To the editor:
Children screaming in a store represent the universal parenting challenge: Who’s in charge. All shoppers find screaming irritating. But, we’ve all been there, so have some sympathy for parents. They have the most important job in the world. And it’s not easy!
Parenting must often take precedence over doing what you want or need to do. It might mean you don’t get to finish your shopping.
I still have vivid memories of carrying a child out of a store, hands gripped like a vise to a tricycle he couldn’t have, screaming bloody murder. I could barely pry his fingers off the handlebars. Try carrying a kicking 3-year-old and a tricycle with a smile on your face!
On one shopping trip, the Screamer started screaming 10 feet from our car. You know, those memory-makers when you pick them up from the ground and can barely hold them with all their writhing! It took three attempts of returning to the car to gain compliance from the Screamer.
The psychologist had taught us the importance of teaching clear boundaries. Thus, I have left a full cart of groceries in the juice aisle and walked out, screaming child in tow, as the entire store erupted into applause. Sometimes we sat in the car for a few minutes; sometimes we had to go home.
Why? Giving your child boundaries helps them feel safe and to learn self-control.
One final note. The Screamer had the world’s largest Hot Wheel collection. Why?
“If you’ll be a good shopper today, you can get a Hot Wheel!”