My 10-year-old daughter is very jealous of any positive attention I give her older sister. The other day we were joking, and she swore at me. I’m very involved in my church and make sure no one says bad words in my house. Despite this I’m so disappointed that my daughter used this very bad word. Please help me and offer some advice.
In order to best help your daughter, define exactly how you would like her to behave when something upsets her. Give her examples of what would be appropriate to say when someone is joking around with her. Let her explain to you how upset she felt when you were joking with her. It sounds like her sensitivity level may be different than yours or your other daughter's, so when talking or joking around with her, remember she’s probably going to be more sensitive.
My 10-year-old son refuses to follow any rules whether they’re given by me or someone else. He is constantly in trouble at school. As of right now, he’s been put on a modified school schedule due to his behavior. He has an “I don't care” attitude,” and I don’t know how to handle him anymore.
Having school involvement is a step we usually encourage; a school can be a parent's best ally. When it comes to rules in the home and changing current behaviors, it's important to use consequences. Consequences can be both positive and negative. Positive consequences increase the chances of a behavior happening, while negative consequences decrease the chance of a behavior happening.
When it comes to using consequences, keep five things in mind. The consequence should be:
- Important to the child
- Relative to the behavior
- Appropriate to your child's level of development
If a child doesn't mind that TV is taken away, it won't be an effective way to change a behavior. It needs to be something he values. When administering consequences, it's important to understand that it's more than just giving out a punishment. It's also a time for you to teach your child. Let me give you an example: A parent walks in on a child coloring on the walls with crayons. As a punishment, the child must wash the wall, but the parent also steps in and shows the child where it is appropriate to color. He then brings the child paper.
It might also help to have him go for a psychological evaluation to rule out anything else that might be causing some of his behaviors. Most school systems have a psychologist within the district who can help with this. We can also help you find other referrals for this type of service if you don't want to go through the school.
My 1-year-old boy is getting very aggressive. He hits, bites, head-butts, throws things and pulls hair. He also throws food to the dog when eating. He yells a lot when he talks. He gets in to everything even after you tell him not to touch something. I try diverting him with a toy, but he’s right back messing with what he shouldn’t be. He also throws himself on the floor when he can’t do what he wants. I’ve tried timeouts, distracting, showing how it should be and ignoring him in certain situations. I really need some advice.
Once we learn how to do something, it can be hard to think back to when we didn't know how to do it. When you were a little person, did you instinctively know how to ride a bike or write in cursive? No, we are taught how to do it, and this same principal needs to be in place with your 1-year-old.
Your son is beginning to realize that his is an actual person. His language is developing, and he’s starting to walk which leads to wanting more independence. He’s also entering a phase of exploring the world around him. Your son's behaviors are normal. We might see them as aggressive, but this is part of his development. He may be discovering he can have an impact on things around him. What an amazing revelation! It's all new to him, and the only way he’ll learn if a behavior is good or bad depends on you to constantly remind him.
When it comes to "disciplining" or teaching a one-year-old, it's difficult because they don't understand what you're trying to do. Timeout is not appropriate for his level of development. Instead, when he hits, take his hand and firmly tell him "no." When he bites, grab the place he bit and tell him "ow, no." Instead of thinking of your response as "distracting" him, try to think of it as redirecting him to a more positive behavior. If he takes a toy and hits someone with it, tell him "no" and show him how to use the toy appropriately. If he repeats this behavior, tell him "no" and try putting the toy in timeout and then let him try again. You may have to repeat this several times.
Continue this so he can start to piece together the sequence of events. Understand that it may take him more than one day to understand that he's not supposed to do this. Stay consistent and only show praise and attention when you want the chances of a behavior to increase.
Is it better for grade school children to stay in an aftercare program from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. or go to a stable home with adult supervision?
Lots of parents struggle with making the decision of day care versus home care, and really it comes down to personal advantages and disadvantages for your family's needs. From what we know of day care programs, most of them are very structured. There might be outside time, craft activities and activities which gear children to interact with other kids. These interactions teach kids how to share and how to get along with others. Home care settings might be more personable but might lack structure.
