"Raising kids is part joy and part guerrilla warfare." ~ Ed Asner
What is it about a simple trip to Wal-Mart that forces children to misbehave? I am usually just a witness to hearing other children scream and cry about silly things, wondering how their parent(s) are handling the situation. However, last night, it was me. My daughter had allowance burning a hole in her pocket and I told her she could spend her money on a toy. Everything was going pretty well, although for some reason, I had a sixth sense that something would go awry. And it did.
It was the worst my daughter has ever behaved on a shopping excursion, all because she ended up not getting the toy she wanted. She has been in the habit lately of asking me the same questions repeatedly and I have been trying to break her of that habit by trying different tactics. Immediately following her choosing a toy, she started asking me when will I open it for her…in the car…at home…after dinner. I stopped pushing the buggy, looked directly at her and said I will open it after we eat dinner. In an effort to stop the repeated line of questioning, I had her repeat it back to me so there was no room for debate.
We continued shopping and by the time we reached check-out, we were both ready to go home. She then started asking me about opening her toy again and I asked her to repeat what I had told her earlier. She then got sassy and said that I would take forever to open it and she wanted me to open it in the car. I told her if she didn’t stop, she would not get the toy at all. The first thing out of her mouth was that she wanted it open “right now”. So, I took the toy away. Then the meltdown began. A meltdown that ended up with pretty much every man, woman and child staring at the two of us and more than likely cheering that we left the store. My favorite quote from her was, “I don’t have any toys at all!” I heard a few smirks from fellow parents who were in line behind me who knew better.
The result of this meltdown turned out to be a good teaching opportunity for me. We discussed several times what went wrong and why she did not end up with the toy. It also was a good lesson for her to learn about children who have a lot less than she does who would be grateful to receive a brand new toy. She was able to tell me exactly what she did wrong as well which made me think perhaps she learned her lesson. I apologize to all the Yukon Wal-Mart patrons who had to suffer as a result of my lesson teaching.
How have you handled similar situations?