don’t assume that your children will suffer from sibling rivalry.
Although many books and articles may scare you into thinking
that siblings always hate each other, it is a far cry from the
truth. Many siblings have very good friendships throughout the
growing years. Go about your life in the ways that work for
you. If you can find snippets of individual time for your older
child, then do it. But as your family expands this gets harder
to do. I personally think it’s better to encourage siblings
to see time spent with each other as beautiful, fun, exciting
adventures. Teach them that they always have a playmate and
a friend. You can do much to encourage their friendship, just
keep thinking positive!
I have a 15 month old who is heavy duty into temper tantrums!
I love your rules, but I wonder what is the "right" thing to do
about his tantrums. I don't give in and give him what he wants
because it's usually dangerous. I find that I cant pick him up
because he hurts me. I mostly try to not let him get hurt while
finding something else to capture his interest, and in public
or outdoors I get him somewhere safe and somewhat ignore the tantrum---is
Hey Wenzday, welcome to parenting! Tantrums are a normal behavior
from toddlerhood to teenagerhood (and some adults seem to keep
on having them!) Here are a few hints on handling tantrums: http://www.storknet.com/cubbies/parenting/tantrums.htm
My son, Connor will be two in June. Lately he has been acting
up when I take him out. He will not sit in his stroller, or grocery
cart, and he screams and throws a fit if I try to put him back
in. My question is, how should I handle this, especially since
I am in public? Thank you.
That’s a great question, Debbie, since Connor’s behavior is exactly
age appropriate! Two-year-olds are no longer content to sit in
the stroller and observe life – they want to live it! You can
help him to become involved and stay well-behaved too. I suggest
that you involve him in ways that are productive, and that keep
him focused. As an example, in the grocery store when you get
within site of the apples ask him “Can you find the apples for
mommy?” When he finds them, you can hold open the bag and say,
“Can you pick 3 apples?” and have him put the apples into the
bag as you hold it open. As you shop keep him focused by giving
him things to find, things to put into the cart, things to carry.
He’ll be so busy that he’ll be a joy to shop with! Yes, of course
your shopping trip will take a little longer. But he’ll be happy
and you’ll be happy. He’ll be learning new things. You’ll be enjoying
this time with him. This stage in his life passes so quickly.
Grab every moment. My oldest daughter is 13, and I swear she was
just a newborn! Time flies much too quickly to spend it rushing
though your little one’s childhood.
My husband and I have been so focused on our 4-month-old daughter,
that we have neglected paying much attention to each other. We
both work outside of the home and relish every moment at home
with her. Do you have any tips on how to satisfy wanting to spend
as much time as possible with our daughter without letting our
marriage fall by the wayside?
I like your question, Sarah! My husband Robert and I have been
together for 18 years and 4 children. We have both come to learn
that the first year of each of our children’s lives is rather
child-focused. But, as you say, we are both so enamored with our
new baby that we enjoy each other through our enjoyment of our
baby. It is important that you squeeze in time for each other—talking,
hugging, and yes, even having sex!
I find it
interesting when parents of newborns ask me when things will get
back to “normal.” The best response to this is that you have to
find a new “normal.” This means that your dinner conversation
may, indeed, revolve around your baby. But, you know what? That’s
no sin! She’s the center of your lives right now and something
precious and wonderful that you share.
is the cornerstone of your family and you both should acknowledge
this and stay connected. You can do this is simple ways. How about
sharing breakfast together? Talking quietly after the baby falls
asleep? Maybe even sneaking out for dinner once a week or so while
Grandma gets her turn with the baby? Brief snippets of time together
can keep you close as you wander though this first year together
as a family.
We moved into a neighborhood with a lot of kids. Many of them
I suspect used to play here with the previous owner's kids. The
problem is that we constantly have kids we don't know (or even
recognize) playing on our playset and worse, on our woodpile.
Besides the garbage and toys they leave behind (which has created
havoc with our lawn mower), I am afraid that someone will get
hurt and sue us. We have repeatedly told the kids nicely to play
elsewhere but to no avail. Plus, we feel like we have no privacy.
It is so annoying that we are considering moving. We can't put
up a high fence because of our homeowner's association rules.
What can we do?
I hear you, Michelle! There’s a fine line between being neighborly
and being the neighborhood daycare center! (Adding to that the
liability aspect that you mentioned.) Children are creatures of
habit, and as you say, if they always played on the playset in
the past they will continue to do so until new habits are formed.
