Are You Overwhelmed By Child Behavior Troubles

If you are having toddler child behavior issues, you might well recognize this parent's dilemma.

If the Q & A on this page doesn't help you, read through the rest of the parenting advice area. Different topics can often shed fresh light on your own tricky situations.

Read More >> Toddler Tantrums

Child Behavior Changes When We Have Guests

I have a 3 year old daughter. She is very shy when we have guest at our place or when she is in a new environment.

More Information

She has sleeping problems as well. She doesn't sleep on her own in her room, she gets up at any time in the night or sometimes too early in the morning and she expects me to take her down in the living room and stay with her. she also demands for milk at any time in the night. Sometimes I can get away without giving her milk or sometimes I can't. she is afraid of the dark and she is sensitive as well. I feel she has low confidence to express herself.

She easily gets frustrated and she is stubborn with us. She won't listen to us but she will listen to stranger, eg: her aunty or uncle etc.

She loves sweets but we have to hide them as she goes high on the sugar - more undesirable child behavior. she doesn't want to eat healthy stuff. I am tired most of the time, and fed up with her so then I give up on few things. she doesn't want to sit at one place and eat. She goes around in the whole room. She has never sat with us at the dining table to eat with us. We have to feed her first then we have our dinner.

I am a part-time working parent. Therefore we are tired when we come home. She also gets bored at weekends. Most of the time she is watching TV. We also take her to swimming or let her sleep for 3 to 4 hrs in the day time but then it ruins her night time sleep.

When she wakes up she doesn't want to brush her teeth, she doesn't want to go to nursery. We are putting her in private school from this year hoping she will get some change and she might improve on few bits.

She is a fussy eater. Therefore when we go out she only eats garlic bread or chips or sweet stuff. She never wants to try anything new. Please give me some solution.

Lets Take Them One At A Time

You describe quite a few child behavior problems in your email so I will tackle them in different categories:

Shyness I don't see this as a problem - don't worry about it. It is very normal for young children to be shy with new people around. Don't make an issue out of this - as she gets older her confidence will naturally increase. You are right when you say she cannot express herself very well - it's the hallmark of toddlerhood. You just have to support her as much as possible at the moment. When her language takes off, as it will soon, life will get easier because then you can negotiate better with her.

Sleep problems - these are very common at this age. Do you give in to her demands to be taken downstairs? If you do, I'm afraid you only encourage her to demand it again. This is difficult and when you are tired it's not always possible to be a perfect parent. There's no easy answer to this. In your situation, I would concentrate on one thing at a time -this week I will not give my daughter milk in the night.

Saying no almost certainly means a tantrum, but she she will accept it eventually.

Many kids are afraid of the dark - has she got a nightlight?

A good idea is to buy CDs or tapes with stories /lullabies on them she can listen to after you turn the light out (do vet the stories first!) . My son loves The Jungle Book and this helps him settle at night. You could use this tactic in the middle of the night.

Other Child Behavior Worries

Toddlers will often behave better for people other than their parents. this is because they are not so close to them. Bad behaviour towards you is all about attention seeking - completely illogical, but then that's toddlers for you!

Eating Problems

SWEETS/CANDY - don't have it in the house.

FUSSY EATING - get her involved in preparing food, putting chopped vegatables in a salad for example, make a picture on a plate with broccoli (trees), peas (grass), toast (a fence), yellow pepper (the sun- place slices criss-crossed over each other in a circle shape).

COMMUNAL EATING - try having an indoor picnic together, as described here

Boredom - You must do something to stop your daughter getting bored - at this age it's your responsibility - no getting away from it. Bored children = badly behaved children and even more child behavior issues. There is no excuse at the weekend. You must plan some activities with her.

When you come home from work there are things you can do even when you are tired that will prevent the child behavior issues you speak of - watch TV together and DISCUSS the programme, read a story, even play some toddler games.

What about you and your partner taking turns to play an active game with her - while one parent is entertaining your child, the other can rest.

I think being more involved will make a huge difference, far more than private school. She desperately wants your attention. I feel so certain of this. If you spend family time with her watching TV for hours, private school won't make any difference to her behaviour. In fact if the hours are longer than at nursery, a new school will probably make things worse.

I get a strong sense of you being exhausted and worried about your daughter - and she might see this as "Mummy doesn't like me". You absolutely have to break this pattern. Plan a fun outing one day, play some silly games with funny music. You will be amazed at the difference just having fun with your toddler makes to child behavior and self esteem!

The good news is that what you have described are very common child behavior problems with toddlers and life becomes easier after 3, because your daughter's language will improve and she will be able to express herself that much better...of course the more preventative and persuasive your parenting style is, the easier. 

Give yourself and your daughter time to change. Nothing happens overnight. Good luck - remember that you are the most important thing in her life, she is not being intentionally unpleasant.

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