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Bringing Up Baby

A lot of children become difficult at some time or the other. And often we hear doting parents say, “He’ll be all right once he’s older.”

But, isn’t that untrue? Don’t we know adults who play equally difficult? Obviously, there is no set way to handle your difficult child. But, it might help if you:

Know what is ‘normal’ behaviour for what age

Opening kitchen cupboards and dragging every pot and pan out is not wrong if it is done by a two-year-old. It just means that he is curious.

The best way to find out whether what your child is behaving normally is to speak to other people with kids the same age – you will be relieved to learn that other children are behaving in much the same way.

Teach by example

Children learn by imitating others. This is why you need to behave in a way that sets a good example. It’s important for you to respect your child, if you want him to respect you.

Although your child needs to know that he is an unique individual, he also has to learn to be a part of a group. You have to teach him to share, listen to others and take turns. And, you can do this by practising them yourself.

Mind your language

You have to be very careful about what you say and how you say it. Do not scold him in front of others. It will get you nowhere. If you have to tell him something you do not approve of, explain it to him when you are alone. Criticise his behaviour rather than him. Try not to react to tantrums in an aggressive manner. Your child will soon learn that his tantrums attract your attention and he will continue with them.

Give regular doses of praise

Remember to praise your child as often as possible, even in small ways, such as, “Rohit was very helpful today – she put away all his toys”.

Set limits

Communicate to your child that everything has to be done within a certain limit. Be consistent about what is acceptable and what is not. And always explain the logic behind having these limits.

Respect his tastes

Accept your child’s right to say, “No” – especially about things like clothes he wants to wear, or what he wants to do with her spare time. If he wants to play with his dolls, don’t force him to read. This will give clear insights into the way his mind works.

Also remember that children need to learn to say “No”. Saying, “No”, to strangers, for instance, may be the safest thing to do.

Demonstrate your affection

Being a little demonstrative works wonders. According to psychologists, touch therapy works amazingly well with recalcitrant children. After a particularly bad tantrum, it might help to comfort him a little rather than lose your temper. Soon, you’ll see the anger drain out of him leaving him either in tears or repenting for the deed done.

Have a little patience

A tolerant and patient attitude is necessary with children. Even if you have to say the same thing a couple of times, do so instead of shouting at him for not being quick enough to understand what you may be meaning to say. Gradually, with age, your child’s powers of comprehension will increase and he may say something you may not be able to grasp!

Do not have great expectations

Try not to expect too much from your child. He will deliver only as much as he can. Although a five-year-old can be expected to sit still in a doctor’s waiting room, you can’t expect a two-year-old to do the same.

Never hit your child

Avoid hitting your child. It teaches him that violence is the best way of maintaining control and also encourages him to hit other children. It will also distance your child from you. He will constantly be scared of you.

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