I suggest that you and your husband sit down and discuss your
goals. Set up what you feel are good “rules.” For example, neighbor
kids are welcome to play as long as your kids are outside and
as long as they play nicely.
Now put your
rules into action. When you spy a neighbor child on the playset
go outside and get yourself eyeball to eyeball. Be very polite
and kind. Acknowledge the change in rules. Say something like
this, “I know that you have played here a lot before. But we have
new rules. They are…. be brief and specific. You may have to repeat this scene three or four times with the
same child until it sticks. But always do it with a smile on your
face, and eventually the kids will understand. When the kids are
playing with your children be really nice. Maybe even bring out
some cookies, so you’re seen as a really nice lady, even despite
your new rules!
I have a three-year-old who constantly whines. We have tried giving
him examples of appropriate tone and how to ask questions the
correct way, all to no avail. What can we do?
Now here’s a new one! LOL! Robing, every single child on the face
of the earth goes through a period of whining (if you’re out there
saying, "Oh, not my child," just wait! Some kids wait
until they hit the teen years, but they all try it eventually!)
Since it’s such a normal concern I’ve written an article for StorkNet
packed with answers, and here it is: Whining.
How do you keep kids under control when they don't get what they
want and/or when they are in public. I had an experience with
my nephew the other night who wanted an appetizer at dinner, and
screamed and cried in the restaurant because he didn't get it.
Is there a way to prevent this or do all kids act this way? Thanks,
I remember back to a time before my sister and I had children.
We’d see a kid like this and smugly say, “MY child will never
do THAT!” Well, six kids between us, and many years later, and
we now are more likely to pat the poor mother on the arm and reassure
her that “This Too Shall Pass.” There really is not a parent who
is immune to having her child melt down in public, and so I have
addressed this topic at length in the second part of the article
I mentioned earlier on tantrums. Here it is: Tantrums
I often hear that discipline begins in infancy. That if I fail
to "lay down the law" with my 9 month old son that he will come
to think that he owns the house and will not listen to me as he
gets older. On the other side, I hear that you cannot spoil a
baby and that by catering to him I am giving him comfort and love.
So when faced
with such simple problems as my son's touching things he shouldn't
and laughing uproariously when he hears me sternly say "No!,"
I am left wondering which path is best. Is it better to be forceful
with him now and teach him the meaning of "No," or should I let
him explore everything and be a baby? If the latter, when you
should you start implementing a more determined form of discipline?
Also, I do
not believe in spanking. I may eventually tap a hand if he is
persistent with an action that may cause him harm (grabbing knives,
trying to touch the electrical sockets, etc.). Time out does not
seem to work with a child of 9 months. What alternatives are there
for disciplining a child so young? Thank you for your time and
Oh, Kia, how
people misunderstand children and discipline! I do understand
why you are confused. Let me try to clear this up for you.
get off to the right start with their babies have an easier time
with discipline as the years go by, because the parent-child relationship
is strong and stable. These connected kids and their parents learn
how to read each other. And these parents can often correct a
child's behavior by simply a stern look. (And believe me, I have
perfected that look!)
early years you want to develop a mutual trust and sensitivity
that in the long run ends with a child who wants to behave appropriately.
don’t think like adults. The world looks different to them and
they respond differently. Babies and toddlers want to learn, they
want to explore. They are not out to disobey. It is helpful to
know what to expect at each stage of development so that you can
guide your children appropriately though teaching, modeling and
coaching. I’d suggest a wonderful series of books by Louise Bates
Ames and the Gesell Institute called Your One Year Old; Your Two
Year Old and so on. These books teach what behavior is typical
at each age, and can help you understand your child.
need to learn about the world, and we can teach them what they
need to know in a gentle way. A two-year-old who runs into the
street isn’t intentionally defying his mother's authority, he
just wants his ball back. Action follows impulse, with no thought
in between. When your baby reaches for your coffee cup he is just
simply curious. You can use a serious voice and say, “No touch!
Hot! Not for baby!” We’ve done this enough with our 18-month-old
son, Coleton, and one time he actually did touch a hot cup before
we caught him, so he really understands what “hot!” means. Now
when he sees a coffee cup he says, “No! Hot!” and he doesn’t even
try to touch it. As a matter of fact, we’ve also called electrical
outlets “Hot!” and he uses his knowledge of the coffee cup and
won’t go anywhere near an outlet, either. That’s called learning.
