I was in a supermarket last week and I met a young boy who became my inspiration this month for this blog.  He could not have been older than five, yet he made his mother struggle profusely, all because of a chocolate.

I am certain that most parents are familiar with the feeling of being watched in a public place because of a tantrum. How uncomfortable does it feel to stand there trying to cope with a ranting child, whilst the world is looking at your next move? Children know this; that’s why they do it. Today I try to give tips on how to handle this situation.

#1 Remember that as parents we teach our children important lessons all the time. This can be an opportunity for the child to learn patience, dealing with refusal and that tantrums are not effective. Preparation will prevent a lot of trouble. Giving in to demands generally teaches kids the exact opposite.

#2 Prepare well. Advise children about the rules that you wish to maintain. Make it clear immediately that you will not purchase chocolate if that is what you want. Tell them in the straightest terms that you will not entertain any such request.

#3 If a tantrum ensues, remain calm and carry on shopping. Children usually follow you. Only stop if the child stays put. I do not encourage you to leave children out of your sight in a supermarket. However, it is powerful to stay calm. Deep down, children want to be stopped, so seeing you contained in your resolve, will teach the children that you are in charge.

#4 Be compassionate. Tell children you understand that they wanted the chocolate. Do this during the tantrum and afterwards when everything is calm. Talk about what happened and ask the child what s/he can do differently next time.

I am sure other parents have other valid answers and tips. Join us on facebook by searching Parentopedia. It is an online resource for parents, by the parents and by the experts. See you there.


– Steve Libreri is a parent coach and social worker working with Willingness. He specialises in generic social work, parent coaching and addiction prevention. He can be contacted on steve@willingness.com.mt