Is my child exhibiting inappropriate behaviour or is it just play?
Q: I have a 3 years old son. Most of his milestones were late. He started walking after 2 years and now he speaks 2-3 words at a time but not as well as other children of his age. As both my husband and I are working, he stays with my mother during the day. He is going to a nursery class. Last week, his teacher complained about him and said that he is very fond of a particular girl in the class and keeps hugging and kissing her. She has observed this for some weeks now. She says he has now sits on the girl and plays with her. The teacher says he must have seen something of this kind on the TV. She says I should speak to him and ask him where and how he has seen this or why he is doing this. But I can't ask him anything of this kind since he is too small to answer or understand my questions? I don't see anything wrong in his attitude. When we come home after work he hugs us, kisses us and even if we lie down, he will sit on us and play with us. We have tried to restrict him from doing this but it is a kind of play for him. I don't know how to tackle this problem. Should I go to a child psychologist or a speech therapist?
A:Since your child has a delay in developmental milestones, it is quite likely that he does not understand how his playful actions can be interpreted. But you will agree that the little girls parents can be a little disturbed if a boy in the class is too friendly with her. Perhaps you should discourage your son from playing certain kinds of games with you, like sitting on you when you are prone. What is appropriate when a child is one or even two begins to look odd in a child of three. Get a big soft ball for him that he can play with. Join him in the game when you can. Put on music and let him move (dance) to the tunes. Spend time teaching him to use words for his actions. Indicate what is good and what is not. Children will absorb parental rules in everyday activities. They want the approval of parents and teachers. One cannot wait for a child to grow up and then speak. Speech develops rapidly when the child encounters people and playthings and needs to communicate. Suggest to the teacher in the Nursery School, that she should distract him and present other things to do, when the child starts to dominate (or even monopolize) the selected friend in the school. He has to be clearly told what the boundaries are for his freedom. This must be done gently but firmly and parents are the best adults to do this. If you have access to a Psychologist, who specializes in children problems, you might wish to consult her. If your home remedies (or acting on my suggestions) do not work, that is of course, an option. In the meanwhile, start interesting toys and plenty of activities for the child at home, while the parents are away at work. All the best.