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Letting Your Kid Tantrum in Public Bothers People

Toddlers throw tantrums. Any parent knows it's true. The worst is when your toddler throws a tantrum out in public, and you get to endure all the stares and whispers and helpful strangers who suddenly surround you when your child is screaming. Often, the best thing you can do in response to a tantrum is to not be moved by it, but in a video making its rounds on the Web, one mother's attempt to ignore her child's tantrum spiralled out of control when a stranger approached and asked if she wanted any help.

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Even though the mother refused help, the stranger continued to sit nearby, hovering. Understandably, the mother felt threatened, and in no uncertain terms told the stranger to back off. The video picks up as the frustrated mom lashes out at the "helpful" woman sitting a chair away. With her toddler next to her, the mom assaults the stranger physically and verbally, shrieking over and over, "Get out of my space!"

All this took place in a hospital cafeteria, so it's probably safe to assume they were both a little stressed before the conflict started. While it's understandable that this mother might feel frustrated and even pushed over the edge by the stranger, I think that she went overboard. What bothers me the most about her reaction, aside from the violence and hatred she spewed in front of her child, is that she kept screaming that this woman was "invading her space."

The fact of the matter is, if you're out in public, it's our space, not yours.

The fact of the matter is, if you're out in public, it's our space, not yours. The decisions you make with your child affect all of us. That's not to say I expect you to be able to control everything your child does, or even that I believe you should be held responsible for everything your child does, but you need to understand that if you have a child that is shrieking and screaming in public, other people will care. Other people will try to help. We are nurturers, and it is in our nature to look out for the young and helpless among us.

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You're not making your decisions in a vacuum, and if you're going to choose to allow your child to "scream it out," expect that others might be uncomfortable. Expect that they might not understand or agree. Expect that you'll have to muster up some grace and rise above a stranger's ignorance.

Above all, hold yourself to higher standards than your tantruming toddler. You're an adult. You won't be allowed to scream it out.

Image via Twenty20/principessamy

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