Hansa Bhargava, MD, oversees the team of medical experts responsible for assuring the accuracy, credibility, and timeliness of all content on WebMD FIT and Raising FIT Kids. Bhargava is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, did her residency at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and is board certified in pediatrics.
Joy Brown: Okay. Now I think any parent of a toddler can sympathize with this distressed mother who writes,'How do I handle my child's tantrums, which just go on and on. Especially, when we are in a public place, like a restaurant or a grocery store?'
Dr. Bhargava : Okay. Well, first of all, all of us have been there, so don't be embarrassed. In a public place you want to make sure the child is safe.So, make sure if they are not safe, pick the child and put them in a safe place, even if they are flailing their arms.
Dr. Bhargava (cont.): Secondly, don't be embarrassed, it's happened to everyone.So, try to do the same thing you do at home, because with toddlers and young children, consistency is extremely important, across places, across caregivers.
Dr. Bhargava (cont.): So, if you have been ignoring that child until they you know are finished with their emotion for two minutes, three minutes, four minutes, do the same thing.When they are finished then you can go ahead, talk to them quietly and finish the conversation in a less public place.
Joy Brown : So ignoring them is a good strategy.
Dr. Bhargava : Yes.
Joy Brown : Are there things that a parent can do that actually can make it worse in the situation?
Dr. Bhargava : Yes, absolutely. If you are talking to the child and you get angry or upset, your tone changes, children are amazing at picking that up.It will only makes the situation worse, so what you must do is try and control your own emotions to the whole problem,try to keep your tone very even, very low, and try not to be emotional about it, because your child will read it and only the situation will get worse.
Joy Brown : So keep your cool and keep control.
Dr. Bhargava : Yes.
Joy Brown : Yeah, I know there are -- children learn very young also how to push our buttons.So, we have to kind of work doubly hard not to get emotional in a situation like that, especially if others are watching?
Dr. Bhargava : Yes, absolutely. I mean, we are aware of our external environment when we are in that situation, we want everything to stop happening, but do know that it will stop happeningand also will have to stop happening very shortly in the future as well. And do know that everyone has been in that situation, including myself with my own child.
Joy Brown : We all have and we do have to remember what's important is our relationship with our child and not what everybody else thinks.
Dr. Bhargava : Exactly.
Joy Brown : And if it goes on a little while, so be it. Keep your calm and you'll end up maybe not having it happen as often.
Dr. Bhargava : And I think most people are sympathetic to the situation as well.