“How should I tell my 5 year old son to
react when his 19 month old brother hits him or acts aggressively towards
him? I've read the articles on how to deal with it as a parent and we
are working on it, but I'm not in the room with them every time they're
playing together. I want to give my 5 year old the proper tools to deal
with his little brother, too."
Mostly, children learn from our modeling. So if you respond with calm empathy to your upset little one, your older child will learn to do that as well. Of course, he won't always be able to stay calm, particularly if he's worried about his little brother knocking down his tower, taking his truck, or ruining his game. And if the little one actually hurts him, you can't really expect him to master his fight or flight response. READ POST
"This summer a teen in my community died in a car accident after a drinking party. Can you give tips on how to talk to my kids about alcohol? They're 7 and 11." – Dan
Smart dad! Parents are the most important influence on whether kids drink alcohol, and the earlier you start these conversations, the better. Kids whose parents teach them the risks of using drugs and alcohol are half as likely to use them. Don't wait until your kids are teens before you have these conversations. This is a topic you'll want to revisit over the years as your child reaches new levels of understanding -- and temptation. READ POST
"My 22 month old younger daughter very aggressively scratches my older daughter, who is 3 and a half."
"The 2 year old is beating up on the 8 year old at our house!"
"My toddler climbs on my five year old's back like a monkey and won't get off."
In my last post, I described how to intervene when a preschooler is aggressive toward a younger sibling. But sometimes it's the younger child, often a toddler, who initiates the brawling. Toddlers don't have a fully developed frontal cortex, so their emotions routinely overcome their knowledge that "hitting hurts." And often they can't express themselves very well verbally, so they're easily frustrated.
But your older child deserves to feel safe in her own house, so you can't just sit by and "let them work it out." Obviously, you immediately get between your children to stop the hitting. You say "Ouch! No hitting! Hitting hurts!" But what if the aggression continues? READ POST
"My three year keeps hurting my 15 month old. Sometimes they play nicely, then out of the blue he'll just shove her over. We do timeouts and lectures all day long, but it doesn't help." – Claudia
Henry, age 3, is playing with Sophie, 15 months, by grabbing a toy away from her. Sophie loves his attention and giggles at this interesting game, especially because he restores the toy to her every time. But Henry is getting rougher each time, and Sophie is clinging harder to the toy. He wrenches it away from her. Sophie bursts into tears. Henry, feeling guilty, says “You act like a baby!” and reaches out and shoves her down, hard. Now Sophie is wailing. READ POST
"Dr. Laura, I know I can't raise healthy kids if I'm always flying off the handle, but do you have any tips on staying centered with two kids? I just don't have time to do the things I used to do to take care of myself, like going to the gym. I'm so tired all the time!" - Emily
"Dr. Laura, I'm great with my kids on vacation. But most of the time, I'm just so stressed out, my default is yelling!" - David
These comments sparked the series we just finished, Nurturing Yourself while Raising Your Child. I promised to compile the links all into one post, so they're listed below.
I hope this series has inspired you to notice your own needs and take better care of yourself. I'm not suggesting that you binge on cookies or go on vacation without your children. The bottom line in parenting is that our kids depend on us to regulate them emotionally, which means we have an obligation to regulate ourselves emotionally. If a cookie will help you do that, by all means, go ahead. But my hope for you is much more profound.
My hope is that you'll find habits that support you in staying more peaceful and centered. If you can use your love for your child as your motivation to do the hard work of learning to regulate your own emotions and moods, you’ll be giving your child a tremendous gift. But the gift to yourself will be even greater, because you’ll end up happier and more emotionally healthy.
The bottom line is that once we're old enough to have kids, we're responsible for who we've become. If we had a rocky start or a bad hand of cards, it's up to us to find a way to heal those wounds and play the heck out of that hand. The only way to do that is to love ourselves unconditionally. READ POST
This is the last post in our series on Nurturing Yourself while Raising Your Child. Tomorrow we wrap up with all the links.
"Looked at from a spiritual standpoint, our discomfort in any given situation provides a signal that we are out of alignment with spiritual law and are being given an opportunity to heal something." -- Colin C. Tipping
We talked yesterday about getting rid of what drains you so you feel more energetic and alive. But what if you’ve found a whole list of things you don’t like and can’t eliminate? Maybe, for instance, your children--or at least some of their behavior! READ POST
Are you Nurturing Yourself while Raising Your Child, yet? We're on the homestretch of this "Self-care for Parents" series, so take advantage of these last couple of posts about self-care, before we're back to kids and behavior!
“If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it." -- Anthony J. D'Angelo
Our body sends us constant signals about what's not working in our lives. Often, we ignore that information. We smother it with our little addictions to make ourselves feel better (comfort food, facebooking, shopping, another latte.) But that's like having a blinking light on the dashboard of the car and responding by pulling the wires out so the light stops blinking. Your car will eventually break down.
You can’t feel generous toward your child when your energy is being sapped by things that make you anxious or weigh you down. That stone in your shoe may seem small, but it's wearing you down, hobbling your full aliveness -- and your relationship with your child.
What if you just paid attention to those little annoyances, and addressed them? Even if each one takes a week or three to clear up, think how much better your life will be in a few months. READ POST