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By Krisshonda Odufuwa, M.Ed., BCBA., LBA., SLP-Assistant


Whether you are a parent of one or six children or a parent of a child with autism, you surely are aware of the infamous stares that accompany tantrum behaviors in public.


As a parent, the shame, embarrassment, and guilt kicks in when your child has a tantrum in public, and then—suddenly -- you think “Why did I even come here?”

Take a deep breath. Get eye level with your little one and follow these easy steps to prepare you for a smoother outing with your family and/or friends when your child breaks down,.


Intentionality

Parents, there is hope. First, be intentional by setting your child and family up for a successful community outing by Informing your them to the answers in the five “W’s”: where, why, who, what, and when. Where are you going? Why are you going there? Who will you see? What will you do there? And when will you return home?


You can conquer your fear of going out in a public setting with your child by preparing to go before you go! This is a strategy that many parents forget, so be sure to inform your child and others of what to expect.

Rewards

While you are riding in the car, reward your child for simple and appropriate behaviors, like staying in his/her car seat, having an “inside voice,” or, even, commenting about your child’s keeping his feet from kicking the back of your seat. Keep it simple!


Social praise such as “I really like how you handled ____. Or “I can’t wait to tell grandma how awesome you’ve been.” Or “Well, look at you! Are you enjoying looking out the window?” Social rewards are valuable in that they can potentially increase appropriate behaviors.


Your Mental Health

Parents, let’s not forget yourselves! Staying healthy, getting enough sleep, and taking time to get fresh air are vital in taking care of your children. When your physical, mental, and spiritual self are all functioning at its full capacity, you will have more patience, love, and compassion toward your child/children. If things become too difficult for you, seek help by reaching out to a family member or close friend. Consider further outreach by connecting a counselor in a safe environment to discuss your thoughts and feelings.


Take One Day at a Time

All children engage in tantrums. It’s not just your child. You’re not alone. There also are clinical, licensed, and certified professionals who can help you and your family if it becomes too difficult.


Grab a journal, do your research, and find the people who will do more than just stare at you. 

Krisshonda Odufuwa is a wife, mother, board-certified behavior analyst, speech-language pathologist assistant, autism expert, speaker, and writer. Krisshonda holds a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences and disorders and a master’s degree in special education with an emphasis on applied behavior analysis. With 10 years of experience walking hand-in-hand with families through autism, Krisshonda displays compassionate, relatable, realistic, and evidence-based strategies that are proven to improve the lives of families that love someone with autism. Blue Melo Connections on the following social media platforms: Instagram @ bluemelobehaviorchange, Tik Tok @ Bluemelobehaviorchange, Email: letsconnect@bluemelo.com


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