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  Discussion
 Parenting
20 replies
Who's talking? (5)
Tracy F.
Cynthia B.
Krystle V.
Elizabeth B.
Rachel C.

Live Chat with child development expert & child psychologist, Dr. Cynthia Baker

Tracy F. 6 years ago

We invite you to join Dr. Cynthia Baker for a Live One Hour Q&A on Tuesday, April 16th from 11am to Noon right here.   The conversation will focus on the Emotional Development and Parenting of the Young Child (Ages 1-6 years).

Dr. Cynthia Baker is a child development expert and child psychologist.  She will answer all your questions related to emotional development and parenting of your young child.

Cynthia focuses on offering solutions to help you learn how to guide, nurture and discipline your toddler and preschooler in ways that are effective yet gentle and promote your child's self esteem while also strengthening the parent-child bond.

To participate, simply log in and post your question.   To ensure your question is answered, you can post your question at any time up until the live Q&A starts on Tuesday.    Then make sure to log in on Tuesday to interact with Cynthia and join the conversation with other moms.

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B. 6 years ago

Thanks SoCal Moms! I'm looking forward to having this conversation - and to answering all parenting questions related to emotional development and gentle discipline of the young child! See you soon. - Cynthia

Krystle V.
Krystle V. 6 years ago

My daughter is 14 months. How do I approach the following: Biting when frustrated and not wanting to hold my hand when we walk outside. I think she thinks I am trying to tell her her no or stop her while she is walking but I am just trying to hold her nad to keep her safe! I hate to tell her NO all the time!

Elizabeth B.
Elizabeth B. 6 years ago

My son is 17 months old and only wants me to put him to bed at night. He will cry and carry on for hours if I don't do his bedtime routine.  I still breastfeed and he doesn't want to give it up, especially before bed.  He goes to bed late so it makes difficult for me to go out at night.   The few times lately that I have managed to put him to bed early enough to go out, he then wakes up while I'm gone and becomes completely hysterical until I get home.   Then for the next several days he is a mess and just wants me to hold him.   I want to be able to leave him more, but each time I do it seems to be a real set back for him.   When we aren't at home, he is a very independent kid.  He runs off and plays without me, talks to everyone and is super happy most of the time.  What would you recommend doing?

Krystle V.
Krystle V. 6 years ago

I have another question. When my daughter gets upset (if I take away keys or something she is not suppose to have) she hits herself :( I tell her " do nice to madison". Is this normal and how should I react?

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B. 6 years ago

Hi SoCal Moms! I'm excited to answer these questions and have a discussion today on toddler/preschooler discipline and emotional development! Thanks for having me! Let me get to answering these questions already posted...

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B. 6 years ago

Hi Krystle! Thanks for your great questions! First, let's discuss biting. Biting when frustrated or angry is not an uncommon behavior in children your daughter's age - because she can't yet express her needs, wishes, feelings in words, she gets frustrated and bites (or kicks, cries, hits, etc). Whatever the "acting out" behavior is, you want to react the same way: First, STAY CALM and don't get angry. Gently but firmly pull her teeth off (or hold her kicking foot down, etc) and say "No biting. That hurts Mommy (or baby or whomever was the recipient of the bite)." Then quickly get down at her eye level, hold her fairly close to you in gentle and loving way. Then reflect her feelings back to her by saying something like: "You are mad because XXX (e.g, you don't want to put your shoes on but it's time to go, you want to wear the red pajamas but they are dirty, etc). It's ok to be mad but no biting because ouch, it hurts." Then distract her with something else, such as "look at that fire truck racing by!" or "do you think dolly wants to ride in your car seat with you?" So, the gist is - say "no biting" in a firm but calm and non-angry way, pull her physically off, tell her that hurts and no biting, hold her in your arms in a calm and loving way, then reflect her feelings back to her, then distract her. Through all of this, what is key is that you stay calm and don't get angry. When our young children see that we are angry (or disappointed, etc with them), they get anxious because they feel worried that we don't love them anymore! And when they are anxious that we are angry and not loving of them, they act out further and easily spiral into a full blown melt down. Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any follow up questions you have!

