Your child has thrown themself on the dirty ground, screaming incoherently, in the middle of the food court. It’s official – this is your child’s public meltdown mode. Your first thought,
“OH S*@$! PEOPLE ARE WATCHING.”
Suddenly it feels like everyone in the food court has stopped in their tracks to watch the public display unfold, to watch YOU.
You are expected to handle this, to correct it, to get it under control.
You kneel and quietly plead with your kid to get off the ground. When that doesn’t work, you offer a desperate bribe,
“IF YOU STOP YELLING, YOU CAN HAVE THE COOKIE WE BOUGHT.”
But the screaming continues. Your forehead starts getting sweaty, you feel desperate to make the circus show of your child’s public meltdown stop. You feel judging eyes on you.
You decide to show you’re serious (not just to your kid, but to the public watching). No. You are not that parent. You will not let them get away with this disrespect and obvious breach of conduct. You up the game with a threat.
“IF YOU DON’T STOP SCREAMING RIGHT NOW, YOU’RE GOING HOME AND STRAIGHT TO TIME-OUT.”
Nothing. It’s as though your child hasn’t heard a word you said (spoiler alert: they haven’t). You can no longer ignore the sweat under your armpits – your t-shirt is revealing your stress to the world. Your heart rate is going up. More people are passing by and you feel their judging eyes burning into you. You see thought bubbles above their heads while your child’s public meltdown continues:
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