Jennifer Coen is a clinical Social Worker who has been specializing in assessing & treating children with mental health & trauma related issues since 1993. Including helping to identify behaviour that may be affected by food additives and preservatives.
It is important to try & have something for your young child to do as you are leaving. A fun distraction! Always say goodbye though, rather then sneak out, although that can be tempting sometimes to avoid an upsetting outburst. Let your child know where you are going & that you will be back. That you love them & will see them soon. Try & get the person you are leaving them with to help by taking them by the hand & inciting them to do something fun. Eg enter a game etc. I am not sure how old your child is but often children go through a period of separation anxiety at around 12 months to 2 years. Sometimes kids get into patterns or habits as well, so if someone else (eg. Husband/partner etc) can be the last to say goodbye or do the drop off that can sometimes help.
Isn’t it frustrating when boys listen to their dad & not to you? Don’t take this personally. Firstly your son is going through ‘the terrible twos’ where testing limits is what life is all about. You need to be firm about rules & if your son doesn’t abide by them or your wishes he needs a consequence. At his age maybe 2 minutes on the ‘time out chair’. It would be good to speak with your husband & your mum & all have the same rules & consequences. Everyone talking the same language makes it easier for kids to understand what is acceptable & what is not. Maybe ask the pre-school what they do if he behaves in a manner they don’t want to encourage.
I’m not sure how you react but : -
Good luck. Things will get better.
Hi Tracy, Your son is still very rough & by the sounds of things a bit rough!
A few tips:
Good luck! Jenny
A 9 month old child biting is not that uncommon! Kids that age are generally still orally fixated (as they say in psychology). Do you know why he is doing this? Does he think it is a game? Is it a habit? Is he doing it to get your attention? I can’t imagine at his age that he would be doing it because he is angry. When he goes to bite, try & stop him by moving what he is about to bite (eg. your finger or whatever) away & calmly tell him ‘no’. Try & give him something to play with that involves oral gratification. Not food but a teething ring or a toy that is made to & safe for an infant to bite or chew. He is not starting to teeth is he? Put your hand in his moth (if you dare) & try to feel for hard gums or small teeth breaking through. If you think this could be the case teething rings & maybe some teething gel (you can get it from the chemist) may help to relieve the soreness he feels, which may be why he is biting.
Hi Kate, teaching kids to be assertive takes time so don’t be put off. Probably one of the simplest things you can do is read her stories that have animals or people in them that are cranky or ‘bad’ & get her to say their part. Eg The 3 Pigs. You read her the story but when she gets to know what the wolf will say, “eg. Little pig, little pig let me come in?” get her to be the wolf so she can practice being assertive in a safe & fun way. When you have done this a few times remind her about how the wolf speaks & suggest that when kids are bossing her she can say “stop it.. I don’t like it when you do that” in a voice that’s like the wolf. Help her practice it. Other stories that can be used would be Snow White, (Wicked Queen) The 3 Billy Goats Gruff, in fact many of the traditional fairytales are great for this purpose as the baddies & goodies are easy to identify & the stories are short & fun to read.
If you see other children taking her things you need to intervene & help her. Maybe you can stop the play, take your daughter’s toy back & then say to both children, “let’s play nicely. I think ? Was playing with that toy first so you (the ‘bully’) go & choose something else to play with & when ? has finished you can have a turn.”
Point out to your daughter hiting, pushing & taking toys isn’t nice & it is ok for her to say so.
Initially she will find it hard to be assertive as it takes practice, even for an adult. Encourage her to talk aloud when she plays with dolls & if you have time play with her sometimes but make a doll resistant to something in the game & ask your daughter what she should say to doll to help solve the problem.
Try & encourage your daughter to use ‘feeling words’ when she can & practice saying things like, “I feel happy when we go shopping” or whatever so later when she is upset you can ask her, “how do you feel?” Let her try & answer. Then link the feeling to a behaviour. Eg. You feel sad because – took your toy. How can we solve the problem? Give her ideas & validate her concerns but try & be positive & find solutions. Maybe try & find her another placid friend so she gains more confidence with her peers.
Most kids her age are not good at negotiating.
If you begin to feel that she is getting anxious about interacting or starts becoming worried about things that other kids her age might not worry about you may need to seek out further advice. But don’t panic as she is only young. Theres a great website for parents www.kidshealth.com.au that you might like to have a look at.
