List of Articles (from top down) It's So Hard Losing a Pet: Tips on What to Say to Kids It Takes Time For Kids to Learn to be Kind Sometimes a Little Change of Thought is Helpful as You go About Being the Best Parent You Can Be
Tips For School Success
It's So Important to Discipline Kids Is it Normal for My Child to Speak Rudely to Me When He’s Angry? Being Shy Is really okay Is your child self-confident? Become a More Patient Parent! In Stores My Child Wants To Touch Everything My Child is Afraid of Monsters Why Does My Child Say, “Only Mommy Do It”? How Can I Help my Child Adjust to First grade That Wasn’t Nice, Now Say You’re Sorry! Don't Lie, Tell me the Truth What Can I Do About My Picky Eater? My Kids Get Anxious Before the Holidays I Hate You, Mommy! Am I Spoiling My Kids? Arguing in Front of the Kids - Is it Harmful? To Bribe or Not to Bribe? Handle Temper Tantrums “I Want To Do It Myself!” “Give Aunt Jodi a Kiss and Say, ‘Thank You’ to Grandma” “It’s Mine!”
It’s So Hard Losing a Pet: Tips on What to Say to Kids
Robin Goldstein, Ph.D.
For parenting coaching, please contact Robin at 301-922-5479 or email@example.com
Pets are loving members of our families. The meaning and connection pets have in our lives, and in the lives of our children, is very powerful.
When kids fall in love with their pets, their expression of their love is shown through their playfulness, cuddling, training, teaching them tricks, giving treats-even building a “house” for them or inviting them into their fort. Feeding, walking, cleaning cages and of course, visits to the vet are the responsibility-often accompanied by kids- of parents.
Pets show their love and attachment by following their family around and being in the same room, on the sofa, by their chair at the kitchen table, in their beds.
A child can turn to their pet and share feelings and frustrations, “Mommy won’t let me go outside!” Pets have a way of being there and are always ready to receive love and attention.
While the bond between a child and her pet is strong, sometimes a child’s feelings don’t fully show up until their pet becomes ill or when their pet dies.
The death of a pet is a common experience for children – fish, hamsters, lizards, birds, gerbils, dogs and cats. And, knowing what to say to your child can be really challenging. It’s natural and okay to feel uncomfortable talking about death.
Truthful and basic information is often a helpful place to start. Try to modify your answers and discussions to the level you think your children will understand. It may begin with heartbreaking words, “We have sad news today. Coco died.” When your explanations come from a heartfelt, comforting place, what you decide to tell your children is okay. You can include your religious beliefs and/or spiritual and philosophical beliefs in what you tell your child: “Coco is in heaven/doggie heaven;” “We will never forget her.” “She was too sick to keep living;” ” I’m glad you said good-bye to her;” “We won’t see her again, but we will always love Coco because love never dies.”
You will also communicate a lot to your children without words; children feel the emptiness in their home after their pet dies.
Two and 3-year-olds are too young for any in-depth discussion, so it’s best to keep answers and explanations simple. “We are sad because Apollo died today.” A young child will notice and feel their missing pet, but will likely respond more to how your sadness shows up. If you are too upset to give your usual attention to your child, he will feel that. Try to manage your feelings and keep your routine – for yourself and your child.
Four and 5-year-olds understand more about death and may have a lot of questions that can be challenging to answer. When asked, “Where’s Bella?” you may need to remind your child, “Bella died, so she’s not here anymore.” Young children don’t understand the permanence of death, so they may continue to wonder and ask until they adjust, “Where’s Bella?” “When will we see her again?” Young children learn through repetition-even though that can be painful. “Bella died, so she won’t live in our house anymore.”
Six and 7-year-olds will be helped by the same explanations as younger children, along with writing a story about their pet, making a scrapbook of pictures, telling funny stories, creating a memory box.
Expect questions from 6 and 7-year-olds that are also hard to answer. “Why couldn’t the doctor make him better?” “Where did she go?” Depending on what happened to your pet, answers will vary: “Dogs and cats get older faster than people, so 14 years is a long time for them to live.” “Moby died peacefully.” “I’m glad we could say goodbye to him.” “We took really good care of Fluffy. That’s how long hamsters live.”
Eight and 9-year-olds will naturally have questions, but they will also have ways to comfort themselves-talking to a friend, their teacher or another relative. You might also help your child heal by creating a memorial, planting flowers, a bush or a tree in memory and honor of the family pet. They may share funny stories – probably a lot of cute stories.
A 10-year-old can begin to understand, “putting a dog to sleep.” “When the doctor ‘put Sophie to sleep’ it means she helped her die without being in pain and we did that so that she wouldn’t be too sick.” “Veterinarians are specially trained to know when a dog or cat is too sick to keep living.” “Dogs and cats can’t talk so we have to watch their behavior and how they act to know when they are sick.”
If you bury your pet, your child may want to be part of the burial. Tell your child that burying pets is how people honor their pets when they die. Have flowers to plant next to the grave and share a loving story about your pet. Say how much she loved your family and that you will always love her and won’t forget her.
Sing a song, say a prayer and share what you will miss about your pet. Show gratitude, “We are so happy you were part of our lives.”
If you think you can explain that you are having your pet cremated, make sure you believe your child can handle the explanation. Be mindful of how you explain and talk about this. “Lucy went to a crematory. People who cremate pets understand how much their families love them. We won’t see her again because they take special care to put her remains in an urn.” Also, think carefully about whether you want to have the urn in your home, especially if you think it would be upsetting and not understood by your kids.
Truthfully, it is okay to talk about getting another pet, especially if your child brings it up. That wish, question and discussion may come up soon after your pet dies. It’s a way for kids to move their healing forward and put their painful feelings in a more positive and hopeful place. While you may not be ready to get another pet, you can still let your kids talk about it. You can even ask them some engaging questions, “What kind of pet would you want?” “Would it be big or little?”
And, you can still say, “It’s good to talk about getting a new dog/cat/hamster, so we will know what to get when we are ready.”
“Loss takes time to understand.” Fred Rogers
It Takes Time For Kids to Learn to be Kind
As a child development specialist, I often hear questions along the lines of: "Why isn’t my child more considerate?"
One thing that parents all over the globe want is for their children to be kind and considerate of others. Showing kindness is a universal trait we all value. So why is it so hard — even time-consuming — to teach children to be nice to others?
Actually, learning to be kind does take time. It’s a slow, steady, gradual learning process — and super important to teach mindfully. For me, as I was raising my kids, it was helpful to understand children’s thinking at different ages. One of the most helpful things I learned to embrace was the understanding that developmentally, it’s hard for all children to think about other people’s needs, wants and wishes.
As any parent of a young child knows, young kids have the tendency to not only focus on their needs, but also to consider only one side of any situation — their own! When young children don't share their toys and things, they are just thinking about the stuff being theirs! When they tell someone in the moment, "I'm not your friend anymore!" we cringe. But kids say this because they have a hard time thinking about others' feelings.
I promise you that children don’t do this to be intentionally selfish or unkind. They are generally incapable, during their early years, of putting themselves in another person's place or imagining how other people think and feel.
The best and simplest way to establish expectations of kindness is probably to model it by showing consideration and kindness to others. It's also helpful to remember that the process of learning to be kind to others definitely takes time and practice. So when kids do something nice for their siblings, their classmates, their family or community, it requires acknowledgment and some praise.
Children ultimately model themselves after their parents, and imitate what they see. This can only mean that the more kindness children observe, the kinder they will (gradually) become. Modeling kindness can be challenging because we have to be conscious of it. For example, we must be mindful of the tone we use when we don't want our kids to touch something in a store or to hurry to get ready to leave the house. We must think about the way we say something we want our kids to do, especially when it is our second or third time reminding them.
We are always modeling words and behaviors when we respond to others who may annoy us. We are models for showing appreciation for others; for helping people when they drop something; for being better listeners; for saying "thank you" more often; and for sharing a smileJ!
Robin Goldstein, Ph.D. is a specialist in child and adolescent development; a faculty member at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and author of The New Baby Answer Book, Sourcebooks.
Sometimes a Little Change of Thought is Helpful as You go About Being the Best Parent You Can Be
You can learn a great deal about your child’s interests and abilities by watching him/her participate in activities.
When your child says, “Watch me!” s/he wants your positive attention and approval.
When your child hears you speaking politely to her and to other children and adults, she/he will begin to do as you do.
If your child constantly gets her way, he/she will gradually learn to feel entitled to do as he/she wishes.
Children are natural mimics. Watch what you say and do.
Most young children need constant reminders.
The tone you set in the morning is what your child will take with him/her as he/she starts the day.
If you change your expectations, you may realize that your child is simply acting as most young children do.
Help your child get ready in the morning in a loving, fun, and calm way.
It’s important for you and your children to start the day on a positive note.
Most phases children go through are easier to handle with a little patience and understanding.
Becoming a more patient parent takes purposeful effort and may require a change in attitude, priorities, or behavior.
The way parents treat their children has a major impact on their development of personality, interests, and abilities.
Despite differences in age, interests, personality, and skills, each of your children needs to feel special and important.
All children have a strong drive to be independent and imitate older people.
Setting limits and disciplining children is an extremely important part of parenting. And, it is important to understand that learning right from wrong is a gradual process. In general, children six and under are motivated to change their behavior “because mommy said” or when a punishment or privilege is mentioned, not because they understand how their negative behavior impacts others.
Children sometimes struggle as they grow, and for every step forward, there’s sometimes a short step backward to earlier behavior.
Tips for School Success!
