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Shopping CHAOS – 5 Kids, 2 Parents And A Stalker Security Guard!!!

Wednesday, 25th April 2012

Shopping CHAOS – 5 Kids, 2 Parents And A Stalker Security Guard!!!

Today started off with us remembering the Anzacs.

By lunchtime it was quite clear that we needed to do something with the MonsterSquad on their day off. They were starting to get ‘bored’ and the nonsense was looming.

So I made the call that we should go for a drive to the ‘big shops’ and get some things done that I haven’t been able to do in town.

The aim:

* Buy fabric to make the car seat covers for the van.

* Make a clothes lay-by for the kids at Kmart.

* Let the 3 older kids choose out some birthday pressies and put them on lay-by so all I have to do come the time, is pick them up.

Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?

Well you would think so.

We gave the kids the usual warning about sticking beside us, doing as they’re told and not touching everything in sight.We asked them not to ask for everything and promised them a drink once we got to the shopping center.

First stop was Spotlight. Now I know that unless you’re running wild through the craft section, this is probably not an exciting store for kids but with the quantity of fabric that I required, I needed hubby to come with me into the store to lug it around for me.

I chose the fabric relatively quickly and we headed for the counter. Where we waited…… and waited…… and waited some more. It had to be nearly 20mins before we were even served. Not because the store was exceptionally busy, but because they had one lady behind the counter.

Eventually, a young girl served us. It became apparent very quickly that she had no idea what she was doing at all. So while she fluffed around and went to find someone else to help her, the monsters began their nonsense.

It took us 10mins to find what we were looking for and 45mins to get served. Un-Freakin-Believable.

We finally ushered the kids back to the van and explained what we would be doing in the next shop.

The guidelines were clearly outlined and the expectations were perfectly reasonable.

We entered Kmart and headed for the kids clothes. They chose out a few bits and pieces and we moved on towards the shoes. The girls quickly tried on some boots, and I decided to grab us all some slippers too.

Next stop…. the toy section. (Insert ‘dundun’ Law and Order type sound here)

Within 2mins of the monsters raiding the aisles, we had a screamer. 2 more minutes and we had another one. Why?

Because I said no. Nothing harsh or unexpected. The same things that were said back in the van.

Now, I will not tolerate tantrums in the shops. I have seen countless times when parents in shops give in and give up when the almighty tantrum is produced, but I am not going to let the monsters manipulate us like that.

So I said time was up and we headed to the lay-by counter. By this stage the screamers were in full blown tantrum mode. So loud that I could not even hear the lay-by lady over them, nor could she hear me. One last chance to stop was given with the threat that dad would take them back to the van.

With no change in behavior, hubby picked them up, dragged them along, as best he could, kicking and screaming and chucking the mother of all tantrums.

Here comes the funny bit…

The Kmart security guard followed and stalked him all through the store and towards the carpark!!! WTF!!!

Perhaps he thought my hubby was stealing them….

errrr no, if we were going to pinch a child it would be a lovely well mannered quiet one… not two possessed psychos letting the whole shopping center know they were unhappy with mum’s decision to be firm and stick to her word.

I wonder what the guard was going to do? I mean if hubby was stealing children, this guard really did very little to deter him. Bit strange really…

So I finished our lay-by and headed back to the van where the 2 tantrum chuckers were quite happily creating more chaos and nonsense. It’s like they didn’t give a bugger what they had just done, the embarrassment they had caused us all or the stress they had put on hubby having to drag them out of the shops.

Next stop was Big W. I took the well behaved children in with me while hubby sat in the car with the others. I have no idea how he kept his cool with this second round of tantrums, because I was getting very close to… ahem…. “Losing my shit”.

I have seen this technique in so many parenting books, on shows like The SuperNanny and in parenting techniques such as 123Magic, in which they all promise fantastic results. Except I am left wondering how many attempts of this it is going to take for these monsters of mine to realise it’s just not on.

I am at a loss as to what to do next.

Do we just never allow them to go shopping again? Surely this can’t be helpful as there will be times when there is no other choice, and I guess they need to acquire these life skills at some point.

What would you do to deter this kind of behavior when out shopping?

Do you also put up with tantrums and chaos when you take your children out?

How do your children react when you put your foot down and say NO??






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    1. Taking kids shopping is never a barrel of laughs. Like you I always do the rule run through right before we get out of the car as a reminder. But I also tell them that if they don't ask for anything while we're at the shops then at the end of the shopping trip they can have a treat of their choice eg. donut, slurpee, whatever. Whoever misbehaves misses out. If the toddler throws a tantrum I walk away and leave her there, she always comes running after me with a sob and a sorry, but on the odd occasion when she doesn't I pick her up and take her back to the car and we leave. This parenting thing is not easy, I console myself that one day my kids will be teenagers and when I go shopping with them I can be the one to throw the tanty on the floor!

