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Q: I am a career mom of a wild 3 year old. He goes and goes, nothing wears him out. We are going through the horrible 3s. I am looking for mommy and me classes evenings and Saturdays. Everything I am finding are weekdays during the day. It’s extremely frustrating to see no focus on career parents, maybe I am not looking in the right places. So I am asking for help. I am not a fan of the Gymboree; it’s overpriced and commercial.
It is super exhausting to mother a three year old. Because it is such a huge developmental year for him, there are the usual highs and lows that come with lots of physical and emotional changes and transitions. First, I want to recommend a fabulous book that has become the best friend of many parents. “Positive Discipline,” by Jane Nelson Ed.D. is a great read and reference for navigating these years. It is an encouraging and positive parenting book that gives great ideas for setting up your life with your chid in a way that helps you create strong bonds and enjoy your time together. T. Berry Brazelton’s “Touchpoints: 3-6 Years” is a classic that will encourage you as a mom.
I have a question about my 7 and 5 year old. Now that school is out, they are constantly fighting. My daughter, the 7 year old, seems to instigate the arguments with bossing my son around. He then lashes out at her by hitting and kicking. My husband and I have had numerous talk with them about how to treat one another. We also model positive behavior. We’re not sure what to do. So many friends say that boys are more aggressive and it is okay but we don’t accept that train of thought. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.
I am guessing you are not alone in this situation! Summer vacation presents many wonderful opportunities along with unique challenges. The first step in addressing this is to sit down together with both of your children (family meeting) for the purpose of sharing the specific problem, coming up with ground rules and expectations and then planning a fun family activity.
You say the arguments begin after your daughter bosses your son. There is an easy answer to the first part of the problem. The arguments will not take place if the bossing behavior is stopped. Let your daughter and son know that only parents in the family have authority over children in the family. This means that children are never “in charge” of other siblings. What logically follows is that they cannot boss their brother or sister. But you need to spell that out for them–they can’t necessarily make that logical jump. You need to clearly articulate that it is your expectation that your daughter will not boss your son, and vice versa. You will then decide on a response that will be given by mom, dad, and/or brother should she forget and boss him! So, you will intervene with a simple, “Bossing is not acceptable,” to help her change her behavior. No yelling needed, no escalation to anger, just a calm statement.
This is a great question and I can sense your frustration as a parent! Toilet learning or toilet mastery is a huge milestone in a family’s life, as you suggest here. Your attitudes toward elimination issues also have great bearing on your son’s feelings about his own body (especially his genitalia) and being responsible for his own bodily functions, both now and later in life.
Your four year old is a male, which right away tells us that he may be slower in mastering the use of the toilet, as it is very common developmentally for boys to learn to use the toilet later than girls. Generally, though not always!
I have a 3yr old foster daughter who is very difficult, a lot of crying,tantrums over sometimes nothing, especially when she is told to do something or not to do, I have kept a daily log and can not find a trigger and she is hard to console when she gets like this. She had a eval and they told me they had no idea why she is like this or no help with her. Any suggestions?
I want to commend you for mothering this little girl who obviously was existing in dire circumstances. I also know that your commitment to caring for her does not make these trying moments any easier. Really great question and two things immediately pop out at me as possible motivations for her behavior. She is your foster daughter, and you say that she especially has outbursts when she is told what to do or not to do. These two things together certainly explain why you are both having difficulty navigating the setting of boundaries.
So here are my initial questions:
*How long have you been mothering her? and
*Is this a new living situation?
And then from a developmental standpoint:
My son (6 1/2) is suddenly very concerned that we are going to leave him alone. We have never left him alone, and he has never even gotten lost. The only thing we can link this to is that my in-laws separated last fall, and Grandpa is no longer in our lives. What can we be doing to reassure him and help him get over this fear???
I think you have hit the nail on the head–the beautiful thing about knowing your son and being sensitive to the changes in his life. At six and a half, your son’s reference point for relationships is set by those in his daily life, and it sounds like your father-in-law was in that category and that abruptly changed. Your little one’s belief that you could suddenly leave him is actually a very logical conclusion for him to make.