Robin Goldstein, Ph.D., Child Development Specialist,
Author of, The New Baby Answer Book
Here are some tips that will help your kids have a successful learning experience this year:
1. Learning happens gradually, so your kids will need your help and encouragement throughout the school year, including, lessons on the benefits of hard work and on the importance of not giving up - ever!
2. Learning requires confidence, so help your children believe in themselves.
3. Learning is not just something that happens at school, and learning is not just dependent on formal lessons. Families that are involved, interested, and curious can foster learning all the time.
4. Show your kids that you have a positive attitude toward learning. Your children watch how you react when you try to master a skill, show interest in a new topic, spend time at a museum, do puzzles, read and seek answers.
5. Follow-up on your child’s interests by providing materials, books, and experiences on things they want to learn about. There’s no limit to the ways you can follow-up on your child’s interests.
6. Help your children find activities they’re interested in that meet their needs and allow them to explore a hobby or skill as fully as they desire.
7. Encourage your children to go beyond the school’s lessons when they show an interest in an academic subject.
8. Talk to your children regularly about their schoolwork, their interests, and current events that are at their level of understanding.
9. Have a lot of discussions that revolve around sports, the environment, history, popular entertainment, space exploration, fashion, music, or animals. As long as the subject is interesting to your children, the talk will be valuable.
10. Listen carefully to their opinions and questions. That way, they’ll learn to see themselves as an important part of family talks.
11. Don’t give negative judgments about your child’s progress or compare your children’s achievements to their siblings or their friends. They’ll do better academically without that pressure.
12. Leave a dictionary and encyclopedia out - yes hard copies! - that can be read, explored and discussed at the kitchen table. Increase your child’s vocabulary by using new words and post new words on the refrigerator.
13. Take trips to the zoo, museums, nature centers, concerts, events, and children’ plays together. Watch educational programs together, particularly ones on nature. Talk about what you watch and experience together.
14. Make learning a pleasurable, shared experience, and your children will join in.
Your relationship with your child’s teacher also fosters school success:
1. Listen carefully to suggestions from your child’s teacher.
2. Let teachers know if there are problems at home. Read school newsletters and notices, attend meetings and comfortably discuss your child’s behavior. Ask questions about what you can do at home to foster learning and more cooperative behavior.
3. Respect the teacher’s standards, be mindful of your expectations and tone, and work cooperatively with your child’s teacher.
Finally, a fun, loving, and nurturing home that emphasizes the value of learning, honesty, being nice and a generosity of spirit, will help your child develop school success!
Setting limits is hard, frustrating and time-consuming. But, it is an extremely important part of parenting.
Parents who don't set adequate limits do their children a great disservice. They reinforce unacceptable behaviors because children quickly learn that they can act as they want.
Learning right from wrong is a slow, gradual process.
2 year-olds need constant watching. Distract them when they don't behave the way you want them to. Saying "no" to issues of safety is the beginning of limit-setting.
3 year-olds have trouble sticking to limits. Stay close by, offer frequent reminders and get involved with your child. When your child acts inappropriately, remove her from the situation and involve her in something else that will foster positive behavior.
Most children under 5 are motivated to change their behavior "because mommy said" or when warned by a punishment, not because they understand how their negative behavior impacts others. So, the motivation not to hit their brother comes from wanting to watch TV, play outside or use the computer - not from thinking about someone else's feelings. That's okay!
Sometimes connect a restriction to an activity, "If you want to ride your bike, you have to stay in front of the house," or "If you want to play outside, you have to keep your jacket on." Follow-through.
Time-outs sometimes work. If you use "time-out," tell your child she can get off the step or chair when she's ready to play nicely. "Time-out" should only last as long as is necessary for him to calm down and change his behavior.
It's also okay to firmly say, "You may not do that!" Parenting is the most challenging job we do. Your day-to-day actions can guide your child’s character and behavior in positive ways.
Is it Normal for My Child to Speak Rudely to Me When He’s Angry?
“Be quiet, Dad. You never let me do anything!” “I don’t like you.”
“You’re not fair! Leave me alone!”
When your child is allowed to spontaneously express his anger, he may say rude, hurtful things because he’s too young to consider his parents’ feelings. In the heat of the moment, he says what he’s thinking and he doesn’t understand adult reasoning.
Anger at parents is a normal part of growing up. Learning how to express negative feelings in acceptable ways is very important, but it takes time. It also takes patience on the part of parents. Yet many parents react harshly. “Don’t you dare talk to me that way!” “I don’t want to hear that tone of voice.” If parents overreact toward their child for his disrespectful words, he may learn that feeling angry is bad and that angry thoughts shouldn’t be spoken.
While some parents overreact, others feel helpless when faced with outbursts. “Should we allow this behavior?” “Why does he talk this way?” “Am I setting enough limits?” Many parents grew up with strong restrictions on their speech. “Don’t ever say that again. It’s not nice.” Parents may be reluctant to impose similar controls on their child’s expressions of anger, yet they feel uncomfortable listening to their child say things they would never have said as children.
Your child needs a chance to speak his angry thoughts, but you also need to put limits on how he expresses himself. If certain words or attitudes are unacceptable to you, tell him. “It’s alright for you to be mad at me, but you have to change your tone of voice.” “When you stop name-calling, I will listen to you.” “I don’t like it when you talk to me that way.” “You’ll have to find another way to tell me you’re angry.” Not only do such statements guide your child toward better ways of expressing anger, they also demonstrate a respectful way of communicating that you’d eventually like him to adopt.
As you help your child control the way he speaks to you, consider his age; a young child lacks communication skills, an older child needs reminders and limits. Also, remember that your child is greatly influenced by your behavior. If you expect your child to speak respectfully, be a good example. Don’t say or yell, “Get over here this minute!” “Stop acting like a baby.” “You better listen to me!” Instead, talk to him and treat him as you would like him to treat others.
With patience, limits and guidance, your child will gradually learn to express most of his feelings appropriately. However, if you become concerned that he can’t control his anger, consider seeking outside help such as a parenting class. The way you treat this issue now will set the tone for communication with your child later.
Being Shy is Really Okay
Robin Goldstein, Ph.D., Author, The New Baby Answer Book
Many people believe that shyness is an undesirable trait. Actually, shyness is a personality characteristic, not a flaw. And, reserved kids are often nice, well-behaved, and generous. Although they’re shy in some circumstances, they can also handle many situations well. One 5-year-old who wanted to try a hoola hoop that another child was using told her mother, “At first I was shy and then I just asked her if I could use it.”
Shy children are often fine in small groups of two or three children or in one-on-one conversations with an adult. A shy child who’s involved in an interesting project won’t appear shy. It’s only when she’s focused on that her shyness becomes apparent.
While shyness should not be seen as a problem for a child, it can certainly be frustrating for parents. You may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed when your child doesn’t respond as other children do.
You can help yourself and your child by avoiding uncomfortable situations and helping your child when necessary. For instance, many shy children don’t like to be put on the spot to say hello or otherwise talk on demand. If your child appears unlikely to respond to an adult’s questions, you can matter-of-factly respond for her and then quickly steer the discussion away from her. The alternative, trying to force your child to talk, will only make her feel worse and will probably be ineffective and make you feel uncomfortable. If you generally arrange situations so your child doesn’t feel focused on, everyone will feel better.
Sometimes your child will come home from school or play feeling frustrated because she couldn’t participate comfortably. She may be whiny or demanding. Accept that she needs understanding and an outlet for her feelings. If she feels comfortable enough and if she’s old enough to talk about her feelings and experiences, she may tell you about shyness and how it sometimes interferes with activities, “I was too shy to sing.” Certainly as she gets older, an accepting atmosphere at home will make it easier for your child to share her thoughts.
You may be convinced that your child will always be shy, but it’s hard to predict the paths your child will take. Some kids who are extremely shy during the preschool and elementary years gradually become more outgoing. In any case, the most important thing you can do for your child is to accept her as she is and help her find activities and situations that make her feel good. Your love, involvement, encouragement and acceptance will always benefit your child as she goes through the fun and challenging parts of growing up.
Is your child self-confident? Robin Goldstein, Ph.D. www.drrobingoldstein.com
Author, The New Baby Answer Book: From Birth to Kindergarten, Answers to the Top 150 Questions about Raising a Young Child
One of the most important tasks you have is to consistently let your children know they are capable, loved, and worthy of attention. Their self-esteem is based largely on feedback you give them. If you show you value them, they’ll generally feel good about themselves. If you concentrate on their faults and don’t encourage them, they may develop a poor self-image.
Some parents are not supportive. In an effort to improve their children’s behavior or to express frustration and disappointment, they speak harshly. “You’re not a good listener.” “Stop acting like a baby?” “What’s wrong with you?” “You know better!” “You’re not nice.” Children who hear these messages learn that they can’t easily please their parents or live up to their standards.
They gradually start to believe that their skills, abilities, personality or appearance aren’t good enough. In such circumstances, it’s hard for children to develop confidence.
Some parents who speak negatively to their children were themselves criticized as children and may have grown up with a lack of confidence. Even though they once struggled against harsh words and treatment, they repeat the pattern with their own children.
It’s important to think about the messages you give your children. Are you encouraging self-doubt? Are your expectations too high? Do you respect their feelings? Are you too demanding? Do you say things that make them feel shame and guilt? Are you hard to please? Do you dwell on their weaknesses and take their strengths for granted? Do you spend enough time with them?
