Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Suggestions, anyone?

I'm at my wits end.

My son has decided it's funny to run away from me. In the store. In the parking lot. Into the middle of the street. It often happens when I am preoccupied with his sister. All it takes is one split-second of diverted attention and he's off. He's a fast little sucker too.

I've tried everything: yelling, time-out, take toys away, take his lovie away, and even resulted to a quick swat on the rear in particularly dangerous situations (no, I do not spank my children as a general rule). Nothing works. It's often hard to do anything about it since it happens 90% of the time with his little sister. I can only do so much when I'm holding another baby in my arms.

He loves to run, he loves to be chased, and he really truly thinks it's a game. I have no idea how I'm supposed to reason with a two year old.

And so I'm coming to you, our readers. Any suggestions? Anyone experience the same thing? I'm desperate.


  1. you can always try the not chase him thing, say "ok, see ya later, bye bye" then walk around the corner of the isle-in the grocery store (obviously you can't leave him in the middle of the street)and watch where he can't see you, also, don't allow him to run at the store he goes from the car seat to the cart and then from the cart to the car seat, if he cries and says why explain that when he stays where you can see him, he can get out. and if you believe he really will try to stay close you can let him out but the second he makes a dash for it, he goes back into the cart and doesn't get out period, no negotiating. Explain to him that it scares you when you can't see him because someone could take him, and then you would cry. Most two year olds don't like to see mommy cry. But my advice to you is stick to it! once he lost his chance he has lost his chance, why? if you give in, he will know he can get away and 3years old is SO MUCH HARDER THAN 2! good luck and stick to it! ( P.S my boys are 24 months apart.. i have so been there!)

  2. Oh, I so feel ya, honey. You know where I'm coming from.

    Ditto, ditto, ditto on Catherine's comment. My kids sit in carts (period, amen) until they can prove to me they're not going to run away. When the inevitable running away (or more tantrum-throwing) does happen (after they're in the walking stage), I'm a big fan of leaving them in the aisle b/c I do not play games in stores. As for roads and parking lots, I chase them down, as necessary, but it's a pretty big deal and a spanking is not uncommon (which is pretty much the only time I feel validated in spanking b/c it's so dangerous). The biggest thing for me is prevention. My kids *always* hold my hand or a sibling's hand while in parking lots and streets (we "make a train" complete with sound effects). They don't hold hands, they don't get to walk, end of discussion.

    Firmness and consistencey is key. Even the most run-away prone toddler figures it out eventually.

  3. I agree with what has already been said. My first 2 boys are 13 months apart, and the older one had so much energy as a 2 yr old, he would literally run laps around the living room on an hourly basis! He used to run from me ALL the time! I did the same things as Whitney and Catherine, I'd leave him if he wouldn't listen, and we'd also make trains while holding hands. I wasn't too proud to go grocery shopping while jogging through the store to keep things interesting enough for him to stay in the darn cart (I did get some funny looks, but I shopped when nobody else was there, so I didn't care). The only problem I had was that he didn't care if I left him sometimes. I actually lost him a few times in the grocery store because he wouldn't stay with me. Oh, and then he totally wasn't scared that he couldn't find me. Stinker. As much as possible, I used the heavy duty straps on our double stroller whenever we went anywhere, and other than that, you just get through it every day. One day at a time. 3 can be easier than 2 in some ways, although he'll argue more. 4 is a trip--attitude!. 5 is super emotional. It doesn't get completely better but it will change enough to keep you on your toes! Say a prayer- or many. I used to pray constantly that I wouldn't kill them or he wouldn't get run over. He's alive, so it must have worked! :D

  4. I was just writing on my blog about this struggle that I had with my son a couple of years ago. Honestly, I had to cut down some of our outings and not go out as much because it was a lot less stressful that way. I know it's probably not what one wants to hear, but he was crazy at running away and not caring if I was screaming his name and threats at him! He grew out of it though! I can finally get out in the world a little more now ;)

  5. Ditto on most of what has been said. No walking alone until they can prove they won't run. A double stroller with good straps can be your best friend. And when things got crazy I shopped late at night with no children. Two tricks that seemed to help with my kids. First, in parking lots we made a game out of standing on the white line next to the car. They got to the point they would all line up on the line before we would hold hands and do that train on the way into the store. Second, with my kids that were close together I would do 15 minute practice shops and we'd look around the Hobby Lobby that was practically next door. They figured out how to behave in the store because we did it so much, and I didn't feel bad leaving the store right away if they started throwing a fit or running away. Practicing and consistency do pay off eventually. :)

  6. Your brother use to do the exact same thing. Your dad and I would hide behind endcaps at the store watching him, and he would be humming away without a care in the world. Our only recourse was the wrist leash. I swore up and down I would never use one until your brother came along, then it was my lifesaver.
    look up child wrist leash on google and you will find some nice ones. They have come a long way since the days of your brother.

  7. I guess I just need to be persistent. I've tried most everything before. He is starting to behave better in stores. My biggest problem lies in the transition from the car. He'll take off while I'm strapping his sister in the car, or when I let go of his hand to open the door, or act like he's climbing into his seat then take off. I like the idea of "practice time" - I haven't tried that one before and that might help. Thanks for all the suggestions (and the reassurance that this happens to everyone and I'm not some bad Mom, cuz some of the looks I get from bystanders make me feel that way).