One of the most dreaded things any parent faces: their child throwing a temper tantrum in public.
It’s a tricky, no-win situation with no easy answers: if you let your child keep bawling their eyes out, you look like a bad, inattentive parent who doesn’t care about disturbing others.
But if you give them everything they want to try to appease them, it looks like you’re spoiling them.
But Terrel Rico Relz Crawford seems to have found a solution that works for him, one that finds a middle ground between the harsher tactics he received as a kid, and the excessive coddling he sees modern parents doing.
He explained his approach in a light-hearted but thought-provoking Facebook Live video, which has been viewed over 22 million times.
Crawford is in the Walmart parking lot with his crying daughter. The video starts off mid-drama: the young daughter crying with an endless, perfectly annoying sob, but her father is unfazed, just staring at the camera with a “can you believe this?” look:
When his daughter has calmed down a bit, he turns to her and makes it clear that he’s fine with staying in the parking lot all day, but he’s not letting her in the store while she’s crying.
“We’re not going back in the store ’til you stop with your mess,” he tells her.
“We don’t have to walk around the store with your mom. That’s a privilege.”
In the description under the YouTube version of the video, Crawford wrote that his daughter is “spoiled to the max” as the result of being the only girl in the family. But Crawford puts his foot down and doesn’t fall for the girl’s cuteness.
Crawford turns to the camera, and talks about his parenting philosophy: Don’t spoil your kids, make them respect you.
He understands what parents go through when their children get restless, but he doesn’t believe in giving them things to calm down—in his view, this is basically rewarding them for throwing a tantrum.
Instead, he says it’s better to punish them by withholding rewards and privileges: toys, video games, tablets—and, in this case, getting to go to Walmart.
“They will listen, and they will be made to listen,” he says. “Or they will get in trouble.”
While his words might sound harsh, they are coming from a place of love and wanting the best for his daughter. Crawford certainly wasn’t spoiled himself as a kid, and didn’t come from privilege; he makes it clear that these principles of keeping authority over your children are universal no matter what your background is:
“I don’t care if you grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth. Don’t put one in your child’s mouth, because this is what happens.”
Crawford turns back to his daughter, asking if she’s ready to “suck it up” and wipe the tears off her face.
Crawford suggests that parents take their child to a quiet location to calm down, so it will be easier to talk to them without yelling. He explains this is his own version of his dad’s — less-friendly — approach:
“My dad always took us to the car if we didn’t act right, and sat there and gave us the death stare, like ‘If you say something, I’m gonna whoop you.’
“I just tell my kids, we ain’t going in the store ’til you stop screaming.”
And amazingly, it works.
After some time sitting on the hood of the car, the girl totally calms down — to the point that she’s smiling and waving at strangers, like nothing had happened.
Crawford is happy to see it and carries his daughter back into the store — but, like any parent, is baffled by kid’s strange mood swings.
It’s strong parenting advice put into practice, and given the millions of hits the video has racked up, and the many positive comments, it seems people agree.
Watch the full video here: