What To Do With Your Screaming Child

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2017/07/11/what-to-do-with-your-screaming-child/

I’m sure Justin Baldoni is a good father and, we all know, we could use more of those.

But the picture still bothered me.

Baldoni, an actor, posted a photo and short essay on Instagram – a picture of him and his father standing in Whole Foods Market. At Justin’s feet is his nearly 2-year-old daughter having a complete meltdown, a.k.a. a temper tantrum.

“Being comfortable in the uncomfortable,” Baldoni writes. “There are no perfect parents, but one thing my dad taught me is not to parent based on what anyone else thinks.”

Got that. And bravo for being a dad who is there. I’ve written before about the problem of dads who are not there, or who are uninterested in their role. New Boston Post has other stories on the subject.

Baldoni writes about the love he and his father share, and with his daughter, “this brand new, raw and pure soul who we would both go to the ends of the earth for.”


But, please, take your tantrum-throwing daughter out of the store.

Baldoni writes:  “It’s not embarrassing to me when she throws tantrums in the grocery store, or screams on a plane. I’m her dad … not yours. Let’s not be embarrassed for our children.”

This has nothing to do with embarrassment. This is about behavior in a public place – not her behavior, because she is out of control; but the behavior of the parent, who can do something about it.

Keeping a child in a public place – during a loud, ear-piercing meltdown – shows no respect for those around you.

Of course, people understand that kids have meltdowns, but they need to be removed from the situation and, in time, calmed down.

What may be understandable behavior is not necessarily acceptable behavior.

And, I repeat – because I know how this is going to come across – this is not about being embarrassed. It is about respecting others.

Baldoni writes, “our children are learning and processing so much information and they don’t know what to do with all of these new feelings that come up.”

Enter the parent, who guides them in the process.

And it’s a long process.

As for airplanes, which play havoc with a kid’s ears, there obviously is no stepping outside. But hopefully there’s an attempt to calm the child down, successful or not.

Yes, people will sneer at parents with crying babies, even when the parents are trying to do something about it. Our world is full of modern-day Pharisees. They are easy to ignore.

But there is such a thing as teaching proper behavior in public places. Because, we teach our children that this world is not just about them, but also about how our actions affect others.

Discipline is not about being manly. Some may misinterpret that, which is probably why Baldoni felt the need to add #redefinemasculinity to his post.

My wife and I share the discipline in our house, although she is tougher. But her consistency has been a blessing to our children. Check out her blog.

In my Google research, I read that Justin Baldoni and his wife are expecting another child. Great news, especially because another child will have a caring father.

I know none of us are perfect. And we don’t parent because of what others think. But we do listen to others’ insights.

So Justin, the next time you’re in Whole Foods …


Kevin Thomas is a writer and teacher, living with his wife and children in Standish, Maine.