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Should Parents Give a Signal To Help Diffuse their Child’s Tantrum?

tantrum kid

Terrible twos, the threenager years – being a parent to a toddler going on 13 is hard!

I have two of them.

One two-year-old and one three-year-old.

Their tantrums can be impressive, and over different things, which can make my shopping trips… epic.

I recently headed to a major shopping centre in Brisbane with my two girls and I don’t know what is in the air at that place, but my girls turn feral.

My three year old remembers turning feral at the same shopping centre a couple of months ago when I attempted to find a cocktail dress with them in tow. It didn’t work. We all left in tears. She remembered it so clearly she promised she would not fight with her sister at this shopping centre before we got out of the car.

The promise fell through.

There was screaming and the poor staff at SEED Heritage did what they could to diffuse the situation of two girls fighting over a wooden lipstick toy while I quickly tried a top on.

Internet shopping has become my go-to answer. The cost of shipping is worth not having to deal with my girl’s tantrums and fighting in public.

But how will they learn to behave in public if I don’t take them out? How will they learn that throwing a tantrum is not good behavior when they don’t get what they want?

Yet, I’ve been there too many times. When the two and three year old have tantrumed at the same time and the attention turns to me as the parent. The looks directed my way are those of pity from other parents (because they’ve been there too), or the stare that screams ‘you’re a bad mother cause you can’t control your kids in public!)


The thing is ALL parents have been there. Whether we like to admit it or not, our kids aren’t always angels when they are out and about in public places.

And heaven forbid a stranger coming up to help diffuse the situation.

Except maybe that could be the answer we need.

A Facebook post had gone viral after an anonymous woman offered a solution to the universal problem of public tantrums from toddlers. Jamie Matson found the anonymous post and shared it which went viral!

The anonymous poster shared how she witnessed a child screaming in a grocery store, with her mum trying to keep it together.

The poster suggested this:

facebook caption tantrum

“There should be a secret signal parents give when they can’t take anymore so a random stranger can mean mug the kid and tell it to shut up.
There are three good reasons for this.

1. The kid will be so shocked they will shut up.
2. It will reinforce stranger danger
3. It will show them, from an early age, that while your parents love you and put up with your shit the rest of the world doesn’t care about you (or your feelings), no matter how cute you are.”

One commenter on the viral post suggested the secret signal should be a parent ‘pulling their hair out!’

It could be awkward having a stranger walk up and scold a child. The reaction to this incident was certainly not received positively, although the circumstances were different.

The post was written in jest, yet it’s hit a nerve with parents all over, because we’ve all been there and it probably would work.

We just need to work out a secret signal.

And when it’s created, count me in.

How do you deal with toddlers throwing tantrums in shopping centres? Would you approach a tantrumming toddler and offer help to a struggling mum?

Rebecca Senyard

Rebecca Senyard

Rebecca Senyard is a plumber by day and stylist by night but these days she changes more nappies than washers. She is a happily married mum to three young daughters who she styles on a regular basis. Rebecca is not only an award winning plumber, she also writes an award winning blog called The Plumbette where she shares her life experiences as a plumber and mother. Rebecca also blogs at Styled by Bec believing a girl can be both practical and stylish. Links to the blogs are and

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