Family Shopping

Updated on March 07, 2008
S.M. asks from Lebanon, OR
48 answers

I have been on this site for a short time and I love all of the advice all you moms out there give so I am hoping you can help me. I have a problem when all of us go out shopping, all of us meaning me, my husband, and three kids(two boys and one girl). It happens when we go to a department store, the kids just start bickering when they think we should be done shopping. Just the other day we went to Kohl's and I had two things in the cart and we were able to look at just a few things and then I said I want to go look at this and my oldest started in and then the other two. Then people start looking at me because the kids are just bickering and saying you don't need that so let's go. By this time I am so embarrassed that I don't know what to do and poeple are still looking at me and my husband and my kids. This makes my husband grumpy so then he is on me about the kids, he is a great dad, I think he just gets embarrassed to. Ok so we get out of the store and I look at my clock and it was an hour. I just don't know what to do because I have tried taking them to the bathroom, leaving the store etc. Is there anyone that has advice?

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So What Happened?

So we have not went shopping yey but I wanted to thank all of you who gave me advice. I am exciteeed to try them. Thanks again. Amanda

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J.O.

answers from Seattle on

I let my kids know they have no option for starters. Then if they can behave we will do something fun like go to the playland at mcdonalds but they have to be on my terms because I make many sacrifices a day for them so they can make some time to behave for me in public. If they dont behave then I stay longer and they can embarass themselves. Let them know they should be ashamed of the way they are treating you and others. this can be done in a quiet discreet way but it needs to be done. My kids learned at an ealry age to just go with the flow and we will be done faster.dont let them bully you now or you are in for big trouble later.

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T.S.

answers from Seattle on

I have four children and sure do know the challenges of shopping with all of them. If I am at the grocery store, I try to engage my younger ones in helping me shop. Like looking for the apples, pick out the brocolli, find the crackers, etc. In the mall, we have a play area so I shop a little and then play a little. It seems to help break up the challenge of just having to "behave" in the stores.

I also have an e-commerce business, so ALOT of our shopping for necessities is done through our business so we have more time to do the things we and the children really enjoy.

Happy Shopping. :)

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K.W.

answers from Seattle on

What I used to do when my oldest two were smaller, was first, we would go to the section I knew they loved the most(sometimes it was books, sometimes toys, sometimes candy). I would let them pick out something they wanted and even hold it the whole time we were there. Touch it, love it, play with it, show it off to the kid in the next cart, whatever. I told them from the very beginning that if I had to tell them more than two times to behave, or if they pitched a fit ONE time, I'd take it away at the cash register. A few times of that, and I never had problems again--except the one time my son smacked me. Yep! He smacked me, and hard. I think he was maybe two at the time. Oh yeah, he surely didn't get his toy, and when we got to the car, he learned such an effective lesson, he never smacked me again. But talk about being embarassed. The cashier herself, told me if it was her, she'd whup him right then and there. I told her thanks for her concern, but I'd handle it later.

Anyway, I've seen some good suggestions here, and I'd say(imho) the best is either the rewards suggestion, or the leaving them at home suggestion. One other thing you could do, is send your hubby off with them all to somewhere else, while you go and do what you need to do. Since he seemingly thinks he'd manage them better. My hubs would take the kids and go to electronics, the hardware section, the sporting goods section, or somewhere else equally boring. Lemme tell ya, they appreciated me muuuuuch better when they came back, except when they went to electronics. Video games there, ya know.

Anyhoo, my youngest I have never had any problems with(when she was a baby, she had colic and I NEVER went to the store with her, or anywhere else for that matter), and my son(now 15), ironically likes shopping much better than my oldest daughter, who will only go if she reeeeeeeally needs something, or is reeeeeeally bored(ironic for a 17 yo girl, eh? Thank GOD!), and is actually very budget conscious and a good bargain hunter. I usually take him shopping with me when I go get groceries, and I prefer it over taking my husband. My son knows where everything is, reads labels better, and knows the routine.

Personally though, like someone else said, unless it's a trip especially for them, or you really need a helping hand(we bag our own groceries where we shop--I NEED extra hands) I'd use that time more for me and some "get away" time. Or better yet, shop with a friend. Do lunch, get a pedi, too! :o)

Whatever the case, I hope it gets better soon.

K. W.

P.S. And if you want to see a kid acting reeeeeally bad, check out thi site: http://inthemotherhood.msn.com/?source=MSN_FamilyParenting , and go to the one titled "Preachers, Panties, and Police." Yeah, you think *you're* embarassed lol. Oh, and "Nightmare on a Plane." Her kid is the DEVIL!

