daughter starts screaming I don't always react straight away or in the way I should, because I am just so tired. Often, my thought is no where near "Oh my goodness, I should get her out of the vicinity of people because I might interupt their shopping." It's more along the lines of "Oh my goodness, not again. I can't even..."

Most parents are doing the best they can with what they have. I always try to smile at the parents of a screaming child, so they know that at least one person doesn't hate them right in that moment.
re: Hysterical child in public (karma: 1)
By Nyssasisticmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3643, member since Sat Sep 20, 2003
On Wed Nov 20, 2013 06:24 PM
Digory and Evelyn were always decent in the store, and when they weren't they were quickly corrected. Charlotte, on the other hand? It seems like we step foot in a store and she starts screaming at the top of her lungs. She usually wants out of the shopping cart and for me to hold her. No wait, she wants down. No, she wants up. Oh, she wants to pull all the cans off the shelf. Well, forget it- back in the shopping cart. Oh boy, here comes the wailing. She acts like she's dying if she is contained in a cart, and reacts similarly to ANY restraint, whether its the stroller, baby sling, shopping cart, baby leash, it DOESN'T matter. And honestly, if she has a meltdown when the cart is full and I've spent the last 30 minutes shopping, I am not going to abandon the cart to drag her and the other 2 kids out of the store or to the bathroom and risk someone taking the cart for any reason. I high-tail it to the checkout and apologize profusely to anyone around for the noise, but sometimes dropping everything to remove the kid from the situation just isn't a feasible option. Especially when the noisemaker is only 18 months old and has a hard time understanding cause and effect.

It sucks. But I also can't wait to grocery shop until my husband gets home since by the time he's home it's bedtime for the kids and then my evening routine is happening, and hiring a babysitter is just not doable on our budget.

So from a parent of a snot-nosed stinker that is almost guaranteed to throw at least one tantrum while we're in a store, I can promise that yes, it sucks for you guys having to hear it, especially because you're not used to it, but the frustration and humiliation of the parent dealing with the child is even worse. So if you ever feel like berating the parent, just give the kid an evil look and hope that it shuts them up. You'll be doing everyone a favor If you succeed :)
re: Hysterical child in public
By LlamaLlamaDuckmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7765, member since Sun Nov 21, 2004
On Wed Nov 20, 2013 06:43 PM
I don't look forward to the terrible twos with the twins.

Honestly unless you are the parents who live with the kids 24/7 you can't pass judgement.

Heck in the last week I have had a tantruming three year old and two screaming newborns at target. I can't drag her out of the store cause the stroller is huge and awkward. I do what I can. I try to get to a less busy section of the store.

Sometimes you are so immersed in trying to get the situation under control that you don't notice what is around you.
re: Hysterical child in public
By ShadowLunaCatPremium member Comments: 8820, member since Sun Sep 12, 2004
On Wed Nov 20, 2013 08:48 PM
Oh, sheesh.

Sometimes humor helps: "Give that child singing lessons!" as an old friend of mine would say.

I remember a mother and a screaming child in the back of one of the choral concerts I sang in. We were recording, but the music was important to her, so she stayed. And the crying of that child is on the recording. So the sobbing gave the recording an authentic sound (but my choral director was NOT pleased).

I've seen kids screaming on the out and out, and then, from what the mother said, she had taken the child to some n amount of errands, and the child wanted to go home NOW. and sleep. Later I saw that child sound asleep from the mother rocking the cart as if it was a carriage.


And then... There was a time when there were TWO kids who were chasing and playing tag in the midst of Macy's. One couldn't get past them.. they were pulling things off of displays and throwing them on the floor, they were screaming, they were yelling. One of them just about slammed into me, knocking me over.

and their parent was just standing with a group of her friends, just watching, with a small smile on her face, not doing a damn thing. The kids were running and cutting older ladies off, one woman nearly fell, so she wouldn't collide with these children, and I went up to one of the women and mentioned something about "do you think maybe your kids are a bit too active for the store?"

In reaction, she turned and lit into me with such a tantrum of her own, covering me with verbal abuse, did I know what it was like to have kids; these were her honey children, how DARE I accuse them of doing anything of the sort, they were utterly well behaved; and on and on and on.

I figured I'd get out of there as fast as I could, which I did, and two or three of the people who had had close encounters with these kids agreed with me about those kids playing tag and being crazy. "Out of control" one person said.

Later, when I picked up a copy of the local rag where they had a "complaint" section, there was more abuse from that woman "to the fat girl who dared to say anything about my wonderful children."

my bottom line: if you can tolerate it, try to. Else, you might become the butt of someone's verbal tirade.


**sigh.**


Shadow.

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