Excerpts of Live Chat With Sonal Raja on Toddler Tantrums And Child Behaviour

Excerpts of Live Chat With Sonal Raja on Toddler Tantrums And Child Behaviour

Child psychologist Sonal Raja spoke to moms about how to handle behavioural tantrums of kids. Read on to know more

Q. My son is 4.5 years, he cries if we say no to the things he asks for. I try to make him understand before getting into tantrum but he repeats the same. What should I do to change this behaviour?

A. It is difficult for children to stop impulse when what they want is in front of them. It is better to prepare them before hand or refuse without getting into an argument or explanation. They understand silence better than explanations. In a tantrum situation, your response of being calm and not reacting or trying to control him will send out a message to him that it will not be entertained


Q. My 15 month child to 'snatches' toys from other kids and doesn't listen if told otherwise. Any suggestion to deal with this?

A. 15 month olds will not know the difference between 'mine' and 'others' they just like to have what they like. Having an alternate toy to share it with another child will be useful and it will keep both children engaged.


Q. My daughter is 15 months and recently started hitting us. How do Ideal with this?

A. It is important to know why your 15 month old is showing a negative emotion. If the hitting is in after a negative episode, the child would feel that you are depriving her of something and would hit you. So, when the child is in a bad mood, try distracting the child with a surprise activity, which will take her attention away from what has happened and change the emotion.


Q. What are your thoughts on spanking a child? People of the older generation say that you have to do it else you are spoiling your child, especially if bad behaviour is constantly repeated.  

A. Spanking has never helped any child and I say that when I don't use 'never'. Affection and age - appropriate consequences will usually be more powerful than spanking.


Q. My son is 5, and I’ve often observed him grind his teeth in his sleep. Is this indicative of anything? He's bright, talkative and his teachers love him. But I’ve also observed him slipping into his own world when playing an organised sport or even in class. He looks bored. Is there anyway to address this?

A. Children sometimes grind teeth due to sensory issues. Get him checked by a dentist and also avoid sugary foods at night. Learning to play with others requires social skills. At home, let him do his part of activities and take turns as usual instead of making him a priority all the time.


Q. My friend's daughter is 4.5 years old and we never ever can say no to her. She gets angry and starts to go away saying I am leaving. This really creates issues, as every time her parents have to give in to whatever she demands

A. The little girl is facing issues with boundaries and has not experienced waiting or taking turns. Parents, have to be consistent in their behaviour whether it is at home or in social situations. While in a tantrum situation, they need to address it with love and distract her from what she is asking and instead deviate her attention to a new object. Doing this consistently and not reacting to her emotional tantrum, without getting angry will help.


Q. My 4 year old son sometimes behaves really weird, for example he would start throwing things in a restaurant, or start talking to everyone in a strange tone, I understand that he wants to draw attention but how do I get him to listen without drawing too much attention from onlookers?

A. I can understand that you get into embarrassing situations with your son. Please understand that he is just being a usual attention seeker and will do it more if you react to it with surprise or irritation. You may want to play clap-tap games when you get into public settings, which will be more interesting for him and take his attention away from others towards you.


Q. My little one (23months) is a real fussy eater once he says no for any sort of food he won't have it again come what may. And if force fed will just puke it out because of this habit he does not get proper nutrients in his food. Please advise.

A. I know your pain of feeding a picky eater! With your child, it is important that you first reduce your anxiety around your baby's food habits. When children don't eat well, give them power foods that are high in nutrition and small in size, like a patty or a stuffed paratha. Having said that, it is also important that you leave your child for a few days for someone else to feed or feed only for 15 minutes at a time. Whatever is left can be eaten in the next session pref. after an hour.


Q. I have a 3.5 year old daughter and am trying to hard to be a calm, gentle parent when she is at her 'annoyed best' and is simply lying down and howling. My problem is - She refuses to be hugged, given an alternative, taken out or any bait. How do I even start the corrective conversation?

A. It is a milestone for a 3 year-old to show a tantrum! When child shows this behaviour, it is for parents to respond to it. Help your child come out of the tantrum situation or a difficult emotion by a surprise. Change your behaviour response to the usual tantrum. Put on music or do something funny or dramatic - which is light hearted. Children are surprised by unusual adult responses. Try these plus a soothing night ritual of story, massage and a lavender diffuser for children to feel calm and loved will be helpful.


Q. My 2.5 year old daughter is a very kind and caring girl however at times she don't want to share her stuff at all and she even show aggressive behaviour

A. This is a normal behaviour for a 2.5 year old. It shows that your daughter has developed memory - she can distinguish between her toys and remembers them. She is developing a sense of self at this time by identifying with things that belong to her. Sharing starts when this is shown by other members of the family and child is not given any preferential treatment due to being the only child at home. This way they learn the important social skill of sharing and empathy.


Q. My 8 months old like to see ABC songs on laptop. But she cries when it gets over. Is it a sign of tantrum? Should I avoid making her watch learning videos? How to tackle this so that she doesn't get into this habit of crying to get things?

A. Your 8 month old is getting attracted to a dangerous media. I'm sure, she will enjoy it more if you sing and dance for her show her an Apple, the Ball on a chart or in the shop. Please do not encourage your children to watch any type of screens to avoid this behaviour. The sooner they learn to learn without the phone or TV, the better it will be. My mantra is -there is no substitute for human interaction.


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