Not long ago, I found myself in line at Target, just in front of a mom with a child in mid-tantrum in her cart. I turned as I heard the familiar shriek, followed by some thrashing about in the seat (luckily, he was firmly strapped in), to find the boy’s mother smiling and saying, “Aw, I love you!” every time the kid wound up for another scream. The child, predictably, responded with a resounding “NO!” followed by more wailing, kicking, and attempts to engage his mother. She simply smiled adoringly at him and told him again how much she loved him.
I was quite impressed with her response. She was calm, able to laugh off the situation, instantly winning favor with other moms around her (we were easy to spot by our eagerness to show her our approval), and her older children followed her example by not responding to the toddler, and didn’t feel the need to compete for mom’s attention since the fit-throwing child wasn’t getting much attention.
I have yet to encounter such a full-fledged tantrum in public with my kids (one benefit of rarely taking them shopping with me), but if/when I do, I hope I have the presence of mind to follow her example and battle the tantrum with pure, overwhelming love and a good dose of humor.