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How should I deal with my adamant child?

Q: My six-year-old son is becoming very adamant and he doesn't listen to us when we tell him not to do a certain thing. Most of the times we will have to scream at him or even threaten to beat him to get things done. For example, I tell him not to take out the laptop from the bag, as that is not a toy to play with. He does not listen until I go near him and shout at him. To some extent, we are also to be blamed as we do spank him when the situation is not in control. I'm a working mother. He goes to day care after his school from 3:30 to 7:00 pm. We are not sure how to handle our child or if we need counselling ourselves. Kindly advise.

A:This kind of problem seems to occur in many homes. Since both parents have full time careers, the child must be doing his best to be noticed by them when they are around. It appears that you are constantly telling what not to do and only very rarely telling him what to do. This will have to be reversed. You must plan some activities that you will do with him. Get him a new book once in a while and give the book when you come in. Then he will not be interested in the laptop. When you get back, put away the laptop on a high shelf so that the temptation to play with it is not there. Instead of thinking of how hard you work, think of how the child must be waiting for you. Make up some game for him or a joke of sorts which you will refer to when you come. Ask him about his day and what he did, not like an interrogation, but like a friendly conversation. If you are tense at work or when travelling back from work, it is not fair to take it out on the child. Find out from his day care centre if he is happy there. Treat him as a valued member of the family, not just as a responsibility.

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