Tantrums in the Grocery Store – Part 3

Did our kids ever misbehave in public while they were in their formative years?  Yes, but it was curtailed rather quickly.  Our secret was our discovery of the musculocutaneous nerve that derives from the lateral cord of the Brachial Plexus network of nerve fibers.  These nerve fibers lie adjacent to the trapazius muscle, the large triangular muscle that covers the collar bone between the shoulder and the neck.

While that sounds like a lot of mumbo-jumbo, what it simply means is that we found the nerve that runs from the shoulder to the neck.  It is easily accessed by applying pressure with your thumb and forefingers to the hollow area of the collar bone adjacent to the neck.  Apply pressure and you will receive an instant reaction from your child.  This also happens to be a pressure point in martial arts.  Pinch yourself in this area to get an idea of what it feels like to have pressure applied.

When our children first reached the age when they wanted to “carry on” in public (age 3 or so), we came up next to them, discreetly placed our hand on their trapezius muscle, applied some pressure to the hollow area of the collar bone, and they instantly stopped what they were doing.  In fact, they stopped so suddenly as if to mimic a statue.  Problem solved – inappropriate behavior stopped . . . immediately.

Pressure was never applied to cause them to cry; rather, that instant jolt of pain was sufficient for them to immediately cease whatever they had been doing – mainly to avoid continuation or recurrence of the pain.

Using a training method similar to Pavlov’s research, our children quickly learned that inappropriate behavior in a public setting would result in the dreaded “pinch”.  They were quick to learn that behaving appropriately was more enjoyable than the parental response to bad behavior. 

Problem solved.

Later, if they were flirting with poor behavior, it would only take for us to place our hands lightly on their shoulder (no pinch) for them to immediately quiet down.  Why?  Because they knew they were only a millisecond away from receiving a sharp pain, something to be avoided at any cost.

Some may view this disciplinary method as ‘corporate punishment’ and will avoid utilizing it at any cost because of the parenting style they have chosen.  That’s okay – they may have found another method for encouraging their children to behave appropriately in a public setting.  But, I’d be willing to wager that our method works more effectively and in a shorter period of time than any other method.

But, whatever method you decide to implement in raising your kids, know that you have two goals in mind when facing this behavioral situation.  First, is to bring the child under control so they will learn to act responsibly in public as they get older.  Second, is to make your job as parent easier and more enjoyable.  The sooner you can remove disciplinary issues from your (parental) plate, the more occurrences of happiness you will have with your children . . . not to mention the preservation of your sanity and the avoidance of strange looks from other adults.

Remember – research has proven many times that children crave rules and limits.  Therefore, don’t deny them this craving – give them the rules and limits they need to grow into responsible, well-behaved adults.