Are You In Control


10 Nov 2020

In all my workshops, I have a recurring concern from at least one parent. What to do when children behave erratically or

throw tantrums in public?

It is indeed a difficult situation.

Many parents lose their cool, and many others become embarrassed.

All the parenting strategies and emotional stability will see the test in such situations.

A mere disapproval of instructions in the presence of others is enough to throw parents out of balance.

Is it because our children have not obeyed our orders or instructions, or is there something more than meets the eye?

Let's analyze what goes on in the minds of the parents when a child disobeys them in public or throws tantrums.

1) I failed as a parent: The first thought that goes into the mind of the parent is that they have been a failure as a parent. All the efforts taken to raise their kid have failed. 

2) Embarrassment: What will the others think of them? All the people watching would feel that they have no control over their children. 

3) Confusion: What do I do now to make him/her behave? Should I yell, beat, cuddle, bribe, or threaten? Then I realize that the people's court is watching me and passing judgments on my parenting inabilities.


What should parents do in such situations?

None of the usual methods work here. They may give a temporary postponement of the problem, but they continue to burn under the carpet.

Yielding to their demands will only strengthen their resolve to continue this behavior in the future.

Being aggressive towards the child will create hostility towards the parents.

What parents need to understand is that they are not responsible for their child's behavior. However, they are responsible for their behavior towards their children.

What I am stating may sound a little weird, but think of this for a moment.

Can you be responsible if your child is yelling, shouting, screaming, and throwing tantrums in a public place?

Or can you be responsible for what you do at that time?

If you are aggressive, you are teaching your child being aggressive is OK.

If you are yielding to his/her tantrums, you are teaching him that his/her strategy to get things works.

The greatest lesson that the child learns here is that " I can control my parents' reactions by my actions".


The best thing to do is to ignore their behavior. I know it is easier said than done, but believe me, when you do this consistently, your child will realize that you will not yield to their tantrums and will slowly reduce the erratic behavior.


It is also important that you are in control of your emotions and do not swing either emotionally or aggressively when your child is out of control.


When the situation has eased and your child is in a receptive mood, explain that such behavior will not get any response in the future


Written By

Girish Panicker

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