Sunday, December 25, 2011

Toilet Training

Although some children achieve the goal in a month or so, it is far more likely to take several months, and to be marked by odd behavior and frustrating setbacks. Do not be surprised, for instance, if your child develops a keen interest in what she has deposited in her potty. Letting her satisfy her quite natural curiosity with a close inspection, perhaps even a touch, usually takes care of the matter.

If your child resists using the toilet or has many accidents, do not mistake it for deliberate contrariness on her part. A fear of the big, noisy toilet underlies much toileting anxiety. Some toddlers withhold bowel movements to the point of becoming constipated, with resulting discomfort that causes even more anxiety. You may also witness unusual displays of fussiness or defiance during bath time, mealtime or dressing. Children often act this way when they are feeling angry over the pressure to use the toilet, or when they secretly fear that they cannot measure up to their parents’ expectations.

Anything that temporarily creates tension can result in backsliding in training: a family illness, a big trip, a new baby sitting arrangement. Whatever the causes of such setbacks never belittle or shame a child for having accidents: this can only lead to further anxiety and greater loss of control. With patience and persistence you will see your youngster through these minor difficulties and soon leave the diaper era behind for good. What are more you increased your child’s confidence in facing other challenges in the years to come.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Tribulation of Toilet Training

The beginning of toilet training is a bewildering time for your child. He has no idea what you have in mind when you first place him on a potty chair and indicate that you want him to do something. When the youngster does somehow produce, it makes even less sense that you express great interest and delight in his achievement- and then consign it to the large white machine in the bathroom that roars and gurgles and sweeps thing away.
However you choose to handle the practical aspects of toilet training. You should be aware of the emotional impact the process is likely to have on your toddler. You can expect him to feel some hesitation and anxiety, which may be expressed as all out rebellion. He cannot know that your real aim in this adventure is to help him to achieve his first measure of control over his own body, which will lift him to a new level of proud self sufficiency. Nor does he realize that his success in toileting will shape his eventual attitudes toward cleanliness, responsibility and orderly ways of doing things for the rest of his life. For the moment, all the child knows is that his otherwise reasonable mother is behaving very peculiarly.
The whole business is even more mystifying if you start the process too soon. The nervous system of a child under 18 months of age is not yet developed enough to give her control over the muscles that regulate bowel movements, and bladder control comes even later. What is more, a child that young cannot be expected to understand what you want her to do.
Around the age of two years, your youngster will begin to show indirect signs that she is ready to take on this complicated challenge. She becomes interested in the idea that certain things belong in certain places, and she likes to put objects in containers.  She enjoys giving presents and watching your pleased reaction. She becomes interested in the idea that certain places, and she likes to put objects in containers. She enjoys giving presents and watching your pleased reaction. She shows pride in her accomplishments and revels in grownups praise and of course she begins to talk so she is now able to tell you what concerns her.
Not all of a two year old youngster’s development is positive, whoever. The child needs to assert her growing independence, and at times may do so by rejecting any suggestion of yours, perhaps resorting to tantrums at even your mildest efforts to control her behavior. If your child is in the grip of such a phase, it is best to delay toilet training for a while. Keep her in diapers and try again in a few months. Whenever you do begin the training effort, select a time that is ad free of other stresses as possible- not, for example, just after moving t a new house or bringing home a baby brother or sister.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Until your child is about six years old, she may occasionally stutter. This repetition of sounds, syllables, words or even phrases is a normal stage of speech development. Stresses such as intensified discipline may bring on a bout of stuttering, which in most cases will gradually disappear in a month or two if you react calmly and do not try to attack the stuttering problem directly.
Instead, play games with your child that requires less talking and more physical activity. Let her take the lead more often, and be sure to give her your full attention when she talks, letting her know that you enjoy conversation with her. Do not expect an immediate change, but the problem should gradually disappear in a few months. If it does not, you should seek special training and medical advice.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bed wetting

