Tired of being judged for your child’s temper tantrums?

Toddler screaming

Photo: Ekaterina Nosenko/Getty Images

So discipline at our house this past week has been challenging. Jocelyn (our three year old) has been testing boundaries like it’s nobody’s business. I feel like I’m constantly reminding myself who’s in charge, or at least who’s supposed to be in charge. The thing about discipline, is that children know exactly how to manipulate us. They know that deep down we don’t want to go through the embarrassing spectacle of ‘doing something’ about bad behaviour while in public. The stares and judgemental looks we receive from other moms when enduring such spectacles just make matters worse.  Yesterday I had a pleasant surprise when another mom totally had my back.

After an already long day, I took both the kids to the neighbourhood park. After a few moments I could already tell that Jocelyn was going to be a challenge. She was getting frustrated about having to wait her turn for the swings. Next thing I know I’m intervening a typical sibling fight. I hand out a warning to both of them, but I could tell I had my work cut out for me. I ask them both if they want to leave, and my response is somewhat predictable:

James: ‘I’m sorry. I don’t want to go. Jocelyn can go on the swing.’

Jocelyn: ‘NO! I’m not leaving. NO!’ (insert sand throwing here)

As I looked around the park, I saw that I had about half a dozen mommy eyes on me. I’m sure they were all waiting and wondering what I was going to do. What I want to know is why there is any question at all as to what I’m going to do? Moms are so worried about how they will be viewed if they discipline their children in public, that they often do nothing at all. When we should be pondering how we are going to reprimand our kids, we are busy worrying how our children’s meltdowns will be perceived.

So I had two choices. I could ignore Jocelyn’s attitude and give her yet another warning. Or I could follow through with my disciplinary action, and leave the park. I picked up my daughter and began our walk home. Before even getting more than a few steps I had to put her down because she was having a total fit – kicking, screaming, hitting and scratching. I would have to do the ‘football hold’. I’m sure you know the hold I’m talking about, when you carry them sideways so you cannot be injured by arms or legs swinging and kicking violently.

I thought I knew what was going through all the minds of the mothers who were staring at me. But then, to my surprise, I had a mom support me right when I needed it. She said, ‘I’m so happy to see another mom follow through with discipline. I’m so tired of being judged for my child’s temper tantrums.’ She told me how she felt like she was alone in not tolerating her child’s bad behaviour in public. She applauded me again, as I rushed home with my screaming daughter. This mom, a random stranger, had my back. In her own way, she told me I was a good mom.

Jocelyn screamed bloody murder the whole way home. It totally sucked. I really didn’t want to leave and ruin a perfectly good afternoon. But the fact of the matter is, I am the one that is responsible for teaching my kids what it means to be respectful. I would much rather endure the stare downs from other moms that are judging me because of my kids behaviour, than the long term effects of not disciplining my children. To all the moms out there that have ever felt like an outcast for actually doing something about temper tantrums in public, know that you are not alone. And to the mom that came to my rescue… thanks for having my back and letting me know that I’m a good mom.

Comments are closed.