I watched a child giving his mother fits in a store. When Mom noticed the boy’s behavior was drawing attention, she lost what control she had and screamed, “That does it! I’ve had it with you! Now I’m not buying you anything!” In a feeble attempt to emphasize her power, she added, “And I mean it!”
Sensing that his mom was now at the end of her rope, he looked right into her eyes and yelled, “I hate you and you’re not going to tell me what to do.”
As I watched, I was filled with sadness for both the child and his mother. I managed to get next to this mother in the checkout line. I handed her my card with a note on the back to send it to the Love and Logic Institute for a free copy of one of my audios. I received a wonderful letter a few months later telling me all about the success she was having with her son.
After listening to Love Me Enough to Set Some Limits, Mom created a plan for dealing with Zachary and his acting out at the store. The very next day they went shopping. True to form, Zachary started begging for things. In her calm, rehearsed voice, Mom said, “Not a good idea, Zachary. I have to shop without listening to that.”
“All the other kids get stuff when they go to the store!” he yelled. He then grabbed two toys off the shelf and threw them into her cart.
Mom whispered, “That was a really bad decision, Zachary. I’m going to have to do something about that, but not here in the store. Try not to worry about it now.”
A concept Mom learned from Love Me Enough to Set Some Limits:
Warning kids of a consequence reduces
the power of the consequence.
This idea helped her while she implemented the rest of the plan. She phoned a friend who could serve as a rather boring… yet humane babysitter. Mom did not tell Zachary what was going to happen.
At 10 a.m., her friend came to the door. Mom said, “Zachary, I’m going to finish my shopping. It’s going to be a great day. This is so sad. I don’t have the energy to listen to begging and arguing. That’s why you’ll be staying with Jenny. You will need to decide how you are going to pay her for her time. I know you don’t have any money, so you will need to bargain to see which toys she’ll accept for payment."
Mom had a wonderful time shopping, making sure that she was eating an ice cream bar as she walked in the door. “Hi Zachary. How did it go?"
“She made me pay with my remote control car and it’s new!”
A few days later, Zachary started throwing a fit about not getting a Happy Meal in the restaurant. Mom looked at him and sang, “Uh, oh, Zachary. Do you think that might be a bad decision?” Zachary’s eyes got very wide. He became unusually quiet and stopped complaining.
Mom ended her letter by saying, “Thanks for making my life a whole lot easier!”