Please Do Not Reward His Bad Behaviour

Three year olds can be such screamers. They know some words but they don't know all the words. They know how to express themselves yet their emotions almost always take over and they go into overdrive.

Many screaming incidents from my three year old son later, I have learnt to ignore his screams and wait for him to calm down before I talk to him. If the situation does not allow me to, I will remove him from where we are and talk to him at a more private place.

It was a typical Sunday. We were just done with attending Sunday Service and we headed for lunch. We ordered our food and waited for the food to be served.

Breyen was either hungry or tired, or both. He wanted what he wanted and was not in the mood to hear anything else.

He wanted the knife on the table, and I said no, he didn't need the knife. He got angry. He screamed a bit.

He wanted this video on my phone that I just couldn't seem to find, and he lost it.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!" Breyen let it all go, at the top of his lungs. (Imagine those glass shattering kind of screams in cartoons.)

Every single person in the restaurant turned to see what happened.

I knew I couldn't talk to Breyen there, so I got out of my seat, took Breyen out of his high chair and carried him to the empty al fresco area of the restaurant.

The glass door closed behind us as I put my son on the floor.

"Why are you screaming?" I asked him gently.

"I WAAAAANNNTTT!!" Breyen continued to scream.

"Why are you screaming?" I asked him again. "You will not get what you want just because you are screaming."

"AAAAAAAHHHH!!!" Breyen wasn't about to stop yet.

Just then, the glass door opened. A server from the restaurant presented Breyen with a cup of ice cream and smiled, obviously to try and bribe him to stop scream.

"No, please do not give that to him," I said to the server.

"No?" He asked, probably confused.

"No. Please do not reward his bad behaviour," I said.

The server retreated quietly and well, awkwardly.

I turned my attention back to my son as the glass door closed once again. I continued to let Breyen calm down and then talked it out with him before we returned to our table.

I knew the server had meant well and probably didn't expect my reaction, so I knew I had to talk to him too.

When he came to our table again, I thanked him for wanting to help.

"Thanks for trying to help just now. But I don't want my son to think that he was going to get something nice when he didn't behave. I appreciated that you wanted to help," I said to him.

The server assured me that he was okay and that he understood what I meant.

Many a times, outsiders, whether servers, shopkeepers or well meaning passersby, have a tendency to think that they can help us with calming the child down by offering a treat. Also many a times, parents may think it will be rude to reject these well meaning outsiders.

Yet, these incidents are the ones that will confuse our children because it forms an inconsistency in what we do with them.

Through this incident, I have learnt that it is OKAY to politely decline the treat offer. The well meaning outsider is not the parent, so the parent should have the last say, especially in parenting moments like this.