Many children wet their beds occasionally until they are four or five years old, and it is not uncommon for these accidents to persist to the age of seven. But if they do not decrease in frequency after the age of four, or if they appear after the child has been dry for some time, there is evidently a problem, and you should consult your doctor. As inconvenient ad distressing as these accidents may be to your child and you, they are in all probability the result of some minor and temporary cause, such as a bladder that has not grown quite fast enough, an inherited trait or some unavoidable stress.
The most important thing is to remain calm and confident, treating the problem for what it is: a temporary delay in your child’s gaining full control over urination. Your youngster will be anxious about his bed wetting, and disappointed with himself every time it happens. Critical comments or punishment will only help to set up a discouraging cycle of worry and failure.
Assure the child that he will soon gain the control over urination that he needs and wants. Minimize the fuss over the bed wetting accidents when they happen, and offer praise and rewards to your youngster when they do not. Just remember to keep your light, and not to equate dryness with goodness; that just makes the self recrimination worse if another accident occurs.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nail biting

Casual biting of the nails is a common activity among children, usually after they reach the age of three or four. An otherwise happy child, finding herself bored, a little worried or excited, perhaps by a television program, may bite her fingernails. Nagging about the practice never helps, but instead focuses attention on, and probably prolongs, an activity that otherwise might quickly pass.
Nail baiting that continues for an extended period is usually seen only in children five or older, and often as a response to a specific worry. Try to identify what may be specially troubling your child, and help her deal with it. Think of new activities that involve use of the hands. Encourage pride in the appearance of the hands by emphasizing good grooming, even allowing her to use clear nail polish.
If the nail biting persists and becomes compulsive if your child gnaws constantly at her nails and keeps them bitten to the quick you should get medical advice.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hair Pulling

  Children often play idly with their hair, twirling strands of it in their fingers or even tugging it, and all these activities are quite normal. But yanking on the hair continually and vigorously, perhaps even tearing out patches of it,  is not. It may be a sign that the child is experiencing significant stress and a reason for consulting a doctor to try to find the underlying problem.

While there is no direct remedy for the habit, there also appear to be no long-term ill effects. Note the circumstances that tend to set off your child’s hair pulling, then try to avert them or at least distract the child from them. Consider cutting the hair to make it less inviting to grasp. Or try providing a substitute whose hair can be pulled instead, such as a long haired doll or a furry stuffed toy.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


When your child is about nine months old, he may begin rhythmic movements- rolling his head, rocking on his hands and knees, even banging his head on the end of the crib. Rocking usually occurs when the youngster is tired and trying to fall asleep. The habit, which may be an attempt to recreate the comfort of being rocked by you, will probably wane when the child begins to crawl, although it may persist as long as the age of four. The best thing to do is to let the behavior runs its course, unless the rocking becomes prolonged or extends into the Childs normal waking hours. You may want to cut down on the noise by padding the crib, and putting it on a thick rug or anchoring its legs. You should consult a doctor if head banging begins, how ever since this activity may become vigorous enough to cause bruises.

There are ways you can help prevent rocking from becoming exaggerated. During the day, spend as much time as possible with your child and cuddle him often. Keep the youngster occupied, and encourage him to vent his feelings at play. Prolong the child’s bedtime rituals in order to reduce tension; a warm bath may help and so may rhythmic music. Try not to leave your child alone in the crib until you that he is ready to fall asleep.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Thumb Sucking Problem and Comfort objects

At about six months of age, your baby begins to sense for the first time that he is separate from you. He craves more independence, yet at the same time the child feels acutely anxious about losing his closeness to you. He may respond to this conflict by striking a compromise and clinging to a substitute parent in the form of a teddy bear, blanket or pacifier. This object is something the child can control, and it offers comfort and familiarity.
 It does no harm for a child whose social skills are developing well to become entranced with a comfort object. He may talk with it, invest it with special powers, weave rituals around it, even become attached to its grubbiness or smell. Do not try to take his object away from him. The youngster will most likely out grow his need for it between the ages of two and five.
However, there are some things you can do to limit the habit and make it easier for you to live with it. In the early stages you can restrict use of the comfort object to hoe or bedtime. When the object gets dirty, wash it while the child is asleep. It is a blanket, cut a piece of it off to save as a backup in case he loses the prized object- unless you  think you and your child can survive “ cold –turkey” withdrawal.
Remind him occasionally that when he is a big boy he will no longer needs his special comforter. Of course, you should not accept any and all uses of a comfort object. For example, do not let your child keep a feeding bottle in his bed and fall asleep sucking it; not only emotional attachment, but tooth decay as well, could result.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Your baby is born with a normal and necessary desire to suck, the intensity of which varies from child to child. At any time after birth, your baby may begin to suck her thumb or finger, even her lip or tongue, to satisfy that urge. Breast feed babies are less likely to become thumsuckers, because mothers generally allow them to linger longer at the breast than bottle fed babies at the bottle.

