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.