Helping Moms When Their Kids Are Having A Melt Down In Public


If  you are a parent most likely you have been there.  You are in public.  Maybe you are grocery shopping or a restaurant and one of your children has a complete melt down.  


People stare, give dirty looks and even through all the screaming and crying from your child you can still hear the whispering from other people because of your child’s behavior.  Honestly, I used to be one of those people until I had children.  I was clueless! My kids are not perfect and once in awhile one of my little one’s will cause quite a commotion.  


Recently I read a fantastic article by another blogger. As I read this article I thought, OK once in awhile one of my kids may act up in public but we will get past it.  In the past when I have heard someone else’s children causing a commotion I have thought, I am SO glad that is not my child acting up.  That thought is gone.  I was in a place that no parent wants to be a few days ago. 

I was in Target shopping with six children.  A few of my kids had their allowance money with them so naturally they wanted to go look in the toy section.  My four year old daughter had a few dollars so we wanted to buy some cheapy little toy.  So she picked out a little toy and as we continued down the toy aisle she decided she did not want that little toy she wanted something else so she exchanged it for the new toy.  As we continued shopping she did the same thing again.  This time I told her to decide what she wanted because we were done with the toy area and I had to finish my shopping.  She sat in the shopping cart not answering me.  After asking her a few times and her not answering I decided  I was done. I had other shopping to do and the baby was getting antsy.  So we left the toy area. 


Once we left the toy area she started screaming and crying. LOUD! I tried to talk sense into her but there was no use, she just got LOUDER!  Even though I wanted to crawl under a rock and hide I decided I to finish my shopping and let her cry.  Yes, people stared but at this point I did not care I just wanted to hurry up and get out of the store.  My ten year old son told me he would use his allowance to buy her what she wanted but I told him that was out of the question.  She should not be behaving this way, it was not acceptable.  She cried even until we got into the van and left! 


I share this with you because if you are a parent I am sure you have been in my shoes.  Even as a parent we tend to be quick to judge parents who are in this predicament.  This outburst with my daughter is the worst I have ever experienced with any of my children in public.  Yes it was very embarrassing.  I am sure people were thinking why I did not have my child under control but what could I have done?  Even the woman behind us in the check out got mad and mumbled nasty words and went to a different register which made me want to get out of the store even faster.

Now when I see people in my shoes I know I will definitely have a different thought process.  Instead of judging or giving dirty looks mom’s need to stick together. Parenting is no easy task! I really could have used some words of encouragement, a smile or a can I help you from another mom in the store but none of that happened.


How can you help a mom when your child is having a melt down?


~ Offer encouraging words.  Can I help you?  Or it’s going to be OK, it will pass.  You got this mom!  You can do this! You are supermom! 


~ Give mom a smile or even a hug. 


~ If the mom has other children maybe offer to help with the other children while mom tends to the child who is having a melt down. 


~ I recommend not offering advice or ridicule because she may feel judged.


~ Do not get upset it the mom rejects your help, remember you are a stranger. 


Maybe your even judging me now on how I handled the situation. Why? Why not just help a fellow mom in public when she needs it? That would be a blessing to her and you.




  1. I always just smile at the mom when I see something like that. I don’t want her to think I’m being judgmental or condemning her – so I just smile 🙂

  2. This is such a great post! Moms need to stick together and help each other. Not stare in silent, righteous judgement. We all know how hard it is to parent!

  3. Love, love, LOVE this! I have often stepped in to help moms when their kids were having a meltdown. Often times it’s as easy as leaning over and asking the child what his or her name is or distracting them in some way. Sometimes, it’s just a pat on the shoulder.

  4. In the last few days I have heard a lot of parents with children who are having meltdowns. I think it depends on the parents what they want to do with that child with the temper tantrum. I think what you did was perfectly fine and I think I would probably do the exact same thing. These are some great tips.

  5. Oh this are excellent ideas. I’ve seen this happen so many times to other mamas and I feel terrible because it has happened to me too!

  6. Oh man! I remember those days. It’s so hard when your kid is having a meltdown in public and people are giving you the judgment face. People need to just be kind to each other.

  7. Since I’ve totally been there, I make a point of encouraging moms when their kids are acting up! I”ll say things like “Hang in there! It gets easier!” or “Hang in there! You’re doing a great job” Nobody wants to be the mom getting the dirty looks when their kids act up and a little kindness and grace goes a long way!

  8. It can be quite the challenge when the tantrum thrower belongs to you. We are so quick to give others advice when we are outsiders. This an incredibly helpful post!

  9. Less judgment is always the most helpful thing … those times are SO hard!

  10. It always amazes me how harshly women judge each other as Mothers. We all know it’s a tough gig so why not just be supportive? I always do the sympathetic encouraging smile thing myself. I know I always appreciate it when I get one of those on a rough day.

  11. Public meltdowns can be a challenge for everyone involved. Being supportive of other moms during the tough moments can mean so much.

  12. I have been there with my children and I know all about the embarrassment felt. These are great ways to help another mother. I will have to remember them. I could have used words of encouragement instead of dirty looks.

  13. A smile and encouragement will always be helpful. I’ve experienced it once when I’m at a mall and a child was having a meltdown and I won’t deny that I’ve easily judged the mother for not handling her child well. But after reading this post it helps me realize that being a mom is really not an easy work. Good job mom!

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