What's the best way to handle disciplinging your toddler in public without looking like an out-of-control parent? (ie, in the supermarket, restaurant, anywhere where defiance appears)

asked 24 Dec '10, 16:36

Jo's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

When my kids are this age I've always crouched down to their level and explained what they're doing that I don't like and what I need them to do, and for how long. If they don't we're going home. Along the lines of "I need you to stop running around (shouting, whatever), it isn't safe here, (there are too many breakable things, too many people, whatever), I need you to stay here beside me, be patient for a little bit longer, and hold my hand, as soon as I've paid the person at that desk we'll go somewhere for you to burn off some energy, if you can't behave, we're going home."

Then, if they don't behave, you go home. (Which, yeah, sucks at the time, but it always seemed like a small price to pay for me if it meant the next trip would be more pleasant.)

It only took once with my kids, but then again, we don't get out of the house that often, so even going to the store is a treat for them. :)

(I remember once sitting in the car with my 2 older ones when they were about this age (2 and 3) and waiting for my ex to come out of a restaurant, they'd started acting up right after we ordered, got 2 warnings and we were out of there. Their Dad was waiting for our food to be finished cooking and packed up for us. We were going home. I believe that was the day I won the "Meanest Mommy ever!" award.)


answered 01 Jan '11, 17:56

Neen's gravatar image

accept rate: 30%

If in doubt remove your child to the restroom or outside, it gives you a chance to consider your options and calm the child down without disturbing the other patrons.

For the actual method, there are many options.

Some parents will spank the child's bottom or hand.

You could also revoke the promise of some sort of treat - ie dessert, new toy, trip to the pet store.

When we were teenagers my mom would do a modified Vulcan neck pinch by digging her knuckle into the base of our necks just above the collarbone. Or she would reach under the table and squeeze our legs just above the knee. (Neither action leaves marks or causes lasting pain.)

Last resort, immediately leave and take the child home for a normal form of discipline. It ruins the outing for you, but sometimes it is the best option.


answered 24 Dec '10, 21:30

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

+1 for the Vulcan neck pinch, and making me laugh! :)

(25 Dec '10, 16:32) Scott ♦♦

At home we use minutes-per-year-of-age (age 6: 6 minutes) in the chair for discipline. This works when you're out, as long as you can think of a place to make the kid sit or stand. The main thing is the idea of being punished.

So at the grocery store, six minutes standing in the corner of one of the aisles, perhaps. At a restaurant, six minutes outside (with one of us supervising). The most important thing about using this method is that it doesn't spoil the trip for everyone.


answered 01 Jan '11, 20:14

Kyralessa's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

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Asked: 24 Dec '10, 16:36

Seen: 4,185 times

Last updated: 01 Jan '11, 20:14