Yesterday we did grocery shopping in our local supermarket, as every week. Normally, my dad would babysit my son (2.5 years) for this time, but it was not possible, so the child joined us.
My son was sometimes a bit loud, he's a bit ill which makes him feel uncomfortable and therefore makes him whiny. He screamed because he wanted to drive the shopping cart, he screamed because we corrected the path of the cart. In between he enjoyed driving the cart and being helpful. Actually, for his conditions it was a mild noise, he can do louder easily.
We encountered an elderly man, who was very angry and asked 'Is he always that loud?' and commanded us to calm him down because he has a hearing aid.
My reaction was to walk away and don't engage in the conversation (and put the child away from him, fast) while my husband became angry, too and asked the man if he wasn't a child himself once.
What I would like to know is how to respond to such an encounter in order to achieve the following points:
End the encounter immediately and never speak to them again.
Don't leave a bad expression of us as parents and our child, at least not on all bystanders (because the person complaining has likely made up his mind already).
Don't make my child feel he has done something wrong (because he cannot control his feelings yet).
I felt sorry for the man, as I sometimes get headache from his voice, but I can't leave him in the car and he is not yet reasonable enough to react positively on 'please calm down, please be a bit quieter, remember there are other people around' kind of phrases.
My son likes to scream when he's bored, he screams when we help him and he thinks he doesn't need help, he screams when he's angry, he even screams out of joy. All different kind of screams (maybe there are more differentiated words for that in English) but all ear piercing.
I know that, it annoys me too, but I can't do anything against it which wouldn't result in more screaming (except for maybe keeping him busy with eating or so, but this is not a feasible solution). I hope he grows out of the scream phase with time, when he learns to control his emotions. It got better in the last year, as he started to talk.