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When is enough?


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#1 Rubyduck

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:45 PM

When it comes to a child having a tantrum in public?
While out shopping today I thought I would have a look in the local Kmart while walking towards the section I was interested in I could hear a child screaming obviously it was coming from where I wanted to go as it was getting louder and louder and by louder I mean hysterical ear piercing type screams the instant headache type! As I rounded the corner I could see a little girl roughly 4 yrs old laying on the isle floor kicking and screaming naturally she was exactly where I wanted to be and as I got closer I could see her little face bright red, tears, snot the whole bit. For a moment I thought she was lost maybe thats why the hysteria so I stepped towards her, as I did a woman popped out from the next isle and told me just to leave her she's having a tantrum hmmm ok fair enough only while she's saying this the little girl starts vomiting and not a little vomit either it was just pouring out of the poor kid whose now kicking, screaming, vomiting and half choking and the part that's left me even more stunned is that the woman still insisted on leaving her to continue and headed back into the next isle to continue shopping!
Due to the vomit there's just no way I was going near the little girl (I have a weak stomach for vomit and was struggling not to vomit at the sight/sound of it to start with) so I grabbed a Kmart employee to deal with it who had to tell the mother to attend to her child and call for a mop and bucket to clean up.
Now I'm all for not giving into kids just because your in public, mine have had the odd tantrum here and there when they were small but I was always pretty mindful of not to let their tantrums be overly disruptive to other shoppers/store owners/employees. To me what this woman was doing was just awful and disgusting she should have calmed the child or even left the store well before the vomit starts.
So what's your cut off point? When do you stop the tantrum?
Would you leave the store?
Do you think the woman was teaching this child anything by letting it go to the extreme??

#2 katpaws

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:53 PM

No, this is not something i would have done as a parent.

The vomiting sounds like acute distress.

QUOTE
Do you think the woman was teaching this child anything by letting it go to the extreme??


Yes, how to hate her mother.

Edited by katpaws, 01 February 2013 - 04:59 PM.


#3 ZombieMum

Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:58 PM

Some kids do vomit if they get themselves worked up - but then there are lots of kids that would get worked up as much as this little girl, and would not vomit. Is it just the vomiting that upset you, or the fact she was having a tantrum?


QUOTE (Rubyduck @ 01/02/2013, 05:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
To me what this woman was doing was just awful and disgusting she should have calmed the child or even left the store well before the vomit starts.


It might not even have been a tantrum like what you've experienced with your own kids. It could have been a meltdown that you were witnessing.

I have a child that could throw massive tantrums. I've since learnt they were probably meltdowns, as she was later diagnosed with an ASD.

I could never calm her down. My 'trying' just made things so much worse, and also prolonged the tantrums.
I couldn't pick her up either - she had that knack of making her body go limp and it was impossible to pick her up safely.

I've also realised, when looking back, that she was suffering from sensory overload - with the lights in the shops, people, noise, smell etc.

I have other kids that have never thrown tantrums like that in public, so when I witness another mum going through it with their child, I try not to judge their parenting and try to have compassion for what the mum and child are currently going through.

#4 bakesgirls

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:00 PM

I would have hauled my kid out of there before it got to that point. Vomit? That's just foul. To leave your kid there in it, on the floor for others to have to deal with/step over and clean up just isn't something I would do, no matter what the situation.

#5 caitiri

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:08 PM

I can't imagine seeing a child vomit would be  pleasant experience but I don't think you can say bad cruel mother either.  Vomiting doesn't equal extreme distress.  My older child will become snotty red faced in a matter of seconds but would never vomit even after going for over an hour..  My younger child will vomit at the drop of a hat.

I try to remove my kids if they are having a tantrum because its better for them (and me) but some kids aren't portable they k ick they scream, they punch and its not safe to pick them up .

#6 ms flib

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:08 PM

I would never let my kids get to that stage.

However, sometimes kids get out of control easily when they're not well.

I would be horrified if my kid was vomiting in Kmart and I wasn't paying attention either way......

#7 Kay1

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:12 PM

I very much doubt the mother was calmly shopping in the next aisle while this was going on. She was probably feeling very distressed and mortified and trying not to escalate the situation. Perhaps she has been advised by professionals not to react to the vomiting. Perhaps there was nothing she could do to prevent it escalating to the vomiting. Who knows. I just feel sorry for both of them tbh.

