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getting the better of you?
ntrums getting the better of you?
in the two to three-year-old are fairly common. It is their way of
protesting and signaling to us they really want to get their own way.
At this age children are just coming into their own and do not like
to be thwarted. They are driven by inquisitiveness and strutting new
skills. They have mastered walking and are ever increasing their motor
skills. They are ready for exploration, but haven’t yet internalized
rules, so they think everything is fair game. And while we may think these
young children can totally understand us, in truth, this is still a year
and more away. So it is not enough that we tell them what to do, we must
also show them and physically direct their play and areas for exploration.
When young children get involved in things they shouldn’t, it is
important to simply re-direct them to approved activities and areas of
play. You may find yourself doing this dozens upon dozens of times per
day! Once will never be enough at this age and this is why parenting
two-year-old can be such a demanding time.
ignoring the tantrums isn’t working at age three, you can start to use
"time-out" as a consequence. Time-out means time away from
anything reinforcing or otherwise pleasurable - like sitting on the stairs
or in the corner, or quietly on a chair. While the general rule is one
minute of time-out per age of child, time-outs that are much briefer and a
matter of seconds, say 5 to 15 seconds are often MORE effective than
longer time-outs. In the life of a three-year-old, 5 to 15 seconds is a
long time, but it is not so long that they forget why they were sent to
time-out in the first place. The key to effectively using this strategy is
to apply a brief time-out each time the behaviour occurs. It is better a
brief time-out follows at each instance of a tantrum, than only long
all the above fails, fear not, but do ask for help. Call a local parenting
center, a counselor or social worker or even your family doctor. Odds are
something is going on that probably because you are so close to the
problem, you do not see. If ever you feel like spanking your child, then
give yourself a break to stop yourself. Have a cup of herbal tea, warm
milk, a hot bath, or go for a walk. Do anything that works to give you a
little distance and a chance to collect your thoughts. Just be sure your
child is appropriately supervised while you grab a moment alone. Sometimes
this “parental pause” is just the ticket to regain composure and
reenter more effectively.
you can't offer too much praise, love and affection to a child. Give
generously throughout the day!
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
For information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane, click here.
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