I witnessed an interesting event yesterday. I was shopping at my local shopping center and there was an amazing high-pitched scream. I turned around to find a little boy lying on the floor screaming at the top of his lungs. With his face bright red and tears streaming down his face I thought he must have injured himself. Rapidly I looked around for his mother to make sure he had assistance. I caught a glimpse of her, she was standing, stony faced just looking at him. For a split second I thought she must have been frozen by the trauma, paralyzed by fear, then I realized the toddler was having a tantrum.
The mother was looking very despondent. She had obviously seen this behaviour many times before. She kept standing silently watching the boy who I thought would explode. I have seen many tantrums with my own children, but this was long, loud and a sight to see. Many people stared at the woman and some even muttered to them selves at how terrible it was and that she should pick him or just do something about it. One woman was so cross she stormed out of the coffee shop with her coffee as if she was trying to escape the path of a rampaging rhino!
Personally, I think the mother should be given a medal. Many times our patience is tested when we have a toddler who is misbehaving and screaming to get what they want. It is easy to stick to your guns in the privacy of your own home, but when you are out you and your child is on display for the world to see.
It is easy for others to be judgmental or to criticize parenting skills and techniques and make comments when it is not your child causing the commotion. What I was so proud of was the fact that this woman, as embarrassing as it was, just let her boy go and have his full-blown breakdown. He was not in any danger, he got his frustrations out and he learnt a very valuable lesson. When his Mother says no, she really means it.
How many times have you seen a parent give in to whinging and whining at the supermarket, or at a fair or toy store? It is easy to give in for the sake of a quiet toddler at the shops or where ever you are, but this just ends up causing trouble in the long run. All children test boundaries and toddlers in particular are just starting to test their boundaries and realize they are a person too. They demand things, they want things, they have no patience and there is no tomorrow in their mind.
Next time you hear or see a little one having a wobbly, do not stare or criticize. It is far better for the toddler to be taught boundaries at a young age (and inconvenience your quiet cup of coffee) than to have demanding adolescents of the future who have not ever heard the word no.