This site is a great way to laugh at motherhood. Not too terribly realistic, but somewhat, and DEFINATELY funny and a nice little break. :o)

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

Hi there,
Your children are training you, not the other way around in this instance. By allowing them to "win" they get their payoff. It's like Pavlov's dog, ring the bell present food; pretty soon the dog starts to salivate at the sound of the bell. Unfortunately, you and your husband play the part of the dog in this. Your kids are the bell, the end result they break you two down and get out of the store early. So you have a dual attack happening, kids are sick of shopping and start their act to get what they want, dad gets mad at kids and grumps at you, you get embarrassed, leave the store...kids win.
It's time to have a sit down with your husband, a good dad will help deal with the issue not become part of it. So figure out what your game plan is going to be, make absolutely certain dad is on board, and go to battle :-) Before your next shopping trip you figure out exactly what you need from your shopping foray, then you and dad sit the troops down and very clearly communicate your expectations and the consequence for not meeting those expectations. Then follow through. Dad cannot break ranks and join the winning team, he has to present a united front with you. The minute the bickering starts you remind them of the consequence, if they persist you institute the punishment, nose on the wall, sitting on their bums with their hands on their knees and their foreheads on their hands, whatever, but you make it immediate and you let them know your shopping will continue until you are finished so sitting there till they behave is only wasting the fun time they could be having afterwards.
Yes, you could leave them at home but as a mom you will have taught them they only have to whine, fight and be disrespectful to get their way, sounds like a nightmare to me. Good luck to you,
M. P

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K.S.

answers from Seattle on

Who is the boss here? Sounds like the kids are running your family. You and hubby have got to take a stand NOW or it will get worse as they get older.

Try reading and implementing STRONG WILLED CHILD by Dr James Dobson.

Also, if you and your hubby are not totally in love and in harmony the kids will pick up on it and it trickles down into the family. The bickering and fighting are indications that they are trying to gain your love and attention.

Yes, show them love and patience but also let them know that you have some things you must get done and if they cannot behave you will have to leave them at home next time.

If it happens again then stand by your word and get a babysitter next time. Don't put up with their tactics. They are playing you and getting away with it. K.

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L.K.

answers from Portland on

my thoughts would be to go shopping by yourself and leave everyone else at home.

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M.B.

answers from Seattle on

S.,

It sounds like your kids are older than my 4 1/2 year old son, and 1 year old daughter, but this should work. Kids of any age need to know where the boundaries are.

With my son, when he stops listening he either has to ride in the cart and not be able to walk next to us. Or, if he's just had enough and my hubby and I aren't done shopping one of us takes our son out to the car to wait until the other is done. He has to sit in his seat, and doesn't get to play; just sit in his seat, like he's in timeout.

If we have to leave the store before shopping is done, then when we get home he has to go straight to his room, and is in trouble.

Hope this helps,
Melissa

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E.S.

answers from Richland on

Lay down the law, Momma! Choose a consequence, either one for each child or one that works for all three, for when they start in on you. You are the parent, not them. You get to decide when you go, not them. Before you go shopping, make sure they understand what the consequence is. Tell it to them and make them repeat it back to you. Then, when they act up in public, remind them of the consequences. Implement said consequences if they continue. The most important thing here is consistency and follow-through. If you give in even once, the consequences will not work. You have to follow through every time.
Good luck! I know it sounds hard, but it will be worth it in the end. Your kids will behave better in public, your husband and you will not be embarrassed, and your kids (and maybe even your husband!) will respect you.

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J.M.

answers from Seattle on

Stand firm and tell your children exactly how you expect them to behave when you are in the store. Tell them exactly what the consequences will be if they misbehave. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Stop getting embarrassed. This is the number one key. I swear children sense (and capitalize) on their parents' humiliation the way a shark does blood in the water!

My oldest son was cursed with a mother who doesn't react to embarrassing situations and I believe that we have fewer embarrassing situations because of this. I remember when he was about 2.5 years old. I had an armload of my husband's dry cleaning and my son pitched an absolute screaming, shrieking fit in the parking lot. I moved him over to the sidewalk and stood there watching him. I had people coming out of the shops to ask if I needed "help." My response was always a polite "no thank you, we're fine." I stood and watched my little "angel" for about the longest seven minutes of my life. When he was done, he stood up and we walked into the dry cleaner like nothing had even happened. Darn kid.

In another example, he threw a shrieking fit while sitting in the shopping cart because I wouldn't buy him something he wanted. I ignored him. I also didn't leave the store because he had started pitching a fit because he was counting on the fact that I would leave and because I was about 75% done. I continued on with my grocery shopping and the WHOLE time my son was shrieking like an absolute banshee. I just stayed calm the entire time. (The bonus was that everyone got out of my way and even let me cut in line!)

I figure that the other parents were looking at me and thinking "Oh thank goodness my kids are out of THAT stage" or perhaps "Better her than ME!"

Just yesterday I was at Costco with my three boys and my oldest kicked one of his brothers. The first time he got a warning and the second time I put a Thomas the Tank Engine book that I had planned to buy for him back. My oldest wailed like I had amputated one of his fingers but I just ignored the behavior (and the looks we got from others!).

