You Tell Us: Public Tantrums

It’s a bit hypocritical, but at the same time entirely understandable—parents of all shapes and sizes tend to get annoyed by screaming kids when they are stuck on a plane (or in the grocery store checkout line…or in the aisles of the toy store…).

Many websites feature advice about how to handle a tantrum when it’s your own little one having the meltdown, but what do you do when it’s a stranger’s child?

How do you react to other people’s children screaming and crying in public? You tell us!

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4 Responses

  1. JRR says:

    I’m not a parent but the topic interests me. I have zero problem with a child crying or screaming. It happens! The only time I have an issue is when the parent can tune it out and just lets it go on and on. Sure, take a few minutes to let the child calm down on his or her own. But when it stretches out to the point where people are giving you dirty looks (I’ve seen parents ignore tantrums at weddings(!) in movie theaters and during plays) then it’s probably time to step outside. I realize that some places you obviously can’t walk out (plane, duh) but when you can, sometimes you just need to inconvenience yourself to avoid ruining something for others. I was at a wedding with a person who let their toddler cry through the whole ceremony. The couple only has that one day. Surely you can put your own embarrassment at walking out aside and do them that small courtesy??

  2. Gail says:

    My son once had the biggest melt down in the grocery store. Right at the end of the trip! I was trying to calm him down when he hit a high pitch scream. A woman near by put her hands over her ears and looked at me in disgust. I laid in to her so hard! I was embarrassed, struggling and at my wits end and this lady saw no shame in making me feel worse.

    I was so glad I stood up for myself. I finished my trip with my little one in my arms, proud to have a back bone!

  3. KrellPW says:

    Definitely depends on the situation. In a setting like a mall, grocery store etc, assuming the adult responsible for the child is with the child, then I don’t feel like it’s my place to get involved or say anything. I’m pretty good at tuning out children that aren’t mine in an environment like that.

    In a situation as JRR described (wedding, public performance etc), I’d likely approach the parent and point out that their child is detracting from everyone else’s enjoyment of the moment/event and try to point out a neutral area that they might move to, lobby, back of the venue, etc.

  4. Cathy says:

    Those of us raising children w/ autism are well acquainted with tantrums — and those whom we encounter who are really unkind about it. I’m not talking about a tantrum at a wedding — I would never in 100 years take my son to a wedding. In fact, I rarely take him out in public, and work very hard to keep him from disturbing others… but he can’t be stuck at home all the time.

    As for other peoples’ kids, it really doesn’t bother me. It’s much worse for them than it is for me. I just keep that in mind.

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