             When baby is weaned, the need to suck for food declines, but sucking usually of a thumb or a pacifier continues to be a comforting and calming activity for the child. It is not a sign of significant tired, upset or bored, or when she is or trying to fall asleep. You need teeth slightly. Neither effect is long lasting. Most likely, she will drop the habit by kindergarten age. Trying to talk her out of it before she is ready may only increase her determination. Arm restraints, bitter coatings and adhesive strips are not effective.

If thumsucking persists beyond the age of six, however, the child risks displacing the upper permanent teeth, and she should be discouraged from continuing thumsucking. The way to do this is indirectly, by dealing with the causes of the behavior rather than by for biding it. For example, if the youngster sucks when she is tired, try an earlier bedtime. Counter boredom with parental attention or stimulating play, hunger with a snack and so on.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kids Anxiety

Kids feel anxiety even in their earliest months, when they are bothered by such things as hunger, boredom or fatigue. Toddlers worry about mastering new skills, including talking, using the toilet and socializing. There are rules to learn, and ever increasing pressures to act in more acceptable, less baby like ways. In addition, children may be confronted with sudden, worrisome changes such as a transfer to another day care center, move to a new home, or the appearance of a new brother or sister.
The kids need to relieve their anxiety, but the y lack the ability to talk them out or think them through. Physical activity helps, and play is an important therapy for kids anxiety cure. But sometimes a youngster will seek additional comfort in an activity such as thumb sucking, clinging to a favorite toy, or rocking back and forth.
 This kind of behavior usually soon out lives its usefulness as a kids anxiety reliever and is abandoned before it becomes a problem. If you view the activity as a bad habit that must be stopped, or worry that it is evidence of abnormality, you may add to the stress that prompted the behavior in the first place. Your best reaction is patience; the less attention you call to the kid’s anxiety, the more likely the child is to drop it at an early age. You should be concerned, and seek the advice of a doctor; only f the habit is greatly prolonged or accompanied by withdrawal from play and friends. If you notice your child engaging in several tension relieving habits simultaneously, this may also indicate a need for professional attention.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Making the terrible twos terrific

No other phase of childhood is so misunderstood, misnamed or mistakenly maligned as the notorious “terrible twos’. To begin with, the behavior patterns that distinguish this period are not restricted to two year olds, being found in children from the age of 18 months or even younger, right up into the preschool years. This is evidently displayed by this photograph next to this heading. The behavior of a child at this stage of development hardly deserves to be termed terrible, however irrepressible, unpredictable and, at times, even unlikable it may be.
In fact, for parents who understand what lies behind their child’s erratic actions, the so called “terrible twos” may be viewed as a kind of birth – the birth of an independent social being. The child enters this stage a baby, so totally dependent for every physical and psychological need that she is practically an extension of her parents. Within the year or so, she emerges as a separate person, capable of making decisions, asserting her will and, relatively speaking, taking care of herself.
To guide a youngster through these remarkable terrible twos terrific transformation is a moving and memorable experience, if often an exhausting one. As these pictures indicates, a child of two or thereabouts sets a dizzyingly fast pace of instantly changing moods, intermingling enthusiastic bursts of activity with quiet withdrawal, sweet compliance with stubborn negativism, joyful interest with tired or angry tears.
By watching closely to learn what causes such the terrible twos terrific emotional swings in your child, you can take steps to ease the struggle for independence, help build her confidence and ensure that the happy times predominate. In addition to insight, you will need a healthy portion of patience, a firm will and if he is typical, a great deal of stamina and a comforting pair of arms.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weathering tantrums of your child

            When a tantrum erupts, stay calm. It is frightening for a child to lose control of herself and even scarier if a grown up follows suit. Do not try to reason with her, and do not argue, Scream back or threaten punishment. If your child is given to mild tantrum behavior, your best bet is to ignore it by turning your back, possibly even leaving the room. You are telling her that this outburst has no effect on you. Under no circumstances should your ward your child for this behavior- by offering candy in hopes of diverting her, for instance- or reveal that the tantrum upsets you. If you, you are likely to see more, not less, of it.