When you understand
that your job these early years is primarily teacher, you will
respond much differently to your son’s actions. When your little
son is reaching for an electrical socket it’s obviously because
he has no knowledge of what it is. He wants to learn. So tell
him. Teach him. And help him learn about his world. You’ll end
up with a delightful, enjoyable child.
You do ask
about spanking, and here’s an article that covers what I think
about this topic: Spanking
I have a 2 and a half year old daughter who is constantly putting
things in her mouth. I know that is somewhat normal for her age,
but she has not only eaten some glass, but also will put stones
or dirt in her mouth whenever we are outside.
I have tried
time outs and leaving the park when she does it. I don't know
how to impress upon her how dangerous it can be. It gets so bad
that being outdoors with her is more worrisome than enjoyable
and I don't want her to feel that way. Any suggestions? Thanks,
This is a great follow up question to the previous one, Nancy.
As I said earlier, young children are in a constant state of wanting
to learn about their world. Putting things in their mouth is one
way that they learn. Your daughter isn’t being “naughty” when
she does this – she’s just plain curious about the things she
sees, and being a childish scientist she uses her mouth as one
way to learn new things. She just needs to learn, and you need
to teach her. Using words that she already understand, “Yuk! Dirty”
No!” tell her what things don’t belong in her mouth. Now here’s
the next step. Tell her what she CAN do to explore her world!
“Here sweetie, you can mash the dirt with this spoon.” “You can
touch the slug with this twig.” Help her learn how to explore
in appropriate ways and soon the only things she’ll be putting
in her mouth are those cookies that fell on the floor. (Oh, well.
That’s a new lesson.)
Hi Elizabeth! I have a two-year-old son who is very attached to
me. When strangers speak to him in public, he clings to me and
cries. While I think this is a perfectly normal phase, my husband
worries. He thinks I have spoiled our son and cater to him too
much. He is especially worried because my son often screams out
for me even when his daddy is holding him! Any suggestions? Thanks!
This is a
good topic to talk about, Elsie, since every child will experience
separation anxiety at some point. This is normal and necessary
behavior. If your two-year-old were not so connected to you he
would just take off in the opposite direction and who knows what
trouble he would find? Separation anxiety is a biological protective
device. It is natural for a baby to be most connected to the person
he spends the most time with – his primary caregiver. If your
husband works and therefore, spends less time with your son than
you do, it’s perfectly normal for your little guy to be Mommy-centered
right now. In our family, after going through four children, my
husband understands that this is a short phase and soon enough
the house will be ringing with constant calls for “Daddy!” This
about separation anxiety may be of help also.
I hate using the word "no" and try not to but our 19 month old
daughter thinks it's so funny when we correct her. We've tried
distraction, time-outs and the word "no." I've even
tried telling her about what she's doing wrong. Any suggestions?
Some of the problems we have with her is holding her new kitten
easy, climbing on the coffee table and trying to run towards the
street. Thanks a lot!
toddlerhood, Bridgett! Your little one is very busy learning about
her world. Her insatiable curiosity is what propels her to explore
everything around her. Toddlers are like absentminded professors
who are focused on absorbing information about their surroundings
but at the same time lacking the grace and skills to properly
handle what they are exploring! A 19 month old can’t really be
disobedient, because she doesn’t understand right from wrong.
That is your most important job right now. I find that it’s important
to tell a toddler “No” and then redirect her and tell her what
she CAN do. I also avoid the word No when possible replacing it
with instructive words, such as Dangerous! Hot! Or our current
favorite: “Owie!” – See, my 18 month old knows what Owie means,
since he’s had a few. So anytime he heads for a dangerous situation
(holding the kitten roughly, going into the street, touching a
knife) we use a strong, loud voice and say “Owie! Not for baby”
It’s a great way to help him learn.
My daughter is 15 months old and lately has decided that she has
to walk everywhere! She will struggle like mad to get out of the
sling or stroller and I don't know what to do! I let her walk
as much as possible, but sometimes it just isn't safe. However,
she'll be turned upside down in the sling trying to slide out
of it and I'm afraid I'll drop her. Any suggestions on convincing
her that she doesn't have to do all the walking?