Good luck. Jenny
Hi, teaching kids to be assertive takes time so don’t be put off. Probably one of the simplest things you can do is read your kids stories that have animals or people in them that are cranky or ‘bad’ & get them to play their part. Eg The 3 Pigs. You read the story & when your child gets to know what the wolf will say, “eg. Little pig, little pig let me come in?” let them be the wolf so they can practice being assertive in a safe & fun way. When you have done this a few times remind them about how the wolf speaks & suggest that when kids are bossing them they can say “stop it.. I don’t like it when you do that” in a voice that’s like the wolf. Help your kids practice. Other stories that can be used would be Snow White, (Wicked Queen) The 3 Billy Goats Gruff, in fact many of the traditional fairytales are great for this purpose as the baddies & goodies are easy to identify & the stories are short & fun to read.
Initially kids will find it hard to be assertive as it takes practice, even for an adult. Encourage your kids to talk aloud when they plays (with dolls, dinosaurs etc) & if you have time play sometimes make a doll/dino resistant to something in the game & ask your child what they should say to help solve the problem.
Try & encourage your child to use ‘feeling words’ & practice saying things like, “I feel happy when we go shopping” or whatever so later when they are upset you can ask them , “how do you feel?” Let them try & answer. Then link the feeling to a behaviour. Eg. You feel sad because – took your toy. How can we solve the problem? Give your kids ideas & validate their concerns but try & be positive & find solutions.
Before you take your kids out talk to them about where they are going. Be positive (eg. “There will be other kids to play with”) & let them know this adventure is time limited. Eg. “and when we are finished you and I will go home.. etc”. At this point your kids are young so be positive, be pro-active, encourage them to play or get involved. If they find it difficult you help them initially by leading them in & step back once they are engaged.
Don’t panic often kids around 2 – 3 years become clingy as even though they like to explore they are tentative about what is around them . Jenny
Hi Dani, if your child is active & alert, be glad. Just because you and your husband are shy doesn’t mean she will be. As she gets a little older encourage her to participate in team like hobbies. Eg dancing classes; (age 4 & up) & team sports when she gets to school. Just be aware that she may not view the world as you did so don’t let what held you back interfere with looking at the opportunities for her to engage with her peers. If she is an only child try to link up with a mum or a few that have kids of a similar age to give her the chance to socialize. Gymbaroo & those type of activities are good & you don’t have to become overly friendly with the other mums. Preschool can also be good for only children as can play group. Don’t worry. The fact that you don’t want her to be shy makes you think you will capitalize on the opportunities that come her way.
Always encourage her to tell you how she feels (once she is older & can talk) that way keeping the communication lines open makes way for a more talkative child. Jenny
Hi, your husbands family sound like they need to back off abit! Your child is only young & is still finding out what & who is safe in the world. They may be trying too hard or just be a very overtly emotive bunch. Try to hang on to your daughter when you are there. Maybe explain to them (individually, so they are not embarrassed or think you are criticizing) that your child is still sensitive to noise etc around them & that she/he is becoming unsettled often in lots of places so it’s better to take a softer approach to interacting with your baby. If they don’t take kindly to your request ask your husband to talk to them also. If all this fails maybe don’t visit so often until your baby is a little more resilient. Also, yes if your inlaws speak another language foreign to your baby then that could also be unsettling for your little one. Jenny
Hi Kristen, Your son sounds like he gets a little anxious. Don’t force him too much he isn’t ready to explore yet. Don’t worry about what anyone else’s child is doing at 13 moths. Your son needs a bit more time before he feels safe in the company of others. That’s ok. When he cries just comfort him. Try & encourage him in safe environments. Eg to go on swings, run around. He sounds like he still needs to know you are there. Go with him to meet other kids. Take him by the hand & stand with him for a while so he can test the waters. If he wants you to hold him, try putting him down but crouch down beside him so he still knows you are there. If you see he is getting very distressed stop doing what you are doing & let him calm down. If he has grandparents or others he knows well try & encourage contact with them. Hopefully he will get more confident as he gets older.
Hi Joanne, it sounds like your neighbourhood is a hard place to live with young kids!
What about online mums groups?
Is there a local school that might be interested in setting up a play group?
Re your friend who doesn’t treat her son well. If it upsets you maybe try to find an interesting article or program that you can suggest she watch. Talk to her about how hard it is to be a mum & things you have read that help. If things don’t improve maybe you need to show her what to do (by the way you react) or else maybe don’t see her as much.
It sounds a bit lonely where you are. Do you have a mum you can visit, even overnight, so you can get out a bit more?
Re the bus issues – ring & complain. Bus companies need your service. Tell them about the problems you are having with the drivers shutting doors. If they don’t seem to care call your local member of Parliament.