Q Dear Dr. Sylvia, My husband and I have a four-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son. The challenge is with our four-year-old daughter. Just as background, we are a very happy "all-American" family. My husband is an incredible father. The problem we are having is that our four-year-old is what you may call a "Mama's girl." She will only accept Mommy doing things for her. This is not a phase since it has been going on for about a year. My husband is beside himself, and it is now beginning to hurt his feelings. If he goes to pick her up at school, she will not go with him. She begins crying and says, "I want Mommy to pick me up." Once they are in the car and she realizes she is not getting her way, she is nice to him.
I write at length in this section about the Time-Out method. However, that method isn't appropriate in every situation. If the punishment is directly related to the child's behavior, a child will be more likely to remember the punishment the next time around. Making a child sit on her own in a chair once, twice, perhaps three times a day is more than enough time sitting alone. I don't know about your children, but mine seem to need intervention more than two or three times a day. Not only that; time-out does not work for all children or for all parents. So what should you do? Here's another good solution: Find the punishment that fits the crime.
A Drama on Discipline. Tina (28) and Steve (28) are the parents of a six year old son, Josh. It's Saturday night and Tina is returning from a shopping trip to the mall. Tina: Hi Steve. (looks over to the couch). Josh, what are you doing up? Steve, what's he doing up? Steve: We were playing cowboy. We were having a great time. Tina: I assume you read him a story. Steve: Not yet. Tina: Josh, please go to bed. (She walks him to the bathroom and to the bedroom where she reads him a story.) Tina comes back down the stairs: Steve, I can't believe you. I came home at 9:00, and Josh is supposed to be in bed at 8:00. He's six years old.
As parents, we take our love for our children as a given. But do we consider whether the way we talk to our children communicates that love to them? Many of us have a tendency to use "negatives" when talking with our kids. "Don't do that," "Stop," "No," "If you do that one more time then...." Do these phrases sound familiar? If so, then it may be time to consider another approach...positive parenting. WHAT IS POSITIVE PARENTING? Children crave attention. It shows that they are important and that their parents care about them.
AN ALL-TOO-TRUE ONE ACT PLAY IN THREE SCENES Jenny, 38, is the mother of Jesse, 11 and Joshua, seven. She works part time as an advertising sales rep for a local newspaper. On the side, she writes a restaurant review column on small, little-known restaurants called Hole in the Wall and she also writes poetry for herself. She reads lots of books on parenting. Her husband, Jim, an account executive at an ad agency, usually gets home just before bed-time. SCENE I Wheedle, Cajole, Repeat and When in Doubt, Bribe Jenny is cutting salad for dinner. She wants to get rid of the few dishes in the sink but sees that the dishwasher is full -- and clean.
Dear WholeMom: My daughter is 1 1/2 years old. She doesn't listen to "Time out" anymore and if I tell her to go back to "Time out" she cries or hits. The worst part is I'm very emotional because I'm 3 months pregnant. So when she cries, I cry, and then I feel like a mean mom. I really don't know how to handle this and I don't believe in hitting a child, not even a light tap. What should I do? - Emotional Mom Dear Emotional Mom: There are a number of issues to address here. The first one is your personal state of mind that is, by your own admission, "very emotional" since you are three months pregnant. The second issue is your daughter's behavior.
It's Sunday morning. Pam, a 31-year-old mother, is getting ready to go to a party with her four-year-old daughter, Cara. Mother: We gotta hurry. Grandma said that we should be there early so she can take pictures of us. Cara: Okay. Cara stays on the floor playing. Mother: Let's get you ready. Cara: Why? Mother: I told you. We're going to Grandma's. She's having a birthday party. Cara: Is it my birthday? Mother: No, it's Grandma's. Listen it's time to stop playing. It's time to get ready. Cara doesn't look up. Mother: It's time to get dressed. Here are your clothes. I'll give you a few minutes and then we'll get you dressed.
The first article I wrote for WholeFamily, over two years ago, was about time out. I chose this topic because the issue is relevant to many parents of pre-school children who want to discipline their children without spanking. I also felt, and still do, that time out is one of the most misunderstood and misused methods of child discipline. Over the course of the last two years, I have continued to get questions from parents who are frustrated by trying to get two-year-olds to go to their rooms and parents whose four-year-old children are spending two hours a day sitting in chairs. In addition, many experts today do not feel that time out is the best method of child discipline.
You have heard your friends talking about it, you've seen some articles in parenting magazines and know it's supposed to be "the thing to do" but you are just not sure how it is supposed to work. Or you've been trying to do it, but it's just not working for you. Here is a step by step program for setting up a time-out program and more importantly "getting it to work." Why "time-out"?
What mother has not almost pulled her hair out, stifled a scream, or locked herself in the bathroom out of desperation for a five-minute breather during that awful time known as "the witching hour"? Indeed, that hour before - and sometimes during - dinner, when everyone is more likely to be tired, cranky and hungry, can jangle the nerves of the calmest parent. Mothers (and even if both mom and dad are working, somehow mom is usually the one in charge of dinner) feel particularly pressured during the late afternoon hours.
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