What to do when my child throws a fit in Target?
Part Two: What to do when my child throws a fit in Target and won't leave the store with me?
There are situations when parents do not have the time or space to offer
lengthy empathy. There are times when a parent needs compliance if they are going to get to their appointment on time, or maintain important boundaries. This blog is about the moments when a parent needs compliance, and does not have lengthy time for empathy.
In my last blog I described three questions parents must resolve when their child has an outburst. In this blog I have just one question for the parent to resolve: "Will I negotiate a deal or structure compliance?" By the end of this blog, my hope is for my readers to see why you can't do both.
In order to gain a child's compliance, the child must know without doubt, their best decision is the one the parent sets forth. If there is any uncertainty, the child has reason to continue a battle for other possible actions & decisions.
In order for a child to know the certainty of a parent's assertion, there a number of parameters which must be in place. Certainty is a byproduct of consistency in limits and follow through. When limits are communicated and remain the same over time, a child can predict where 'their fence will be, because it is where it has always been.' With Consistent follow through a child will know & trust you mean what you say - (and, they won't need to test you in times of struggle). For the parents who have now realized they could have been better with consistent limits and consistent follow through, all is not lost. These parents especially will want to read the next blog.
From the above, we can see what to do when your child throws a fit in target
begins well before you ever go to target. Start establishing a lot of communication about family rules and limits, and build consistency of limits with predictable follow through. A great short cut to assist your efforts for consistency is be prepared, practiced, and rehearsed with scripted short responses to use in times needing compliance. With practiced scripts for disturbances, you will be able to avoid negotiation, and convey certainty in having given them their best option - compliance. Very important: stick to your script! Any verging off your script means you have been pulled into negotiation!