We’ve all experienced it: disciplining your child in public.
Your child had an outburst in a public setting and you lost your temper in the heat of the moment. You discipline your child and draw even more attention to the situation, then feel ashamed after the fact.
I recognize that some very patient parents out there have this incredible ability to keep their cool, even if their child is pushing every button they have. Kudos to you.
I was not one of those parents.
I didn’t lose my patience in public settings a lot, but if I knew what I know now, I could have avoided it altogether.
You might think the answer to never embarrassing yourself in public by losing control with your children is to acquire more patience.
Patience is good. But it’s not the only answer.
Consider the possibility that we often put our children in situations that set them up for failure, and then we’re embarrassed by their behavior. This is unfair to our children and ultimately sabotages the experience for us both.
The Child Whisperer supports you in learning how to avoid meltdowns, outbursts, and power struggles by knowing which environments are not supportive to your child’s true nature, Energy Type, and age.
Which public spaces challenge your unique child?
To get you started, here is a brief overview of the 4 Energy Types, which you can learn in more detail in my book The Child Whisperer. Consider these common environments that may not be conducive to their nature when they are young.
The Type 1 Fun-Loving Child
This child expresses the highest movement and the shortest attention span when not having fun. They love social engagement and the freedom to move and interact. These children will be challenged and under stress if they are expected to sit for long periods of time with nothing to be creative with. Think: sit-down restaurants, long movies, church meetings, family dinners, even some school settings.
The Type 2 Sensitive Child
This child expresses the softest movement and is the least comfortable in new situations. They are emotionally sensitive to new experiences and people. They will be challenged if expected to be more social and interactive in new situations. Think: visiting friends, family they don’t know well, parks with other children around, play dates with children they don’t know well, or being over-stimulated by being on the go too long.
The Type 3 Determined Child
This child expresses the most determined movement and likes to interact with the physical world. They love to “get their hands on” things and explore. These children will be challenged in settings that they cannot run around in and explore. Think: sitting in car seats, grocery carts, sit down restaurants, shopping in department stores, long church meetings, and some school settings.
The Type 4 More Serious Child
This child expresses the most structured movement and prefers to have things follow an order of sequences they can depend on. These children will be more challenged when there is a lot of movement in and out of spaces, without any solitary time to mentally regroup. Think: long shopping trips, in and out of cars and stores, being over-stimulated by being on the go too long.
In the case of school settings, educate your child’s teacher how to best support your child to succeed in school. Sharing a copy of The Child Whisperer is appropriate here.
You can create wonderful experiences with your child in public settings! Ask the following questions to set up your children for success & help you discipline less in public:
- Is the behavior I am expecting from my child reasonable for their age and Energy Type?
- Am I setting up my child for failure because my expectations are not reasonable?
- What environments are they likely to need more discipline in?
- What decisions are the most supportive of my child as they grow and learn how to manage themselves in public, with my support?
The number of times you lose your patience will drop when you take the following steps to make outings easier:
- Choose to not put you or your child in stressful situations that set either of you up for failure.
- When outings get tense, ask yourself, “Is my child hungry or tired? Am I hungry or tired?”
- Change your plans, cut your activities short if needed, and think of what you and your child need first over others.
This preventive approach will require little patience from you because if you follow these tips, you should have fewer upsets with your children in public settings.
This will give you the opportunity to create more positive experiences that build trust and a close bond between you and your child.
Which places are challenging for your child? What tricks have you discovered to help them? Please share your ideas or questions in a comment below!