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Temper Tantrums, How to Handle

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

I am having a difficult time with my 2-year-old daughter while shopping in the store. She'll want something, and when I say "no," she lays down on the floor and wails. It's so embarrassing. She won't stop until I let her have the item she's crying about. I know that I shouldn't give in, but how else can I get her to stop throwing these temper tantrums?


Terrible two's are real

Dear Terrible two's are real,

Never give in to your daughter's temper tantrums by letting her have what she is wailing about. Giving in only reinforces the temper tantrums, and she is manipulating you.

Instead, when she sees something she wants, but you don't want her to have it, then say something to her such as, "Oh I see you really like the doll. But, we can't get it today. Let's put it on your birthday list (or Christmas list)." If she starts to wail, tell her in a firm but gentle tone, "If you keep crying, we'll have to leave the store". If she continues crying, then take her out of the store and let her wail in the car. When she stops crying, tell her again, "We'll put the doll on her birthday list". If she really loves the doll, then make the effort to actually have the doll for her on her birthday or Christmas. She'll learn about patience, and waiting for something instead of instant gratification.

It may sound like a hassle to leave the store, but in the long run, you will break her of this bad habit, and life will be much easier as she gets older.