How do you handle the Terrible Twees? (2-3 years)

Parental influence on children in the first 12 years of their lives have a permanent effect. Unfortunately, children come with no user manual. Each child is different from the other. Discuss how to handle emotional and educational needs of your child here.

How do you handle the Terrible Twees? (2-3 years)

Postby BloomSchoolSG » Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:41 pm

So, that day, single-handedly and ambitiously, I decided it was an opportune time to bring the children to Underwater World.
I did the usual routine to prepare for that day; on the way there, I prep-talked them about misbehaviour, and we discussed/negotiated the itinerary for the day.
We reached Vivocity, and then I proceeded to walk us to MacDonald's. When we reached MacDonald's, Raoul needed the toilet. On the way back from the toilet, Raylan started throwing tantrums (read: cry at the top of his lungs). I couldn't understand him through his whining, and despite my asking nicely to speak properly, he continued his tantrums; throughout the walk to McDonald's; throughout my breakfast purchase; throughout the meal.
As I was trying, again, to speak with Raylan, a MacDonald staff came with some balloons, which I refused. Raylan continued his tantrums, so I went back to my meal and tried to feed the other two. This time, a MacDonald's manager came to me and handed me three freebies. I thanked her profusely.
And then, a random stranger came to me and asked me for permission to give the kids some sweets. I told her it was really okay, but she insisted and promptly put three sweets on my table, with crying in the background. I also thanked her profusely.
One third way into the meal, Raoul said he needed to pass motion. I gave a huge sigh because by now my temper was building up. While I was packing the food, the random stranger who gave me the sweets earlier came back. This time she pushed a small paperbag of Mr Bean to me.
"This is the cheese pancake. Difficult, you look after three by yourself."
At this point, I was overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions;

Anger: Did she approach me out of pity or sympathy? Was being maid-less with three children such a rare sight now, in hectic Singapore?

Pathetic: As a preschool educator, I pride myself in knowing different ways to cope with misbehaviour. Totally works for school kids, BUT not for my own kids, at least not all the time.
Being an overthinker means I hear others' questions in my head:
"WTH is she letting the poor child cry?" *judgemental stare*
"Damn, it's freaking noisy. When is she gonna shut that child up?!" *covers ears*
"Such a lousy mother. Can't even handle her own children, then wanna have so many some more..." *tsk tsk tsk*

Cue lousy feeling.

Relief: When those extra breaths transitioned into normal breathing again, it took that one last sigh of breath to feel better again.

I thanked her again, and continued my day.

It wasn't easy that particular day as the kids were really just... too energetic and too curious. The boys got the most reprimanding from me, since they understood me but chose to misbehave.

It is easy to throw judgemental stares at others whenever we see something we don't condone. But we don't know what's going through the parent(s)' mind about that situation, and we clearly don't know his/her child better than the parent(s) do. We also forget that it is always easy to give in now, to the point that we delay children's ability to delay gratification, a pre-requisite for future success.

Gratitude: This was the last emotion to appear, but I'm glad it did. Random Stranger's entrance was a swell distraction that helped me catch a few more breaths instead of acting on my anger.

If the world had a few more Random Strangers, and citizens such as those who helped her ( ... -explosion), the world will be a more pleasant place to live in; without the judgements and criticisms, but instead kindness and encouragement. That, is the true essence of "It takes a village to raise a child".

What are your strategies to deal with your two to three year old child(ren)'s public temper tantrums? Please share!

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Re: How do you handle the Terrible Twees? (2-3 years)

Postby BloomSchoolSG » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:04 am

Understanding the reasons for problem behaviour

Imagine this:
Helen and Raymond are sitting in the pediatrician's waiting room with their 18-month-old son, Bill. The little boy is dressed in his Sunday best with shiny black shoes and a tiny bow tie. He is sitting on his Dad's knee looking like a fashion model for baby clothes. Bill sits silently for a while, then looks around the room, and at his parents who are preoccupied in their discussion of the questions they want to ask Bill's doctor.
After a few more minutes of sitting, Bill points to a large aquarium with huge tropical fish swimming around. He said, "Yook!" (his word for 'look')
He gestures insistently and looks at his mother, repeating, "Yook, wha' dis?" (What's this?). Helena straightens Bill's tie and replies "Yes, they're fish. Shhh, be still now. You'll get your clothes all messed up."
Bill stares at the aquarium a few seconds longer, then scrambles to get down off his Dad's lap. His Dad pulls him back in his lap and says firmly, "Those aren't for you to touch. You need to stay here and sit still. If you get down, you'll break something for sure." Bill begins to whine and rub his eyes with his fist, periodically struggling to get down from his Dad's lap. His mother pulls a bottle out of her diaper bag, and offers it to Bill. He throws the bottle on the floor and begins kicking and crying loudly.
As the nurse comes in to announce that the doctor is ready to see Bill, Helen and Raymond seem to be at their wits' end. With frustration in her voice, Helen says, "Why does he act like this? What are you supposed to do when they get like this? He's just impossible to deal with sometimes."

