When everyone stares 19

“I am warning you, if you hit out at your brother again, then I will take you home”


Those were the words I said to my nine year old and guess what, he didn’t listen and decided to hit Maxi again.  So I had no alternative that to remove him from the indoor play areas we were at with family and take him home.

Yes I was the mother dragging my nine year old out of soft play.  He refused to put his glasses and shoes on, in fact he ran back into the play area and I contemplated running after him, but decided to wait until he came down the slide and grab him.

I put his shoes and glasses in to my bag, arranged for my sister in law to drop Maxi home as they left and physically removed my child.

All eyes were on me.

I was embarrassed, ashamed and upset.

I drove the five minutes home with Mini screaming at me in the car.  He didnt want to leave, I was being unfair and he hated me.

I got out of the car and he refused to get out, so I left him in the car (with the window open) and sat inside trying to compose myself.

In my head I know that I did the right thing.  I had issued an ultimatum and Mini chose to push me and I he needed to understand that his actions have consequences.  He lost out on playtime with his cousins and also screen time for the rest of the day.

My heart isn’t that easily swayed.  I feel terrible.  I have failed my child.  I have not taught him how to control his anger and feelings. I am that mum.  The one that can not parent.

I love both my children equally, but Mini can be a challenge.  His emotions, the good and the bad sit very close to the surface. I also see a lot of myself in him, he is tenacious, stubborn, always knows best and finds it hard to keep his emotions in check.  Everything I was as a child.

But as a parent, I need him to know that what I say goes, so I put my foot down and home we came and I was the parent that everyone stared at.  I so hope it was in admiration rather than in judgement.

hard time child

19 thoughts on “When everyone stares

  • Jennifer Howze

    You’ve actually taken a step toward teaching your child to control his emotions but letting him know that actions have consequences. He can continue to throw tantrums or hit but it means there are repercussions. It’s hard, it may not feel good, but it works and that’s the job.

  • Sara-Jayne

    Well done for standing your ground – I am a real softie and I dread that day I have to do this, because it definitely is on the horizon I’m sure. I think it’s so important for us to follow through and sometimes, when there are tantrums involved, it’s all too easy to give in for the sake of not causing a scene in a public arena. I’d be looking in admiration.

  • JuggleMum, Nadine Hill

    Ultimately you did the right thing. You issued a warning, set a boundary and a consequence and followed through. It’s not fun at times but it’s necessary to be the ‘big bag ogre’. They may say they hate it and the punishment but ultimately they learn that rules are there because we care. Hope you are ok – those stares from the other parents were ‘there but for the grace of God’!

  • Clare aka Emmy's Mummy

    Well done for standing your ground.
    You are teaching him that actions have consequences and it is one they need to learn and understand.

    I’m guilty of not following through and now mine think they can get away with blue murder

  • Tanya

    I when you can feel all eyes on you, when your child is screaming. It always feels like you’re being judged, but in reality most of the eyes are probably sympathetic as we’ve all been there.

  • Sally

    You know? I don’t think those people staring ARE judging. Most of us know that parenting is hard, nobody gets it right all the time, and every kid presents their own challenges.

    To quote my Mum, as you know I do endlessly, “They’re your child, and they know how to push YOUR buttons.” That’s why someone else advising you is pointless – they’re an expert in THEIR kids and THEIR family.

    You can only do what you feel is right, although for what it’s worth, you’re continuing to show up for Mini, challenge him when he behaves in ways you don’t care for, and I think that’s the most important thing – it would be the easiest thing in the world to let it slide and not challenge or intervene, because then you don’t have to drag him home, but while he’s hating you and cross and the like, he knows you care, he knows you want him to be happy and content and to be able to master his feelings, and while the mastery might not come this week or this year, you’ll be there supporting him. What more can you do?

    Epic comment, sorry, but this post hit home to me today, having listened to some perfectly well-intentioned advice from someone who doesn’t get my kid, or my circumstances, or my relationships, and who can only offer the advice that would work for their kids, and their family.

    Chin up, basically.

  • Charly Dove

    It’s a lot harder to do what you did Jen so well done. I’m sure Mini learnt a valuable lesson. He’ll know how to push your buttons and get a reaction but he also knows you care. I know we always feel really paranoid that everyone is looking and judging us but I don’t think they are. That’s what I tell myself anyway – POD has been quite testing recently (as well as refusing to sleep). Here’s to tomorrow being a better day x

  • Kara

    You did exactly the right thing and I am sure that other parents were not judging you, probably simply thinking thank god it wasn’t my child acting up. I have two that struggle to control their emotions although they all can have their moments. The tip is to remain strong and don’t back down – they have to learn that their actions have consequences. Doesn’t make it any easier though does it

  • Charlotte

    Very reassuring to hear this from a blog-Mum (I am just a regular Mum – no blog). I absolutely empathise – I also have one child who is very defiant and frequently causes people to stare at me in public (I want to shout “I have another child who is not like this”). I completely agree that you did the right thing in following-through on your threat, but can I also add other ideas into the mix.

    As parents we discipline in these ways in the hope that in the longer-term our children will learn appropriate ways to behave. However, assuming you have been doing this for 9 years – the learning doesn’t seem to be happening (I don’t say this to judge, but because I have recently come this realisation with my own son). Consequently, different approaches are needed for some children – this is hard when you have two different children – but they are all different (as Sally rightly mentions) and different treatment for different children is actually very ‘fair’ (just needs careful implementation).

    I recently read “The explosive child” and it is helping me a lot in dealing with my older son – it recommends a very different approach to parenting from my default mode (but default mode was clearly not working with older son). It is *not* a panacea (no book ever is), and I don’t agree with everything in it, but crucially it has helped me to see things from my son’s perspective rather than from my perspective – helping me to understand him better is the first step to helping him manage his emotions better.

    We still have lots of outbursts/explosions – but I am trying to help him deal with them (in the moment and after the moment) rather than issue ultimatums (or get into power-struggles) that leave us both in more distress.

    Would love to hear your thoughts. I have felt very isolated as a parent to an ‘explosive’ child.

  • Gemma

    Some people will stare anyway, sometimes there is no right way. Well done for doing what you thought was right for you and your family at the time

  • Rachel

    Wow, you handled this much better than I think I wold have done, possibly because I am not a parent and wouldn’t have a clue where or how to deal with x

  • oana79

    Jen, don’t feel like you have failed him. You followed through with what you had said and that taught him that you respect him enough to keep your word. Very important life lesson. He will appreciate it one day, probably in his adulthood but nevertheless ;-).xx

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