Tackling Tricky Toddler Issues: Part III

Here are some behavioural issues that you may have to deal with. MH tells you how.

WORDS CHRISTEL GERALYN GOMES

 

Dealing with Constant Interruptions

This is a particularly annoying attention-seeking behaviour, especially when you are with other grown-ups. Clinical psychologist at VA Psychology Center, Dr Vanessa von Auer, advises to first explain that you are talking and that your child needs to wait. If interrupting continues, engage in planned ignoring. “This means that you ignore your child’s interruptions even if it is difficult to do so. You may pre-empt and say ‘I will not respond to you until I am finished talking’. That way, the little tot knows what is going to happen. The important part – to follow through”, she says.

 

 

Remember that it is also important to engage

the child when you are done talking.

 

 

Turn to your tot and say, “I am finished now. What did you want?” That way the child learns that you will definitely attend to him when you are available, which will help him learn to wait.

 

Coping with Lying or Tattling

Where lying is concerned, the best thing to do is to have conversations about why lying is not acceptable and what consequences such behaviour can result in. “Of course, toddlers won’t be able to have complex conversations about this but parents can read storybooks about this topic, use toys to role-play situations and of course also assure the child that they can tell mum and dad anything without being fearful. Sometimes children will begin to lie to parents because they are scared of their reactions. If this is the case, it is essential that parents learn to control their own reactions to their children when they report things to them,” says Dr von Auer.

 

 

If your child is developing a habit of tattling on a sibling or parent,

even if the information you get is valuable to you, this is a behaviour that 

should not be at all encouraged as it can affect your child’s value system.

 

 

“Tattling to gain attention or to get someone in trouble should not be tolerated,” says Dr von Auer. Koh agrees, adding, “Parents should not praise the child but say “we can talk about this later when everyone is together” to show that you are not taking sides but interested to know from all. In front of others, do not laugh it off and say “they are cute or very smart”, but tell the child nicely that it is not very nice to tell on someone. Revisit it later.” 

 

 

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