Decide which is more important to you and factor in cost, location and types of activities offered. Talk with your pediatrician if you have further concerns.
My 3-year-old daughter is touching herself and while I think this is normal to an extent, tonight I had to tell her to stop touching while she was in the bathtub. And it looked like she was actually penetrating herself with her finger. I don’t think that part is normal. I don’t know if she’s seen something she shouldn’t have or what is going on.
You are correct in understanding that some of this is normal, and even the finger experimentation is normal. Little ones often stick their fingers anywhere there is a hole that the finger fits into whether on their own bodies, someone else's body or even a pet.
Because this is a behavior that you do not want to encourage or see more of, follow your instincts and have her stop by telling her not to do that. Take her hand away from the area and redirect her attention elsewhere. Give her the soap or the washcloth and have her wash her toes -- something that keeps her hands busy on a different area of her body.
It’s also time to talk with her about her "private parts." Since she’s becoming more aware of those parts, it’s necessary to keep herself safe by labeling them "private" and teaching her what that means. Explain that others should not see or touch them. Have this conversation with her at bath time to make sure she remembers what parts are private and use the opportunity to ask if anyone has touched them.
I have two 3-year-old boys who won’t eat anything. One is very thin and his stool is pale. I have been told not to force them to eat and that they will eat when they are hungry, but I am concerned.
As far as the color of your son's stools and the interpretation of that color, that is a question for your pediatrician. However, we can offer some suggestions about getting your boys to eat food that is nourishing to their bodies.
Offer food frequently throughout the day. Try dry cereal in small containers in the morning along with milk or juice in a cup with a lid and straw. Limit the amount of both beverages. Sometimes kids prefer to drink than to eat, and that is not good for them. Breakfast bars can be very nutritious and easy for kids to eat. Small boxes of raisins make nourishing snacks. Cheese sticks are good for kids, easy for them to hold in their hands and a good protein source. Some children even like beef jerky. Apples cut into small slices or bite-sized pieces are more easily eaten by small children. Offer baby carrots and perhaps a Ranch dip.
Do not allow your boys to exist on snack foods such as cookies and French-fries. Only provide healthy choices. Then when they do eat, it’ll be something that’s good for them.
I am having a very hard time with my 6-year-old son. He is very defiant, throws huge tantrums and can get very physical over simple things. One of my biggest struggles is trying to get him to go to school. It is such a battle, and it exhausts me. He yells, screams, cries, refuses to get dressed, refuses to leave the house and has refused to get out of the car. He is doing very well in his class and gets along with everyone. I have tried grounding, spanking, timeouts, taking things away, threats, you name it. I have given in, given up, yelled, begged, pleaded, prayed. We will have a few good days, and then it is back to the bad again. My husband is in the Army, so he is not always able to come home to help me. We have talked to a counselor who gave some advice that just did not work. I feel like this will never end. I don't know what to do anymore.
Sometimes we go through some really tough times and different tribulations before we find the right thing that works for us. You have given us lots of examples of things you have tried in the past, but we just need to find out what works for your son. When you went to see a counselor, what types of suggestions did they make? From what you described, you use negative consequences. Negative consequences are utilized to make a certain behavior decrease. This doesn't seem to be working on its own, and I'm sure it's only left you feeling more frustrated. In order to see change, you need to change the way that you are approaching this topic.
When it comes to consequences, there are negative and positive consequences. Unlike negative consequences, a positive consequence will increase the chance of a behavior happening. If you haven't tried so, we encourage you to switch focus and start to reward good behavior. To a child, any attention is better than no attention at all. If your son is making the connection that he gets attention from you only when he's bad, he’s likely to continue such behavior.
