Supermarket Tantrums- A War of Attrition

There is nothing more embarrassing than looking on helplessly as your child throws a temper tantrum in the cereal aisle of Tesco Lotus. Your the CEO of a powerful attorney office. You deal with hard headed, difficult people on a day to day basis. Your skills and deft in areas of negotiation and leadership are what got you where you are today. And yet… as the wails and tears get louder you are left standing there, naked; completely powerless and desperately seeking the quickest exit. You’re thinking of how to ease the tension and numerous factors and scenarios are flowing through your mind. As the growing mass of eyeballs turn their gaze on you, you choose your weapon…

Weapon A: The Boss

You bring out your first weapon, confident that you can easily bring the little one down with a bit of authoritarian rule. You call out “Get over here now and stop that nonsense”. In an instant the confidence is gone, being replaced by what can only be described as a forlorn look of regret, as your child replies with a barrage of “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” By this point your child has gained some reinforcements as the discernible look of onlookers becomes sympathetic to your child. You respond, trying to win favour, by bringing out Weapon B…

Weapon B: The Bribe

After seeing the miserable failure of the first weapon you completely flip your approach. You are now really worried about what others think of you, so you pull up a little closer and whisper as so no one hears, “Look if you stop crying, I will buy you ice cream”. You know this is bad parenting, but if no one hears, you might just get away with it. Without even a thought for breathe the response is short and loud, “I don’t want ICE CREAM!”. You reload “How about a new toy? A cake? A movie?” Each time you miss your target and with every miss you look even more desperate as your bribes turn into pleads of mercy. You retreat back and once again completely reassess your approach.

Weapon C: The Ignore

You are now thinking straight. You have stopped worrying about the crowd of people now forming around you and you have brought out weapon C. You can’t believe you didn’t use this one first. Perhaps you were worried people would see it as neglect, but you are sure this will work. You confidently speak out, “Right, I will see you back at home then”. With that you walk round to the biscuit aisle, carefully keeping a close eye on your target through the gap between the Hob Nobs and cookies. Now it is a matter of patience and stamina. A dual of wits and courage. You wait, your child cries, you wait some more, your child cries louder. You wait apprehensively, considering your choice of weapon…and then… suddenly… your child stops. Silence. “Victory is mine” you tell yourself as your child walks to the end of the aisle and peeks round the corner. You walk back towards your child, head help high, waiting for the raptuous applause that you so rightly deserve. All those eyes crying tears of joy as this Parent Prince wins a battle for all the embarrassed parents out there. You round the corner just in time to see your child putting their arm behind a box of Kelloggs and begin running, knocking off all the boxes like dominoes, giddily smiling and laughing at the mass of chaos they are leaving in their wake. You drop down onto your knees, pull out your white flag and gently sob into a box of Lucky Charms.

GAME OVER… but if only it was just a game…


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