May 27, 2012

Curbing your child’s behavior in public

What do you do when you have a three-year-old daughter who screams all the time because she is demanding and when she is with you shopping she screams and has tantrums in the supermarket? She throws herself to the floor and if I do not give her what she wants she cries and screams even louder.

Discipline in the home

Teaching your child discipline, especially how to behave in public, starts long before you take her out. She will be with other children and think she is the only one and in pre school the other kids will not want to play with her. If she understands the difference between yes and no, she is old enough to listen to you when you tell her not to do something. Here is what you can do:

• Ask her nicely to get up from the floor. Speak in a calm voice and don’t worry about the people in the aisles. If she carries on tell her that you will send her to her room when you get home. You should not be afraid to deal with her recalcitrance right when it happens. Do not wait until you have come home. Connect punishment with bad behavior at the moment she is acting out. She might also fall asleep in the car and not know what she is being punished for.

• When you get home tell her that you want her to be a good girl at home and also when she is out with the family. If she screams and throw things around send her to her room and tell her she is not to come out until she knows how to behave. Tell her also if she carries on like that again, she will not only be sent to her room, she will have to sit in the corner with her face to the wall. If she rants and raves, put her on the stool and tell her to stop it.

• If your husband feels sorry for the child and gives her sweets to calm down, tell him not to interfere when you are doling out punishment. If he wants the kids to have good manners they have to listen to their parents. If she runs to him, tell her to go right away to her room. You are the boss; not a three year old child.

This may be hard for you to do at first, but you will see results. Children look to their parents for cues on how to behave. Set a good example by acting on your threats. They will soon learn that they cannot play one parent up against the other and who is the boss.

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