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Today's Child


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"Life U" is located in SW Ontario, Canada (Brantford Region) and focuses on relationships with one's self, one's family, and others in one's life...
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Copyright: all information on this site is mine and I request that you ask permission prior to making a copy of it.  Readers, submitting questions or suggestions, give permission to have their information posted on this site (unless otherwise stated in the email or on this form).

This site is not a substitute for personal medical attention, diagnosis or hands-on treatment. If you are concerned about a child, please consult your family's health care provider or educator. Every child, every family, every environment is different, and a book or internet site does not have the insight into the reader's personal situation to adapt to the individual strengths and needs.
~ Today's Child / Debbie Roswell, copyright, 1999

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The following are some questions and responses posted to 

"Today's Child":


Ann from Ontario writes: 
got a question...... my daughter is always whining! I want it to stop! Any suggestions?   (11/99)

Whining is a learned behaviour, and it is also a way for your daughter to express her desires. Look behind the behaviour, the whining, to what she is really saying, asking. Now, teach her how to say it, ask for it, in an appropriate way. "Use your proper voice. Now tell me again what you want." and then help her practice that tone. At Age 16 we want our children to be able to confront adults or peers when they have a differing of opinion. This is now an opportunity to build those skills !!
Good luck.. hope this helped .... Debbie


Beata S. ( teacher ) writes:
Thank you very much for such good idea; your website is very interesting (2/00)
Thank you Beata for lovely feedback. If there is anything you would like to see included on this site, please let me know and I will try to add some information on the topic.
Thanks again..... Debbie


Simon wrote: 
Do you have any information on ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) on
you link??(...) We have a child in our preschool (4) who fits the behavior
pattern and we are at our wits end of how to deal with his defiance, anger,
etc. Thanks so much. (3/00)
I am not an expert on ODD but will do some research for you.  I do know that true ODD will ALWAYS do completely opposite to the directions; they can not help it.
Be cautious about putting the label on the child -- if he is dealing with anger, then the label MAY direct your attention to other issues than what is really going on. If he is angry, or frustrated, and/or wanting some attention or control, then your role is to help him figure that out and to put in
some new behaviours rather than those he has chosen. Help him gain control not only over his feelings, but his life. And give him lots of love and affection and acknowledgement. 
Hope that helps for now.. and I will do some research for you.  Debbie

Why is he behaving this way?? Why is he so angry?  Why is he so disconnected from others?  What is missing in HIS life?  We can be great parents/educators with one child and not with another -- not because we do things differently, but because we do things the same.  If we don't interact with a child the way HE needs it, fill HIS needs, give him the tools HE needs, then we are letting him down, and he will react .. he will meet his needs in some manner. 

After some research: 
Again, I am no expert on this subject but with the research that I have done, the flags went up: the child is hurting, angry, feeling unloved in some way.... give him the tools to regain control over his life. 
Provide him with positive opportunities which increase his self-esteem.
Set limits where appropriate, giving him boundaries he understands (and needs) but at same time providing him with as many opportunities to make his own choices as you can, and teach him how to express frustration and anger in an appropriate, productive manner.
Best of luck, and I hope the above sites help.

"I Don't Like You"

Diana wrote: 
Hi! I have a 4 year old son that expresses his dislike for kids that he (for some reason doesn't like) It makes me feel terrible because I can see the hurt on the childrens' faces. He just walks up to them and says "I don't like you!". He does this with adults as well (a relative he doesn't see often, a stranger at a coffee shop etc.). How do I make him stop. 
A couple things:
1. I want to caution against the words "MAKE him stop". Although  I don't know the situations in which your son expresses his dislikes, I would guess that it has something to do with a control issue.  "MAKING" him stop something will probably make things worse. What we can do (or should do, in my opinion) is give him tools to understand what he is feeling and to deal with it in an appropriate manner. 
2. Why is he saying it? Is he angry at the other person? Did they try to make him do something he didn't want to do (ex. give away a toy he was playing with)? Do they remind him of something that scared him once? Is he tired, or hungry, at the time? Is he feeling frustrated about what he is able to do and unable to do, due to developmental growth, and is taking it out on someone else?  Try asking him -- "Are you angry at that person?" "What did they do?"  "What is it about that person that you don't like?" Help him identify what is really going on. 
Next help him express his feelings or desires in an appropriate way.  If it is a general statement, then he can express that to you in private. If he is angry at them because they told him to stop doing something, then he can confront that issue without attacking the person's character. Help him practice HOW you would like him to express his feelings and solve a conflict. 
3. If he is feeling out-of-control in his life, then make sure he has opportunities to make choices for himself -- to have some control. 
4. And as always, give lots of praise, love and affection, and acknowledgement of good interactions with others, and just for being him.

