How Complete Strangers Reacted When My Toddler Acted out in Public (You Might be Surprised!)

This afternoon, Super Girl had an epic tantrum in the checkout line at the craft store. I got to the register and let the checkout girl know I had to put something back while she was ringing up. I then returned every craft SG had picked out. While she kept screaming over and over, “I want it!” with tears running down her face, I explained to her (over and over, it seemed) that the deal was she would get treats if she was good in the store. Throwing a temper tantrum is exactly one of the behaviors I told my girls would forfeit their goodies. 

Just when I was starting to feel like a failure, standing there at the cash register with this two-year old screaming at the top of the lungs, three women came up to me and told me “Good job!” for sticking to my guns and not rewarding bad behavior. Instantly, I felt better. 

It’s easy to feel like a meanie or a bad mom when your kid melts down in public. The things is, though, eventually every kid will melt down [first person to tell me her kid has never melted down gets punched in the face]. And, though I might feel mean in the minute, rewarding my (then-)behaved child with crafts while the other looks on on jealousy, I just have to keep reminding myself that my “meanness” is toward a greater good—raising a child/tween/teen/adult who is not an ungrateful, spoiled asshole. 

I am so thankful for those ladies today who gave me reinforcement and reminded me that I was doing the right thing. And it also served as a good reminder to me that the next time I see a mom struggling but doing the right thing, to pay it forward by patting her on the back—whether I do that literally (as the first “Good job, Mom!” woman did to me today) or verbally. Because sometimes all you need is validation. 

Gee… Who woulda thought that this kid would act out? /s/

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