            However, if a tantrum is so severe that you think your child might actually injure herself or another child, you should gently but firmly pick her up and move her away from the Scene. It is best to stay with her, either holding her in your arms or simply remaining close by, until the emotions have subsided. With violent tantrums, many experts feel a child’s need for support and comfort outweighs any concerns the parent might have about encouraging such behavior.
             Few moments are so embarrassing for parents as when their children throw tantrums on the playground or in a department store, but you should not let the oh-you-cruel mother stares from passersby induce you into special handling. Your child needs your firmness and control now more than ever. If possible, pick her up and move her away from the source of stimulation. If not, stand your ground by holding her firmly until the outburst is over.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Temper tantrums of kids

             When your child has to struggle to master a task or makes a demand that you refuse to meet, he feels frustrated by his helplessness. Sometimes his frustration and anger well us suddenly and uncontrollably, and he erupts in a spontaneous display of emotion that alarms him as much as it does you. In the classic temper tantrum, familiar to generation after generation of parents but nonetheless disturbing to any grownup who is confronted with one, the child screams, kicks and flails widely about. He may fling toys or other objects.  Some children hold their breath until they turn blue in the face, in an effort to frighten their parents. Usually within a few minutes, the outburst ends and the child’s sunny disposition returns.
            Temper tantrums occur most frequently between the ages of one and three. More than half of all two year olds have tantrums once or twice a week. If your toddler is active, energetic and determined, he may be particularly prone to tantrums. The ignition points for each child are different, but most children will explode into a tantrum when frustrated, hungry, overtired or over excited. Tantrum behavior decreases as children mature psychologically and are able to express their protests verbally.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Decision making

             Making her own decisions is another way in which your child asserts her independence. Sometimes she finds it easy to do, and once she makes up her mind, she stands firm. She wants to wear her mittens on a warm summer day, despite all your arguments as to why she should not. By all means, let her. Unless she has freedom to make wrong decisions- short of those that are dangerous or that are obnoxious to others- she will never learn how to make decisions at all.

            At other times you will observe that decision making, particularly for the toddler, becomes upsetting, even painful, because many of her own feelings are still a mystery to her. Perhaps you give her choice of going to the post office with you or staying at home with the other parent. As soon as you offer these alternatives, your child becomes confused and tense. With her short memory and few similar experiences to draw upon, she does not know which choice she would enjoy more, and having to decide torments her. Children are much more comfortable with questions such as “which candy do you want to eat first?”  Since they know that they will soon get to eat both.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The almighty “no” to your Child - handling negativism

Saying “no”, just like saying “me” and “mine”, is a powerful way for children to assert their separateness. By disagreeing with whatever you are proposing, your child brings you up short and forces you to treat her as an individual. Some toddlers say no so relentlessly that they even say it when what they really mean is yes.
            All young children go through such periods of negativism. They will ignore direct questions, do the opposite of what they are told and dawdle when they sense that Mother is in particular hurry. At the sometime that they are bolstering their autonomy with this behavior, they are also testing the rules to determine what is expected of them and learning how to create boundaries for themselves. Negativism usually peaks around the third birthday. Its intensity and form of expression varies from child to child. Your child is most likely to rebel at mealtime, bath time or bedtime, or whenever you issue a command.
            Try to manage your dealings with your child to reduce the opportunities for personal clashes. When you must assert your will, try suggesting, “Let’s do something else,” rather than flatly declaring, “No, doesn’t do that”. Avoid asking questions such as “Do you want to take your bath now?” that automatically elicit a negative response.
Try using games to accomplish a task or to get through a touchy situation. When you want your child to pick up toys, offer a challenge let’s see how fast we can get these toys back into the box. “Knowing the potential problem areas- cleaning up, taking a nap or eating lunch- you can steer your youngster around them without his sensing your guidance.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Setting limits to your child

          Your child also needs to learn what she may not so, and your reasons for any particular rules. When you forbid her to touch the stove, explain why. Remember that some rules will change as your child matures, and you will need to reevaluate them continually. Setting limits for your child is critical to fostering her autonomy. She can maintain her sense of security- the foundation stone of independence only when she feels sure of her boundaries
            How you set limits affects your child’s personal growth. If you boss her around, telling her to “Do it because I say so,” you stifle her efforts to use her own initiative and leave her dependent, unhappy and angry. If instead you exercise little or no authority, letting her do practically anything she pleases, even things that hurt or disturb other people, you again deprive her of real independence. Without any clear boundaries, she is groping in the dark, feeling unsure of herself. You promote competence and autonomy in your child by being rational, firm, and consistent, yet warm and loving.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Helping your child to succeed Part.II


       You can remove sources of frustration and help your child act independently by creating a physical environment that meets his needs. A small step stool makes it possible for him to get to the sink to wash his hands. Dressing is made easier if you choose simple clothing, such as trousers with elastic waists. Each time that he successfully does something new, his self confidence increases.