LOL!!! As if!!!
Okay, Susan, Imagine if you had surgery and were confined to a
wheel chair to a year. Suddenly, you are well and can walk! How
would you like it if your husband told you that he still wanted
you to ride in the chair because it was convenient for him? I
bet you’d be climbing out of that chair every chance you could
get! You new walker loves the freedom and excitement of getting
around on her own two feet. Not only does she love the feeling
of walking, she loves that she can touch, feel, and explore! I’d
suggest that you let her walk as often as possible. When you need
to carry her or put her in the stroller just tell her “You have
to ride now. You can walk later.” Sure, she’ll be unhappy with
you, but eventually she’ll get with the program.
Another question about my 15 month old - she has been getting
very violent with us (hitting, biting, etc.) Sometimes she does
it because she's angry, but often she's doing it to express affection.
Any suggestions on how to channel her violence into more appropriate
behavior? Saying "No" just makes her laugh.
Be sure to
read the message from Bridgett above. Her toddlers laughs at “No”
too. Hmm. Is there a pattern here? Actually, yes! It’s very common
behavior. Again, I avoid "No" when possible. Instead,
take your daughters hand and stroke carefully the place that she
just hit and say, “Gentle. Gentle.” Smile and encourage her. She
needs to learn that hitting hurts, she doesn’t get it. She needs
to learn to touch softly. This is how you teach her.
My son is only 4.5 months old. When can I start teaching him to
be gentle, and have it make sense? I don't like to always trick
him with something new to get him to put something down, because
I'm sure he'll get too smart for that soon. But he really grabs
onto my hair, plants, etc...and I'd like to set some boundaries.
you say 4 and a half months!? Babies are smart, yes, but not wise.
Babies want to touch and mouth everything. That’s how they learn.
You can start teaching your baby using subtle ways to gently helping
him to let go of things he shouldn’t grab. But it will be another
6 months or more before he can really understand what you are
doing. Now’s the time to build the foundation of your relationship
by loving him and nurturing him.
My son Jonathan is 20 months old, and he is a true sweetheart.
He has a very amiable personality, with lots of creativity and
determination. Over the last few months, he has been exploring
more, and wanting to help out more. We let him help out with chores
and tasks whenever we can, even if it means that something takes
longer. And, we do let him explore and experiment with most things
in our house. Jonathan and I are both home during the day, and
most days go very smoothly.
We try to
use positive statements instead of "no" as much as possible, (like
telling him to be gentle when he gets too rowdy, and it works
usually!) but I still feel like there are some days when I am
constantly saying the word "no." It is common on days when we
really do need to get somewhere or I'm trying to accomplish something
that he cannot help with. It's hard for me to believe that he
understands "no." I think he might have a small grasp of it, but
often I think he thinks we're playing around. He will either keep
doing what he's doing and smile, or he will stop doing it, smile
and then do it again. He is behind verbally (his only word so
far is "dada"), but my husband and I think he is very intelligent
and often he can follow simple verbal directions. He can shake
his head yes and no, but sometimes he will shake his head no when
he means yes (and vice versa).
I'm just at
a loss when it comes to trying to get across to Jonathan that
he can't play with the toilet (he figured out the child safety
lock and he can open the door to the bathroom), and that the files
in the filing cabinet really do need to stay there! Is this one
of those growing phases where I need to keep telling myself "this
too shall pass" or am I missing out on opportunities to teach
him? I greatly appreciate any advice. Thanks in advance!
Well, Catherine, sounds like your days aren’t boring at all! I
bet Jonathan keeps you busy. Let’s clear up one point you made.
Jonathan isn’t necessarily “behind” verbally. He’s on his own
track and he’ll talk when he’s ready. Since he obviously understands
you and is developing normally, you’ ll most likely see him spouting
full sentences before too long. (That’s wisdom coming from a mom
of four—one child who didn’t talk ‘til she was almost 2 ½, one
who used full sentences on her first birthday, one who followed
the “standard” pattern listed in all the baby books, and my 18-month-old
who is chattering away as I type.) You can encourage Jonathan
to talk, and enable him to get his point across to you, by taking
a lot to him. Use short, clear sentences. Try to communicate face-to-face
so he can watch your mouth as you talk. Ask lots of questions.
