March 17, 2012

When Shopping With Children~Reader Mail Part 3

Reader, Tania at In the Dovecote, sent the following question. The response is very long and involved so I have divided it into a series of posts over the next seven days.

On an unrelated note... how/when do you start training your children? 

I'm asking because, today I was reading to Bella and she wanted to eat the book (from the library) I said 'no' and held it out of her grasp, and she started to fuss a bit. Now, I don't know if she was fussing because of that or b/c she was tired (it was almost nap time). We want to be firm and train our children right from the start, but on the other hand I don't want to go overboard and be super strict and harsh. 

Eg. the other week we were at the corner store and a mother comes in with her little boy, about 3. She says 'We are just returning the movie and leaving.' He runs over to the candy and starts to say he wants some. She says 'No, come here.' He doesn't obey. Mom stands at the door for a while waiting. Boy starts to whine. Mom walks over to him and says 'no you can't have candy. Let's go.' Boy picks up a candy and runs to the door, saying he wants it. Mom says no, he starts on a temper tantrum. Mom says she is not going to get out her wallet just to pay for a 5 cent candy. Kid continues to whine. She says 'Do you really want me to take out my wallet just to pay for that candy.' He says yes. Finally mom gives a big sigh, hands the cashier .5 as she says 'He just HAS to have that candy!' and the child walks out all happy he got his way. 

My thoughts: Mother should have gone over to the the boy and taken him out of the store the moment he ran over to the candy. Even IF he had a temper tantrum. But my idea is that if he had been trained correctly in the first place, he wouldn't have bothered trying to have a 'temper tantrum'. 

What do you think? Sorry if you've already written a post about this, please just direct me to it. Thanks :o) 



As we continue our discussion on when and how to train our children, let us examine some of the tragic errors in the example presented by Tania.

#1 Mother told child to come but did not intend to make him obey her.
#2 Then she tells him he can not have the candy, which we see later, she gives him.
#3 She says she will not get out her wallet, but does so anyway.

Anyone, including Junior, knows this mother does not mean what she says.   Mother has successfully trained the child to ignore her commands, run away in the store, and whine until she gives in to his selfish desires.

What should have happened?  Mother should have rewarded this child justly.

First, for running away to the candy.
Second, for whining.
Third, for the temper tantrum.

If each issue is dealt with immediately, it would not escalate to the full blown temper tantrum.  Likewise, if he did not know he would get what he wants by throwing a temper tantrum, he wouldn't have thrown one to begin with.

There are several ways to deal with this sort of child.

1- Practice how to behave in a store before we go to the store.  My children were always required to do one of the following when in public places.

A-hold my hand
B- hold another child's hand
C- keep a hand on the buggy
D- or on my purse strap
E- hold on to my skirt.    

This is not just for my ease while shopping, but also for my child's safety and the comfort of other shoppers.  Have you ever had an unruly child run out in front of you while shopping or knock something off the shelf onto your toes?

2- No touch practice.  We practice "no touch" in many situations at home.  Story time and meal time are excellent times to train in "No touch."  And the steadfast rule is we are not allowed to touch anything in a store or someone else's home without permission.  End of story.  When they are toddlers a gentle reprimand during training will be certain this rule is followed always.  (I will go more into this type of training in a later post.)

3- We have already discussed the importance of asking properly and accepting the answer given above.

4- Lastly, we must address the whining issue.  Whining is never rewarded.  Ever.  Training in whining should begin as soon as it starts, between six and nine months.  Then whining will never be an issue for you and your child.  (I will talk more about this in a later post).

Let's get down to how a parent can deal with this specific example.

Once this child began whining, mother should have removed the child to her vehicle immediately for a time of training.  Once, the child is clear as to the proper response to "no" they should have returned to the store.  The child should have been instructed to ask for the candy.  Mother then responds "no" and the child gives the proper response.  If he does not, they return to the car and back to the store until he gets it right.  This kind of training is not convenient and will surely take time.  However, it will pay off with great rewards and  it will help us, as mothers, remember the rule it is best to train the right way from the beginning than to retrain once bad habits have been established.

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