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How do you get your 3-1/2 yo to behave in public?

My son is normally pretty good at home, but he turns into a little terror when we're at other people's houses or in public places where he knows he can get away with it. I've talked to him, brought him home when he acts up, and also rewarded and praised him when he's good, but the bad behavior continues. How do you get your kids this age to behave when your away from home?

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Asked by Anonymous at 7:12 AM on May. 2, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (22)
  • when we were kids, my mom and aunt would tell me and my cousins that if we were bad when we went out that they'd pull our pants down and spank our bare asses. we were usually good in public for fear of humiliation

    Answer by flaggot13 at 7:15 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • Consistency is the key, he knows you would rather visit w/ your friends or get the shopping done versus dicipline him or take him home (not saying you haven't tried, saying that's not the consequence every time). Are you taking him out when he should be napping or is hungry? This might be causing him to act out. If nope he's just acting like a little s^%$ then he's testing you. At his age he's figuring out his boundaries and what he can and can't get away with. Decide ahead of time how you are going to deal w/ it and tell him when you are on your way ie "Fred if you can't act nice today then ______" and stick w/ it. There's gonna be times where you are going to leave your friends house or store dragging a melting down toddler. When he learns you mean it he'll knock it off. Also take things to occupy his attention, he may be bored.

    Answer by Nyx7 at 7:20 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • I agree with the public humiliation. If you are sure that he does this b/c he knows you "cant" do anything right at that moment....then prove him wrong and surprise him by showing him you very much CAN do something right then and there, instantly!


    Answer by Anonymous at 7:38 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • As an update to my question, my son does get spanked at home, once in a while bare bottom when he's really bad. I HAVE even threatened him with this when he's being really bad at other people's houses, but I can't really follow through a lot of places like Walmart without somebody calling CPS on me! My big problem is that he just doesn't seem care about consequences like that! Any ideas?

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:49 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • When ds went through this stage, I went places without him. I made sure he knew I was going to the library, nana & papa's, the store, etc. WITHOUT him. I made a big deal, "The last time you came with me, you (insert behavior). I don't want to take you anywhere until you learn _______. THen leave. DO NOT TAKE HIM WITH YOU. It took 2 trips for ds to get the trip, he tried me on a third time and I didn't take him anywhere for 2 weeks. Then he knew I meant it. I even took him out of the cart and left my groceries once. He didn't think I would, NOW he knows.

    Answer by ninipanini at 8:42 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • haha, a three and half year old behaving in public- it's sort of an oxy moron, lol. Actually, if she misbehaves in public I take a toy or activity she enjoys away and remind her that she didn't behave so she is losing a privilege. It doesn't work magically, immediately or every single time (does anything at that age??) but essentially she now knows that if she misbehaves in public I WILL take something of value to her, either an activity or toy- it definitely gives her pause.

    Answer by athenax3 at 8:44 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • Prove him wrong...and DO something in public. I have a VERY strong willed 3.5 year old myself...but you better believe my will is stronger, and in public she behaves (most of the time) cause she knows there will be consequences. The consequences depend on the circumstance.


    Answer by Anonymous at 8:55 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • What can you "do" is my question! Seems like people are just waiting to jump all over you if you even raise your voice to your kid in a store. Does anybody actually spank in public?

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:23 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • Like I mentioned, I didn't let ds come with me anywhere when he was a booger. You also have to be very specific on what you want/don't want. For example, you have to be good is very vague. Say "If you scream about a candy or toy, I'll take you home and come back by myself". Then do it. It's inconvenient, yeah, but parenting isn't always going to be about what's easy. I literally replanned my days when dh was home to teach him a lesson. Now he's 7 and I can take him anywhere and he will not act like a heathen.

    Answer by ninipanini at 9:50 AM on May. 2, 2010

  • My DD is 3..she is not a terror...although her 16 month old sister is.......their aint no stoppin them period...

    Giving him a time out he is old enough....

    Answer by LexsiesMommy at 10:03 AM on May. 2, 2010

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