Repeat back any of his new words in a clear voice. So if he says
“bir,” say “Yes! That is a bird.”
As far as
teaching right from wrong – this is the age when you can consider
yourself in the “preschool” of the discipline academy. It’s a
time when you will do an excessive amount of teaching, modeling,
showing and repeating, repeating, repeating. About the sixty-fourth
time you tell him not to play in the toilet he’ll suddenly understand
and will leave the toilet alone! (Of course, he’ll just move on
to something else!)
This is a
time when you need to watch him like a hawk, redirect him when
he gets into trouble, and do all that teaching along the way.
right, “This Too Shall Pass” … and you’ll have to manage new issues
at every stage of development, and then you’ll be were I am now
with my 13-year-old – dealing with requests to change her hair
color, clothing choices and the first request to go to the movies
with a boy!
The most important
advice I can give you now is: READ, LEARN, STUDY.
None of us
are born knowing how to be a parent. We all need help. If you
don ’t already own at least three parenting books – get busy!
In addition to mine (which, of course I’d have to recommend: Kid
Parenting and Hidden
Messages) a few others I highly recommend:
Discipline Book by William and Martha Sears
10 Greatest Gifts I Give My Children by Steven Vannoy
One Year Old…Your
Two Year Old… and so forth (series) by Louise Bates Ames
Field Guide to Parenting by Shelley Butler and Deb Kratz
We have three children (5 1/2, 4 1/2 & 13 months) and one on the
way. My oldest has been quite disruptive in school and at home
lately. She is doing what "she wants to do." We have talked to
her on how important it is to follow directions and how all of
us have to do it. We have taken privileges away, we tried to let
her choose her chores and responsibilities, and try to point out
rules that we (adults) have to follow and what the consequences
would be if we didn't. I will admit that my patience are getting
thinned over this mini-rebellion. I would love any suggestions
that you may have to offer. Thanks!
Gee, Nicolette, 5, 4, 1 and pregnant and you don’t have the patience
of a saint? What’s the matter with you? LOL! In your situation
it’s quite common that the oldest of your little group will be
expected to act more mature than she really is. In my family,
compared to my older three kids ages 13, 11, and 9 – your 5-year-old
would be the baby! Be careful that you aren’t expecting too much
of your 5 year old. I’d highly recommend that you read Your
Five Year Old and Your
Six Year Old by Dr. Louise Bates Ames. It can be very helpful
to know what behavior is normal at her age. Also, as I mentioned
earlier, the more parenting skills you have the better you will
be able to manage your little bunch.
Hi Elizabeth. :) I am hoping you might have some suggestions for
me on how to encourage my 4-year-old to do his BMs in the toilet
rather than on his potty. I am getting a bit sick of cleaning
out the potty! The mere thought of it makes me almost vomit.
using the potty for BMs at around 3 years and 5 months (thanks to
suggestions from you!). He is now 4 years and 3 months. We have
a footstool (at the right height for him to rest his feet comfortably
while sitting on the toilet) and a seat (so he won't "fall in").
He has tried it once or twice but really is NOT keen! Any ideas
please? Thanking you in advance!
it sounds like you’re doing all the right things. The footstool
and the child size seat are important. Patience is important too,
but it sounds like you’re running out! (Gee, you really don’t
like cleaning up those poopies??!) Sounds like it’s time for my
Try this I-hate-to-even-suggest-it-because-I-don’
t-believe-in-bribery-but-it-always-works idea. (I usually don’t
recommend bribery, but I know that there is a point that you’ll
do anything to get this business over with, so go ahead!) Go to
the toy store and buy about thirty little prizes. (Check the party
favor aisle for a great selection of inexpensive trinkets.) Wrap
each prize separately in wrapping paper. Put them in a clear glass
bowl and place the bowl on the counter in the bathroom. Don’t
say a word. When your son asks about it, respond in a matter of
fact way, “Oh. Those are potty prizes. You’ll get one each time
you do your business in the toilet. But no hurry. Whenever you’re
ready.” Most kids are “ready” immediately, but don’t be surprised
if your child drools over the bowl for a few days before deciding
to be “ready.” Allow your child to choose one prize each time
he goes. When the bowl’s empty, the habit will be firmly in place.
Elizabeth, you are AMAZING! Thank you so much for your suggestion
of the toilet prizes. I am delighted to report that Thomas started
using the toilet for his BMs straight away and has been doing
so now for almost two weeks. No more cleaning out the potty!!
