Avoiding Tantrums at the Store
Do your kids drive you crazy asking you to buy them things while you're at the store with them? They start by asking for something they see, but as soon as you say "no" they begin to escalate the situation with pleading, demanding, and sometimes an all out temper tantrum. You try not to over react, but it seems like the only way to get them to stop is to give in and buy them what they wanted, yell at them to stop bugging you, or threaten them with punishment when you get to the car or home.
By the time you leave the store, you are not a happy camper. On top of that, none of those solutions works very well. The problem with using threats is that what worked today may not work tomorrow. Giving in to your children's demands is even worse because it teaches them that making demands works, and then demanding becomes their go-to solution for getting what they want.
Try this tip the next time you head to the store with the kids. Before you get out of the car in the store's parking lot, gather the kids together and announce that you need their help:
- Ask them what they think the rules should be while they're in the store.
- Thank them for their help, and acknowledge whatever ideas they offer up.
- Add to the list of rules that you're NOT WILLING to buy any toys or sweets today.
- Avoid using emotion in your voice and remain calm and friendly.
- Ask each of them to agree to the rules before entering the store.
This is the same strategy I started using when my kids were younger, so I know from experience that it can feel a little awkward the first time you use it. On the other hand, how much worse can it be than the alternative?
Here's to Happier Parenting!