Stop here every day for a new question and answer, practical help for busy parents.
Why has my 18-month-old daughter become such a tantrum-thrower? When I tell her to come to me, or that it’s time to change her diaper, she will throw herself on the ground. She also hits me, others, herself, and the furniture.What can I do? I want my sweet little girl back.
The why is easy. The what is more difficult.
Your daughter throws tantrums because she wants to increase her control over her life. Young children have little power to change their situation, and toddlers use tantrums because with some parents, the fit can turn a “no” into a “yes.”
Remember that young children truly believe the world revolves around them. What they want is, by definition, what they deserve, and they cannot understand why the rest of the world does not scramble to serve them.
Nobody likes being told “no.” While older children may understand why they receive a negative answer, toddlers have a tougher time with that concept. And even if a toddler understands the reasoning, she still may not care (remember, the world revolves around her). Toddlers can’t rebel by playing loud music or dating people their parents don’t like, so they stick to something they can handle; making lots of noise. And like any other attempt at rebellion, if it works, it will continue.
If you want your daughter to stop throwing tantrums, take two simple steps:
First, whatever she hopes to receive by throwing her tantrum, ensure that she does not receive it. If she wants dessert, let her know that not only will she skip dessert for lunch, she will also miss out on ice cream after dinner. If you give in to the girl’s demands, you teach her that by screaming, she can get her way. Given that knowledge, why should she stop screaming?
Second, punish her for the tantrums. Unless you establish through your own conduct that tantrums are unacceptable, your daughter will keep trying.
I’ll close with one more suggestion: Never, ever allow your daughter to hit you, other people, or herself, again. You are the parent, and you must establish at an early age that she will not solve her problems by lashing out. More to the point, when you allow a child to hit an adult, you sabotage that adult’s authority, transferring that power to the child. That lesson, you do not want to teach.
Should a 9-year-old have his own e-mail address? He likes to sign up with different Web sites, likepokemon.comormath-blasters.com, and he gets a lot of e-mails from them. I was thinking of setting him up with his own account.
For purposes of this answer, I will assume that you use parental controls to restrict your son’s access to the Internet, allowing him to visit only sites you approve. Given that assumption, allowing your son to use his own e-mail address makes some sense. However, such privileges come with a caveat.
You must monitor that e-mail address — before the boy sees the messages. If your goal with this e-mail address is to help your son feel more like an individual and wean him onto new freedoms over time, you won’t mind this extra work. If instead you hope that by giving your son his own address it will reduce the volume on your personal e-mail account, you’re missing the point.
The Internet offers instant access to a huge store of information that was difficult to access a decade ago. But it is not always a safe place for children. Hackers can obtain e-mail addresses in a variety of ways. Any parent who allows a child under age 16 to read personal e-mail sent from strangers without screening them in advance has taped a “victim here” sign on that child’s chest.
Thank you for reading today’s Q&A. Check back here tomorrow for another installment of the Ask The Dad advice column. If you’d like to submit an Ask The Dad question, send it firstname.lastname@example.org.