I think many of us are almost afraid to take any disciplinary action when we're out in public but I think that THIS is when it is most important. They might have a screaming/screetching fit in the moment, but I think they'll be less likely to behave badly in the future.

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J.M.

answers from Portland on

When this happened in my family I simply stopped going to the store with the kids. I waited for my husband to get home from work and left the kids with him or went on the weekend. I tell them why when they ask why they can't go with me. I can't tolerate disrespect and rudeness, especially in a public venue!

I hope this is possible for you. You'll probably get your shopping done a lot faster with out trying to stop their bickering.

J.- mom to seven

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L.S.

answers from Seattle on

in my experience... leave the kids home with dad....

I have 4 under 5 and hubby works nights... so Saturday or Sunday evening is when I go out to shop for things the family needs. It is also my decompression time. I leave about 7p and stay our until 930 or 10p. I get coffee and just walk around, window shop, pick up items on sale for the kids, myself, my husband.

He is off on Sat night and Sun night... Monday morning, I try to get my grocery shopping in, without kids again... and after everyone else crams the grocery stores over the weekend.

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P.M.

answers from Portland on

Shopping is not "natural," it's a relatively new activity imposed by modern life. Even if adults enjoy it (I seldom do, even though it is necessary if I want to eat or wear clothing), there's no reason to assume that our kids should.

Any time I'm in a store, I listen to the misery of kids being hauled around by parents who are oblivious to, or annoyed by, their boredom or restlessness. You know the sounds: crying, whining, begging, bickering. Parents cope with this natural and understandable behavior with repetitive threats, yelling, and bribes, or they ignore their children and let them scream or run wild. I was banged into by a little girl shoving a cart several years ago, and my achilles tendon still gives me trouble.

As you might be able to tell, I don't think this is effective or joyful parenting, and it can be an unkindness to other shoppers. It doesn't sound like you or your husband enjoy it either, so I'm left wondering: why does your family persist in doing this unpleasant activity together? Take the kids only when you have to fit them for shoes or larger clothing, and if possible, take them one at a time and keep the trip brief and focused.

You don't say how old your kids are, but they will eventually take more interest in shopping for themselves. At that point the problem changes, and you'll probably be seeking advice on how to limit their shopping, spending, and materialism. Isn't life amazing?

(By the way, if you HAVE to take your children, Michelle S, a few responses up from here, has some excellent ideas. Handle the trip sort of like a long, boring car trip, and provide pleasant activities to keep your children engaged!)

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M.M.

answers from Seattle on

Amanda, sounds like a stressful situation to me! Why not stay home and shop online, when it's convenient for you. After the kids go to bed or they are watching TV or doing homework, whenever you have the chance. That's what I do, I don't have to worry about traffic,any distractions, bored, bickering family etc, I can shop in the privacy of my own home. Try it! Good Luck! Email me if you like [email protected]____.com, I can give you some ideas Thanks M. :)

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K.E.

answers from Seattle on

You didn't say how old your children are but an hour at a store is probably all you can expect from children under 11 or 12. You may be able to extend that by providing interesting things for the kids to be engaged with while in the cart but that is rather tricky with 3! It seems like your biggest problem is your own embarrassment. You don't have anything to be ashamed of. You have great kids who happen to be impatient and they need your guidance about how to express that appropriately. Your embarrassment is crippling you from responding with the authority they need to know how to do that. Maybe plan trips without the whole family for awhile and let outings like that be special one on one times with kids but only if they behave and only on shorter trips. Good luck.

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D.W.

answers from Portland on

Hello S.:

I would suggest having the kids write lists of what you are looking for in the store. If they cannot write yet, then you do and read it to them one by one for each item. Give tokens or prizes for behavior and finding the items. The tokens can be saved for a really fun thing or item of their choice. If they do not earn the tokens they have to go home with Dad or the other way around. It is not so important that children come with you to clothes shop, but in the case of groceries or necessities, they need to learn what is expected in public and this takes time for kids to learn. I would also suggest 1-2-3 Magic by Dr. Thomas Phelan. Great video and book for behavior changes and other things such as sibling rivalry. Good luck and happy shopping.

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K.B.

answers from Seattle on

Sounds like you need the Love and Logic's course! I have just finished the course and it is wonderful.

It is very empowering and it would be perfect for you.

You can look for the books by Jim Fay, or check online for the website. But I suggest going to your local DSHS office and asking if they have a foster parent training courses. They are free!!!!

The next time you go shopping Tell the kids you are not going to take them, that you love them too much to argue. Say it with Empathy then have the babysitter show up. Clue them in first about what you are going to do. Then tell the kids that she/he is going to watch them and will be expecting to be paid. Good luck working that out, mabey she will take toys for payment.
When you return you could pay and say how are you going to pay me back? Chores, or toys? Let them earn the toys back.

Don't forget the empathy when something happens it is much more effective to say that is so sad, Delay the consequence, and the next time they want to go somewhere It is so sad. Tell them I would love to take you, but because I had to worry about your behavior. I don't want to take you. The key is don't take them a couple of times.