Perhaps she would have notified staff once she'd cleaned her child up and calmed her down.

Edited by Kay1, 01 February 2013 - 05:15 PM.


#8 opethmum

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:27 PM

My first instinct is to leave the child alone, I am sure the parent knows their child well enough to leave their child in a tantrum. The kid could have wanted a toy or something and was told no and the tantrum ensued. Although unpleasant I am sure the parent was mightily embarrassed and probably wanted to crawl in the corner.  Some kids like that want to milk it for all it is worth and some children vomit for attention after all getting worked up.
You did the right thing in calling for the shop attendant to have the spew cleaned up. I would have done that to prevent an accident and for infection control.

#9 Niamh23

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:30 PM

If she let her child vomit in a public place and then expected the poor staff to clean it up - she's feral and has no consideration for anyone else.

#10 Natttmumm

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:40 PM

There could be more to the story. The child may have. Few issues. It's unusual for a 4 year old to do that in my opinion. I have two tantrum throwers but by 4 they know better in public.
I would assume something was wrong rather than judge

#11 FiveAus

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:45 PM

My nephew used to vomit mid-tantrum simply because he didn't get his own way. His mother dealt with it by not taking him out shopping until he outgrew it. She felt it was too disgusting for other shoppers or shop assistants to have to deal with it.


#12 LifesGood

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:50 PM

Assuming the child has no specific problems, I think I'd have to intervene before the vomiting stage simply because of the issues it causes for others. If it were a regular pattern I'd arrange it so that I didn't have to take my child to the shops until they have outgrown the stage.

I certainly have stood by while my child had a writhing-on-the-floor screaming tantrum mid-shopping, but only once or twice.

#13 Great Dame

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:52 PM

I can't imagine any situation I would let it go that far.  Ever.  I don't care what issues my child had, what a professional had told me to do. If God came down himself and said do this, I just never would.  Not just for my child's sake, but also other customers.  If it means never shopping with my child again, then so be it.



#14 Rubyduck

Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:27 PM

The mother was not distressed at all and she was still shopping if anything seemed to think she would be fast tracked through the checkout as she had to attend to the child.
It really was horrible to watch and I am aware there are many disabilities and disorders out there nowadays I do have some sympathy but for this case not really it was disturbing for other customers and clearly distressing for the child. She could have apologized to the staff something, anything really other than seem annoyed at having to look after her own kid.


#15 dynamitee

Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:55 PM

For a moment I thought you were talking about my DD who is four and had a massive meltdown in K Mart last Sunday.  But there was no vomit involved (I think anyway  unsure.gif .)
Wasn't in Ringwood was it?  

My DS is 8 and has never had that sort of meltdown.  My DD has been overly sensitive since she was born (5 weeks prem) and we've always tried to accommodate her needs.   Keep the stimulation down to a minimum, etc.  She does not have special needs as such, but is just a really sensitive child.

So yes, she has massive meltdowns at the shops and unfortunately sometimes I can't do anything about it.  Initially I start trying to calm her down and sometimes it works, but sometimes I just have to ride it through because the alternative is I manhandle a very distressed and rather fighty little girl which really would just escalate the problem.  So I may have appeared to be calmly shopping down the isle, but the I was actually rather distressed about the situation and just trying to handle it as best I could.  If I went near her she would try to pinch and kick and scolding her DOES NOT WORK OR HELP THE SITUATION.  

Sorry I'm using caps, but I want people whose kids behaviour is more inline with that of my DS's to understand that when some kids have these meltdowns, even God himself isn't going to calm the situation until they are ready to move on.  After half an hour of distress, my DD flipped the switch, became calm, we made up and she was fine.  And I tried to make her as comfortable emotionally as possible.  

It sucks, and she has had a meltdown in so many places over the years.  One time when she was about two I ended up crying at DS's schools Christmas Carols because I couldn't do anything but let her roll around on the ground crying hysterically.  Thankfully they're occurring far less frequently.  

OP, as distressed as you may have been I'd be inclined to suggest that the mother may have felt far worse whether she was showing it or not.  I can assure you that if it was my child, you would have been far more distressed by seeing me manhandle her out of the store.

In regards to the vomit, yeah, she should have tried to clean up or at least ask staff for assistance, but who knows what was going on in her head at the point.

