wild 20 Mo. old #145731 - Ask Extension

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wild 20 Mo. old #145731

Asked August 07, 2013, 8:01 AM EDT

I do support work for famlies with children and I have one mother who is frustrated with her 20 Mo. old daughter.  The 20 Mo. old will not sit in a cart in the grocery store and will not sit in restraunts.  She cries and throws fits that the mother no longer wants to take her out to eat and it is exhausting for her to carry the daughter thru out the store.  Any suggestions?

Livingston County Illinois

Expert Response

Unless there is a medical reason for the daughter's behavior, my thought would be that it is a learned behavior. You might ask the mother when the behavior started and how she has handled it in the past. If the response has been punitive in the past, the daughter has learned that these outings are not enjoyable. If the response has been one where the daughter stops her crying if given a reward, then she has learned how to get her way. I would suggest starting small. Have the mother tell the daughter -- "We are going to the store to get milk. I expect you to not cry. If you cry we will need to go to the car until you stop crying." Have the mother follow through. She might also add later if the daughter doesn't cry that they will do "X" something the child likes to do. In all, she is going to have to help the daughter "relearn" her behavior during these outings. The mother needs to remind the daughter too as young children can forget easily. Therefore tell the child what is happening and the expected behavior before leaving the house. Remind the child in the parking lot. If the child starts crying in the store, remind her of the consequence and follow through. It will take more than one time for the behavior to change. And remember to tell the child how happy you are when she doesn't cry -- in other words, catch her being good and reinforce that behavior.
Sandra Bailey Replied August 18, 2013, 10:32 AM EDT

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