YAY! He was obviously ready but just needed a little "motivation."
You are the BEST - thanks so much for your help!
How can I stop my 16-month-old from scratching me every time he
wants my attention? There's no warning signs at all, he'll just
suddenly reach out and scratch my arm (leg, face, etc.) even if
I just turn for a second.
like these kinds of questions: easy to solve. I’d just trim his
nails very short. (Clip them and then use a nail file to round
and smooth the edges.) Next time he grabs you take his hand and
demonstrate how to hold and touch “gently.” This should do the
I am the mom of three kids - ages 5, 3, and 4 months. My oldest
child, Sophie, has always been extremely verbal, but has lagged
in her fine motor skills. At my last conference with her preschool
teacher, the teacher informed me that because Sophie is still
unable to write her name, use scissors, or draw very well, that
I should be working with her more. My fear, however, is that by
doing so, it may send a message to Sophie that I am not proud
of her, and that she doesn't "measure up." I know it bothers her
that she is unable to do these things, and I don't want to make
her feel worse by putting any pressure on her. Do you have any
creative suggestions as to how I can help to build her confidence
in a loving and supportive way, but not put any unneeded pressure
on her? Thanks for your help!
Kathleen, I had a very similar situation with my son, David. He
was very verbal and physical (walked at 10 months, threw a ball
at 9 months!). He lagged very far behind in fine motor skills.
His first grade printing looked like preschool. He couldn’t use
scissors well and had no interest in coloring. We did find fun
ways to help him to practice these skills. Sneaky, even. We’d
buy a Pokemon workbook. Get him Batman puzzles. Model car kits.
Have him cut out pictures from magazines. His older sisters even
made him his very own workbooks. Here’s the kicker. David is now
9 years old. His IQ is off the charts. He attends school in a
full time gifted program. He’s an awesome athlete: baseball pitcher,
soccer, football. And, guess what? His teacher always sends home
notes that say, “David needs to practice his penmanship.” Oh well,
no one’s perfect!
The back seat- I decided two months ago that it wasn't safe for
my children to ride in the front seat of the car any longer. I
set it straight that they will sit in the back together. They
are 8 and 5. Every morning and evening it is a nightmare. They
constantly fight. I tried to make a line between them but this
doesn't seem to work. I have grounded them and still nothings
you believe that this is so common it’s covered in my book, Perfect
Parenting? No sense in re-creating the wheel, here’s the excerpt:
gets to sit in front
Every time we get in the car, the kids fight over who gets to
sit in the front seat. I’m really tired of it.
it: After the third car trip of the day you finally screech,
“NOBODY gets to sit in front!! Just get in the car!!” Why do we
do it? Why do we get angry over the same issue over and over again
without finding a solution? Do we honestly think that one day
our kids will approach us and say, “Guess what, Mom? We’ve decided
that since the fighting bothers you so much, we’ll never fight
over the front seat again. Isn’t that goodhearted of us?”
#1: If you have two children, assign one child the even days
of the month, the other the odd days. Use this as a standing arrangement.
All you have to know is what day of the month it is. Of course,
some days you’ll not travel at all, and some days you’ll travel
quite a bit, but over the long haul it evens out. Calmly explain
this rule of averages each time a complaint arises. For three
children, assign each two days of the week. On Sunday, either
the front seat stays empty or they can alternate. (Keep a note
pad in the glove box to keep track.)
#2: Assign permanent seats. At first the kids will express
outrage at the injustice of such a preposterous idea. But after
a week or two of hearing you say, “Everyone get in your assigned
seat,” they will accept it, maybe grudgingly, but who said your
kids have to always be happy with your decisions? You can change
assigned seats on the first of every month, if you desire.
#3: Keep dice in the car and roll for seat choices (highest
number picks first and so on). Or use a deck of cards to draw
for first choice.
#4: Enlist the cooperation of your children. Express your
distress at the situation and ask them to come up with a solution.
Often, if you ask kids for their help, and treat their ideas with
respect, they will come up with the best solution for them.
#5: Use accident statistics to solve this problem for you.
