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How should I deal with my son's yelling back at me?

Q: My 3-year-old son has lately started showing his worse side. I never thought highly of spanking as a method of punishment, time out always worked well. But he has got out of hand. When he does something wrong, and I tell him to go to time out, he says "No" and starts yelling. He also says that he hates everyone and me at times. I try to calm him down, but he gets me all worked up. I have started spanking him, although it kills me when I do that. But I don't know how to handle him. We can't even take him out anywhere, its embarrassing when he starts yelling and talking back.

A:I think that you have allowed a high level of frustration to build up in your son. Why would any child want to yell and talk back and embarrass his parents? In some ways, he is responding to your raised voice and your physical roughness. When he says he hates you, he means that he hates the power you have over him to punish him. Turn over a new leaf and start treating your child as someone you love and cherish, rather than as a person who brings credit or discredit to you. Make things easier for him by talking to him, listening to him and giving him some choices. Obviously you are too tense about his behaviour to have a cool way of handling it. Talk to a Counsellor on how to be more relaxed. Get the child's father to help in his upbringing. You must get out of the habit of shouting and start treating the child more gently. Spanking is NOT advised, unless the child runs out and is about to be run over. Then a slap is OK since you would like the child to associate such risky behaviour with some pain. The root cause of the child's unruly behaviour could lie in some experience in the family that has unsettled the child.

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