Punishments Outside of the Home
We met up with a friend and her daughter today at our mall for the kids to play in the play area and to have some dinner. It started out ok, but my son started getting out of control. He screamed at me, told me to "Shut up!" at one point, and tried to swat me with his hand. I felt completely at a loss with know how to institute punishment, though. My friend lives out of town so it wasn't like we could just skip it and do it another time, though it would have saved me a lot of headache. And I had my 4yo DD with me, and she was being very good and was really enjoying hanging out with our friends' daughter. So, if I told DS we had to go because he wasn't behaving, it would be a punishment against DD too (and me, because we don't get to see each other often). I also couldn't really let DD play in the play area and not DS because I couldn't watch them in two different places at the same time, and DS would just scream louder and the situation would escalate further - which is what happens with time-outs. I deal with it at home because I can keep him in a safe, quiet place long enough for him to calm down, but I couldn't locate a suitable place in the mall that would work for that. But I didn't want him to "get away with" his behavior just because of the situation... He is never normally that bad, I think today was just a perfect storm of tiredness, hunger, and overstimulation (yes, I realize prevention of these things is key, but I'm not sure why he was so tired and I can't control his hunger because he doesn't eat). What I ended up doing was taking away his favorite thing, which was to read two books before bedtime. He's not quite 3 though so I'm not sure that it sunk in, because it was about three hours later and when I reiterated to him why he wasn't getting the books he didn't seem to comprehend it, which is what I was afraid of in doing an after-the-fact punishment like that.
I recognize that I pretty much failed all around on this one, and I'm not so ignorant as to expect that it will never happen again (I'm actually pretty impressed that we've gone a total of 4.5 total parenting years without dealing with it in either child), so for the future - what do YOU do in this case, punishment-wise? PS, for what it's worth, we do not believe in spanking. If you want to share your spanking advice, by all means, but it will fall on deaf ears (er, eyes?).