Here are some things you can do to help him work through this:
*Help him name his feelings about Grandpa no longer being a part of his life in the way that he was.
*Help him work through his grief over not seeing Grandpa and reassure him that things in your marriage/partnership are healthy and he has nothing to fear in this regard.
My 4 year old son has recently become VERY clingy whenever I (mom) leaves him or goes anywhere. He has always preferred to be with me but now his behavior is extreme; crying, hanging on my leg, chasing me. I have tried explaining when I’ll return, offering special time for good behavior and anything else I can think of. There have been no major changes in his routine or in the household. It is making preschool, volunteering, church, etc. impossible. Is this a stage for some children? How long should I expect it to last?
This is a great question, as separation anxiety can resurface at age four. Separating from mom, dad or siblings is a transition, and as parents we know that transitions are the trickiest part of any day in the life of a child. As with everything we do, a little assessment and planning will go a long way. So I have a few questions!
Have there been significant life changes for your four year old?
*New sibling? Siblings Without Rivalry by Faber and Mazlish is a must-read.
* Illness or loss of job within the nuclear family?
*Change in caregivers?
How do you teach your child (6yr old) to focus and keep them from dis-engaging in school?
I am guessing that there has been a conversation between parents and teacher regarding this issue, and possibly the 6 year old has been involved in some of these discussions. This is so encouraging, as it indicates that there is healthy communication going on in all directions — an extremely positive sign for a successful school experience!
In that communication there are some simple questions to be asked that can allow you to develop both home and school strategies to help your young child focus on what is being taught and to remain engaged throughout the school day.
What parents can do or what matters before and after school:
*Is there a calm morning routine established? Getting up on time to eat breakfast, having school appropriate clothing ready, allowing time for face washing and teeth brushing, and getting out for the bus on time, etc. are all vital to the ability to stay engaged during the school day.
Hello Kirsten, Our family is going on a cruise in October this year. My daughter along with her husband and two boys are going along. They are not taking their two year old daughter, who is very attached to her mother emotionally. Can you give some advice about how to prepare her for her week long stay at the babysitter. The babysitter is an adult female whom my daughter uses occasionally. My daughter has tried to use this babysitter every week just so she’ll stay familiar with her. We are so worried about how she will be affected by this absence of her family. Can you give us some pointers? Thanks and have a great day.
It is so much fun to have a family get away planned, and I am sure this has been in the works for a while. You gave me great details about the situation, which I will address, but there are also other details that I don’t know, so I will lay out some other aspects to consider.
What age should you begin to give your children a time out? Also, I have heard that the time out should be their age in minutes. Do you agree with this measurement?
As we are all well into the summer rhythm of enjoying more family time, I am guessing this is a question on lots of parents’ and grandparents’ minds. “Time out” is the most popular form of discipline used with children of all ages–so thanks for asking!
The use of time outs effectively begin when our children become verbal communicators–that is between age three and four. You know your child, so you need to gauge when they are receiving and understanding what you say to them and when they are able to verbalize feelings, wants, discomfort, etc. with their words instead of relying on different cries and body language. This is a very popular method that parents employ to discipline their children because it is one of the ways we guide and direct their behavior, but it is not meant to be used as a punishment. That may sound startling, so let me unpack that a little.
My daughter will turn 12 this summer. She recently told me that she wants a full-length mirror as a gift. I must admit that I was surprised by the request, and am not especially excited about fulfilling it. She is bright, active, well-liked and self-confident. She’s also very concerned about her hair, clothes, etc. I don’t want to contribute to an over-emphasis on her appearance. But I also don’t want to over think this to the point of creating a concern where there might not be one. Should I get her the mirror?
So the first question I have is, what are her reasons for requesting the full-length mirror for her birthday? Perhaps she has already filled you in on that, but if she hasn’t, this is a great place to discuss how you view her as she develops into a woman, how she perceives that process and how that compares to the message in our culture that first and foremost, “women must look hot” .