Dear Grandparenting: Tyler got me again. He had a fit at the supermarket and I wound up feeling like a total fool.
Tyler wanted to get started on a package of cookies in my shopping cart. When I told him he could not open the cookies until we were in the car he went KABOOM! and had a loud meltdown with tears and everything else.
I tried to grin and bear it and hurried to leave the store, but not before people were giving me the dirty eyeball. It was mighty embarrassing.
My grandson is six years old. I don’t give into Tyler when this happens but I don’t punish him either. I tell his parents and let them deal with it. My daughter says she gives him a good talking to.
But since this keeps happening to me, I wonder if there is a smarter way to deal with Tyler? It annoys me that a six-year-old kid keeps putting me on the spot like this. A.K., Mesa, AZ
Dear A.K.: As children begin asserting their independence between ages of four and seven, a tantrum becomes a useful method of getting adults to comply with their wishes.
Letting tantrums run their course is one method of coping in the privacy of one’s home. But when caring for children with a track record of letting loose in public spaces, you need a plan.
Beware of signs a meltdown is coming. That’s when your grandchild needs attention, not mid-meltdown. Make a point of speaking softly, since children feed off adult anxiety. If that doesn’t work, leave the store and go to the car.
Tell the child there are reasons you can’t have what he wants, and you’ll talk about it more when it calms down. Children who think tantrums are the means to a desired end will keep it up.
Don’t attempt to “work it through” by reasoning with the child. It’s not a democracy – you are the boss. Don’t worry so much what others are thinking – they’ve been there before, and appreciate adults who remain cool and calm. You may even gain admirers who believe children should hear the word “no” with greater regularity.
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GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Candy Singer from Alexandria, VA reports granddaughter Louisa made this announcement on her birthday:
“The best thing about being eight is my stomach is bigger, so I can eat more of this cake and ice cream.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.