           Let him make harmless mistakes. If he puts his T-shirt on backward, resist the temptation to correct it. By allowing the shirt to remain reversed, you avert a possible fight and, more importantly, provide him with a sense of accomplishment.
               With all this insistence on independence, you may be surprised when your stubborn child suddenly changes his tune and insists, “You do it”. Whether young children have managed a new challenge or met with failure, they often then want to retreat for a while until they feel more comfortable. Because the wish for dependency remains strong, even the four year old who has mastered dressing himself may occasionally ask you for help.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Helping your child to succeed Part.I


The struggle for independence begins with your toddler’s insisting,” Me do it myself.” She will demand to feed herself and put on her own coat. You should welcome these requests, since they show that she feels secure enough to attempt to manage things by herself.

             Children learn by doing, so it is important that they try to do what their parents have been doing for them. Yet the projects they are determined to take on are often beyond their physical dexterity. A toddler will labor with mighty concentration to pour a glass of juice, and then dissolve into tears after spilling the whole carton on the floor. When you insist on pushing her in the stroller instead of letting her walk, she feels bullied. So many of her efforts at independence are frustrated- by you, by objects she cannot manage, by her own body.

            Your child’s emotional growth requires him to assert his independence from you, but he can accomplish this only with your help. The trick comes in encouraging his efforts while being attuned to what he can handle. When your two year old insists on zipping up his coat, you give him a head start by connecting the bottom of the zipper. He is successful because you have adapted the situation to his capabilities.

An Urge for Independence

       For your child, beginning to walk is more that the first step toward physical freedom. Moving about independently- opening a closet door, walking though a flower bed, pushing his stroller – he develops an entirely new view of himself as a separate person.

           Yet this new awareness of self is frightening as well as exciting. Your child sits atop an emotional see aw. At one end is his wish to be independent, to make his own choices and to break loose from your controls. At the other is his desire to remain the baby who can depend on your absolutely. One minute he insists that you leave him alone; the next, he wails for you to return. Over the next few years, the two of you will rock back and forth, trying to achieve a balance.

          If you are unprepared for this inevitable experience, you may find it frustrating, even exasperating. The rebellious child of 18 months to three years old, with his stubbornness, unpredictable actions, rapid mood swings and negativism, can try the patience of even the saintliest parent. By the time he is three, much of the storm may have passed, and the transition from babyhood to childhood may seem largely accomplished. Your child’s self esteem and competence will have deepened, his emotional dependency on you lessened, and his view of the world widened to include other children. But the process is not truly complete. For years to come you will find that for short periods he suddenly becomes a baby again, cowed by the world, needing to cling to you for reassurance. A child’s fashioning of his independent self continues through the preschool years and beyond.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The power of the positive approach

               Even the youngest children may accept social rules more readily if they are shown the reasons. Rather than a flat “No!” try suing “No: you line up on this end” to explain to a toddler why she must not butt into the front of a line. Older children can absorb a more detailed explanation: “Everyone wants to be first in line, but only one child can have that place, and she got there first.” Pointing out what is gained by cooperative behavior the fact that she will have more friends and fewer battles lets the youngster know that your instructions are not merely parental whims.

            As in every other area of child rearing, you will get much more mileage from a pinch of positive reinforcement that from a bucketful of nagging criticism. Watch for opportunities to praise your youngster’s positive behavior, and discourage antisocial actions not with scolding and punishment, but by demonstrating praiseworthy alternatives. If your toddler is overly possessive of his toys when other children visit, for example, you might ask him before a guest arrives to think about which toys he might like to share and which ones he wants to put away ahead of time. In this way, you reaffirm the importance of sharing while acknowledging the toddler’s deep seated need to own his toys. When sharing goes well, be sure to praise him- not just for being good, but specifically for sharing, which reinforces the concept once more in his mind and gives him a rush of pride that will prompt him to do it again.


 It will probably take dozens of small lessons such as this one before your child is ready to practice the social graces on his own, but the ultimate goal- the abiding pleasures of having friends and being a friend to others- is well worth your efforts.