    2. I feel your pain Jac, and I only have two children! Our tried and tested method of divide and conquer works a treat. I cannot shop with the two of them together. One will behave, while the other one runs amok. Then they swap and it's on again. I can't stand it!! I don't put up with tantrums at all and I have left the trolley right there in the middle of the store and gone home. I think I would take the older children shopping and leave the younger ones at home, or perhaps take one of the littlies with an older child so that they can see a positive example. It's hard. Good luck!

    3. Renee

      Hey mine r very shocked wen they r told that something they wanted or were promised and dont get it!!!! They now have learnt the hard way of us leaving asap wen they carry on. I hate shopping with feral kids and tantrums. Do u punish them wen u get home for their behaviour while out??? I have and it worked here but i dnt have 5 kids lol.

    4. Stephanie

      Ha ha! Stalked by a security guard sure it wasn't the paparazzi under cover? I only have 4 girls (13,11,6, and nearly 2) - and to be honest I can't stand shopping with my kids - so I've just stopped. I shop with my husband once a fortnight for food cause well we'd starve otherwise and otherwise I steer clear even during school hours as my nearly 2 yo is a screamer - for no particular reason - and I can't stand it! So my hats off to you for even trying! I'm a net shopper - and a menu planner - I don't get suckered into bargains on the day and believe it or not I've really cut our spending in half!! And saved what little sanity I have!! Clearing clutter and knowing what we have for our kids has really helped us achieve this as well!!! PS next time some security guard stalks you I'd pull out my phone and take some photos or video so you can share you blog with a vlog!!!! Great read as usual!

    5. My. Hub hates any kind of shopping involving our kids. They go wild with him around. I have no advice because I only have two and they resond to whispered threats .

    6. Jacinta

      Thankfully my kids are not that bad when I go shopping. I have never had a full blown tantrum in the shops, however they have deffinatly been very naughty. What I do when they are screaming and carrying on is I put my hand firmly over their mouth until they stop while wisphering a threat in their ear. After they have worked out that as soon as they stop my hand comes straight off it works within about 10 seconds every time. If you do try this however I do suggest you train them at home. It will take roughly about 10-20 tIke's for them to realise what happens when they stop. Hope this helps

    7. I'm sorry, I laughed at the security guard trailing your hubby :-) I am definitely of the school that if you don't behave, we're leaving. However, I can see that with five and things needing to be done, it can get tricky. Having said that, I make my shopping trips quick and purposeful. No non-sense allowed, tantrums are ignored and children left behind, or dragged out kicking and screaming. I also offer rewards for good behaviour, such as a milkshake or a donut, or a play in the park. Lately, I've been using game time as a the ultimate currency. They have to earn game time by doing what I need them to do. So far, so good. Mostly...

    8. Rebecca

      I only have one little one, a 2 yr old bundle of stubborn energy. I have recently found it tough, but more so if there is someone else with me. I asked my mum the other day how she managed it with twins, she said 'with a thong. It makes a very loud noise but doesn't hurt.' Not sure I could do that, but she said we were angels after that. I'm going to search a few more tactics :)

    9. Krystal

      The oldest one doesn't chuck tantrums perse anymore (and neither she should, she is 8!) but my Aspie almost 4 year old will regularly scream the shop down. Particularly if I want him to do something he doesn't want to do, like hop in the trolley or try on shoes (shoe shopping is a nightmare!). I, like you Jac, calmly talk to him in the car and tell him what is going to happen to prepare him and if he doesn't agree he stays in the car (he never stays in the car, he agrees every time lol) but when it comes to actually doing what I talked to him about he chucks a fit. So I continue to talk to him calmly and lower my voice more than normal but not whisper, and if he wants to hear what I am saying he will have to be quiet and I threaten to take him back to the car and he will have to go home while I do the shopping. Again, he is only one child, I don't know what I would do with more than one acting up! Problem is you can't even give a kid a decent smack in a shop to let them know they need to cut it out, some bloody do-gooder would do you in! Nonsense! If you find something that works Please Please Please share!

    10. debb

      I have 5 under 11 so i understand your pain when it comes to shopping..usually though I take them alone. They muck up often but can also be really good so its a bit of a hit and miss sometimes. My hubby is a security guard or LPO and he usually has to watch screaming children out of the stores because alot of the time they tear things off shelves/smash things etc. Dont take it personal usually their job is to prevent loss in the store.

    11. You have to remember that the average shift for a store security guard can be very boring indeed. They will latch on to anything, just to help make the time pass a little bit quicker. Although, like you say, if the security guard was following your hubby in case he was stealing the kids, he didn't really do much to intervene did he. The joys of shopping with screaming kids hey.

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