Public Temper Tantrums? Yes Please!

Ah yes… temper tantrums. I am certain we have all been there before. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of experiencing a temper tantrum then buckle your seatbelt of patience and get ready for a wild ride!

The great thing about temper tantrums is that they are not limited to the “terrible twos” like everyone says. Yes! They also aren’t guaranteed to end at the age of three. So far in my experience they have ranged from 17 months on up to almost 8 years old. Look at that great span of years that I get to learn humility and patience!

My best advice for dealing with tantrums? Take a deep breath, stay calm, walk away (if you can), remind yourself “this too shall pass,” find someone who has been in your situation and hug them for a long time and let them tell you that your child is not crazy and you really are a good mommy.  And then get a Venti Starbucks drink of your choice with extra whipped cream and a chocolate croissant because sister, you earned it!

Sometimes the best thing you can do is wait it out. Well, wait it out if you are at home. Temper tantrums in public are an entirely different animal. Literally.

Look out.

Here is one of my top temper tantrum experiences from a while back:

It was a humbling experience leaving the mall play area. These moments just seem to spring right out of thin air.

My two-year-old turned psychotic.  She didn’t want to put her jacket on.

Can't help but love this girl.
Can’t help but love this girl.

Please picture me sitting on the floor. The floor of the mall. Not even the floor of the play area. I am wrestling a screaming two-year-old into a cute striped pink jacket.

I believe she is foaming at the mouth.

I’m losing the battle while mall walkers breeze past me in their Sketchers toning shoes and fanny packs. An old man sits on a bench nearby and I can feel him watching this whole scenario unfold before him. He no doubt is smiling. I know because I steal a quick glance and see him smiling. I smiled too. It was either laugh or cry. I chose laugh. There was already enough crying. 


Finally I give up on the jacket. You know, choose your battles right? Well not this time! Yeah, that ship had sailed. I decided to force the precious, screaming, foaming-mouthed child into the stroller. This would be the very stroller that was already soaking wet with water from the McDonald’s cup I gave her before we hit up the play area. The cup with the ill-fitting lid.

She is not going into the stroller. Just a reminder, I am still on the floor, the middle of the floor in the mall. This child has an amazing ability to perform something that can only be described as “live rigamortis”.  There is to be no bending of the child’s body. Forget it. Live rigamortis, screaming, and foaming at the mouth. And snot everywhere.

And the screaming is  that kind of low-growl screaming. Kind of possessed-like.

This sweet face? Not possible!
This sweet face? Not possible!

Eventually, after what seems like ten laps of the same mall walker passing, I somehow manage to buckle the stroller seat belt and then lean the stroller back so my precious princess can’t hang forward to the ground. We head towards the food court area where all the old folks are having their pre-mall walking coffee and morning chit-chat.

They greet me with smiles and stares. As we approach the exit door a nice older man asks if he can get the door for me. I tell him through my best fake smile “that would be great!”

Too cute to throw fits!
Too cute to throw fits!

And then on the way out the door another older woman smiles a very understanding smile at me and says “we’ve all been there before!” I actually find these comments very, very comforting. so comforting in fact that I am tempted to climb in this woman’s lap, curl up in the fetal position, suck my thumb, and sob “hold me!”

I resist the very strong urge to do this and quickly proceed to the minivan and spend the next 10 minutes attempting to fold little miss live rigamortis into her car seat. 

Eventually we make it home, completely humbled, clean up foam faces, snot from noses, have lunch, and take a well earned nap. 

What are your greatest temper tantrum moments? Let’s swap some “fun time” stories! 🙂


  1. This totally cracked me up, because just two days ago my threenage daughter had an epic, public tantrum in the middle of Dick’s Sporting Goods while we were trying to leave the mall. It ended with her laying flat out on the floor, red sparkly shoes and all. I took a deep breath, snapped a quick picture (how could I not?) and carried on with parenting duties. I posted the picture on, and pretty much all of my friends with kids have commented on how this picture “has made them feel better about their own kids”. Thank you for doing the same for this mama.

  2. Great post Danielle! My seven year old had a melt down of epic proportions while out to dinner with the Grandparents last week. I was really glad the place was packed and it was a noisy Friday night!


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