We've been trying to allow the minions to go free-range when, in public. The minions free-range status is based on a three strike system. This weekend at the grocery store Miss Molly insisted that she wanted to walk and help us shop and for the first ten minutes of our trip she was great, then things started to unravel. First she asked me if I would carry her, which in my experience is the launch code towards detonation of "the Molly Bomb" and you have roughly five to ten minutes to deactivate or evacuate. I suggested that she jump into the shopping cart with her brother, but she wasn't having it. Next she started running ahead of me and bumping into other people and their carts like a demented pinball. I asked her to stop, so she rolled around on the floor. Then when I asked her to stand up, she started crawling and informed me that she was a horse. I gave her another warning and she then started licking products on the shelf. Finally her dad and I picked her up and strapped her into the grocery cart beside her brother who was calmly playing with Chris' car keys at this point "the Molly bomb" went off.
She started thrashing, screaming and crying uncontrollably for over ten minutes. Chris suggested I disengage. He manned the cart while I started running and grabbing the remaining items on our list. In line she upped her game. She began yelling and screaming about how no one in the family loved her. ABSOLUTELY NO ONE HAS EVER UTTERED ANYTHING EVEN CLOSE TO THESE WORDS TO HER, ever and she was screaming this, loudly, over and over again while we stood in line captive to her tantrum.
I was embarrassed, I was hurt, I was mortified and I felt completely helpless in the wake of "the Molly bomb". After spending so much time as parents encouraging our kids to talk to us, to tell us what's wrong when they're upset, it's problematic that the entire time I stood in line at the grocery store it took a ton of strength to not yell, "SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!" at the top of my lungs.
I hate being embarrassed. In public situations like this all I want to do is run away, but I know I have to get over this because these are the times when we need to teach our kids coping skills.
Here are some things that I researched (and know from logic) that may help when you have a three year old screaming in your face.
- You are an adult, they are the child. Try not to take what they are saying to heart. When you are calm (and they are no longer going ape-crap crazy) use this situation as a learning tool to explain to them how words can hurt feelings.
- Even though you feel like everyone is staring at you and judging you, they probably aren't staring at you and judging you (okay maybe they are) but feeling ashamed and worrying about the opinions of others isn't going to make the "incident" go away, it's only going to raise your anxiety level and make things worse.
- Remember they're trying to tell you something (even though 90% of the time it's probably - I need a snack or I need a nap). Afterwards talk to them about being angry and the various levels of anger. (i.e. I was annoyed when you were rolling on the floor. I was cross when you started licking items on the shelf of the grocery store and I was incensed when you started screaming that nobody loves you).
- Have a plan. Even if it's a time out and a conversation when the "incident" is over.
- Keep in mind that you love them....even if you don't always like them. Once we were in the car, and post time out, we gave Molly a hug and reassured her that we love her so much.
What's the meanest thing your kid has ever said to you? What about your parental word regrets?
To read about the time that I vowed to never go grocery shopping again click here
To read about positive discipline click here