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B. 6 years ago

Hi Elizabeth - Thanks for your question - it's a good one. Your 17 month old is at the height of separation anxiety (typically 12 to 18 months).  So it's developmentally appropriate for him to experience this anxiety. Sleep is a major "separation" for our toddlers because when they go to sleep, Mommy and Daddy are "gone" - they don't have a concept that we're still close by and will be there to greet them in the morning. So letting themselves fall asleep is something that must be learned, it's a "letting go" and is especially hard during the heightened period of separation anxiety. So, if possible, I would encourage you to keep to the bedtime routine as much as possible. I always encourage parents to have the same routine (e.g. bath, pajamas, brush teeth, 3 stories and one song then light off).  If you are available most of the time and your son is preferring you, then I would encourage you to "indulge him" until he's a bit older (18 - 24 months) and for you to be the one to do the nighttime bedtime routine.  But whomever is putting him to sleep should stick to the same bedtime routine you do -- the same each and every night! And if you're trying to wean him, I would encourage weaning from bf during the day first -- make the bedtime nursing the last one to "go".  I know it's hard to have our little ones so dependent on us, especially, bfing moms, but it won't always be this way.  Hang in there! Hope this helps.

Rachel C.
Rachel C. 6 years ago

Hi, Cynthia. :) I have a baby on the way. I've been told it's best to involve my toddler with the baby as much as possible vs. sending her off with her dad while I have the baby. This will help her be more accepting of the baby and not feel replaced. Do you agree? And do you have any other tips? Thanks!

 

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B. 6 years ago

Krystle, Thanks for your question on hand holding when outside! Many toddlers don't like to hold hands or be held when outside, even when crossing the street or in a parking lot. At this age, they have just learned to walk and they want to explore the world! So it's "developmentally appropriate" for her to be denying your hand and wanting to "do it myself" as many 18 month - 24 month kids will say.  So, first, I would encourage you to find many, many outdoor spaces where she can run and roam free without your hand holding. You don't want to squash her sense of adventure and exploration, as that can lead to shame or low self esteem.  This doesn't have to be just at a park or open space. But even in a grocery store or mall it's ok to let her walk alone - you're right next to her just inches away following to keep her safe and not let her touch things that could be dangerous or knocked over! But of course, there are many places you will have to hold her hand or carry her. For example, you can't let her cross the road or parking lot on her own! So, in those times, you need to take her hand. If she protests tell her, "Cars, crossing the street. To be safe, Mommy will hold your hand or carry you? Hand or up?" and give her the choice.  If she doesn't chose one, then you chose it. If she's angry about the hand holding and you worry she will pull away while in a parking lot, then just carry her. She will cry and scream but you can say, "I know you're mad. You want to walk yourself, but in a parking lot mommy must carry you." And as always, stay calm, don't get angry at her. As parents of toddlers, we have to learn to tolerate our children's angry, frustration with our limits! Hope that helps.

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B. 6 years ago

Hi Rachel! Congratulations on the baby on the way! So happy for you. That's a great question - The decision on whether or not or how much to include your toddler in the birth of the new baby is really a personal decision and there isn't one "right" or "wrong" answer. it's just what you and your partner prefer and think is best. I would say that you want to be careful about your toddler seeing you in pain/labor or hurting because that will cause her anxiety. I think what maybe is even more important is doing several things to help your toddler get "ready" for baby to arrive and help her feel included. Here are a few ideas: Get her a baby doll with diapers, sling etc so she can be a "mommy" too; Have a special wrapped gift for your toddler to give to her from "the baby" on the day the baby is born (give it to her within minutes or her meeting the new baby and explain it's from him/her and make it something she really has wanted and will cherish"; when your toddler comes to the hospital or birth center try to not be holding the baby when your toddler first walks in the room; before the birth of the new baby, you and your toddler should make a "Just me and Mommy" sign and decorate it with stickers and glitter - tell your toddler that each day after the baby comes, you will tell her to go get the sign and she will put it up on the wall and then you will have special mommy and daughter only time. This can be 10 minutes a day when baby is sleeping or with dad, etc. The critical thing is that your toddler knows she will still get special one on one time with you even after baby arrives!  Good luck! Again, congratulations!

