House & Home

A Lesson For Parents from a Grandparent

It never fails, when I stop at the grocery store, whether it is for a quick item or two OR the weekly shopping, that there is a child somewhere in the store screaming or crying. I was a parent once; I get it. You can’t always find someone to take care of your children when you have to do errands, and kids HATE doing errands. But I swear, some parents have no common sense when it comes time to do errands.

But I digress since this was a great-grandmother and her great-granddaughter.

They stood in front of the cashier in the lane next to me. It wasn’t that I was eavesdropping; it was that the grand-daughter was screaming so loudly that she gained everyone’s attention. True, it was 5:30 in the afternoon and nearing the dinner hour, but that wasn’t the little girl’s problem. Did I say little girl? I thought she was a little girl because I  saw the plastic “future shopper” flag that is attached to the pre-school shopping carts moving back and forth.


When I moved up slightly, the “little” girl came into view: I would wager she was about 11 or even 12 and screaming with affected tears about wanting a stuffed unicorn. I wanted to go ask the girl how old she was, but I thought better of it.

What I loved was the great-grandmother. She was the picture of calm and took her jolly sweet time in paying the cashier. “She’s so spoiled. She’s only embarrassing herself,” the grandmother said to the cashier. When the grandmother had the bags of groceries in hand, all she said to the girl was “Let’s get going.” and the girl, still screaming, grabbed her purse out of the cart and followed in a stormy huff.

My hat goes off to the great-grandmother who stood her ground and didn’t cave to the caterwauling of a child. Far too many parents need to learn to stand their ground and not worry about “hurting their child’s feelings” when the child’s behavior is not acceptable.

I would have loved to have had the time to sit down with this grandmother and give her some ideas on how to elicit better behavior from her grand-daughter.


  1. It seemed like the grandmother was the child’s regular babysitter. She could give the girl some easy chores for which she would get paid on a scale: $1.00 if the child could remember to do the chore without being reminded; $.75 (cents) if they were reminded but completed the chore without complaining; $.50 (cents) if they had to be asked a second time; but only $.25 (cents) if the child complained at all. This way the young girl could earn the money for what she wanted and buy it herself.
  2. Include the young child in the shopping process: make the list at home (practice writing skills), only the items on the list can be purchased (learning and understanding impulse buying), finding the items in the store and checking them off the paper (scanning the shelves and the list – a reading skill), and even making sure you have cash for the products (making change and counting money – a math and life skill).
  3. Have the girl sit down at home and make two lists: why I want the item AND why I need the item. This can create an interesting discussion.
  4. There is NOTHING wrong with walking out of a store without your items if the child with you has a melt-down.

If all else fails, shop before or after you are watching the child.


  • clarkewrite

    Congratulations on completing Blogging 101. The people I feel most for are the store clerks that have to listen to temper tantrums while trying to be accurate in their work. At least as a customer we could leave! Yes good parenting advice. My sister used to have her kids put impulse wants on a birthday or Xmas wish list. Great piece!

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