Sounds familiar? As parents, we definitely have been caught in these kind of situations at least once. And we are prone, sometimes rashly and flippantly, to label such actions (that are inconvenient, annoying or embarrassing to us at that moment) as misbehaviour, regardless of the reasons the child might have for behaving in such a manner.

Misbehaviour, problem behaviour and inappropriate behaviour are used interchangeably, and all three terms tend to be misinterpreted as meaning naughtiness and mischief. Many inappropriate behaviours, however, are not at all mischievous in intent. A child may not even realize that a specific behaviour will be viewed as 'naughty' by adults.

Sometimes we fail to see the world from our child's point of view, hence the inconsistent reaction to their misbehaviour, as our actions are evaluated according to the seriousness of their impact on things we care about, as well as our mood. For example, if Son spills juice on the grass during a picnic, Mum may hardly notice since nothing needs to be cleaned up. But, if Son spills juice on the kitchen floor, Mum may get annoyed and reprimand Son. If, however, the spill is grape juice on brand-new, beige dining room carpet, Mum may get furious and punish Son by spanking.

Exactly what characterizes problem behaviour? Here is a list of some underlying causes:
- Inappropriate expectations
- Misunderstanding expectations
- Immature self-control
- Gleeful abandon, group contagion
- Boredom
- Fatigue and discomfort
- Desire for recognition
- Discouragement
- Frustration
- Rebellion

In respectful, positive parenting, parents must have reasonable expectations for children at various ages, and recognize whether or not they can be expected to control their actions in particularly difficult or tempting situations. As with health care, prevention is better than cure! So adults should consider possible reasons for undesirable behaviour in order to prevent the behaviour from happening. If prevention is inevitable, it is more effective to change the situation instead of trying to stop a child’s misbehaviour.

We assume our five-year-old knows the difference between a living-room sofa and a trampoline, so our emphasis is on giving the child a clear understanding of pertinent facts, choices and consequences. If the five-year-old is jumping on the couch, we may say “The couch is not for jumping. If you want to jump, you may jump outside on the soft grass.” If the action continues, we should give the five-year-old our close, undivided attention and speak in an assertive and sincere tone, “I know jumping on the couch is fun, but it could break the couch, or you could fall on something hard or sharp in here. If you jump on the couch again, then you will not be allowed to play in the living room for the rest of the afternoon.” Most importantly, we need to follow through and ensure that what we say will happen, actually happens.

When we can anticipate our kids’ reactions to certain situations in our daily lives, we may find ourselves less prone to prematurely and negatively reacting to their misbehaviour. Our kids can then learn what is acceptable and what is not, in a more positive way.

Have you any experiences, or Eureka! moments to share?

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Be proactive

Postby BloomSchoolSG » Sun Aug 07, 2016 3:32 pm

Context: Her child came home from school one day and started saying "Oh my God". Although she has acknowledged that the conversation was probably amongst teachers, and her child could have picked it up from eavesdropping, she is asking for suggestions on how to tell the teacher not to say this expression, without being rude.

There are many, many issues we can bring up to our kids' teachers; "Why is my child not reading yet?" "Why does he have this mosquito bite?" "What are you going to do about that child?" "Why didn't you stop that child from biting my child?".... But do we need to?

I read an excellent answer to this question: Pick your battles. We will always find something to not like. At the end of the day, we will not be able to shield our kids from everything. We might think we are doing our kids a big favour now by keeping them in a bubble, but when that bubble bursts in future, WE will be the ones handling more problems than we imagine.
It is up to us to impart values and manners. If you do not like that expression being used, you can be the proactive one, and teach your child not to use that expression. Likewise for behaviours.

I hope parents understand that teachers have a lot on their plates; paperwork, prep work, meetings, teaching, communication with parents, trainings. Us teachers stay because we believe we are able to make that difference in your child's life. Please support this passion by
(1) recognising that teachers are not in control of ALL issues
(2) learning which issues you can take more proactive action
(3) trusting that the teacher knows what she is doing. And she probably does because we spend at least three years studying Early Childhood Education.

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