#16 ZombieMum

Posted 01 February 2013 - 07:33 PM

QUOTE (Rubyduck @ 01/02/2013, 07:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The mother was not distressed at all and she was still shopping if anything seemed to think she would be fast tracked through the checkout as she had to attend to the child.

Ignoring tantrums and showing your child that you are going to continue to do what you are doing, regardless of their tantrum, was the best way I found to deal with it - for both my ASD and non ASD kiddies.

Just because the mother didn't look distressed on the outside, doesn't mean she wasn't distressed on the inside.


QUOTE (Rubyduck @ 01/02/2013, 07:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
She could have apologized to the staff something, anything really other than seem annoyed at having to look after her own kid.

She might have been annoyed at someone interfering in her parenting, and at not being given the chance to clean up the vomit herself or to alert staff that there was a mess - she was probably waiting for the tantrum to finish before doing that.

QUOTE (Rubyduck @ 01/02/2013, 07:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It really was horrible to watch and I am aware there are many disabilities and disorders out there nowadays I do have some sympathy but for this case not really it was disturbing for other customers and clearly distressing for the child.
If you were that disturbed over watching a child having a tantrum, then you should count yourself lucky that your kids haven't put you through this.

#17 Excentrique

Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:55 PM

I'd be disturbed too OP. Sometimes kids get so over stimulated or worked up the best thing to do is just try and distract them or remove them from the cause.

I'm not one for public tantrums. My kids have always been removed straight to the car. I don't think its respectful to other shoppers either. OP couldn't access the part of the shop she required.

#18 Fillyjonk

Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:25 PM

QUOTE (Excentrique @ 01/02/2013, 09:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'd be disturbed too OP. Sometimes kids get so over stimulated or worked up the best thing to do is just try and distract them or remove them from the cause.



That is a nice theory but I fail to see how I would put that in practice. Maybe a toddler can be distracted from a tantrum sometimes but by four, short of setting off some fireworks in the near vicinity, I don't think I could just make my child just snap out of it. As for physically removing them from the situation, again by four I don't know that I would be able to do it. Yes, I am stronger than a four year old but not that much stronger that I would be able carry mine through a shopping centre with the combination of screaming, writhing, kicking, hitting etc, not to mention also getting my toddler to the car safely along with any shopping I might be carrying.

I have a lot of sympathy for the mother because I am sure that, like you, she thinks that it is completely disrespectful for other shoppers to behave like that.

Thankfully my son was never much of a tantrum thrower, though we had a doozy the day before yesterday and I really did not know how to deal with it. My daughter has a lot more tantrums than he ever did at this age but thankfully she is still small enough to control. Here's hoping that they stop by four!

Edited by with the goo goose, 01 February 2013 - 10:36 PM.


#19 baddmammajamma

Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:40 PM

One of the common "side effects" of having a child with SNs is that you become far less judgmental about many things -- including other people's children who are having a tantrum (or perhaps it was a full fledged meltdown).




#20 duck-o-lah

Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:46 PM

QUOTE (dynamitee @ 01/02/2013, 07:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
...Sorry I'm using caps, but I want people whose kids behaviour is more inline with that of my DS's to understand that when some kids have these meltdowns, even God himself isn't going to calm the situation until they are ready to move on.  After half an hour of distress, my DD flipped the switch, became calm, we made up and she was fine.  And I tried to make her as comfortable emotionally as possible.  

...OP, as distressed as you may have been I'd be inclined to suggest that the mother may have felt far worse whether she was showing it or not.  I can assure you that if it was my child, you would have been far more distressed by seeing me manhandle her out of the store.

In regards to the vomit, yeah, she should have tried to clean up or at least ask staff for assistance, but who knows what was going on in her head at the point.


DS had a killer tantrum in Target the other week and as per the above quote, once he gets that far there is nothing that will bring him back. To other shoppers I probably looked like I really didn't care that he was screaming the place down, but this is the only effective way I've found to deal with that type of meltdown. I may have looked like I didn't care, but I was actually incredibly distressed and embarassed.

QUOTE (Excentrique @ 01/02/2013, 10:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'd be disturbed too OP. Sometimes kids get so over stimulated or worked up the best thing to do is just try and distract them or remove them from the cause.

I'm not one for public tantrums. My kids have always been removed straight to the car. I don't think its respectful to other shoppers either. OP couldn't access the part of the shop she required.

