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Parents stand strong! It is Christmas time!


By April Murphy

From constant pestering through to the full-blown tantrum, as parents, we have all been a party to or witnessed a child’s meltdown at the shops.

However, according to research from the University of South Australia, Aussie parents are faring very well, with just over half of all shopping trips occurring without any challenging behaviours from children, and when requests do occur, less than 20% of parents cave in.

“Despite the narrative about parents feeling relatively powerless in the face of children’s nagging, our research shows otherwise, with most parents holding their ground when it comes to pester-power,” says lead researcher, UniSA’s Dr Bill Page.

Christmas is fast approaching and the shopping centres are already extremely busy and a daunting place for parents with young children. Shopping trips with kids can easily become stressful, especially if the little ones are not in a good mood. And sometimes, no matter how understanding you try to be, handling these situations can put all your patience to the test.

There are a number of things parents can do to make shopping with children less painful:

  • Kids love having a job to do. If you can devise a useful task, such as pushing the trolley or ticking items off a list, they’ll feel more involved and interested.
  • Visit the free fruit station. A healthy snack might give you the time to complete the shop with minimal fussing.
  • Take things to distract. If you have a book, toy or something to eat on hand, you might be able to stretch their patience until the shop is done.
  • Just say no.  Remember you are in charge, not the kids.
  • Don’t be afraid to cut a trip short.  Go home, have a cup of tea and try again another time.

“Child nagging is a learned behaviour that children of any age can pick up. Children will continue to use it because once, in a moment of weakness, you caved,” says parenting expert Amy McCready.

To your child, the world is full of interesting things. Children are also easily influenced by clever marketing of children’s products. It can be hard for kids to understand that some pretty, shiny or yummy things aren’t good for them or are a waste of money.

We are all in this together and kids will be kids after all.

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