Check out the class it is wonderful!

K., mom of 6 plus foster children.

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K.B.

answers from Portland on

Hi there,

Honestly my advice is to not take the family shopping! I hardly ever go with my two daughters and husband, it's just not worth it, everyone gets impatient. Make it a trip for your self or with a girlfriend, ask the hubby to stay at home with the kids, he probably would rather do that anyway! Us moms need some shopping time by ourselves!

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B.V.

answers from Anchorage on

You need to take control of the situation, let them know you are the boss. You can use either positive reinforcement (which tends to be more successful), or negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is giving something, like a treat if they are good. A negative one, which we use quite often is threatening to take something away. Like sleep overs, going over to friends parties, movies, dessert..You need to let them know this is something that has to happen and they can be on board, or have consequences, or treats if they are good. But bottom line, you all are a family and this is one thing families do, shop together. Good luck.

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A.T.

answers from Portland on

Wow- you're brave. I tried a few times to take my kids shopping- it always ends up a disaster. It's just asking for trouble. My husband and I made a deal, we took turns going to the grocery store, and made a point of getting a sitter for mall-trips. Taking the kids shopping is like a recipe for disaster, even when they are older, they still don't like it.

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K.C.

answers from Portland on

I have been married for almost 13 years with 4 kids, 3 boys 1 girl. I go through the same thing. My husband is as bad as the kids. Not the bickering part but he wanders off. Then I'm stuck looking for him or I'll say forget it and let him find me. As far as the kids, they get a very stern warning. If it continues, they get a swat on the rear. Then they know I was serious with my warning and they're a bit embarrassed.

For the most part now a days, I try not to take them to the store if I can avoid it. One of them is usually OK or if it's a real quick trip.

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J.H.

answers from Spokane on

Hi! I remember those days well! I am now a grandma, but I
had four kids in five years, and do I remember taking them all shopping....it was a nightmare. First off, I determined to train my kids how to behave in public. It was difficult, but they soon knew that when I said NO, I meant it. It takes real work on your part...you can't let them get away with one time when they don't listen to you. You get their attention and teach them by going over and over and over the rules of being out in public. You tell them about a hundred times and back it up by catching them and correcting them EACH AND EVERY TIME they start to bicker or misbehave. It really, really takes WORK, but you CAN do it. As for Dad, well...I can relate to that, too! My husband was always tired (he was a fire captain and worked 60-hour weeks sometimes, hard, physical work, too)
and he had zero tolerance for kids acting goofy in public. So
we talked it out and I included him in our gameplan to train
the kids to behave in stores, theaters, restaurants, etc. He
and I worked as a team catching and correcting the kids, until
they figured out we meant business and they couldn't get away
with anything. We were firm but gentle. Pretty soon, we were getting compliments on how well-behaved our kids were in church and out in public.
Now my kids are all grown and teaching THEIR kids to behave in public, and they ALL have come back to me and thanked me for
the way their dad and I raised them.
Hope this helps. You are welcome to reply and stay in touch.
Good luck.
:>) J.

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M.S.

answers from Portland on

I don't know how old your kids are, but if they are old enough to talk, then they are old enough to be disciplined, and old enough to be able to last an hour in the store. I don't mean to be mean, but they are acting this way because they can, and the payoff is that most of the time they get to leave.

If it were me, I'd give them one warning. If they continued, they would be sitting until I was ready to go. Your husband can either take them to a couch area and make them sit there (no talking, no playing), or out in the car (no talking, no playing). It needs to be something really boring so they eventually decide that it would be more fun with you.

You can plan ahead and try to make the shopping trip more interesting for them.
*Give each child a list of things to look at or buy as well as one "free look". They take turns helping you purchase or look at whatever item is on their list, and have one "free look" to look at whatever intersts them (and everyone else has to wait).
*Make a list of things you might see in the store (how many things on the list depends on how long you want to shop). As they see the things, they cross them off. No one can use the same item that someone else saw first, anyone who ventures away from you cannot count whatever item they found while away, etc. (green towel, manakin with hand on waist, red glasses, etc)
*Let them each bring some small toy or video game to entertain them.
*Plan a treat for the end of the shopping trip for anyone who did not have to get scolded three times. (ice cream, a small toy, a trip to the park, a cookie, etc)

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E.J.

answers from Seattle on

This is probably not the best idea, but I always resort to it when I really need to get some shopping done and I have one or both of my kids with me.....I head for the toy aisle first and pick up two toys that they can sit in the cart and look at/play with (I usually get two of the same, so they can't argue over it). This keeps them fairly occcupied for awhile (hopefully until we get to the checkout) and then I tell the cashier that we are not getting the toys. They have no problem with this at the store and I've seen other moms doing it too! It works pretty well for me (as long as I don't do it all the time) although I can imagine that some kids might argue over giving the toy back at the end. But even so, at least you're dealing with a fussy kid at the check-out, and not in the middle of the store!
Shopping has got to be the hardest thing for kids to sit still through....good luck!

