3-4 YEARS OLD What’s with your three-nager? To man­age your dif­fi­cult young­ster, these are what you should know first.

He throws tantrums, lashes out at you, and gets into fights with his sib­lings. To man­age your fu­ri­ous young­ster, it is important to un­der­stand him, says DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - C Ntents -

He is ego­cen­tric

To your three-year-old, the whole world should re­volve around him. He ex­pects and de­mands ev­ery­thing to go his way. So, don’t be sur­prised when he as­sumes you’ll do ex­actly what he wants. Ex­plain that oth­ers have feel­ings too. He’ll slowly un­der­stand that other peo­ple are important, as well.

He hates the word “no”

Your child ex­pects to get ev­ery­thing he wants, when­ever he wants it. He doesn’t like it when you say “no”. But stand your ground any­way, no mat­ter how much he rages against you. He’ll learn he can’t al­ways get his way.

He wants to be loved

No mat­ter how much he rages at you or fights with his older sib­ling, he’s just a boy who wants to be loved. Of course, you shouldn’t ac­cept his out­bursts and should rep­ri­mand him for his tem­per. How­ever, he should al­ways know that you love him.

His condence is frag­ile

A three-year-old can be ter­ri­fy­ing when he is in full rage. He seems so strong and pow­er­ful. Re­mem­ber, though, it takes lit­tle to dent his self-es­teem. All it takes is a throw­away re­mark about how he looks or a jig­saw that he can’t com­plete, and this bad-tem­pered mis­chief-maker be­comes a crum­bling heap.

His tantrums are nor­mal

Ju­nior has melt­downs like other chil­dren his age – you just see his more of­ten. So, keep things in per­spec­tive and stop wor­ry­ing there is some­thing wrong with him. He loses his tem­per be­cause he hasn’t learnt to con­trol it. Tantrums are nor­mal in this age group.

He re­sponds to praise

You can some­times trans­form his rage into hap­pi­ness by prais­ing him un­ex­pect­edly. For in­stance, when he is in a mood, you might be able to dis­tract him by point­ing out his paint­ing is de­light­ful or ex­press ad­mi­ra­tion for the way he cre­ated a tower with wooden bricks.

He en­joys any at­ten­tion

Try to ig­nore his out­bursts. He en­joys your at­ten­tion even when you rep­ri­mand him – to him, neg­a­tive at­ten­tion is bet­ter than no at­ten­tion at all. Some­times it pays to let his an­gry be­hav­iour pass with­out com­ment, al­though that might be hard for you to do.

He will calm down

Al­though his tantrums can last for what seems like a very long time, his tem­per grad­u­ally dis­si­pates, and he calms down. Be pa­tient. When he stops rag­ing, take time to talk to him about his out­burst and ex­plain how his be­hav­iour up­set you.

He has another side to him

Par­ent­ing a three-year-old who has dif­fi­culty keep­ing his tem­per in check can be drain­ing. He al­ways ap­pears grumpy and ready to ex­plode. Stop fo­cus­ing only on his neg­a­tive be­hav­iour; re­mind your­self of the pos­i­tive as­pects of his be­hav­iour, such as kind­ness and hu­mour.

Stop wor­ry­ing there is some­thing wrong with your child. He loses his tem­per be­cause he hasn’t learnt to con­trol it.

He learns from you

Your child watches ev­ery­thing that goes on around him, and he may im­i­tate what he sees (es­pe­cially the things you don’t want him to copy). If he seems es­pe­cially prone to los­ing his tem­per, con­sider how you and your spouse deal with con­flict. Per­haps he has seen you scream­ing at each other and he sim­ply copies you.

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