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How should we manage our son who is very naughty?

Q: I am residing in Dubai with my wife and a three years old son for the past 7 years. We all go for a vacation for a month to India every year. Since the beginning my son is very naughty and he hates to eat food, but now he has become very destructive and he does not like to eat food. He just runs in the house and breaks all his toys and if we stop him, he shouts back to us and many a times he has hit his mother. We sent him to kindergarten for one year and discussed the above problem with his teacher and she also said that many a time he screams but does listen to her and is fine in the classroom. Since the beginning, he was not eating food so we used to force feed him but now he does not allow us to do that also. When we take him shopping he starts running and throws things from the shelves and creates chaos if we try to stop him. We have punished him many at times by taking his best toys away or warning him that if he misbehaves, we will not take him to shopping malls or the garden. For sometime he is fine but again starts doing the same things. We tried everything possible but all in vain. Please suggest something.

A:Since your son seems to have adjusted to school, perhaps his problem can be managed with firm, consistent and quiet discipline. For the child to calm down, the excitement of television and visits to malls should be reduced. Concentrated foods (like nutritious malted milk) may be given, to assure that he gets at least a minimum amount of food in him. Soft drinks should be avoided, as the caffeine in the cola drinks makes children more aggressive. As far as possible, do not give him a lot of instructions at one time. Break the information up into bits that he can handle. Even if you are angry, do not raise your voice. Sounds may already be magnified for him and he needs quietness and clear instructions. When you come to India for your vacation, do consult an experienced Psychologist or Special Educator about how to plan activities for your son. Doctors are often too busy with major medical issues, to give you time and advice. We are coming upon many children with similar behaviours, but the appropriate treatment of each child has to be planned for that child, with the parents.


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