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L.R.

answers from Seattle on

My best advice for you is to set down expectations of your children before you get to the store, and the consequences if they don't meet your expectations. I would never go pleasure shopping with my family. If there are things you need, tell the kids exactly what each is looking for. If they start bickering, give them some kind of consequence which is reasonable, respectful and related. If you emabarrass your child, the behavior won't change because they understand it was wrong, but because they are embarrassed. Then they will try something else and get sneakier about it. I know what I'm talking about because I was the child who got embarassed and then got very sneaky. It doesn't have to be in the store. You could take care of it in the car. If things get so bad, leave everything you were going to purchase and walk out of the store. That shows that you mean business. Children are looking for rules. WE as parents need to set them up and stick to them.

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B.J.

answers from Seattle on

I can soooo feel your pain. I'm a mother of 4; ages 14, 12, 8 and 2.

(kids = short attention span) I've learned I need to take them all out separately if I expect them to behave in public for any length of time. When I come home with things "they wouldn't be caught dead in" I simply tell them that when they learn how to behave in public while shopping, they can have the privilege of escorting me and choosing their own items (within reason). That privilege is set only for those children who behave well in public.

For the remainder of the pack; I simply find a babysitter and do my shopping with my husband. I have great next-door neighbors that my kids love to visit and they have kids I love too. It's a great trade-off! If you don't have the luxury; have your mom, you sister or your best friend pay your kids a visit while you and your husband duck out for a cup of coffee and a great RELAXING, shopping trip. It's good for the marriage too!

And as for those idiots glaring at you, forget them!! They probably don't have children or if they do, their children wouldn't be seen in public with them and therefore they're simply jealous!! In either case, they have no clue of what a brave woman you are for trying to take them all out shopping together! Bravo You!!

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D.D.

answers from Spokane on

I have 3 girls 15, 8 and almost 3--- and we love to shop! Although the whole mood changes with all three together. Get dad in the mix and I'd rather be home cleaning! LOL! Shopping, whether buying or just looking, shopping is a pastime. One of relaxation, (if you arn't concerned with the spending)to spend qualtiy time together, a chance to chat and have fun. One on on. Parent-kid or parent-parent. You work hard so enjoy life at every moment possible.:)

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S.B.

answers from Richland on

I had a problem with the children roughhousing. I put them in a line, oldest to youngest. They look like penguins walking behind me. It is their job to follow me because I'm the boss. If they fail to comply, It's a trip to a bathroom stall alone with me. Children do what works. If they fight enough they get to leave the store, which is what they want. Your job is to make sure the bad behavior fails at its goal. I would tell you children "the more you fight, the more stores we go to. You make the choice."
-S.

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D.A.

answers from Anchorage on

My advice to you is. Limit your children's time on the activities that they enjoy. Example: going to a water park. Oh gee we can only spend one hour here. When they ask why, refer to when you are shopping that you are only allowed an hour because of there actions. So in turn they are only allowed one hour for what they enjoy. After a few times doing this you will see an improvement in behavior. With my children when they were younger. My daughter age five had a temper fit in the grocery store. We went home and the fallowing week when I went to the store I took my son and she stayed with a babysitter. My son and I enjoyed our day and ended up going to McDonalds. When we came home she seen the toy and was a bit upset because she didn't get to go. After that she didn't have a fit anymore.
Hope this helps you.
D.

A Little about me: I have two grown children and one grandson that will be four this month.

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M.W.

answers from Portland on

What you con do depends on how old your kids are.It sucks to have to go shopping on date night(believe me I know)Next time you are at a store take turns distracting the kids,tell them they can go to the toy isle to look for future Birthday/Christmas presents.Thats the best advice I can give you without knowing how old your kids are.

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D.O.

answers from Seattle on

I had that problem with my 5 ! I did a couple things until i got the behavior i wanted them to show ..
I took them to the car and had dad sit with them thats did it a few time .i took them home and called a babysitter and informed her they were to not use any games or tv until i returned home.
I would stop as soon as they started bickering and ask them if trhew would like to go home and stay without privledges or did theyt want to be with us...i informed them that people were watching them act like spoiled brats.....i also wouldnt buy asnything for them until they started minding and being pateint ... If i told them we weould go to lunch somewhere when we were done .......on the condition they behaved , and they didnt we went home and had pb and j /
you and dad need to sit down come up with a positive plan and get a back up sitter than you can take them to if need be.
Once you have a plan in place then sit them down and tell them the plan ! Ask them if they have any input.maybe they dont want to go shopping whoi knows ..... If they say they want to stay home leave them !! Dont stress yourself
you can also try having dad and the boys go find something in the mal they want to look at or do and you and your daughter shop together and ask her what she thinks a bout things teach her the art of comapare prices and whats the best buy noting that cheaper isnt always better.....you may also try sittiong them in a spot on a bench or place that they are out of the store and tell them when they are ready to go back in and mind then you will try againi got muy 5 in line in a matter of 3 trips and when they saw i wasnt going to give them anymore time to get it together they chose to behave and go shopping .... We always did something fun on the day that we wnet so they didnt like to miss out
i only took the ones that didnt mind out and to a sitter. Good luck i hope this helps you be consistant !! It pays

