Don’t ever take your anger out on your chil­dren

The Covington News - - Religion -

Ques­tion: What ad­vice would you give par­ents who rec­og­nize a ten­dency within them­selves to abuse their kids? Maybe they’re afraid they’ll get car­ried away when spank­ing a dis­obe­di­ent child. Do you think they should avoid cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment as a form of dis­ci­pline?

Dob­son: That’s ex­actly what I think. Any­one who has ever abused a child — or has ever felt them­selves los­ing con­trol dur­ing a spank­ing — should not ex­pose the child to that tragedy.

Any­one who has a vi­o­lent tem­per that at times be­comes un­man­age­able should not use that approach. Any­one who se­cretly “en­joys” the ad­min­is­tra­tion of cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment should not be the one to im­ple­ment it.

And, grand­par­ents prob­a­bly should not spank their grand- kids un­less the par­ents have given them per­mis­sion to do so.

Ques­tion: Be­fore our baby was born last month, our three­year-old daugh­ter, April, was thrilled about hav­ing a new brother or sis­ter.

Now, how­ever, she shows signs of jeal­ousy, suck­ing her thumb sul­lenly when I nurse the baby and get­ting very loud and silly when friends drop by. Please sug­gest some ways I can ease her through this pe­riod of adjustment.

Dob­son: Your daugh­ter is re­veal­ing a “text­book” re­ac­tion to the in­va­sion that has oc­curred in her private king­dom. It is typ­i­cal for such a preschooler to throw tem­per tantrums, wet the bed, suck her thumb, mess her pants, hold tightly to Mama, talk “baby talk,” etc.

Since the baby gets all the at­ten­tion by be­ing help­less, the older child will of­ten try to “out baby the baby” — be­hav­ing in im­ma­ture ways from an ear­lier stage of de­vel­op­ment.

That pat­tern seems to be oc­cur­ring with your lit­tle girl. Here’s what I would sug­gest.

Bring her feel­ings out in the open and help her ver­bal­ize them. When she is act­ing silly in front of adults, take her in your arms and say, “What’s the mat­ter, April? Do you need some at­ten­tion to­day?” Grad­u­ally, a child can be taught to use sim­i­lar words when she feels ex­cluded or re­jected. “I need some at­ten- tion, Dad. Will you play with me?” By ver­bal­iz­ing her feel­ings, you also help her un­der­stand her­self bet­ter. Don’t let in­fan­tile be­hav­ior suc­ceed. If she cries when the babysit­ter ar­rives, leave her any­way. A tem­per tantrum can be greeted by firm­ness. How­ever, re­veal lit­tle anger and dis­plea­sure, re­mem­ber­ing that the en­tire episode is mo­ti­vated by a threat to your love.

Meet her needs in ways that grant sta­tus to her for be­ing older. Take her to the park, mak­ing it clear that the baby is too lit­tle to go; talk “up” to her about the things she can do that the baby can’t — she can use the bath­room in­stead of her pants, for ex­am­ple. Let her help take care of the baby so she will feel she is part of the fam­ily process.

Be­yond th­ese cor­rec­tive steps, give your daugh­ter some time to ad­just to her new sit­u­a­tion.

Even though it stresses her some­what to­day, she should profit from the re­al­iza­tion that she does not sit at the cen­ter of the uni­verse.

Ques­tion: We have a seven-year-old son who has been do­ing some pretty aw­ful things to dogs and cats in the neigh­bor­hood. We’ve tried to stop him but not suc­cess­fully. I won­der if there’s any­thing to be more con­cerned about here.

Dob­son: Cru­elty to an­i­mals can be a symp­tom of se­ri­ous emo­tional prob­lems in a child, and those who do such things re­peat­edly are not typ­i­cally just go­ing through a phase. It should def­i­nitely be seen as a warn­ing sign that must be checked out. I don’t want to alarm you or over­state the case, but early cru­elty is cor­re­lated with vi­o­lent be­hav­ior as an adult.

I would sug­gest that you take your son to a psy­chol­o­gist or psy­chi­a­trist for eval­u­a­tion, and by all means, never tol­er­ate any kind of un­kind­ness to an­i­mals.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.