Children are 30 percent more likely to survive a car crash when
they’re sitting in the backseat rather than the front. The National
Transportation Safety Board has asked states to consider legislation
to make it illegal for children under twelve to ride in the front
seat. Australia and some European countries already have front
seat restrictions. Also, cars with air bags carry warnings recommending
that children not sit in the front seat due to dangers caused
by deployed air bags. In light of this information, you can post
a rule in your car stating, “No children under twelve in the front
Every morning I take my children to school and pick them up after
work. My 8 year old daughter begins to cry and beg me to not send
her to the after school program. She HATES it. She wants to be
a "car-rider" and have me pick her up right after school. She
says nobody is bullying her but she gets so depressed that her
mom has to work every day. I’m beginning to feel so guilty! It's
been 4 years at this after school program. Any suggestions?
Yes, Melissa, I do have some suggestions. First: don’t go there!
Sure, it would be lovely if you could quit work and stay home
with your kids, but it’ s not that simple. This is a fact of her
life. You do the best you can. Sounds like she’s enrolled in a
good program. Check with her teachers and ask if she seems happy
and involved when she’s there. Pick her up early a few times and
peek in the window or door without her seeing. Once you know that
she’s fine when she is there stop worrying and stop feeling guilty.
Try to make it fun by sending along a favorite snack or see if
she can bring a game to share. Then try to make some extra time
with her over the weekend or in the evening. That’s probably what
she wants: more time to hang loose with Mom. If you can manage
to fit some of that in she’ll probably stop fussing.
Elizabeth, My 20 month old daughter has always been well behaved
in the past. In the past two months, however, she no longer seems
to listen when I tell her "no" or give her simple instructions.
She'll stamp her foot, throw whatever she has in her hand (including
food) and burst into tears when she does not want to mind. I am
a soft-spoken parent who prefers to handle things as gently as
possible. However, she has become so out of control on some occasions,
I have started using the old fashioned spanking method. It's what
my parents used with me and it seems to work. But, I would be
interested in your ideas for alternative methods of handling an
almost two year old, when she becomes defiant.
Oh, Christie! Please don’t go down that spanking road! Read this:
Spank or Not to Spank
I know you’re
frustrated, but let me give you a few ideas. First, read through
the questions that other mothers have asked earlier in this interview.
You’re not the only one! Your daughter is just being a normal,
healthy toddler! Your most important job right now is to teach
your daughter. I’m NOT a soft-spoken parent LOL but I AM gentle
with my four wonderful children. I’ve never spanked my kids. They
are now 13, 11, 9 and 18 months: and very humbly I must say they
are four of the best kids I’ve ever met. Good students, respectful,
honest, trustworthy -- they sound like boy scouts :)
to your question is NOT one easy glib answer. It’s that you need
to begin to learn and use good parenting skills. I’d recommend
my book Kid Cooperation for a solid foundation to your parenting.
Here’s two excerpts that you’ll find helpful: Get
Your Toddler To Cooperate and The
Power of Choice.
Hi Elizabeth, I have 2 year old triplet girls and although they
are very loving with each other at times, they seem to fight an
awful lot, sometimes I feel more like a referee than a mom. One
of my girls is more of a bully, where she will bite, pull hair,
hit etc. if she wants a toy that her sister has. What can I do
as far as discipline at this early age. Also is it too early for
them to learn how to share, once in a while they will share but
it's not consistent.
Congratulations, Sheryl! I know things are hectic now, but in
the long run you’ll love having three the same age. My older three
are close in age 9, 11, 13 – and I’ve always loved that they can
play together because their interests are similar.
fight. When our children fight, it not only grates on our nerves,
it tugs on our hearts. The most important advice I can give you
is: calm down and relax. Keep a level head and view your kids’
arguments in a realistic way. The fight over the red Lego
TM, as intense as it may seem, will
be over and forgotten by the time one of them realizes she needs
a blue one. The vast majority of sibling battles are not destructive
to the relationship between the children. All this considered,
there are ways to survive sibling fighting. And there are ways
to reduce the number of fights, and the severity of them, as well.
girls are only two, you are in the constant (and tiring, I know!)
role of teacher. You need to stay nearby and jump in whenever
you see a bad situation starting. Role play with them, tell them
how to talk to each other, help them through the issues. If they
both want the same toy, talk them through it. “OH! You both want
the doggie. Let’s do this. You have it first and I’ll set the
timer for 5 minutes. Then you get a turn.” Make a big production
about setting the timer and help them make the transition when
it rings. Before you know it they’ll come to YOU and ask you to
set the timer for them!