Give your children more verbal rewards. Praise their capabilities (“You can pour your own milk!”) and accomplishments (“You built that tower by yourself”) and point out their talents (“You learned that song!”) and endearing traits (“You’re so nice to your sister”). Ignore or minimize their faults. Encourage your children when they try new activities and offer support when they need it.
When you treat your children in positive ways, they’ll feel good about themselves. This will help them build confidence. As they grow, improved self-esteem will help your children feel happier, more satisfied, and more successful!
Become a More Patient Parent!
Robin Goldstein, Ph.D. www.drrobingoldstein.com
Author, The New Baby Answer Book: From Birth to Kindergarten, Answers to the Top 150 Questions about Raising a Young Child
At times, all parents lose their patience, especially when rushed, busy or feeling badgered by their children’s demands. “I’ve got to get to work.” “I’m trying to pay bills. Don’t make so much noise.” “I can’t read to you right now.”
Impatience due to circumstances is often mild and temporary. More harmful is constant criticism and rudeness. “Don’t be so messy! I’ve told you a hundred times to put your toys away.” “I’m tired of you whining.” “Hurry up! You’re so slow.”
If you become intolerant when things don’t go your way, and react with harsh impatience, it hurts your child’s self-confidence, harms family relationships, and causes your child to become less, rather than more, cooperative as he copies the treatment he’s received.
Impatience is also shown when you don’t make time for your child. It takes a reordering of priorities to put aside your interests and answer your child’s questions, look at his art project, take him on a walk, sit on the floor and play with him, read a book to him and genuinely take an interest in his activities.
Becoming a more patient parent takes purposeful effort and requires a change in attitude, priorities, or behavior.
Think about your tone of voice when you talk to your child—try using the same tone you’d like your child to use. Don’t shout, put him down, roll your eyes in frustration, or say, “I’m waiting!” In the long run, your child will respond more positively to your calm words and requests than to rude orders.
Make the decision to spend more time with your child. Put your work down, spend less time on the phone and computer, text less, turn the TV off and get involved with your child. And always know, that it’s more important to spend time with your child than to have a clean house.
While these suggestions are not always easy, there are definite benefits. Your child will have you as a model of more tolerant, patient behavior. He’ll feel better about himself because you’re interested in him. And the relationship between the two of you and your family will improve.
In Stores My Child Wants To Touch Everything
Robin Goldstein, Ph.D. Robin is a Parenting Consultant and Author of, “The New Baby Answer Book.” She can be reached at her website: www.drrobingoldstein.com
We all like to touch interesting and attractive objects. In stores adults are easily drawn to gadgets they can manipulate and pick up. Children also want to handle what they see in stores. Touching is one of the main ways your child learns about things around her, especially in new surroundings. Young children explore with their hands and often can only “see” something by feeling it. One three-year-old told her mother, who was holding an interesting object right in front of her daughter’s eyes, “I can’t see that far.” The child was really saying that she wanted to touch it. When children shop with their parents, struggles often develop as parents pick up, handle, and buy items, and children want to do the same. And because most stores try to display their products in the most attractive and appealing ways possible, the temptations for a child to touch are great. Parents usually keep their children from handing merchandise because they worry about items getting broken. While it’s true that young children don’t understand the consequences of breaking things, it’s also true that most children, if properly supervised, won’t hurt items in a store. You can hold fragile objects for close-up viewing or gentle touching, and can patiently allow your child, within limits, to pick up interesting merchandise. Your child is just as interested as you are in touching objects she finds interesting. Just look around at how often adults pick up and closely look at items in stores. And, be aware of how often you say, “Don’t touch!” Sometimes your child will be satisfied and more cooperative in a store if she’s just given enough time to examine a few objects. Parents are often in too much of a hurry while shopping to wait while their child looks at shoes on display, toys on shelves, boxes of paint brushes or piles of scarves. But many struggles can be avoided if you slow down a bit and allow an extra few minutes to accommodate your child by looking at what she’s interested in. Remember, your child is continuously receiving mini lessons in learning to value herself and her interests by the way you treat her. If you recognize and are more patient with your child’s need to see, touch and explore, shopping will become easier and more enjoyable for everyone!
My Child is Afraid of Monsters by Robin Goldstein
Robin is a Parenting Consultant and Author of, “The New Baby Answer Book.” She can be reached at her website: www.drrobingoldstein.com
All children have fears. Frightening images are a normal part of a child’sinternal world. If your child tells you - or shows you by his timid behavior - thathe’s afraid of monsters, understand that his fears are very real. Hereally believes monsters exist. Try to get your child to express his fears. Talking will help him deal with them. And, since young children don't understand reality from fantasy very well, you may want to keep your child from watching scary TV shows, movies or playing scary video games. If your child tells you about a scary dream that included monsters you might want to ask him, "What can you do so that the monster won’t come back into your dream again?” When children talk about a better outcome to a scary dream or talk about pushing the monster away or beating up the monster, they begin to feel that they have some power over their fears. You might also ask your child, "How can mommy and daddy help?" Manyyoung children want the light left on in their bedroom or in the hallway. Try to accept your child's answers and solutions. Accommodating children in ways they find comforting offers an additional advantage; it helps them learn to be kind and considerate of others. While some parents find that using a “monster repellent” spray (mixing ingredients and putting it in a spray bottle) helps, it may also reinforce the notion that monsters are real. If you create a spray to get rid of the monster, you are letting your child know that you also believe that monsters are real. Since fears escalate at night, it may be helpful to know that children simply feel better and safer when their parents are close by. During those moments a hug, distraction or helping your child think of fun think of fun things - a recent birthday party or outing - can also help to gradually train your child to change his thinking when he's having unpleasant or scary thoughts. In the meantime, patience, understanding and some middle-of-the-night comfort will get you and your child through this very normal phase.
Why Does My Child Say, “Only Mommy Do It”?
by Robin Goldstein Robin is a Parenting Consultant and Author of, “The New Baby Answer Book.” She can be reached at her website: www.drrobingoldstein.com
Between the ages of 20 months and 3 years, some children just won’t let their dads help them. When a dad tries to comfort his child during the night, get her dressed, get her some juice, or even fasten her seat belt, she may resist: “No! Only Mommy Do It!” Young children are often strongly attached to their mothers, and during this brief developmental phase they sometimes reject their father’s help.
This stage can be very frustrating. A dad who wants to take an active role in caring for his child may find it hard to understand his young child’s resistance and rejection. At times he may feel like giving up and telling his wife, “You take care of her. Why should I even try?” His feelings may be hurt and he may even show signs of resentment towards his child.
The mom’s role, too, is difficult during this stage. It’s hard for her to see her husband rejected and hard to try and persuade her child to allow him to help. There’s also more pressure on the mother to take over the work of childcare. With this extra pressure of the “only mommy do it” phase, mom may feel frustrated about always being the one to get up at night, give comfort, and get the child ready in the morning.
One mother no sooner got into bed after feeding her two-month-old baby, when her three-year-old daughter called out for water. The tired mother asked her husband to respond, but their daughter refused his help. “Not you. I want water from Mommy.” To avoid a middle-of-the-night struggle, the mother got up, but the encounter was unpleasant for both parents.
Some parents try reasoning with their child (“Mommy’s tired”) or forcing her to accept her father’s help, “If you want a drink, you’ll have to let Daddy get it.” Sometimes these statements work, but sometimes tears and tantrums follow. It may be easier to give in, at least during the night, and have mom get the drink so the family can go quickly back to sleep rather than deal with a struggle.
If dad is unable to help his child because she rejects him, he can still help his wife by taking over additional household responsibilities or caring for the couple’s other children. And both parents should try not to let the father’s feelings of rejection interfere with their basic relationship, including being loving, playful with their child. In the course of development, this stage of “only Mommy do it” is rather short.
How Can I Help My Child Adjust to First Grade Robin Goldstein is a Parenting Consultant and Author of, “The Parenting Bible.” Robin can be reached at her website: www.drrobingoldstein.com
Problem: My child is having trouble adjusting to first grade. She seems a little anxious and unsure of herself when she goes off to school in the morning. She was a happy kindergartener but now needs extra help and encouragement as she adjusts first grade. How can I help her? Insight: First grade is the beginning of “real school” and a sign of growing up; and it’s very different from kindergarten and preschool. There are new demands, expectations, and experiences. Developmentally, first graders are busy, hard working, and excited to learn. They’re also more sensitive to how others perceive them and they frequently compare themselves to others. Strategies: There are many ways to help your child adjust to first grade. Here are some tips: Do understand that a child’s adjustment is sometimes affected by her home situation. If she has a new sibling, she’s just moved, or if there’s tension between her parents, she may enter first grade feeling insecure or fearful. Don’t overlook the fact that your child will have an easier time adjusting to first grade if she has friends in her class and if she has a warm and attentive teacher. A caring teacher knows that first graders arrive with varying academic skills, social skills, and experiences. Do know that your child may feel less anxiety about first grade if she went to kindergarten at the same school. It may also help if she has all the school supplies (and a few extra to share) she needs to begin a successful year. Don’t forget that adjusting to new situations takes time. Difficulties adjusting are usually temporary. Don’t’ belittle or judge your child negatively because she’s hesitant. Do realize that first graders can easily feel insecure if other students read and write at a higher level. They’ll feel inferior if they’ve been placed in a low reading group. Children know the difference between a high and low reading group, even when groups have cute names: “leopards,” “lions,” “grasshoppers.” Don’t say, “Why can’t you be like other kids?” in a moment of frustration while your child is adjusting. This won’t help her. Do be careful about putting pressure on your child to do well. She really wants to be a successful learner and to please you. Don’t minimize the importance of being understanding and supportive as a way of helping her get over her initial anxiety. Do stay in close contact with her teacher. She’ll give you a fuller picture of your child’s behavior. While you see your child go off hesitantly, her teacher may see her joining in class activities and getting along with other children. Don’t be unwilling to tell the bus driver or the parents you carpool with about your child’s reluctance to go to school. They can probably help make things easier. Do consider asking another parent to give her a ride in the morning. Some kids have an easier time adjusting and separating if they aren’t with their parents during the moments before school starts. Your child may be entertained or distracted if she goes to school with another family. Don’t forget that a “love note” to carry in her pocket or a reward, for entering school with a smile and not crying during the day, at the end of the day helps many children. Do encourage your child to invite classmates to your home and talk about other ways of getting to know kids. Have her join an after-school activity that other first graders are involved in. This will help her feel more connected to the school. Don’t hesitate, if after several weeks, you see no improvement in her attitude toward first grade, to talk to the school counselor or principal and ask him/her to observe your child in the classroom and offer suggestions. Do know that even if she’s not quite ready for the demands of first grade, it’s likely that she’ll adjust as long as you continue to be patient, offer help with her work, and seek support from the school. Don’t fail to understand the importance of helping her with her homework. Don’t expect her to complete it without reminders, your involvement and interest. She’s too young to independently do her work on her own. Be mindful of your words and tone when pointing out her mistakes. Do make sure she’s not going off to school hungry. Let her eat raisins from the box, a nutritious strawberry smoothie, leftovers or a breakfast bar. And make sure mornings are as stress free as possible.