Rachel C.
Rachel C. 6 years ago

Thanks for all the tips, Cindy! :)

 

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B. 6 years ago

Hi again Krystle - That's another great question on how to handle your toddler hitting herself when she's mad.  Again, this is her way of expressing her frustration because she doesn't have words. Some kids hit themselves and others even bang their heads. If she's hitting herself but not really hurting herself, I would simply label/reflect her feelings back to her. and then distract her: "You are mad that I took the keys away. Well, how about this (offer another object that jingles, etc that she can play with, put her in her mouth etc).  Toddler need us to "label" and identify their feelings and wishes because they don't have the language to do so. So, as a rule of thumb, you can quickly "speak for them" and say what they want or are frustrated with, but then quickly follow up with distraction. Distraction is your biggest "weapon" against a toddler! And it works...when they are 3 or 4 or 5 it doesn't work as well. but right now, you can distract away! :)

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B. 6 years ago

You are so welcome, Rachel!! :) Good luck!

 

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B. 6 years ago

I also wanted to address the issue Krystle raised about hating to "say no" all the time. It's a fine balance, I think. I get the idea that we don't want to say no and squash our toddler's sense of autonomy and exploration -- that's why it's important to create indoor space and often go to open outdoor spaces where our little ones are free to roam without many limits and be "free". At the same time, it's important and healthy to tell a toddler (and preschooler and school aged child and teenager!) no - setting limits empathically but firmly is critical to helping our children learn right from wrong but also learning how to handle big emotions like frustration and anger when things don't go his way or learning to problem solve when she doesn't get the answer she expected.  It's healthy to say no. But making sure you're doing it empathically is critical. Dr. Laura Markham has some great resources and guidelines on this for parents of children of different ages. Check it out. http://www.ahaparenting.com/Default.aspx?PageID=1280677&A=SearchResult&SearchID=6641845&ObjectID=1280677&ObjectType=1

Krystle V.
Krystle V. 6 years ago

Great thank you so much! I grew up with a very very over protective mother nervous! (and now suffer with great anxiety from that still in my 30's) so I want to try to do everything I can to avoid that and make her not feel anxious! I try not to react to situations but somethings its hard like if she puts a rock in her mouth I panic and grab it with a not so quiet reaction. How can I avoid making her anxious?

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B. 6 years ago

Krystle - That's great that you are aware of your "genetic" and intergenerational tendencies towards anxiety -- I really applaud you for being aware of your own anxiety and your concern and awareness about not wanting to impose that onto your daughter (and therefore keep the anxiety passing through the next generation!). The first step you've already done -- to become aware of it! The second step is to try to manage your anxiety and not impose it upon her.  This can be difficult, of course, but anxiety can be treated and managed!  As a place to start, I might recommend some "mindful" parenting books and resources - to help you learn to be in the moment and more aware of your own feelings and reactions throughout the day.  There are great books, workshops etc for parents on this topic which help teach these skills.  Here are a few good book suggestions which help parents "separate out" their own "stuff" from reactions they are having to their kids. So, you can learn to really be present with your daughter and respond to her behaviors (i.e. putting a rock into her mouth) from a proactive, experienced, fully conscious and presesent in the moment kind of way rather than a reaactive to "old" baggage kind of way.  Here are a few book titles to get started. Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel Siegel; Everyday Blessings by Myla and Jon Kabta Zinn. Good luck!

Krystle V.
Krystle V. 6 years ago

Great thank you so much! I am going to order those books!

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B. 6 years ago

You are so welcome Krystle. Good luck!

Cynthia B.
Cynthia B. 6 years ago

Thanks everyone for your fantastic questions!  And thanks to SoCal Moms for having me. It was fun. I'll check back later to see if there are any additional follow up questions that anyone has. See you soon! - Cynthia

Krystle V.
Krystle V. 6 years ago

Thank you this was great!!!