Does your child attend a children's program? If there is an Early Childhood Educator involved, they would have a better perception of what is happening, since they see 'the whole child' and not just a snippet of information, as you can provide in an e-mail. 

I hope this helps. Also, if this behaviour continues to be an issue for you, please follow it up with a professional in your community.

Had another thought..... sometimes it is easier or 'safer' to push people away before they can decide not to play with you or like you... kind of a self-preservation thing.  Did something happen where someone didn't want to play with him?? someone hurt his feelings?  Perhaps he is avoiding pain.  If so, try helping him make new friends; help him with starting a friendship, playing with someone else.  

Follow-up: He is now 'whispering' his concerns to his mother -- and expressing why he dislikes them.  Great job, Mom! 

CHORES Debbie wrote:
Help! How do I get my kids ages 11 and 16 to help out around the house. I work full time and come home to them laying around saying get me this and do this for me. They throw fits if I make them do anything. I know that this is at least partly my faught for letting things go this far but now that I am ready to do something about it I don't know where to start. I'm too tired to do everything all the time. I am a single mom with no backup and my 16 year old is 6 foot tall and 195 pounds. As I am writing, my son is telling me how I can't do anything out of the goodness of my heart because he needs a ride tomorrow and I asked him what he was going to do to earn the ride. Help! Help! Help!
Sounds like life has dragged you into a pattern of living that you want to change. That's a great place to start!
I don't know your kids, or your relationship with them, but the first place to start is communicating. 
Here are some things to think about. How can you adapt them to fit into your family situation!!!??? 

1. talk to the kids (really talk) and let them know how you are feeling and what you are needing (keep it to "I" statements.) Also, talk about the family, and family responsibilities: what needs to be done and how are WE going to do it? .. so discussion revolves around "Me" and "We"
2. ask them what THEY need as well. Make sure that everyone's needs are being included -- and not put down. (Watch for the personal attacks.)
3. set clear expectations together and plans on how to get it done, and when. For example: before you go to bed, this needs to be done. (instead of before I get home or whatever) Give them as much freedom as possible as to the "when's and "how's"
4. Give-and-takes are nice but do we really want to set up a relationship of "what's in it for me?" He shouldn't 'expect' you to drive him and you shouldn't expect something in return. But you should (you and him) should respect the other's rights and needs etc. So working together you can come up with alternative plans, or compromises or time schedules to meet everyone's needs. 
5. Your kids are now young adults -- with their own thoughts, feelings, and sense of independence and responsibility. We need to treat teenagers/pre-teens (all kids/people actually) with the same respect that we desire. Team work is wonderful at work and in the home. "I feel that things aren't the best they can be. How do you feel? What do you think we can do about this? How can we work together to make this better?" 
6. Acknowledgements/ praise. Recognize the good stuff! When we are overwhelmed or ready for a change we sometimes get focused on the negative and lose sight of all the good things that are happening. What do you, and the kids, do that you like? Have you stood back and said "Yes. This is good. Thanks." Have you taken the time for a hug, a special night together/ treat? Have you let them and yourself know that you are proud? 

You are a single parent -- raising two young adults, working, running a household -- you are awesome. Take a moment to sit back and say "YAH I AM GOOD!
Hope this helps, 
please write again and let me know what your thoughts are on this stage of the change and we can attack the next level together too.
Best of Luck

Coordination  Dawna wrote: 
I have a 9 year old boy, who suffers from allergys. He is also clumsy, and his coordination is not good. He can not keep up with kids his age, we have him signed up to play bambino baseball, he
 played 2 years of pee wee ball and improved last year, however still has problems with running, hand-eye coordination. I want him to succeed and be liked by his peers. Is there anything I can do? He did have occupational therapy in school for 3 years, however I don't think it did much good. Between his allergies and his lack of coordination everything is a challenge. Any suggestions would be appreciated. 
Hi Dawna.
Sorry it took so long to get back to you. 

First of all, your son is so lucky to have such a supportive parent!!! :)
I'm trying to figure out what your goal is. Is it to be more accepted by his peers? 
It's a tough age .. especially with our society's opinion of the importance of sports! I don't know your child or the situation but my guess would be that you have two strategies to work on.
1) the coordination. Help him build the basic skills and abilities to be able to participate and be one of the team. Practice, without pressure (which is a hard line not to cross); practice the skills of hitting, catching, kicking, throwing, rolling, running etc. Also remember that things like making a bed and balancing a bicycle are building coordination and motor skills.
2) support and enhance the other skills which are important in making friends; honesty, supportive, good listener, leadership, etc. What are his other skills? Help him see that these are special and are who he is. We don't all have to be athletes! Help him accept who he is with his "limitations" while doing his best to remove or work around the limits. (I hope that made sense). Also, along this same line, a ball team needs a coach, a manager, a promotional representative, etc. Again, not everyone needs to be the athlete to be a valuable part of the team. 

re: the allergies
again, how do you teach your child to live with this, accept it, while at the same time doing what you can to eliminate or lessen the problem? Are there situations he should avoid? Is there preventative medicines etc? 

