Dear Grandparenting: Tyler got me again. He had a fit at the store and made me look like a total fool.
Tyler wanted to get started on a box of cookies in my shopping cart. I told him we’d have to wait until we got back in the car. KABOOM!!! He sat down on the floor of the store and had another meltdown.
So I tried to grin and bear it and get moving, but then I was getting the hairy eyeball from people around us. Embarrassed once more.
My grandson is six years old. I don’t give in when Tyler goes off but I don’t punish him either. I tell his parents and let them deal with it. My daughter swears he gets a good talking to.
But since it keeps happening to me, I wonder if there’s a smarter way to handle this. It really annoys me that a little kid keeps putting me on the spot. Nadine Murphy, Bakersfield, California
Dear Nadine: As children start asserting their independence between the ages of four and seven, tantrums can become a favorite technique for getting adults to comply with their wishes.
Letting tantrums run their course is one method of coping within the confines of your dwelling. But you need a plan when caring for children with a record of letting loose in public spaces.
Beware of signs a meltdown is pending — that’s when the child needs attention, not mid-meltdown. Speak softly, since children feed off adult anxiety. If that fails, leave the store.
Tell the child there are reasons they can’t have what he wants and you’ll talk about it more when he calms down. Don’t try to “work it through” by reasoning with the child. You’re the boss. And don’t worry so much what others think — they’ve been there before and appreciate adults who remain cool and calm. You might even gain admirers of the persuasion that young children should hear word “No” with greater regularity.
Grand remark of the week
Lee Webb from Baltimore, Maryland reports that granddaughter Bette was feeling pretty good on her birthday.
“The best thing about turning seven is my stomach grew bigger,” Bette announced, “so I can eat more 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.