DEAR HARRIETTE: I was checking out at the supermarket with my 3-year-old daughter when she suddenly had a breakdown over candy I would not buy her. My wife was not with me, and my daughter was having the worst tantrum I'd ever seen. I was so embarrassed and did not know how to make her stop kicking, screaming and crying. Passersby were judging me, and I just had to let her scream on the floor while I paid and packed up the cart. I assured everyone staring that we do not deprive her and that this is not a frequent occurrence, but I was still extremely mortified. I contemplated buying the candy for her at one point but knew my wife wouldn't be too happy with a sugared-up and cranky 3-year-old. It was impossible to reason with my daughter, but I was so embarrassed after this whole debacle. How do I get the tantrums under control? I do not want to have to give in to every demand of my daughter. -- Supermarket Screams, Poughkeepsie, New York
DEAR SUPERMARKET SCREAMS: There are many schools of thought on this one. Personally, I think you should start with preventive measures. Make sure your child is not hungry or otherwise uncomfortable before you head out for any activity. Talk to her about expectations for where you are headed. Even at her age, she understands boundaries and rules. Explain what your outing will include and how you expect her to behave. If she starts to tantrum, tell her calmly that you will not comply with her demands (if they are unreasonable), and remain firm. Do not give in to tantrum behavior. If you need to take your child out of a store or other public space during the tantrum, ask the proprietor to hold your items until you return.