Bottom Line: All new beginnings take time to adjust to. Be your child’s cheerleader. Be there for her. Believe in her. Listen to her. Encourage her. As you help your child get through life’s challenges, there’s no better help than your love and support.
That Wasn’t Nice, Now Say You’re Sorry!
Robin Goldstein is a Parenting Consultant and Author of, “The Parenting Bible.” Robin can be reached at her website: www.drrobingoldstein.com
Problem: When my 4-year-old son hurts his sister or a friend, I want him to apologize. After coercing him, I usually have success getting him to say he’s sorry, but he says it quickly and quietly which makes me wonder if he really means it. How important is it for kids to apologize?
Insight: Young children are -by nature- egocentric which simply means that they focus on their own needs and wants without considering others’ feelings. This explains why you’re the one initiating the apology and why you don’t observe your son’s genuine feelings of being sorry when he hurts another person. When kids reluctantly mutter, “Sorry,” it’s clear they don’t feel remorse for hurting someone else. In fact, when they say, “I didn’t do it” or “But, I had it first” they’re letting you know that they believe (in their 4 or 5 year old way of thinking) they did nothing wrong. That’s just the way kids think.
Strategies: It’s often not easy for kids - or adults - to apologize for their negative actions or words. Yet, there are ways to respond to children's’ behaviors that will help them learn to take responsibility for their negative behaviors. These do’s and don’ts will help you understand this problem from a developmental perspective.
Don’t neglect to listen to your son’s side. He won’t offer sincere apologies until he has the experience of having his side of a disagreement heard. Children (and adults) who feel unheard often defend themselves and refuse to apologize even when they know they’re wrong.
Do understand that at times, all young children grab, hit, knock over each other’s blocks, say mean things, and refuse to share. Set firm limits on inappropriate behavior rather than force your son into making insincere apologies. Kids need to know that doing unkind things and being aggressive towards others is simply not allowed.
Don’t forget that if you don’t want your son to treat others in negative ways, you need to supervise closely so that you catch it before it happens. Distract, re-direct, and get involved. This will help him learn positive ways to treat others.
Do know that when apologizing becomes the main consequence for unacceptable behavior, your son may decide that it’s worth hitting others or knocking over their toys, because he knows that all he has to do is say ‘sorry’ afterwards and he may be excused.
Don’t enforce an apology because it’s a quick and easy way to deal with misbehavior. Hearing your son apologize can also be very unsatisfying, particularly if he’s done something dangerous such as throw sand in a playmate’s face.
Do help your son find ways to resolve conflicts. Encourage him to use words to express his disappointments. Help him with suggestions: “I wanted to play the fish game by myself.” Have family time when everyone says something they’re sorry for. Set the example, “I’m sorry I yelled at you today.”
Don’t overemphasize apologies. He will learn that he can easily get off the hook; “But I said I’m sorry.”
Do understand that the real motivation for your son to change his behavior comes not from the fear of having to apologize, but from the fear of disappointing and angering you, and as he gets older, his friends.
Don’t overlook the emotional parts. Your son may not make genuine apologies because he may be too embarrassed or ashamed to admit wrongdoing and at other times he may not like being put on the spot. He may deny his actions, “I didn’t do it,” because he fears his parents’ reactions and disapproval.
Do have your son help remedy a situation: “Since you pushed over your friends’ castle, you have to help her put it back together.”
Don’t hesitate to state, “I’m not going to let you hit him.” Or “You may not want to play with her, but I’m not going to let you hurt her.”
Do know that since your son imitates your behavior, it’s important for you to model considerate behavior by apologizing to others, “I’m sorry for being late.” Apologize to him when you overreact, bump into him, or take him away from play to rush out for your own reasons. If you apologize whenever the situation calls for it, your son will eventually copy your words and actions.
Don’t neglect to understand that a child who doesn’t want his parents to get angry at him, may apologize on his own for misbehavior. Such an apology comes from within and is much more sincere than an apology he’s forced to make.
Do explain to your son, as he gets a bit older, what it means to apologize. “When you apologize, you tell someone that you feel sorry you hurt them.” Explain that kids need to apologize if they make someone feel sad or tease someone or lose or break something that belonged to someone else.
Don’t underestimate the importance of building his self-esteem so that he learns to feel secure enough to apologize to others. A child who is insecure will be more reluctant to apologize because he will feel that it’s an attack on himself-who he is.
Bottom Line: All important learning starts in the home. Everyday you teach your son right from wrong, and how others should be treated. Acknowledge the hurt you do to others. Take responsibility for situations. Learn from your mistakes.
And, thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. We can all use reminders on the value and importance of those two simple words, “I’m sorry.”
Don’t Lie, Tell Me The Truth! Robin Goldstein is a Parenting Consultant and Author of, “The Parenting Bible.” Robin can be reached at her website: www.drrobingoldstein.com Problem: While hard to admit, my kids don’t always tell the truth; “I didn’t do it!” “It wasn’t me.” “I didn’t leave food in the basement.” When they lie, I tell them, “Lying is not acceptable.” And I threaten, “If I find out you’ve lied, you’ll be punished.” I’m having trouble winning this battle. Your suggestions would be appreciated. Insight: It might surprise you to know that most kids, at times, lie. And, while there are a number of reasons why kids lie, typically they lie to avoid getting in trouble. With patience and determination, you can teach your children the value of honesty. And, keep this in mind as well. We often tell children not to speak the truth if it might hurt someone else’s feelings. Strategies: You raise a common concern and a difficult issue for many parents. Take these points and tips into consideration as you try to create more truthfulness and trustworthiness in your family-values all parents should work towards. Don’t say, “Did you.....” “Who told you to......” “Which one of you.....” Kids rarely respond honestly to those questions. Kids often think, “If I don’t say I did it, she’ll never know.” Set limits on negative behaviors by saying, “Listen guys, no more fighting.” “I want you both to clean this up.” “You all need to work harder at getting along.”
Do know it may be worth it to your kids to lie in order to avoid negative moments- being yelled at, punishment, put downs and embarrassment. Don’t minimize the fact that children who fear punishment may lie, hoping they'll avoid the consequences of misbehaving. The harsher the punishment and the stricter and more inflexible you are, the more likely your kids will bend the truth. Do try to understand the difference between exaggeration, distorting the truth and little ‘white lies.’ (Don’t we all do this?) Don’t minimize the necessity of consistently telling your children what you expect of them. Talk about the effect their lies have on other children -especially if they are older than 7. Reinforce examples of honesty, and continue talking about what it feels like to be trusted and what it feels like not to be trusted. Do expect some kids to lie because they’ve learned they can get away with it. Don’t neglect to see the benefits of temporarily removing your acceptance and affection when your children have lied. Since kids care about pleasing their parents, they’re reluctant to risk losing their approval. Do know that by age 6 or 7 children know lying is wrong and often feel guilty about doing it. Guilt serves a useful purpose. It’s an uncomfortable feeling and a strong deterrent to negative behavior.
Don’t neglect to pay attention to the way you talk to your kids about lying. Don’t shout, “You’re lying again!” Instead, show some understanding of their position, “I think you made up that story because you were afraid I’d get mad at you.” “Sometimes people don’t tell the truth because they’re worried about getting in trouble.” “I think you lied because you thought I wouldn’t let you go to your friend’s birthday party.” Do expect to hear minor lies. These lies usually involve things kids don’t want to do, such as brush their teeth or take a shower. A child will say, “I washed my hands,” when she hasn’t. And they commonly lie when confronted with open-ended questions from teachers or other authority figures- (“Jason, were you playing around?” “Maria, are you wasting time over there?”). Many kids will answer “No” because they hope to avoid a reprimand and believe they won’t get in trouble for lying in such a situation. Don’t forget that lying occurs among peers especially about possessions because they want to have the same things their friends have. They lie to give themselves a sense of belonging or out of a competitive desire to impress their peers. Do keep promises you make to your kids. Don’t underestimate the impact on your kids when they hear your excuses and questionable honesty: “I’m so sorry I can’t make the meeting tonight, I’m not feeling well.” “Sorry officer, I wasn’t aware I was speeding.” Do consider professional help if your children repeatedly lie. There may be other dynamics and issues that are contributing to this behavior.