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M.L.

answers from Anchorage on

My oldest used to do this. Whenever he wanted to leave he would start acting up - throwing fits, whining, yelling. One day he even threw a temper tantrum!!
I solved it by making shoppping a treat. I started leaving him with his Grandmother and telling him where I was going. On the times that we all went shopping, we would keep it very short and every once in a while get him something.
After a while we started streching the shopping experience, little by little. Now all of us (Grandma included) can go shopping for almost four hours before he gets tired and needs to go home.
We don't do that often though. Mostly, if I am going to be shopping for me and plan to be awhile, I shop without the kids. Which makes it a treat for me!

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S.D.

answers from Portland on

One time my daughter threw herself down in the store yelling dont hit me mom dont hit me,,,,,I had NEVER spanked or layed a hand on her before and I was HORRIFIED!!!! I immediatelly left the store and tried to get an explanation for her behavior that day and really am still perplexed 20yrs later. However, I was a single mom with her and her twin younger sisters. I finally had had enough of thier behavior at the store and at first I tried threatening no lunchables(thier favorite)or goodies of any kind. Eventually I resorted to bringing along a friend or sister of mine and if one or more of my daughters acted out in the store then that child lost whatever goody she wanted and had to leave the store with my friend and stay in the car for the rest of the shopping. The "good" ones got thier goody and whoever was unable to control themselves inside did not! With each twin it only took one loss of a goody to "fix" the problem and the oldest one who had previously horrified me never acted out again at all. Of course they would still need a little reminder now again to slow down with the cart, watch out for others toes and NO you cant give rides in the cart heehee but one warning was all it took to lower thier voices and slow down the little busy bodies..I think you`ll find if your husband has to remove a child and go to the car with them, that child is going to fret over what he/she is missing out on inside. Another idea is to plan shopping trips with one child at a time,,making it a special "alone" time with mom. After each child has had that one on one then reintroduce the "family" trip and I think you`ll find each one will be more cooperative as a group, tho expect some missteps,,they are still kids. Good luck,,,,S.

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S.F.

answers from Seattle on

I don't know how old your kids are, but I usually tell them that if they're good (be specific about what this means, ie. stay with me, no arguing or whining), we'll get an icee or $1 McDonald's sundae. It doesn't have to be big. My six year old would be excited about a boucy ball from the vending machine. Believe it or not, this idea even works for my 15 year old.

Some parents might consider this bribery, but I call it incentive. Who doesn't like being rewarded for doing what's expected of them (paycheck?). The tricky thing is to not give in when they really haven't earned it. If you have to tell them more than once or twice that they aren't earning their reward while shopping, then don't give in. This will only happen a couple of times before they get it.

Sometimes, if I know I'll be long enough for the kids to get bored, I'll try to involve them in the shopping. Ask them, "What do you think of this?" or "Can you help me pick out a pair of pants for daddy?" If you have older kids, they could pair up and tackle a couple of simple things for you and help you get finished sooner. Besides teaching them about the intricacies of shopping (price point, sizes, making choices) This usually makes them feel helpful.

Hope this helps.

P.S. While others may look at you, they may just be watching for how you handle your children. Most of us deal with this to some degree or other. You never know, someone may be learning positive parenting skills from your example.

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M.L.

answers from Seattle on

It sounds like you enjoy shopping, so use this opportunity to teach your kids the fine art of shopping: "which color looks better on me/you/Dad," "help me find this shirt in a different color/size," "which price is better?" Younger kids can help make selections and put things in the cart "We need 4 big apples and 2 small lemons." For older kids, give them a short list and a small budget and let them go on thier own small shopping spree while you take care of the "boring Mom stuff." Working together will make things go faster, they will be too busy to bicker, and they may even learn something in the process. Have fun with your family!

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R.G.

answers from Seattle on

I have 3 kids, son who is 9, daughters 6 and 2. My 6 year old daughter is famous for freaking out in the middle of stores, church services, you name it she's done it. it blows my mind because we've raised her no differently that we did our son who is older, but there is a world of difference in their personalities and attitudes. we tried all kids of things with her also, spanking in the bathroom, leaving the store, taking away toys, taking away snack, taking away tv, etc. what finally worked was making her stand in the corner at the store. she cried for the first few minutes, EVERYONE stared at us in disbelief that we did that. but we only had to do it twice (on separate occasions) and she stopped. there have been a few incidiences start since then, but all i have to do is ask her if she wants to go stand in the corner and that's all she needs to stop.