As pp's have said, it's not always possible to remove them. At 30 weeks pregnant with existing back issues, it is beyond unsafe for me to try and lift a kicking, screaming, floppy toddler to get him out of the way to avoid being an incovenience to other shoppers. I would hope anyone looking on would think 'oh that poor woman/poor kid' rather than judging me for being disrespectful and not moving my brat out of the way. Bloody hell, go and look at something else for five minutes!



#21 Pink-PJs

Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:51 PM

At the end of the day, you don't know what was going on there.  It really is that simple.  While I agree it would have been hard to witness, I believe that the mother would have been feeling embarrassed and distressed herself even though she wasn't showing it.

I had an incident today, (thankfully minus the vomiting, but DS3 has gone that far in the past.) I was in line at the checkout, packed supermarket and DS3 went from happily sitting in the trolley to thrashing about, screaming, bright red the lot!  He hates to be touched and reacts violently so removing him was out of the question and I don't care what anyone says, you CAN'T reason or distract an almost 4yo mid meltdown.

Not to mention I had masters 6 and 9 with me and had to keep them calm, safe and supervised.  So I did the only thing I could do - I braced myself against to end of the trolley opposite DS so he couldn't tip it, and continued to chat to the other two until I was served.

I did however give the poor man who had to serve me a quick apology and thankfully he was lovely and understanding.  I was even lucky enough to have a young woman offer to help me walk the kids and trolley with a still screeching DS to the car - I was so grateful for the understanding smile and an offer of help.

My point is, please don't be so quick to judge, most of us are doing the best we can and some days all it takes is a look from someone witnessing what we already feel is a failing on our part to either make or break us.

#22 JuniPooks_

Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:13 PM

Oh God, I fail again.

DS has been able to make himself vomit when he is upset for... Um... Since around 5 months? I think with his reflux he saw how him vomiting got me to pick him up (so I could clean up) and then he figured it out, and yeah, he still does it. He will look at me and go "Urgh, Urgh" and start bringing it up, usually I step in at that point but it's not always practical. I have learned to accommodate most of the things that set him off, but you sometimes just can't help it.

Some kids do the vomit thing, it's not because they are so traumatised, it's just a really effective part of their repertoire.  

Just not take them out in public?? How?? Why?? So that a mum with a high needs kid can go more crazy??

So yeah, I do respond to it, because DS is a baby, but I don't have a four year old yet so it would probably be different by then...

I do clean up after him too. I bring lots of face washers, baby wipes and hand sanitizer everywhere I go. I've been places where they say "don't, we will clean because we have to do it xyz way" and I apologise.

If I saw that scenario I'd be feeling for the mum sad.gif

#23 JuniPooks_

Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:18 PM

QUOTE (ZombieMum @ 01/02/2013, 08:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just because the mother didn't look distressed on the outside, doesn't mean she wasn't distressed on the inside.

In fact, for me the point where I go stony faced is the point I have completely lost it. If I seem upset, I'm still feeling things could get better. If I go stony faced, I'm quietly plotting how to fake my own death and flee to Russia.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

#24 Minxybug

Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:53 PM

I agree with alot of comments here. I understand that this would have been very hard for the mother. We do not have the entire picture so do not know what factors are involved.

In saying that though if it were my child and they have done this before I would either arrange somehow to do shopping while they in the surrounds of their own environment (leaving them home)
or
go shopping with help (someone to assist if a meltdown/tantrum occurs)
I do understand that the child has the right to be out in public and needs these experiences to learn.
No parent is perfect and children are unpredictable, anything could set them off. It is better to offer assistance if appropriate or just go the other way.
You haven't walked in that persons shoes so you just don't know.

(edit for stupid computer)

Edited by Minxybug, 02 February 2013 - 12:01 AM.


#25 trishalishous

Posted 02 February 2013 - 01:25 AM

The worst public tantrum we have had was laying down in the aisle whinging. When I offered the choice of following me or us just leaving, she chose to get up and follow.
So I havent had to deal with a severe meltdown.
I do try to avoid them at all costs, usually bribing with some deli polony or a squeeze yoghurt, and Im lightening fast in the shops if I think the kids are having a bad day.
I never walk off and leave my child out of sight, as there has been a few attempted abductions in our town in the last few weeks.




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