How to handle a stubborn and aggressive child?
Q: I have a 3 year old daughter, who is looked after by my parents when my husband and myself leave for work. She is very stubborn. When I ask her not to do anything wrong she does it more. She learns foul language and speaks it at home. I advise her not to do so but say she says more. She goes to nursery and is otherwise from childhood very quiet when outside and is very particular about cleanliness. She does not play with children. She plays on her own. She does not mix with people. When I scold her for her misbehaviour my husband tells me she is too small to understand. I very strongly believe that children should be disciplined, taught what is good and bad right from childhood. My husband is too busy. He spends very little time with her, therefore he listens to all her tantrums, buys anything possible for her even if it is expensive and pampers her. Therefore when he is around, she behaves more badly. At times my daughter is too good -keeps things in proper places, helps me in doing up the showcases and cupboards etc. For my daughters behaviour I sometimes beat her. I even try to make her things understand by explaining. Could you tell me the solution and could you kindly also put a small note for my husband about how a child should be brought up since childhood?
A:Children will generally imitate what they see, although their temper tantrums are built in ways of expressing frustration. One way of handling the little girl is to reduce her frustration. This does not mean giving in to every demand, but rather being firm and affectionate at the same time, explaining what is expected of her. There is no reason to beat the child. PLEASE do not treat her roughly. She may just do the same to you. Since she is looked after by the grandparents, it is important to find out how she behaves with them and what she is permitted to do etc. Sometimes children get different messages from different relatives and this may confuse them. When you say that she does not play with other children, is this supported by the nursery class teacher? Please try and provide some opportunities for the child to play with others from nearby homes. Children are sometimes naughty so that they can get the attention of the parents. If your attention is available easily, she may not find it necessary to be naughty. It is clear that you, the mother of the child, are carrying the responsibility of a job outside the home as well as housekeeping and care of the child. But it will not help if you are always angry with the child and punishing her for little misdeeds. It is true that habits are formed early, but when a child is obstinate as you say, she does seem to be communicating some distress. I have a suggestion. For one week, forget about disciplining the child. Treat her as if she were a friends child who has come for a short stay. You will find that you demand less from her and play with her and read to her more. If you have fun doing things together, she will relax and find that it is unnecessary to use bad language etc. When she is in a good mood, tell her how much nicer it is for you to chat with her and sing or read together. There must also be some understanding between the parents. If one parent is always telling her what to do and what not to do in a very strict way, and the other parents gives gifts, the child will associate the behaviour and the parent concerned. The firm rules must be given by both and the treats must also be given by both parents. All the best. More than anything, the child wants you to show her your love.