We speak with experts Pamela See, educational and developmental psychologist from Th!nk Psychological Services and Mok Sook Fern, clinical psychologist from the Department of Paediatrics at National University Hospital to get the low-down on common child behaviour that almost all parents face.
- My son is four years old and he rules the house. He throws tantrums whenever he isn’t getting what he wants. How can I fix this issue?
Pamela says: Set a clear structure for his daily routines. Prepare a schedule and explain what is expected of him. Use positive reinforcement to reward him for good behaviours (i.e. following the schedule). Do not get into arguments with regard to the routine you have planned. If he has tantrums, try your best to stay calm and follow through. In terms of reinforcements, choose those that would motivate him. For example, if he enjoys praise, use that.
- My five-year-old becomes upset if other children play with his favourite toys. How can I encourage him to share?
Sook Fern says: Try shifting the focus to the appropriate behaviour and reinforce it. Show him an example of another child sharing his toys so he knows what sharing is.Then gently encourage him to share and give lots of praise when he does so. To avoid tantrums when your child feels ignored, try acknowledging his presence whilst also letting him know that you will attend to him later. When you attend to him later, praise him for his patience.
- I caught my child lying to me for the first time so I wasn’t too harsh. But, these days, I feel that she keeps lying about how she spent her recess money and the things that happened in school. How can I curb this issue?
Sook Fern says: First, find out from the school if she is really lying. If so, have a chat with her. Let her know that you are concerned about what is going on in school and that you would really like to play a part or be of help to her. Tell her that you are open to her sharing things with you. Always remember, try to stay calm, especially if she tells you something distressing, such as classmates taking her things or asking her to buy things for them.
- I can’t handle my daughter’s bad behaviour in front of others! She’s a well-behaved child at home but as soon as we go out, she’s uncontrollable. Why?
Pamela says: It is important to establish the reasons why your daughter may be displaying these behaviours. What are the usual triggers of her behaviour? Could it be for your attention? It is pertinent that thorough observation and investigation is carried out to understand her behaviours before any helpful strategies could be put in.
- Our son is not dealing too well with the fact that he has a baby brother who is five years younger than him. I do not want my sons to grow up not liking each other – help!
Sook Fern says: You might like to buy a small gift that your son will like and tell him that it is a present from his baby brother. Attach it with a funny message like, “I can’t wait to play with you when I’m bigger”. In the meantime, bring your son out alone when you can, such as when running a small errand. This lets him know he is still loved and important.
What are some other behaviour issues you face with your kids? Leave a comment down below.