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How do we deal with our adamant child?

Q: I am 43 years old and have two sons aged 11 years and 3.5 years. For the last few months, our youngest child has become very adamant and starts crying without any reason. We cannot make him stop. As a child, he has been pampered a lot, but now he starts shouting whenever he wants something. If his demands are not met or if we shout at him a little, he starts crying loudly telling us that we should not scold him and give him what he wants. Many times we have beaten him and put him inside a closed room to correct his behaviour, but there is no result. Also, everybody in my family has the habit of talking a bit loudly, and my wife loses her patience when the child behaves irrationally. How should we deal with such a situation?

A:Please do not punish your child by shutting him up in a room. A three-year-old should not be beaten either. He is a child, not your enemy. It seems that the adults have become impatient and the result is that the children are getting confused messages. I think the word shout and cry occur many times in your letter and the shouting is from parents as well as child! You should develop gentler ways of telling the child what he should do and conveying what behaviour you disapprove. Please tell the child's mother that discipline works best when it is reasonable and properly explained to the child. Instead of focus on keeping the child quiet, you should provide him with picture books, toys he can manipulate and a ball he can catch. If possible, there should be children's music on CD played for him. Make sure he has enough rest and sleep, and that his diet is suitably planned and served. When the child is in a good mood, explain the rules you have made for him. Children imitate the adults around them so remember to do what you would like him to follow.

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