Have Fun with Your Strong-Willed Child at the Grocery Store

How many times have you been embarrassed by your strong-willed child’s behavior at the grocery store?

Don’t worry! It happens to every parent at one time or another. To some, it happens every single time they step out in public.

I was raising four children under the age of six at the same time. Trust me…I knew exactly what a strong-willed child was!

I’m sure you can relate to me when I tell you there were days I wanted to scream? There were days I did scream!

As you can imagine, taking my children to the grocery store was a living nightmare.

I’d make an attempt to distract my little hellions with a free cookie. Then, I would run frantically through the store throwing items in my cart as fast as humanly possible.

If I could make it out without at least one of them having a meltdown, I considered it a massive success! 

Isn’t that what we expect bringing toddlers and strong-willed children to the grocery store?

The Bible teaches us that it’s our job to discipline our children.

Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

The misconception of this verse is that we are to use the rod to punish a child in order to control their behavior.

But, a shepherd didn’t use his rod to hit his sheep, he used it to guide his sheep in the direction they should go.

Would you agree that there’s a massive difference between controlling behavior with punishment and guiding behavior by leading with teaching?

Which way sounds more Godly to you?

What if we’ve been making drastic mistakes that are causing us to struggle as parents more than we have to?

If there was a way you could take your children to the grocery store with fun, laughter and harmony, would you be ready to make a couple simple changes?

Follow these 7 proactive steps for more fun with your strong-willed child at the grocery store:

  1. Show your strong-willed child exactly what you wish to see from them when you eventually go to the grocery store. Don’t just tell, show!
  2. Find out their reward (in this case, the cookie at the grocery store).
  3. Break the reward into three categories — bare minimum (a bite of a cookie), average (half of a cookie) and outstanding (an entire cookie).
  4. Expect your child to help you at the store by finding items on your list (even a two-year-old can find a banana) BEFORE giving them their treat.
  5. Go shopping and remind your child why he/she is helping you find items. What are they working towards? Do they want just a little bit of a cookie? Or do they wish to have the entire cookie?
  6. Praise your child for following your proactive teaching!
  7. Reward with the appropriate category based on your child’s performance.

Proactive plans are the difference between knowing and guessing when it comes to child behavior. You’ll be surprised at how amazing your strong-willed child can be!


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