Why I Didn't Take My Screaming Child Out of The Movie Theater

This summer I really wanted to be a fun mom and do a lot of awesome things together with our family. We've crossed a lot of items off our summer bucket list, but with only three weeks left of summer, I really wanted to kick it into high gear to get those last few things done! Yesterday, in attempt to be a fun mom while Derek was at work, I decided to take the kids to the Regal $1 Summer Movies that they do every year. We saw Happy Feet Two, but it wasn't the most relaxing theater experience I've ever had. 

Disheveled child leaving the theater.

Things started off great. I sat in the middle and had Jay on my right, and Em on my left. We brought her portable booster seat so that she could be clipped in and safe while watching the movie, and was really happy and content for the first 20 minutes. But then she found the buckle on her seat and wanted me to keep buckling and unbuckling the clips for her every 10 seconds, and then she threw her first fit. I let her sit on my lap for a minute, but then she saw the stairs. 

She has been obsessed with having Derek and I help her walk up and down the stairs all day long at home, but I wasn't about to let her do this in the movie theater. She started screaming when I told her no, and then I told Jay I was sorry, but that we were going to have to leave the movie. He started to cry because he was sad about leaving early, and then when we got in the lobby I told Em she had one more chance. We got back in there and she said she wanted to sit on the stairs, I should have known better, but said that she could, and it bought us another 20 minutes before she wanted to be walking up and down the stairs again, and another meltdown ensued.

We went back out to the lobby, did another round of, "this is your last chance", and then headed into the theater where I put her back in her booster seat, in the seat next to me. She screamed her face off, but I decided in that moment that I wasn't going to take her out of the theater and drive home, and this is my reasoning why: 

Jay has to put up with a lot. His day is constantly being rearranged to meet Em's needs and while he is always so good about that, I don't want him to grow up thinking that her needs are more important than his. I didn't want Jay to be punished for something beyond his control, so I decided that we were going to stay and let Em scream. The movie was loud enough in the theater that I'm sure most of the people in the room probably couldn't hear her, and if the people next to us had enough of a problem with it, there were plenty more seats elsewhere where they could have gone to sit. 

Em screams as a result of her not getting her way and I really want to start teaching her that I'm not going to give in and cater to her screaming. It's also taken a lot of self control on my part to not raise my voice and get my own emotions involved. Once Em was buckled back into her seat and crying during the movie, I just ignored her, and watched the rest of it with Jay. Sure enough, after I ignored her for five minutes of death screams she stopped and watched the rest of the movie. I'm sure there will be people in the theater who will say, "There was a mom who just let her kid cry through the entire movie, it was ridiculous, she should have taken her out so that we all didn't have to listen to it", and that is a valid and respectable argument, but I was trying to teach her a different lesson today, and I was trying to show my son that he is important too. And that his happiness matters. And that we cater to his wants and needs too, and not just his sister's. 


  1. I think you made the right choice. I used to feel that way in sacrament meeting during those terrible three years of my daughter. Everytime I did, I realized I was giving in. Its hard to have a screaming child in a reverent chapel, but I let her scream, and sure enough, she stopped. I am sure jay appreciated being able to stay the rest of the show.

  2. You did the right thing! I think all us moms of special kids have those days of reckoning, where we have to let go of our constant worrying what other people think.