Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My 2 year old

Dear Kay:

My daughter, as a baby was so relaxed and gentle but now that she is almost two she is not nice, talks back and hits her father and I and other children. She was put into a class at daycare at one years old with three year olds (not my choice) and they would do these cruel things to her ( like hitting and teasing )and I think this is where she learned the behavior. I've tried ignoring the behavior, putting her in time out and tapping her hand when she doesn't listen and nothing seems to work. Is there anything I can do to stop the bad behavior and get my sweet little girl back?


Dear Melanie:

You will never have the same child back because she has had unpleasant experiences and she is older. Don't make the mistake of wanting what has passed back or you will miss the opportunity of enjoying her in the present.

Now as for her experiences. A child at the age of 1 does not have the ability to process mean behavior by others. They have not emotional outlets to let you know how much emotional pain they are experiencing except to act out.

What are you expecting to accomplish by tapping her on the hand? Tapping is a nice way of saying your hitting her hand? Do you expect to teach her non violence with a violent reaction? DON'T TAP HER HAND AGAIN PLEASE.

Now, she needs to have an outlet for her emotions. RUN to the nearest books store and get books about feelings. There are feeling books with pictures that help a child identify their feelings and tell them how to express them as well. There is one book in particular which tells a child hands are not for hitting, feet are not for kicking, etc...

Spend plenty of fun time with her and expect her to take her time getting herself under emotional control. If you don't like her acting out then disengage from her. Tell her you will talk to her when she uses her indoor voice, when she behaves quieter etc...then don't look at her, or interact with her until she calms down. When she calms down do by all means interact with her immediately in a POSITIVE manner. Reinforce the appropriate behavior and ignore the inappropriate behavior. If you pay attention to inappropriate behavior you only serve to reinforce the behavior making it come more often and stronger.

Never allow others to hit your child and don't hesitate to speak up on her behalf with other children are acting inappropriately with her.

Sincerely,

M Kay Keller