Bottom Line: Ultimately, the best way to get your kids to become more honest is to strengthen the ties between you. Spend more quality time with them. Praise, encourage and compliment them. Help them feel a greater sense of self worth. Set solid, but age appropriate, limits on negative and inappropriate behaviors. And, don’t make excuses for people who lie, be mindful of the lies your children hear you say, and always do your best to behave the way you want your children to behave.
What Can I Do About My Picky Eater? “You Won’t Get Dessert Unless You Eat This!”
Robin Goldstein is a Parenting Consultant and Author of, “The Parenting Bible.” Robin can be reached at her website: www.drrobingoldstein.com
Problem: My 4-year-old daughter is a picky eater. She eats the same foods almost everyday. I want her to learn to eat a variety of foods, but it’s really hard to get her to taste foods she’s not interested in. I’ve tried limits, “Sit there until you finish eating,” threats, “If you don’t eat what’s on your plate, you won’t get anything for the rest of the night,” and using dessert as an incentive, “If you take 3 more bites, you can have 2 scoops of ice cream.” Sometimes these things work. Most of the time they don’t. I’m really frustrated and would like your help.
Insight: Nearly every child is a picky eater at one time or another. However, most children, on their own, eat enough for adequate growth and nutrition. Kids often decide that they like or don’t like certain foods based on looks, texture, color and consistency. Sometimes kids refuse to taste foods because they're afraid that once they try a bite, they'll have to keep on trying more and more new foods. Picky eating habits can easily develop out of stress and arguments around the quantity and variety of food kids feel pressured to eat.
Strategies: Despite all the negative effects and emotions involved in trying to get kids to eat different foods, parents get into mealtime struggles for a positive reason: they want their children to willingly eat nutritious foods. Here are some tips that will help you understand and deal with your picky eater. These suggestions require patience and understanding.
Do model for your daughter the kind of healthy eating habits you want her to (gradually) adopt. Offer an assortment of foods (don’t overdo it) she can choose from. Keep your refrigerator stocked with great snacks. Snacks can be as important as regular meals in obtaining needed nutrients.
Don’t neglect to understand that when you pressure your child to eat or to finish what’s on her plate, it can create picky eating habits. And, don’t push her to take "just one more bite" in order to please you. Children naturally learn to respect their own feelings of hunger, unless you confuse them.
Do understand that when you try to coerce your child into eating, the results will usually be negative. Meals will become unpleasant times of arguments and power struggles. And, your daughter may resort to sneakiness, either taking foods she wants (usually sweets) or secretly disposing of foods she won’t eat.
Don’t make mealtime a battleground. If your daughter feels she can accept or reject foods she doesn’t want to eat, she may be more willing to taste what you offer.
Do expect that she might react to your pressure by picking at what’s on her plate and taking tiny bites. She’s not consciously trying to manipulate you, but rather acting out her sense of helplessness.
Don’t urge your daughter to eat more, and more often, than she wants. She may have a small appetite.
Do try starting your daughter’s day with a nutritious milk shake. Put milk, fresh fruit, nonfat ice cream and protein powder in a blender. Whip the ingredients into a frothy shake.
Don’t focus so much on what your child eats at a particular meal or snack. Instead, look at foods she’s eaten over several days. Research shows that if a child eats less at one meal, she will balance her intake by eating more later on in the day. Kid’s appetites can vary from meal to meal, and day to day. Prior to growth spurts, appetite increases; prior to the onset of an illness, appetite may decrease.
Do make a strong effort to remove all mealtime stress. Present foods your daughter rejects separately from other dishes. If she doesn't like carrots, don't put them on her plate or in the main dish. Put them in a separate bowl on the table, and allow her the choice of whether or not to have them.
Don’t prepare foods you know your daughter won’t eat. Let her (always) determine how much she wants to eat. If you have weight or nutrition concerns consult with your pediatrician.
Do realize that kids who willingly try a variety of foods usually have been fed with a low-stress approach. From an early age, they've been allowed to pick and choose from an assortment of foods. If you create such an atmosphere in your home now, your child’s eating habits are likely to improve.
Don’t humiliate, tease or make a big deal about your daughter being a picky eater. And, don’t bribe, threaten or beg her to eat. Offer dessert whether she eats the way you want her to or not.
Do help ease tension around eating when you’re at someone else’s house. Let the host know that your child has a small appetite or eats only certain foods. Most people are sensitive to children’s needs-and understand that many kids are picky eaters.
Bottom Line: When you were a kid, didn’t you hate when you were forced to eat foods you didn’t want to eat? And, even now, as an adult, don’t you dislike when people ask you to taste foods you know you don’t like or when you feel pressured to finish the food on your plate? Sometimes I wonder why we treat kids in ways we don’t want to be treated!
My Kids Get Anxious Before the Holidays
Robin Goldstein, Ph.D., Parenting consultant and author of, The Parenting Bible. Robin can be reached at her website: www.drrobingoldstein.com Problem: As the holidays approach, my kids, ages 5, 7 and 10, become anxious, silly, whiny and pretty much out- of -control. During this time, I have a hard time calming them down and going about our daily ways and routines. Why such anxiousness? How can I get them to be less rambunctious and more easygoing during the holiday season?
Insight: Holidays are full of outings, gifts, sweets, and no school. Kids don’t have the pressures adults have around holiday preparation, spending and gift giving. The excitement kids experience is mostly in the spirit of, “I can’t wait for Christmas!” “How many more days ‘til Hanukah?” “Are grandma and grandpa going to sleep over?” “I like getting presents.” Waiting for special occasions and holidays is not easy for kids.
Strategies:While the holiday season is a special time for celebrating family traditions, it can also be a time when kids experience a fair amount of stress. With the buildup and long periods of planning, kids get anxious and excited. And, although temporary, behavior changes are common. These tips and reminders should help the holidays be happier and calmer for you and your children.
Do try to be patient and understanding about the excitement and anticipation your kids feel about the upcoming holidays- and expect your kids to want the celebrations to begin “Now!” Their sense of time is very different from yours.
Don’t tell your kids to “be good” or “Santa won’t bring you gifts.” This threat makes kids jumpy and upset, causing them to act out in negative ways. It’s hard under any circumstances for kids to be consistently good, and when they’re anxiously anticipating a holiday, behaving well is that much harder.
Do know that generally kids these ages don’t talk about their feelings. They act them out.So, as the holidays get closer, expect crankiness, irritability and a change in appetite or sleep habits. Also, expect them to have a little trouble concentrating on schoolwork. They’ll need a little more of your attention, guidance and reassurance.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations. Consider your kids ages and do what works best for your family. Be flexible and consistently give your kids a positive sense of their self worth. However, continue with your rules, with the understanding that you may need to give more frequent reminders of your limits. Do consider making a calendar to mark off the days they’re waiting for. Or, make a special paper chain and each day tear off one link; the day all the links are gone is the day they’ve been waiting for.Get excited with them.
Don’tneglect to remember that with advertisements, mall decorations and lots of talk about presents, it’s easy for kids to think more about getting than giving. That’s okay. Giving should be part of what your children see you do throughout the year. Kids learn by copying their parents.
Do know that when you’re uptight, it gets passed on to your children, and they start to experience stress. Remember to laugh-it can change everyone’s mood from bad to good.
Don’tunderestimate how important traditions are to your children. Family traditions offer great comfort and security. Perhaps you and your kids would enjoy making cards to send to relatives, making kid-designed decorations, baking cookies-keeping some- and delivering some to a local nursing home or soup kitchen. Do spend some quiet time with your kids when you see things getting out of control and when you need to take a break from holiday related stuff. Have ice cream, watch a movie, play games, make art projects, tell jokes, read together.
Don’tridicule or put your kids down when they show selfish tendencies and disappointment during the holiday season. At these ages, this is to be expected. Instead, be a positive role model, acting in ways you want them to act. Also, listen to their concerns and show understanding, “That must have made you feel let down.” Model optimism and a joyful attitude.
Do ease up on the holiday pressure by giving a surprise treat (“Just because I love you”) to slow the buildup.
Additionally, some kids willask, “Why isn’t Hanukah like Christmas?”Young Jewish children may feel they’re missing something. It’s important for children to see their parents’ enthusiasm for Hanukah. Parents should be understanding and focus on making decorations and recreating fun Hanukah activities they remember from childhood. Also, talk about the meaning of different holidays in our diverse culture.
And, holidays can be a little troubling for children in single-parent and stepfamily homes. Holiday traditions can cause children to remember times when mom and dad were together. Family arrangements that require children to celebrate at several homes can be upsetting and stressful. Talk, show understanding and be mindful of everyone's feelings. Consider what works for the kids.
Bottom Line: With so many high expectations, it's no wonder so many families have a hard time with the holiday season. It doesn't have to be that way. It just takes conscious parenting, focusing on what’s right for your family and making certain that you’re setting the tone for a joyful holiday spirit. And, whatever traditions you’re creating with your kids, make sure that years from now, you and your kids memories will be full of laughter, meaning and fun. ENJOY the holidays and ENJOY them with your children.
“I Hate You, Mommy!” Robin Goldstein, Ph.D., Parenting Coach and Author of, The Parenting Bible.Robin can be reached at her website:www.drrobingoldstein.com
Problem:When my 5-year-old daughter gets mad at me, she says, “I hate you, Mommy!”It shocks me when she says this and it hurts my feelings.I also get angry at this kind of outburst, which mostly happens when she doesn’t get her way.I’d like to know if other kids say these hurtful words to their parents and how I should deal with her when she says this to me.