Examples of positive consequences could include story time with you, special projects that you two work on together, picking what is made for dinner, getting to play a favorite game or being in charge of selecting the movie for a family night. Start with small goals that give him more immediate reinforcement. If he has a good day, he receives a sticker. At the end of the week if he has the predetermined number of stickers agreed upon, he’ll be rewarded with something he wants. We want to avoid being redundant because we certainly don't want to increase your frustration with things you have already tried. Let us know how it goes.
My 2-year-old daughter makes bedtime very difficult. She is stubborn, throws fits and will not calm down, no matter what we try. We have introduced a good-behavior calendar. If she goes to sleep without acting up, she gets a new book to read with us at bedtime. We try to make this as much fun as possible by reading books and telling stories. It never fails that once the fun time is over, she doesn’t want to go to sleep and gets upset. Our 4-year-old son never had a problem at bedtime; I just don’t know what to do.
It sounds like your toddler is really testing your limits at bedtime. Even though you didn’t go through this with your son, this bedtime dilemma is very common. Rest assured that bedtime is a learned routine, and it will get better.
You’re doing a lot of positive things already. By incorporating the calendar, you’re reinforcing the good behavior that you want to see more of (going to bed tantrum-free). The expectation of being good for an entire week might just be too long of a time frame for her. See if she responds to a more immediate reward.
Children respond well to structure and predictability, so try to follow the same bedtime routine each and every night. Start with a soothing bath, put on pajamas, read a story, then tuck her in and give lots of goodnight hugs and kisses. During the routine, tell your daughter what’s next, so she’s not surprised. For example during her bath, you might say: “In five minutes, bath time will be over, and then we’ll get our jammies on.” This lets her know each step before it happens. Also make sure that bedtime is the same every single night. This will condition your daughter to be sleepy the same time of day every day.
You may also want to consider eliminating your daughter’s daytime nap (if she’s taking one). A daytime nap may be affecting her ability to sleep at night because she’s not tired. Every child is different, but typically children outgrow naps around 3 years of age. If you’re unsure about whether or not your child still needs a nap, you can contact her pediatrician.
My 3-year-old son has suddenly started throwing fits and having a bad attitude. I am 20 weeks pregnant and not sure if maybe this has something to do with it. I know that this is normal to an extent for a toddler, but he is generally a pretty good kid. Also, his daddy has been working long hours for a few months now and only gets to see him for maybe 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. I have tried spanking and timeouts, but spanking only makes him even madder, and it breaks my heart to have to do it. The entire time he sits in a timeout, he’s yelling still and throwing a fit!
You were able to state several factors that are most likely contributing to the situation -- your pregnancy, his father’s schedule and your son’s age. Your energy and hormone level, his jealously and concerns about having another sibling and both of you spending an extended amount of time together without your husband may all be affecting his behavior.
Knowing these factors can help you to stay calm when he is upset. At this age, his behavior is motivated by getting a response. If that is a positive or negative response is of little concern. That is why it’s vital you focus on staying calm in all interactions with him. If he’s yelling, kicking walls or saying he’s going to wet his pants, remain calm. You’ll not only be taking away some of the fuel for his fire but teaching him self-control as he watches you take deep breaths and think before you speak.
My 10-year-old son recently started attending a new school and is having problems. His teachers say he is being disrespectful, and he tells me that his teachers are being mean to him. He is dyslexic, and while the school is helping him academically, I can’t afford to send him anywhere else. How can I help him excel where he is?
Some teachers have lower tolerances for behaviors and some schools as well. When children are used to getting by with certain things and then suddenly no longer can, negative behaviors can result.
To help your son adjust and be more successful in school, ask his teachers for specific examples of his misbehaviors. Ask what the setting was, when it happened, who was around and what was said to him prior to his acting out. Look for a pattern and try to figure out what your son is getting from his behaviors. Work with his teacher to develop a plan to teach him an alternative behavior that can take the place of the disrespectful talking out. Follow these three steps:
- Describe what you want him to do instead of his talking back.
- Give him a reason that points out the benefit to him.
- Help him practice doing what you have taught him.
Be consistent and support his efforts in making positive changes in the right direction.