Hi, My husband is in the military and because he has been deployed
and working so much the past few years the bulk of the "parenting"
has fallen to me. He is trying to take over some of the duties
but is unsure how. I am also finding it difficult to give up the
power. How do we move to a more equal partnership in parenting?
The military lifestyle makes it difficult for parenting routines
Dawn, Mom to dd 11 years, ds 9 years and ds 5 years.
Hi, Dawn. It sounds like you have a strong marriage, and that
your husband is a good Dad who wants to be involved with your
children. The best way to do this is to discuss your parenting
ideas. Have rules for the children, so you can both be consistent.
Decide in advance what you will do if the rules are not followed.
If it’s possible, take a parenting class together or read a book
or watch a parenting video. (I have several through my web site
at http://www.storknet.com/elizabeth ) The key is to communicate!
Last week my husband dropped off our 2 1/2 year old son at the
baby-sitters house and my son did not want to go. He is usually
pretty laid back and easy going. Well he threw a violent fit and
grabbed at my baby-sitter's throat and started kicking her and
screaming. This is NOT the norm for the way he behaves. There
are no problems going on in our house between my husband and I
and everything seems to be going pretty well. The only "different"
thing going on right now is that my husband is off of work for
2 weeks. My husband suffers from depression and I have seen the
same Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde episodes many a time with him. Does
this sound more like a 2 year old throwing a fit, or should I really
be concerned that heredity is kicking in here? My husband has
to take antidepressants to control his mood swings, and he never
got help until he was 28 years old. If my son is going to go through
the same thing, I want to make sure we catch it early.
Well, first of all, Jennifer, your son is at an age when separation
anxiety is very strong. His reaction may simply be the fear of
leaving you and spending time with a sitter. You also mention
that the only "different" thing going on right now is that your
husband is off of work for 2 weeks. That’s a BIG “different!”
It could be that your little guy loves spending extra time with
Daddy and is reluctant to let go. I would sure keep an eye on
your little guy’s behavior, but from the one situation you describe
he sounds normal.
Dear Elizabeth, I have four children under the age of 10. My oldest
has developmental delay is nonverbal and has some motor impairment.
She often "chooses" not to clean up either by laziness or true
inability. We just don't know. My almost 5 year old "typical" child
asks why he has to clean up while she can just sit there? We would
need to physically pick her up and assist her in picking up a
toy, etc. He of course is physically and mentally capable, but
understandably asks this question. I also have two younger children...
2 1/2 years and 6 1/2 monthss. So it is a constant battle around here.
My first thought is that this is something your 5 year old is
going to have to learn to live with. I’d give him very simple
answers: “Because you CAN and she CAN’T, that’s why.” Get started
on the right foot here. Your kids cannot be treated equally, and
the sooner your children understand this the better. This is not
to say you shouldn’t be compassionate or kind, but I sure wouldn’t
spend too much energy justifying your choices.
state of “normal” will be different than another family without
a special needs child, and this is something every child in the
family will need to understand. Having a special needs child can
increase the level of compassion and understanding in all the
children in your family. Encourage these helpful emotions in your
interactions with your children.
Okay my question has to do with my older daughter who will be
five in August. She does things to get negative responses. She
will do things to get into trouble, as in not obeying me, talking
back, teasing her brother, deliberately ignoring me. I discuss
it with her and give her chances, time-outs, taking things away
from her and then when all else fails spanking. I know that she's
been through a lot of changes in the year, but I'm running out
of patience. Please helps. Thanks, Lisa
Lisa, if you’ll read through this interview you’ll see lots of
other Moms in your boat. Actually, put together, we’d end up with
a fleet of cruise ships! The key here is the way that you handle
the parenting in your family. None of us are born knowing how
to be parents. And no children are perfect angels. Learn new skills,
have a good parenting plan. Your daughter sounds very normal.
And you sound like a good, caring parent. But that’s not enough.
It’s critical that you have good parenting skills. Here’s
an excerpt from my book, Perfect Parenting that seems
like a good way to end today’s interview program. (please read)
I wish that
all of you have a fulfilling, joyful parenting journey!
Thank you for participating in and reading our interview with
Elizabeth Pantley. We
also recommend reading Elizabeth's
articles on StorkNet. - StorkNet Staff
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