Insight: Think for a moment how often you use the word “hate” in your life - “I hate my hair.”“I hate when it rains.”“I hate when people do that.”“I hate this shirt.”“I hate the way he speaks to me.”While you may not realize it, your child has probably heard the word, “hate” used -by you- quite often.And, since all children are exposed to the word “hate,” they learn; when you don’t like something, or when something doesn’t go your way, you describe your feelings by saying, “I hate....”Should we be so alarmed and surprised by this, since children are natural mimics?
Strategies:If you’re bothered (and understandably so) by hearing the word “hate” used by your daughter, I would first suggest that you take it out of your vocabulary.The less she’s exposed to the word at home, the less she’ll use it.Also, remember that a 5-year-old still has a hard time putting her exact feelings into words.While you may feel betrayed when she turns on you over a disappointment and expresses her anger by saying, “I hate you,” consider the following points:
Dounderstand that when a young child gets angry with her parents, it’s common for her to shout, “I hate you!”The outburst may come after you say she can’t go outdoors or have a friend over or do something else she wants to do.
Don’ttake her words so literally.This kind of expression is short-lived.
Dobelieve that she doesn’t know how to say, “Mom I think you should allow me to stay up later tonight because...” or, “I’m angry with you because you said...”A 5- year-old is too young for this kind of articulation and even too young to show consistent respect.
Don’t hesitate to offer her other ways to tell you how she feels.Suggest she say, “I’m mad at you,” “I’m angry,” or “I don’t like what you did.”Acknowledge her feelings, but say, “I want you to tell me in different words.”
Doassume that using the word, “hate,” is the beginning of her expression of negative feelings.She needs to learn that feeling upset and angry is okay - so choose your response carefully.
Don’tbe quick to respond by saying, “That’s not nice!” or “Don’t let me hear those words again.”Instead, acknowledge her angry feelings, and understand that eventually, with your help and maturity, she’ll learn to state her feelings more appropriately.I promise.
Doexpect to feel frustrated when your adult reasoning, logic, and caring fail to keep your child from yelling, “You mean mom!”“I hate you!”Your child’s words can feel threatening, especially if you don’t like your child to be angry with you.
Don’tforget the important role you have in teaching (although it takes time) your daughter to express her anger in acceptable ways.
Doconsider this approach:When your daughter says, “I hate you, Mom!” rather than make an issue of it, simply restate her words.Say back to her, “You’re really angry at me aren’t you?You don’t like it when I say it’s time to come in.”If she hears you express her anger in this way, she gradually will begin to use similar statements herself.
Bottom Line: You should take note of your daughter’s keen ability to copy your words and behavior and think about how you speak to her and others (your husband, family members, store clerks, other drivers).What’s your general tone?Do you yell?Are you short-tempered?How do you express disappointment?Do you correct her negative words, and not yours?After careful thought, you might consider changing your ways so that your daughter will have the role model she needs to help her grow into a nice, sensitive and caring person.
Am I Spoiling My Kids?
Robin Goldstein, Ph.D., is a Parenting Coach and Author of, “The Parenting Bible.” Robin can be reached at her website:www.drrobingoldstein.com
Problem:I have a baby, a toddler and a 5- year-old.All I seem to hear lately are warnings from others, “Don’t keep picking her up, you’ll spoil her.”“If you buy her that, you’ll spoil her.”“He’s acting selfish.”Of course I don’t want to spoil my kids, so how can I avoid the whole spoiling issue as I raise my children?
Insight:Treating kids in “spoiled” ways essentially means indulging, pampering, catering to, pleasing them-exactly how babies need to be treated.So, don’t consider any other way of parenting your baby - just “spoil” away.And, know that your toddler can’t think outside himself (yet) so when he acts in demanding and self-centered ways, he’s not acting “spoiled,” he’s acting NORMAL for a toddler.The balance of setting limits, giving in (or accommodating) and distracting works best for toddlers.Five-year- olds need more limits, more explanations, and good role models.
Strategies:All kids occasionally act in selfish, “spoiled” ways-even at ages 5, 8, 10- and above-making demands without consideration for other people or circumstances. However, “spoiled” kids are the ones who remain almost totally self-centered and focused on their own desires, possessions, and activities.To avoid this, consider these Do’s and Don’ts:
Don’tlisten to others who say you can spoil a baby.The truth is you can’t.And, picking up your baby - whether she’s crying or not- won’t spoil her.Rather, it will help her develop a sense of security that will make her less likely to cry in the long run, because babies whose cries bring a helpful response gain a secure feeling that teaches them to trust.
Doknow that if you constantly overindulge your children (beyond the baby and toddler years), they will get used to getting their way and learn to feel entitled to do as they wish.This can also happen if you fail to set limits on negative behaviors or fail to follow through when your kids act inappropriately.
Don’t conclude that owning many toys and things will make your children spoiled; kids with lots of possessions can be loving and considerate.
Dounderstand that if you give without reinforcing good values, you’ll be contributing to your children learning to behave in socially unacceptable ways, expecting more and treating what they have with little meaning.
Don’tmake a habit (although sometimes it’s okay) of buying stuff for your kids out of guilt- when you’re not giving the attention your kids need.And don’t rationalize continuous giving:“They’re only kids for a short time.”“Why not?We can afford it.”
Dorealize that the danger in continually overindulging your kids is that they may grow up with difficulty handling and tolerating situations that don’t go their way.
Don’tget lax in setting limits on your kids’ negative ways.Limits will help them gradually learn that they can’t always get their way, and to think about others.
Do show by example, how to graciously accept and offer kindness, and how to deal well with disappointment.Your kids will copy your actions-even more than your words.
Don’tneglect to teach your kids (even though this takes time) to appreciate what they have, to respect friends and each other, to act nice, and to consider those more needy than them.
Doknow that if your kids grow up with basic and consistent values, they won’t act spoiled no matter how many possessions they have.
Don’thesitate to look for deeper reasons for your 5-year-old acting in self-centered ways.Are you spending as much time as you should together?Are you available to hear about her needs, ideas, and worries?
Dogradually cut back on buying things if you believe you’re buying too much.
Don’tlabel your kids “spoiled.”They may act more selfish than you’d like, but they must certainly have good traits that may be overshadowed if you concentrate on one negative characteristic.
Bottom Line:How you treat your kids now, how you show what you value, how you respond to their wants and needs will have an impact on them for life.You’ve heard my Do’s and Don’ts on spoiling, but most importantly, you truly can’t spoil your kids by indulging them in a lot of this stuff - reading together, learning together, sharing activities, taking walks, sitting on the floor playing, laughing, and simply enjoying each other.Even as your kids grow-indulging them with your love, listening to them and doing things together won’t - ever - spoil them.
P.S. Grandparents are supposed to spoil kids, so don’t be hard on them if this is the case.What kids gain from being treated this way are positive, loving memories.
Arguing in Front of the Kids - Is it Harmful?
Robin Goldstein is a Parenting Coach and author of, “The Parenting Bible.” Robin can be reached at her website:www.drrobingoldstein.com
Problem:My husband and I often argue in front of our kids.When an issue comes up we bicker with each other without giving thought to whether our kids are listening or not.I’m not sure if we’re harming them or if we’re helping them by exposing them to the fact that sometimes couples disagree with each other.The problem is, our kids really don’t like when we argue in front of them and they always tell us, “Stop yelling at each other.” What’s your advice?
Insight: You’re getting a strong message from your kids that need to be examined.While at times, all children are going to be exposed to parental arguments, it’s important to consider how children take this in.Most (if not all) children don’t like to hear their parents’ arguments.Arguing in front of kids, frightens them; “Are you getting a divorce?”It causes them to take sides; “Stop telling Dad what to do all the time.”And, they may blame themselves for your quarrels; “If only I would listen more, they wouldn’t fight as much.”
Strategies:While you cannot expect arguments and disagreements not to happen, consider these points next time you feel the urge to expose your kids to you and your husband’s differences and conflicts.
Do remember that being a kid is not as easy as it may seem.There are pressures (“Will I pass this test?”), struggles (“Do I fit in?”), frustrations (“I wish I had an easier time in math.”), and worries (“Will I make the team?”).Exposing your kids to your arguments puts additional stress on them.
Don’texpect your children to fully concentrate on their schoolwork and other activities when they’re worried about whether you and your husband will stay together. Do be aware of signs of stress your kids may be experiencing as a result of this exposure; i.e., eating and sleep changes, anxiety, stomach aches, behavior problems.
Don’tfeel that you can’t disagree in front of your children.Disagreements and conflicts are a natural part of any close relationship.Just be mindful of your tone and choice of words.
Do know that it is okay for your kids to hear you express and then resolve your struggles - occasionally.
Don’t think that by exposing your kids to your arguments, they’ll learn conflict resolution skills.It doesn’t work that way.Their fears of you separating or getting a divorce hinder positive conflict management learning skills. Dooffer (honest) reassurance if your kids hear you fight:“Even though Dad and I argue, we still love each other very much.”“I know it’s hard for you to hear Dad and me fight.We’re trying not to disagree so much.”
Don’t overlook the fact that you and your husband are role models for your children.Every day, you show your kids how adults and couples behave.When you and your husband get along in harmoniously ways, your entire family will benefit.
Do know that if you and your husband don’t treat each other with respect, if you yell, offend each other, and argue constantly, your children may eventually have trouble with their own intimate relationships.