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A.H.

answers from Portland on

If it is necessary for the entire family to go shopping together then you need to tell your children the rules before you walk into the store.
What behavior do you expect from them?
Remind them that they do not run the show. You lead, they follow.
The best thing to do, if you can, is to have your husband and children go somewhere else and meet you back at your store after a certain time limit. I think that's the only way the majority of us have been able to get any shopping done. (Without the family there!)
I really do know what you're going through. We just did a Costco run on Sunday. Oh my!
Tell your children the amount of time you will be spending in the store and if they make your decisions take longer, then you have to stay longer. If they want to bring a book or a game to pass the time, super.
Remind them that you lead, they follow.
Good luck!

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G.C.

answers from Spokane on

Sounds like maybe it might be a much more enjoyable shopping trip if you left the kids with a sitter. They are probably bored and have discovered that by starting the bickering they know they won't have to be in the store much longer. In other words, it sounds like they have learned that they are in charge.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

I have read only a few of the responses. You have received some great advice.

I'm wondering how old your children are. What might work for one age won't for another.

And I picked up on one of your kids saying, "you don't need that so let's go." That is outright disrespect and should never be tolerated. I suspect your kids are disrespectful at home and in other situations too. I suggest that you need to stop the disrespectful attitude first. Again, how to do that depends on the kid's age.

I can relate to the embarrassment. My daughter would tell me what to do or not do and I wanted to disappear. When she was in grade school we left the store. When she was older I ignored her and went to a different part of the store. I never did figure out how to follow thru. I wish I'd known and been able to use all the skills I've learned since in my reading and from this site. And I'm using different skills with my granddaughter than I did with my daughter and feel much more in control. I'm hardly ever embarrassed anymore. We have an agreement about "second chances." She's 7 now and we started it a couple of years ago. I warn her once and if she continues to be "sassy" we leave. This works for her because she loves to shop. Leaving upsets her. It didn't upset my daughter. But then I adopted my daughter and only got started finding ways to discipline her when she was already 7. :-( (I just learned this sad face today on this site.)

If your kids are older and been getting away with this for some time you will have a more difficult time finding a way to end the behavior. I want to emphasize that teaching respect is high on the priority list of things to teach our children. The older they get the more difficult it becomes.

A comment on your husband's reaction. He also sounds disrespectful. He's their father. Why isn't he looking for a way to change this scenerio? Will he work with you to enforce discipline?

I wish you success!

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J.S.

answers from Portland on

Hi S.,
You and your hundband need to get on the same page and tell the children that this is the job you are doing (shopping or whatever) and they need to be on their best behavior. They are talking to you in a disrespectful manner and when your husband gets grumpy he is simply adding to the frustration. If you take them places and are patient with their "shopping" then they need to return the courtesy. As a family you should be able to do whatever needs to be done without a lot of negativity. I hope your children aren't acting this way in the school setting or out with other children. Also, your children should not dictate what you need or do not need to purchase. Somehow they are picking up negative energies and feeding on them. I do know how difficult it is to shop with children, but when they become irritable I leave and they do not get rewarded with something they would rather do than what I need to do.
Good luck,
J. S

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T.P.

answers from Bellingham on

I go shopping by myself while my hubby watches the kids at home or he drops me off at the mall for 1-2 hours while he and our son go do guy shopping, errands or fun stuff. Sometimes we go shopping together if it's something we need to get together but not very often. I love shopping alone. If you must shop as a family maybe you could figure out some sort of reward system if the children are good.

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D.C.

answers from Medford on

Hey there,
It just sounds to me like there is a big issue with your children not having the respect that they should for both of you. you didn't mention ages, but being that can speak that well, I'd say they would be old enough to know right from wrong...from my angle and based on what you said, it sounds to me like You and your husband both need to be a united front and demand respect from your children. Whether it's at home in private or in a public atmosphere, they should never feel comfortable enough to speak to you in such a way and you should never feel so uncomfortable or embarrassed in public with your family that you feel like you have to hide in the bathroom or leave.
My opinion, dad should have stepped right in and said " don't you talk to your mother that way or you'll be dealing with me!" When he's not around, you need to exert the very same authority and in a stern, commanding voice, ( without yelling or curse words ) tell them that will sit there and be quiet, show some respect or their will be ramifications for them when you get home. My favorite is "wait till I tell your dad" Hopefully dad will back you up.
When you get out of the store, if they have been respectful..just tell them thank you for being so good in there. I'm so happy, I'll buy you an ice cream :) You might even have a pep talk before entering the store about a small incentive if they behave and what's going to happen if they don't. I would let them bring in a toy from home to keep them occupied while shopping but I never let them pick a toy off the shelf to play with through the store unless I planned on buying it. Taking a brand new toy out of their hands as we walked out the door only ended in more problems in the car on the way home.
When you come out of the store...if they have been little brats...I'm so dissapointed in your behavior today. that I think we are going to ( fill in the blank ) instead of watching TV, or music lessons...ect..
They just need to know that if they don't show respect to both of you, you can make life very difficult while still loving them :)
I have six kids total. 4 are mine, 2 are step kids and although we have had our issues...as soon as we dug in and established that we would not tolerate disrespect in any form, we got along fine. Things weren't perfect but I could go in public at any time and am confident in their behavior. They know that if they wanted to challenge me I would meet that challenge and it wouldn't be pretty LOL! ....it also helped that I could be as loud and obnoxious as they could in the store.
It would be so funny they would raise their voice on purpose so other people could hear and try to embarass me to get me to bend...you know...just give the little brat what he wants so he'll pipe down, well that didn't work, instead I would give them a dose of their own medicine and do the same but turn the tables around on them. In a loud voice, so anybody within ear shot could hear I'd say something like " I'll tell you right now young lady or young man, you think you're going to talk to me that way, You have another thing coming. Now you're going to walk with me, keep your mouth shut and do as your told or when you get home ect....) I didn't care what other's thought, but most times I got a nod of approval from people who were glad to see a mom taking a stand...my kids would be sooooo embarassed that the next time they thought better of it. The next time, all i'd have to do is ask them if they'd like a repeat. It's one thing to speak to mom and dad about something, but it's another thing entirely to do so like spoiled brats.
Anyway, hope it helps and didn't sound like a lecture..that's just how I handle it and I can take my kids just about anywhere and be proud of them. I get many compliments on how my kids behave even when I'm not around, just because we have instilled in them that they show respect to adults in general, at all times.
Good luck!