I've had a long week and am pretty tired. I'm not sure if this is what you were looking for, or is helpful. If you would like more information please.. PLEASE.. write again and I will put some more thought into this. 
Also.. remember that this is just things to think about. Professional supports -- who know your child, or can work with him-- should be approached if you feel there is an issue here to be dealt with.

Take care,
best of luck
...waiting to hear how things are going, 
Clean Up Kim wrote: 
 A group of children in a daycare facility make a huge mess of the bathroom. Is it "excessive" discipline to make the children clean up their mess? Why or why not?
At 'age 16' do we want our children to take responsibility for things they have done and fix it? (even without someone over their shoulder?) Yes.. I do believe so. 
Now is the time we are building that skill -- that sense of responsibility-- and so yes it is appropriate to have children clean up the messes they make.
But at the same time that I say that I personally believe that HOW we do it can make all the difference in their development.  If we are the dictator standing guard at the door until everything is
done I think the lesson becomes one of resentment and fear while if we get in there and help them with the problem and make them feel good about cleaning it up/taking responsibility, they will feel better  about themselves and will take the 'responsibility' part of life much  easier.
Best of luck :)
Screamers My 13 month old son all of a sudden has aquired a terrible temper. If he doesn't get his way he screams at the top of his lungs and will not stop until he gets it. The other night for instance I
> was taking him out of the sink after his bath and on the kitchen counter he noticed the "Cookies", and was grabbing for them, I told him that after we got our pajamas on he could have a cookie, as we began to walk away from them he begins to scream bloody murder and continued to scream until 10 minutes later when I gave him the cookie. What can I do to help him understand that this is not acceptable behavior, it is kind of embarassing when he does this to me in public, the way he screams people think I'm hurting him.  Please help 
> copyright: yes
A few things are involved in this scenario
1) child development/ stages: he is learning !!
2) communication: he is using what he can to communicate
3) impulse control: he is learning about waiting
4) trust / respect: he is learning about you and your word
5) discipline: he is gaining self-control

Your son is learning about himself and the power he has over things around him as well as over himself. He is learning about independence and about cause and effect. 
His 'temper' is just his way of expressing himself. At 13 months they are understanding things but are still unable to express themselves with language. Also remember that as a baby a cry meant he would get picked up, hugged, fed, diaper changed etc. And so he is trying to use that same method.

You are building future patterns of relationship with your son, as well as helping him learn how to deal with frustration, anger, negotiations, and compromises.
When you listen to him scream for 10 minutes and then give him what he wants, he is being taught that in life, if you scream for 10 min. you get what you are after. So, if this pattern continues you are going to have a screamer on your hands -- not that he is being bad, but because he is doing exactly what you have taught him to do to get what he is after. 
Also remember that is understanding of language is not the greatest yet but he is learning. And through repetition he 'gets the drift'. If you want him to get his pajamas on before the snack, then you state that and stick to it. By 'sticking to it' he begins to learn to trust your word, and trust the world. He learns what "first / then" means. He learns about 'delayed gratification', and it is easier to wait next time because he can trust that it WILL happen. 
At this age, (and any age for that matter) offer choices when it is an option so that when there is no choice, it is easier for them to deal with. 
I hope this helps
Best of Luck
Debate  Dan: email:
 1) You must learn self discipline. 2)Every one is born with self discipline and must be motivated to display or exercsize it.Which is correct? Thank You!
> copyright: YES

I see a philosophical debate coming on this one!!! :)
I think (again my personal opinion) that we are born with self-discipline in that we have drives, needs, and basic goals in life which we discover and try to meet as we go through life. A natural "self-discipline". "TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE".

But at the same time each culture provides its own rules, social boundaries and expectations, etc. which we must learn. And the desire to follow and "conform" to these goals come from being motivated. Why do we want to get a good education? Because our society says it is very important; because without it the chances of making good money is limited etc. 

The two "self-disciplines" are different. One is an internal drive, meeting our own 'reasons for being here' while the other is a social issue. 
Our jobs as parents is to help children balance the two. How can you be the best you can be, achieve what you want to achieve while at the same time fitting into society as much as possible?

Hope that makes sense. 

Please Note: 
This site is not a substitute for personal medical attention, diagnosis or hands-on treatment. 
If you are concerned about a child, please consult your family's health care provider or educator. 
Every child, every family, every environment is different, and a book or internet site does not have the insight
into the reader's personal situation to adapt to the individual strengths and needs.
~ Today's Child / Debbie Roswell
copyright, 1999