Don’t forget your children will never benefit by being within earshot of your arguments.They also don’t get used to hearing it.
Do put effort into helping your children learn how to resolve differences and manage their anger.Offer productive conflict resolution techniques (talk it out, use humor, compromise, role play, listen well) when they’re in conflict with each other, their friends, and with you and your husband.
Don’t make comments that trigger you and your husband’s anger and argumentative behavior. Talk with each other about making the effort to avoid squabbles.Control your accusations and unkind words.Don’t insult each other. Get professional counseling if arguments continue.
Bottom Line:Just wondering.Are your kids imitating you and your husband’s argumentative behavior now?Do they treat each other and their friends with frequent blaming and discord?Do you demand, “Don’t treat your brother that way.That’s not nice!”“Don’t talk to your sister like that.”While I would suggest that you continue to guide your children to treat each other with respect and kindness, I would also suggest that you do the same with your spouse.You'll feel better- and your kids deserve this.
To Bribe or Not to Bribe?
Robin Goldstein, Ph.D., Parenting coach and author of, The Parenting Bible.Robin can be reached at her website:www.drrobingoldstein.com
Problem:I definitely bribe my 5 year old with a treat or privilege when I want her to do something she doesn’t want to do.I do this because I get tired of arguing and repeating myself when she won’t listen.Bribing makes my life easier, my daughter happier and in general, we struggle less.Your thoughts on bribing?Is it okay?
Insight:Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just say to your daughter, “It’s time to go home now,” or “Please pick up your toys before we leave....,”without resistance?And, wouldn’t it be great if reasoning with your 5 year old consistently worked, “We have to get to school on time, so you must get dressed now.”While you may have periodic success with these approaches,it can also be terribly frustrating when you can’t get your daughter to do what you’ve asked of her.Here’s where bribes enter into parenting.
To offer you some comfort, it may help to understand that 5 year olds are still too egocentric (thinking about their own needs and wants) to consistently respond to others’ (including their parents) requests.And, since 5 year olds don’t reason logically, your explanations of, “You need to....because....”won’t get your daughter moving as you would like - unless of course, it’s about her pleasure, “You need to...so you can get to the pool, candy, that toy you want.”
Strategies:Most parents are opposed to bribing because they worry their child won’t learn to do necessary tasks or generally comply, without some sort of prize, treat or perk.Since there are always family struggles about the routines and necessities of life:bedtime, bath time, shopping, leaving a friends house, getting ready for school or day care; when logic fails (as it will) and your daughter refuses to do what you wish, think about the issue of bribing in the following ways:
Dounderstand that until your daughter is mature enough to motivate herself to do things she doesn’t want to do, bribery is a strong motivator.
Don’t forget that it takes years for children to learn self-control and to understand that certain things have to be done, even when people don’t want to do them.Eventually, your daughter will learn to cooperate and tolerate not getting her way, without being rewarded.
Do consider bribes that have a benefit you’re comfortable with; “Let’s go in and I’ll play a game with you,”“If you come home now, you can paint with watercolors after dinner.”“Let’s see what new things we can find to add to the bath water.”There’s no harm in offering any one of these bribes.
Don’t neglect, at times, to change your expectations.Help more, and be sympathetic to the fact that developmentally, your daughter thinks completely differently from the way you do.She will internalize rewards you give as a sign of your love and care - and that good feeling will help her learn to behave well.
Don’t worry that once you offer a bribe in a situation, your daughter will expect one whenever a similar situation comes up.While this is a common concern, it’s actually rarely a problem. Your daughter, at age 5, can accept compromise and a degree of inconsistency.
Do at times, let her know ahead of time, “Last time I bought you gum, but today I’m not buying a treat.”When you get to the store, offer a reminder and then a distraction, “I like to bring you to the store so you can help pick out food for dinner.”
Don’thesitate to use bribes to avoid embarrassment.And, when you go shopping, or on errands with your daughter, a cookie or ice cream can make the trip go smoothly.
Dothink about how hard it is for your daughter to stop what she’s doing for your needs, especially when she’s engrossed in something of interest to her.It’s like someone stopping you while you’re in the middle of making a cake.
Don’t forget that cooperation often happens when there are occasional rewards and compromises.Most parents don’t over use bribes.
Do consider your daughter’s overall behavior.Is she generally well behaved (in a 5 year old way)?Are you spending enough playful, engaging time with her?Does she have enough time to play and create and finish what she started?Is she on a tight schedule?Do you demand too much from her?These factors impact a child’s cooperative spirit.
Bottom Line:Don’t take this issue too seriously.Bribing is simply a developmental necessity during a child’s younger -pre-reasoning and pre-logical - years.Even as adults we’re often more motivated, and do what we need to do, when there’s a reward to look forward to, i.e., a paycheck, kudos, a bonus, or simply a show of appreciation.To view bribing your daughter in a positive way, simply think of “bribes” as “incentives.”Then, go forward and-cheerfully, playfully and lovingly- offer her, incentives!I hope that helps you feel better.
Handle Temper Tantrums
Robin Goldstein, Ph.D., is a Parenting Coach and author of, The Parenting Bible. This article can be found in the new book, “The Experts’ Guide to the Baby Years,” created by Samantha Ettus. Robin can be reached at her web site: www.Drrobingoldstein.com
Temper tantrums are part of normal development. Typically temper tantrums happen between 18 months and 2 1/2 years, with screaming, crying, thrashing and kicking or by shouting, “I want this!” Temper tantrums happen when toddlers become frustrated and don’t have the verbal ability to express themselves or the cognitive maturity to understand why they can’t get what they want at the moment. The good news is that in the scheme of development, this is a short-lived phase, one you can certainly get through, especially with some understanding and a few pointers.
Strategies: If you work at figuring out how to prevent a temper tantrum and how to deal with tantrums when they happen, your preparation will pay off. Try to have reasonable expectations for these ages and keep things simple.
Do try figuring out what causes your child to have a temper tantrum and then fix what you believe to be the source of the tantrum. Ask yourself, Is my child tired? hungry? Getting enough time with me? making enough choices? Having to share too often? Being stopped too often from touching and exploring?
Don’t reason with a toddler. Your child can’t understand adult logic and reasoning, even though your explanations make perfect sense to you. Developmentally, your child is too egocentric to think about your needs and desires and to understand that temper tantrums are embarrassing and disturbing to you.
Do distract often. Always carry stuff in your purse, pockets, the glove compartment, and diaper bag, that you can pull out at any moment to entertain or move your child away from a potential tantrum. As soon as you feel a temper tantrum coming (at home or while out), react quickly by taking out your keys, cell phone, crackers, cookies, juice, a toy, even candy. Point out something of interest, “Look at that silly hat.” “See that bus going by.” Sing a familiar song. Say, “You push the stroller.” “Help me turn the TV on.”
Don’t spank or yell at your toddler during a temper tantrum. Your child may imitate you and hit you or others. Spanking will make the tantrum escalate. Yelling will do the same. Take a deep, slow breath and tell yourself, “I can get through this.” Then calmly, either distract or, if appropriate, make attempts to give in, “You can have a few M&M’s.” “One cookie.” Neither are unreasonable adjustments or responses – even before dinner.
Do understand that “giving in” at times will never damage or spoil your young child. Instead your child will feel a sense of love and care from you. That’s how “giving in” is interpreted by a young child.
Don’t worry about whether your child will take advantage or remember that you gave in; your child reacts differently to each new moment and experience.
Do pay attention to your child’s interests. Allow your child to touch, look at, and explore things of interest, even if only for a few minutes. Under your supervision, allow your child to use the computer, take some food out of the refrigerator, pour the dog food into the bowl, water the plants, turn the light switch on, look around the hardware store, touch hanging belts in a store. Your child will feel a sense of satisfaction and have less tantrums.
Don’t get discouraged. At times, you may have to leave a store or restaurant with your upset child. Take a brief walk and see if a change of scenery is calming. Otherwise, simply go home, and prepare for a fresh start. Keep reminding yourself that occasional temper tantrums are a normal part of the toddler and early preschool years.
Bottom Line: The way you handle temper tantrums will impact your child’s ability to deal with frustration. Learning to deal with tantrums in a patient, reasonable manner that is respectful to your child’s development, interests, and temperament, is good practice and can pave the way to smoother parenting and a happier, calmer child.
“I Want To Do It Myself!”
Robin Goldstein, Ph.D., Parenting Coach and Author of The Parenting Bible. Robin can be reached by her website: www.drrobingoldstein.com
Problem: I have a 2 1/2 year old that is so intent on doing things without help that she will tell me in that strong willed voice, “I do it!” I am finding myself getting in too many power struggles with her, especially when I’m in a hurry to get out of the house. Any suggestions for how to make things go smoother during this stage?
Remember when you worried that your dependent infant would never become independent? Well, here it is, the stage in which independence shows itself in a powerful way - and it’s one of the most challenging stages for parent and child. What you describe is what every parent of a 2 or 3 year old experiences. As you have witnessed, the drive for this age group to do for themselves is very strong. Reasoning with your young child, “We’re in a hurry...” or “We’ll be late...” usually doesn’t help a young child give a task she wants to complete over to her mommy or daddy.
Strategies: If you understand your child’s need and desire to do things herself, and go forward encouraging her to do what she‘s interested in, it will help her develop confidence. Being patient with your child at this stage can be hard, especially because at times patience, distraction and preparation won’t help calm a child who is intent on putting the key in the keyhole or fastening her own seat belt (even when it’s raining or when you are in hurry). Still, the more your child is allowed to try things on her own, the less she will argue when you have to take over a task. And as you see how pleased your child is with her accomplishments and how good she feels about her abilities, you will understand why it’s important to let her do many things for herself, therefore allowing her independence to flourish.
