Summertime: Tantrums in the Grocery Store
by Barbara Frank
As a homeschooler, I don’t pay much attention to the local school district’s calendar. But I can always tell when summer vacation starts in my area. All I have to do is go to the grocery store.
Once school’s out, there’s a huge increase in the amount of screaming and tantrums going on, and most of it is coming from the moms. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve ever heard a mom yell, “That’s it, so-and-so, you’ve got a one!” (or a two or a three), I’d be a rich woman.
Moms whose kids go to school are accustomed to shopping alone, but summer vacation changes all that. To make matters worse, it’s pretty obvious that they haven’t taught their kids how to behave when out shopping. The combination of screaming moms and screaming kids often sends me out of the store with a headache.
Most homeschool moms have learned that no outing will be pleasant unless we’ve taught our kids to behave properly. We can’t just mark time until fall comes so we can go places without the kids. We’re always going places with the kids. It’s simply what we do.
Note that I said most homeschool moms, not all of them. Several years ago, my husband came home from a quick shopping trip and commented on a mom flipping out in the store, screaming so loudly at a couple of her children that she caught the attention of everyone around her. My young daughter (who had accompanied him) then piped up, “That’s right, Mommy, and it was Mrs. X from our homeschool group!”
Still, most of us learn pretty quickly that life will be a lot easier if we teach our children to be obedient. When my children were young, it was a treat for them to go to the store because we usually took a quick look at the toy aisle. However, they knew if they misbehaved, I would stop right where we were, turn around and head home. How did they know this? Because a couple of times, when one of them disobeyed me in the store, I had done so.
It takes lots of willpower to do that when you’re a busy mom hoping to cross “groceries” off your to-do list. It was very hard to leave my half-filled cart with the clerk up front, asking her to hang on to it because I’d be back that night. Once when I came back, the cart was gone. I had to start all over again. That was frustrating! But I had to teach my children that I meant what I said.
The payoff for that lesson was that before long, I could take my children out and have a good time. There were no tantrums on my part or theirs. I had shown them that I meant what I said.
When you homeschool and you have your children with you almost everywhere you go, you have to make them understand that you’re serious about requiring them to behave. When you do this, you insure that your future outings with them will run smoothly. You also insure that you won’t be caught screaming at your kids by the husband of someone in your support group!
Copyright 2012 Barbara Frank/ Cardamom Publishers
Excerpted from Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey (Book 2), the second book in a new eBook series from Cardamom Publishers, now available at www.Amazon.com. Barbara Frank homeschooled her four children for 25 years. You’ll find her on the web at www.barbarafrankonline.com and www.thrivinginthe21stcentury.com