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How do I get my 4 yr old to stop acting up in public?

Everytime I need to go to a store my 4 yr old starts throughing a fit. He hits me and screams at me because he doesn't want to be there. If I try to touch him he starts yelling ouchy like I'm hurting him even when I barely touch his arm. I get so embarrassed I just want to scream everybody stops and looks to see whats going on. Somebody Please Help!!

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Asked by mombrinda3 at 12:23 AM on Jan. 8, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 1 (3 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • I know of a GREAT book that you might find some good ideas in... it's written by a Christian, so I don't know how you would feel about that..... if you are interested in learning the title and author's name please send me a message =)

    Answer by dedicatedrider at 12:25 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • here is what I would do to my son when he pulled the "public meltdown".I would just start talking in a calm voice and say things like"I can see you are having a hard time right now and I am so sorry YOU ARE EMBARASSED." the embarassed part used to make my son kinda look around like oh who thinks I'm weird? He hated feeling looked at,so I would play that up"too bad people think you look silly,just too bad." it may not work I just know it did w/mine because he was embarassed and when he saw I wasn't reacting he quit.Good luck.

    Answer by Bearsjen at 12:31 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • You need to begin with consistent discipline at home !!

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:51 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • to anonymous 3:51 am... do you have a 4 year old at home? I dont think you do!

    My son is the same way!!! BUT I have found a way (maybe out of desperation) to make things better! Actually my son would act up everywhere. I realized that he liked to know what is next or what will happen.
    SO in the morning I tell him Ok first we are getting dress, then we are eating breakfast and I will take you to school. Then when I pick you up I will bring you home and give you luch and we will go to the grocery store after that (I have to remind him about taking him home for lunch and grocery store when I pick him up). Then while you are driving to the grocery store you can tell him when we get home you can help me put the groceries away and then we can play a game...

    Answer by Paty_hotmommy at 5:41 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • CONT...
    **** this is just mine example but you get the idea... prepare him for what you will do and what is next. Even if what is next is come home for quiet time or whatever.

    Sometimes they resist a little ... may son would say 'but I dont want to go to the grocery store' - they I just had to explain to hiim why is important to go to the grocery store... why is it important to go to the clothing store....

    He is not perfect at the store but things got a lot better!!

    Answer by Paty_hotmommy at 5:41 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • What do you do at home if he acts like that? That's what you do at the store. Consistency is the key.

    If you use time out for bad behavior at home, put him in time out at the store....right in the aisle. Who cares what others think? Let them look and be stupid! You're not beating him...and he's not their kid.....

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 6:12 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • When my kids act up in a store we leave .. they get nothing. I'm not sure how you would handle it when they start off with an attitude. Try explaining if we dont go to the store you won't have anything to eat. Then when he has no snacks say we can go to the store to get some but you have to behave. That might be an incentive.


    Answer by babyfat5 at 7:07 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • How about letting him shop with you, like give him an easy list, maybe even a kids grocery cart? Never know.. might be fun for him.

    Answer by LizMomTo4Girls at 7:43 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • Chapter 9, "How to Deal with Non-Compliance," from the book "Cures for Parental Wimp Syndrome: Top Ten List for Effective Parenting," Children have temper tantrums because they have learned that temper tantrums work.  What is your child's favorite toy, TV show, or something he really likes?  I would prepare him for the trip before leaving home by telling him that if he has a fit in the store, he will lose that thing for a period of time or the day.  Ask if he understands.  If he says yes, proceed to the store.  Before leaving the car, ask him to recount what you talked about to make sure he remembers.  Give positive reinforcement by hugging him and telling he can do it because he's a big boy. 

    When inside, if he begins a tantrum, ignore him. Back home, remind him that he lost his privilege and stick to it.  Do not negotiate.  Mean what you say.


    Answer by cylicious at 8:26 AM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • When my daughter throws a fit in the store its usually because she wants something ie toy. So I say humm what else do I need, Oh I need pampers, and a bottle for my little pumpkin here! You can even go as far to ask a store sales person where I aisle is. This works for me because she really wants to be a big girl, and wants to have nothing to do with pampers or a bottle. Or you can just ignore him, try not to even show you are interested in what he is doing, if he strikes you, HIT him back then go back to ignoring you, be very non chalant about the whole ordeal....Shows dont usually last if there is no audience.

    And I never have had to even go into the baby aisle.

    Answer by Niamom at 12:11 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

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