Do understand that by allowing her to do tasks on her own, you show her that you believe in her capabilities. This outburst of, “I Want To Do It Myself,” is a developmental stage. The more you let your child do, the less frustrated she will be. Let her take the wrapper off her candy, turn the light switch on, change the channel, using the remote, be creative as she tackles jobs on her own. However, always be aware of safety issues.
Don’t jump in too soon to help just because you find it difficult to watch your child struggle with a task. If you find it too hard to stay uninvolved, occupy yourself with something else while your child works. When you take over tasks she wants to do on her own, she learns that she is not as capable as you. She also learns to mistrust her interests and skills.
Do remember that your young child doesn’t understand your feelings and needs and will often focus only on her own needs unless she is distracted. Despite your best intentions, you may find yourself in an embarrassing situation, carrying away a screaming, angry child who wants to stay put until she has finished a task.
Don’t make it a habit to do for your child, that which she is capable (and wanting to) of doing on her own. If you do this often, you will foster feelings of self-doubt in your child. This can evolve into a child who says, “you do it” which is a sign of the child feeling as if she’s not competent.
Do warn your child ahead of time if there will not be time for her to dress herself or do some other task: “We’re in a hurry today, so I’m going to help you.” And distract her: “Why don’t you look at this book while I put your shoes on?” “Let me tell you a story while I get your breakfast ready.”
Do break tasks into steps and let your child try a small part of the job if a task she wants to try is too difficult or messy. If she can’t yet brush her teeth, let her hold the toothbrush while you put the toothpaste on, and let her hold your hand as you brush and then let her try it on her own. Cheer for her, “You did it by yourself!”
Bottom Line: The drive to become independent should not be taken lightly. Your child’s self-esteem and confidence is at stake. Consistently encouraging your child to tackle tasks she’s interested in will benefit her throughout her life. If you honor this stage, your young child will learn to believe in herself and feel secure about her capabilities.
“Give Aunt Jodi a Kiss and Say, ‘Thank You’ to Grandma” Robin Goldstein is a Parenting Coach and author of, “The Parenting Bible.” Robin can be reached at her website: www.drrobingoldstein.com
Problem: As the holidays approach, I’m anticipating my 4 year old son not cooperating when it comes to kissing his relatives hello and showing appreciation by saying “thank you” after receiving gifts. I worry that I’ll be judged in negative ways if he doesn’t show polite manners to his relatives, (including my mother!). This concern can put a damper on the holidays. I’d like some suggestions on how to deal with this issue so we can enjoy the holidays even when things don’t go smoothly.
Insight: You’re not alone in both your concern and in your child resisting to either kiss relatives or say, “thank you.” Certainly all parents want their child to be liked by relatives, and feel judged unfavorably if their child doesn’t give a kiss or show polite manners - especially after receiving a gift. There are several reasons why a child might be uncomfortable giving a kiss or saying “thank you.” He might feel shy and self-conscious, and not like being focused on. And, many children are uncomfortable with the physical contact of a kiss. Most important to understand is that young children have a hard time thinking about and considering other people’s wishes, including doing what his parents want him to do especially when he’s excited, preoccupied or uncomfortable.
Strategies: What you describe at this age, is not an indication of impoliteness or poor parenting. Yet, in spite of this reassurance, you may still be anticipating the holidays with weighted anxiety and dread. To help you appreciate the holidays with your son, here’s what to keep in mind:
Don’tbe surprised if your son says exactly what he’s thinking about: “I don’t want to kiss her.” ”I don’t want that toy.” These are typical (and normal) responses kids these ages give-even to people they love. Since young children are developmentally egocentric, they say things without considering others feelings. Gradually, this kind of behavior will change. Do try letting the kiss go and instead of insisting, suggest other options for your son. With your help, he could tell his relatives about something that has recently happened, demonstrate a new skill or show them a favorite possession. He can also “give five,” shake hands, blow a kiss, or give a hug.
Don’t say Grandma will take her present back if you don’t say, “thank you.” This will put too much pressure on your son and put him on the spot, leading to an unnecessary power struggle.
Do consider that sometimes a relative is one your son may rarely see and he may resist kissing because he needs time to get used to a strange face.
Don’t forget to watch for times he uses polite words and reinforce that behavior, “I really like the way you asked for that.”
Do know that kids have their own special ways of thinking about (the consequences of) kissing. One 5 year old told her mother he would “turn old” if he kissed his aunt and another 6 year old didn’t want to kiss her relatives because “people give you germs on your lips.”
Don’t neglect to consider that your son won’t give a kiss good-bye because he doesn’t want a visit to end, although he may not be able to explain this. (You might want to explain this to your mother!)
Do remember to be a good role model for your son and consistently show polite behavior; thank a hostess, write thank you notes, say thank you often in public. Also, say “thank you” often to your son, especially when he’s done what you’ve requested. When your son hears you speaking politely to him and to other children and adults, he’ll begin to do as you do and increasing show appreciation and say, “thank you” on his own.
Don’t overlook the fact that you know your child well. If your child has the type of personality and temperament where he’ll repeat what you ask of him, then you can give him the words to say to relatives, “Say, ‘thank you’ to Uncle Marty.” If this is not the case, don’t hesitate to cheerfully step in: “Thank you. I know he’ll enjoy this.” Your son is listening, watching and ultimately learning from your example.
Bottom Line: We can all remember being small and having a relative pinch our cheeks or demand a kiss. If we recall how we felt then, we can understand our own children’s reluctance to give kisses, and help them find other ways to show appreciation and begin and end enjoyable visits with relatives. All children, including your son, look forward to the holidays; opening gifts, eating candy, having others around. Your son is only 4. Don’t take his enjoyment away by pressuring, coercing and demanding he act a certain way. Instead, change your holiday focus with your son and enjoy, laugh, hug, make a mess with boxes and wrapping paper, eat and ---Be Merry.
“It’s Mine!” Robin Goldstein is a Parenting Coach and author of, “The Parenting Bible.” She is a contributor to the new book, “The Experts’ Guide to the Baby Years,” created by Samantha Ettus.Robin can be reached at her website:www.drrobingoldstein.com Problem:My kids are 2 and 3 and the last thing they care about is sharing with each other or with their friends.My husband and I emphasize the importance of sharing and repeatedly say to them:“It’s nice to share.Everybody shares.”However, getting them to share continues to be a struggle.Should we be handling this differently? Insight:This is absolutely one of the most common complaints parents of young children have - sharing.It may help to understand that children, between the ages of 2 and 3, don’t share well for developmental reasons - not because of bad or weak parenting.Young children are much too egocentric to care about how others feel and they are too young to understand the benefits of sharing. Strategies:Since there are no magical or quick fixes to this problem, consider these important points before becoming too frustrated and discouraged. Do consider that to young children sharing feels, as if, their toys no longer belong to them.Using logic to explain that this is not the case, won’t work because young children don’t understand adult reasoning. Don’t (even though tempting) say, “How would you feel if your friends didn’t share with you?”The question doesn’t make sense to young children and it won’t change their behavior.Young children can’t put themselves in the position of someone else - yet. Do understand that a lack of concern for another’s feelings, wants and needs may be difficult for you to accept because your adult way of thinking is so different from your child’s. Don’t use negative approaches to teach sharing.If you grab from your children, they will learn to grab from each other.If you use a harsh tone, they will do the same with others. Do know that sharing is easier if children play outside, if they play at a friend’s house rather than at their own house, or if they’re involved in something together, such as coloring, using play dough or painting. Don’t neglect to set clear and simple limits.“You may not take the toy from your sister.”“No hitting.”“He’s using that now.You may use it when he’s finished.”Then add a distraction, “Let’s read this book.” Do model the behavior you want your children to adopt.If you’re giving, show kindness and share courteously, your children will eventually copy you.Children learn more from parents’ examples than from their admonitions. Don’t blame yourself or have negative feelings about your children, considering them to be bad or selfish when they resist sharing.And, don’t feel you have to force sharing, especially around others.That approach usually causes a frustrating (and embarrassing) outburst. Do try preparing (although this may not work) your children when a friend is coming to visit, “Abby is going to want to play with your blocks, your puzzles, and the sliding board when she comes to visit.”Sharing struggles may be diminished by supervising closely. Don’t always put time limits on taking turns.Young children need many experiences finishing what they start.Being asked to stop playing with something when they’re involved is very frustrating, similar to an adult being asked to stop while in the middle of an activity their involved in; i.e., baking a cake. Do show a constant willingness to be involved with your children.The more you’re engaged with them, playing with them and nurturing their interests, the less conflicts they’ll have over sharing.This is also the case when your adult friends visit with their children. Don’t fret.By the time your children are 4 and 5, you’ll notice a general change is their attitude toward sharing.You’ll here them say, “Here, you use this.”“Let’s both play with these.”And by ages 5 and 6, they will begin to place more value on friendship, showing even more of a willingness and interest in sharing. Bottom Line:All parents want their children to grow into kind, sharing, well-mannered people.However, learning to give of oneself takes time - actually years.How you respond to sharing struggles will ultimately impact how your children will learn to treat others.Handling these moments with sensitivity and reasonable expectations will help them learn to behave in thoughtful and considerate ways. So, don’t yell, don’t demean them, and please don’t expect your children to act in ways that are beyond their developmental years.