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N.D.

answers from Seattle on

are you out of your mind!!!? going shopping with 3 kids and a husband for any length of time is too long! plan your shopping on your own or 1 child at a time! the end!

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J.B.

answers from Medford on

You could have hubby take the kids out to the car so you can finish shopping in peace. You will be able to shop faster without them distracting you.

It is great that hubby goes shopping with you, but if you are not getting stuff he needs to help pick out, he could stay home with the kids so you could go solo.

I don't know how old your kids are, but you could also remind them that if they don't behave, you will be taking away a privilege or favorite toy or game. I hope you find help with one of these ideas.

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W.L.

answers from Seattle on

Have you tried the reward system. It works for some kids and not for others. Tell them if they can behave in the store that YOU want to look in, then you are completly done you will take them to a store they would enjoy going in. Or if you are in say Target, tell them you will take them to the toy section if they behave while YOU shop. You don't have to buy them something every time, they enjoy window shopping too.
I hope this helps,
W.

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S.C.

answers from Spokane on

It depends on the ages of the kids, but you might try a reward such as playing games at the arcade or getting ice-cream if they do a good job shopping in the store. I try leaving the kids at home if possible, or my husband and I will split up (he takes one son and I take the other). Also, keeping it short helps. There are lots of things families can do together and shopping doesn't have to be one of them! S. C.

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A.B.

answers from Portland on

How about leaving them at home? sometimes having everyone together plus the stress that shopping can bring can be a bad combination. if you need to shop for things, let dad watch kids. if one of the kids need something, make it a date to go with just one. shopping is not something that needs to be a family affair. find something fun to do together that most everyone will like (you can't please everyone!). if you really need to take everyone because maybe dad is working or whatever, give them a choice. say "i need to do some shopping today, so do you want to come with me? or do you want to pay for a babysitter from your allowance?" give them 2 choices you are ok with. choices and limits should always be enforceable.
Or, i don't know how old you're kids are, but younger kids you could have pictures of the things you are shopping for. like if you are the grocery store and you need certain produce, have pictures that they can help you find the items you are looking for. then they feel like a big helper and it's fun for them. if they are older, you could make a trip to kohl's more fun. make it a game. maybe like a scavenger hunt. once everybody finds all the things you are looking for, everyone gets the prize of going out for ice cream or something.
good luck!

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E.B.

answers from Seattle on

I find that things go better when I clearly spell out for my kids what I expect. For example, "We're going to go to Kohl's this morning and I'm going to need to look at four different things (socks for Suzie, a new shirt for Dad,...) and I might also stop at several clearance racks. We'll be there for about an hour and a half. You're probably going to feel tired, but I need you to not bicker. That will just make the shopping last longer. I'll bring you a snack to help keep you energized, and after we get Suzie's socks and Daddy's shirt, I'll hand it to you. Is there anything at Kohl's that you want to look at?" Then, about ten minutes into your shopping (or whenever your kids are behaving well for just a minute) I'd say, "Wow, you're really helping me accomplish my tasks here. That makes things go faster. I bet I'll have time to read you three library books this afternoon now. Thanks."

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A.W.

answers from Anchorage on

Well first off im wondering why your husband is allowing your children to disrespect you like that and second of all I wouldnt care what other shoppers think. I would turn around and discipline them right in the middle of the store. Either a time out or such depending on the age. Dont allow what others think to stop you from being a mother.
Thats pretty lousy your husband gets on you about the kids. Sorry to say but that isnt a good sign. You are NOT the only parent here

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