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Going through divorce and have three children. Youngest is 4 and goes to
maternal grandma during the week. I would like my mother two watch him two days
a week. Will this hurt or help the child? Both grandparents are qualified.
At this difficult time, your child needs familiarity and support. The best thing
you can do is to utilize the help of family and friends. So, your decision to
have your son stay with your mother 2 days per week is a great one. Most
important, have a talk with both grandmothers to make sure that they are
available to listen to your son if he brings up the divorce, but that it's not
appropriate for either to interject any opinions about the situation. That could
be confusing for your son. We have added a new article
about divorce on our website which may give you some pointers about helping your
children through this tough time. If you feel confident that both grandparents
will be good caretakers, this is a good choice for you!
We have recently started using a behavior chart
with my 4 year old son. After the first week, he got about 75% of the chart
filled with sticker. My question is at what point does he get a reward? 75%?
80%? 90%?...I really want him to work towards his goals but I don't want to
reward him if he hasn't earned it. And, and I don't want to hold back for fear
that. eventually , he'll grow bored, doubtful, uninterested? -Rachel, NY
First, we encourage you to read the article on our site entitled
Using Behavior Charts
for some helpful tips. With a child this
young, you could actually give him a reward every time he puts a sticker on his
chart. Kids this young need immediate rewards. Otherwise, they may lose interest
in the chart and not quite understand why they are getting a reward after
several days. With older kids, you can wait until the end of the week, etc.
Rewards can be little...pencils, stickers, treats from the dollar store, little
candies. Kids often enjoy picking rewards out of a "treat bag". Take a look at
our list or rewards here.
If given a daily reward, your son will continue to feel motivated and excited by
the chart. And, if you see that he's definitely improved on his behavior, you
can always substitute a new behavior in the chart. With a four-year-old, you're
going to be most successful working on only one or two behaviors at a time.
Otherwise, the task becomes overwhelming for the child. Best of luck!
My 5 year old son is hitting, shoving and
kicking at school. He also does this at home too. The doctor said he has an
impulse control issue. He runs from us and thinks it 's funny for us to have to
chase him. What can we do? We are at our ropes end. -Mary, MO
A couple articles on our website may be helpful:
Consequences For Young Children And Toddlers
and Using Effective
Time-Outs. You might find some helpful hints after reading these.
It sounds like your son has some challenging behaviors. Time-outs and behavior
charts can be effective with a five-year-old. Time-outs are great tools for
aggressive behavior because they basically give a child time to cool down when
he is acting out of control. And shoving, kicking, and hitting are out of
control behaviors. Ideally, the school and home can be consistent in dealing
with your son. It would be great if his teacher could set up some type of
time-out system for him. She may do this already. When acting aggressively, he
needs to be removed from the situation and given a chance to calm down before
rejoining the group. Time-outs are very helpful for kids with impulse control
issues as sometimes group situations provide way too much stimulation, and the
child needs some time away. You may want to set up a meeting with your son's
school if you haven't already and talk about a time-out option there.
In addition, you can set up a time-out system at home. When your son
demonstrates some of his aggressive behavior at home, give him one chance to
change. Let him know that he can choose to stop his behavior or take a time-out.
If he doesn't stop, have him take a time-out. When he calms down, he can join
the family again.
In addition to the time-outs, you can try a behavior chart. It would also be a
good idea to follow through with a chart at school. You can set the chart up
with "No Kicking, Shoving, Hitting," and if your son goes through a whole day
without the aggressive behavior, he can earn a sticker on his chart. Due to his
age and the severity of his behavior, you may want to give him a reward daily
when he earns a sticker. This reward could be a pencil, matchbox car, dollar
store item, etc. See our list of
rewards. You can either set up 2 different charts, one at home
and one at school, or have his school behavior go toward a sticker on his home
chart. You would need to check in with his teacher daily on this. You may want
to discuss the options with his teacher to see what works best for both of you.
And, you mentioned that you are chasing him. Kids will continue negative
behavior if they feel they are getting some type of reward from the behavior.
So, any attention from you can be a reward. Even negative attention is
attention, and your son will continue running away if you chase him. You can
also target this behavior with a behavior chart. You may want to focus on one
type of behavior at a time, though, so you don't overwhelm your son or set him
up for failure. Most important, don't get into power struggles with your son. If
you do, then he is winning the battle. This may give him a sense of satisfaction
and he'll continue negative behaviors. And, remember to catch him being good.
It's easy to continuously point out negative behaviors, but parents often forget
to speak up when their kids are behaving desirably. Any time you see him
behave, let him know that he's doing a great job. In this way, he will
begin to seek out the reward of positive attention from you. Sometimes,
positive feedback is enough to change a child's behavior.
Finally, you may want to evaluate if there have been any significant changes in
your son's life. Has there been a new sibling, divorce, move, death in the
family? Often times, kids his age will begin to act out as a response to a
stressor in life. Five-year-olds don't have the verbal skills to talk about
their feelings so they may act out their feelings instead. If you feel
that your son is reacting to some stressors, you may want to seek the help of a
professional family and child counselor who can help him express his feelings in
more positive ways. You may also want the parenting support that a family
counselor can provide. If things don't improve, you may want to visit this
Best of luck using some new strategies with your son!
My 5 yr old daughter gets very upset everyday that she has to go to school.
She starts by crying and saying that she does not want to go, or that she does
not feel good. (Even though she has felt perfectly fine before and always feels
good when she gets home.) Then when we arrive at school, she starts throwing a
fit, screaming, and puking. It is hard to leave her there, but I don't know what
to do. I would love for this not to occur so frequently, but I do not know what
to do. Any suggestions!!!??? -Morgan, Ohio
Understanding your daughter's issue depends on some factors. First, has your
daughter always been upset about going to school? If your daughter has always
disliked going to school, it may be hard to pinpoint the reason/s this late in the year. You may want to look back at your family situation and see if
there have been any life stressors that occurred before the school year started.
For instance, was there a divorce, new sibling, death in the family, or
traumatic incident? If the answer is yes, your daughter may be acting out her
internal stress by rebelling against school. She may feel the need to be closer
to family or be suffering from separation anxiety. If you believe that this is
the case, you should seek the help of a qualified family counselor who can work
in an appropriate manner with your daughter and your family. As your daughter is
so young, a family counselor will have various methods of helping her express feelings both verbally and nonverbally. You may be able to check in
with a counselor at her school or at least get a recommendation.
If your daughter has only recently started to get upset about school, then you
may want to have a meeting with her teacher to make sure that there are no new
stressors at school. For example, has there been a change of teacher or is she
having any peer issues? Could there be a personality conflict with the teacher?
You may want to observe your daughter in the classroom to see for yourself how
things are going. As your daughter is so young, you can check in with her about
her school day through drawing or imaginary games as kids this age sometimes
have a tough time verbalizing their feelings. Have her draw a picture of her day
at school or act it out herself or with dolls. See if you can pick up any clues
about why she dreads going to school. If your daughter seems perfectly calm and
happy when she gets home, then she may be going through a bout of separation
anxiety possibly due to a non-school issue as mentioned above.
Behavior charts are good options with children this age. You can try setting up
an incentive program for her every morning. If she does a good job calmly
getting to school, then she can put a sticker on her chart and pick out an
incentive at the end of the school day. Be very specific when setting up the
chart. For example, list the expected behavior as: "Go to school without
complaining, crying, or making yourself sick". Kids this age need specific
expectations. You can have a treat bag set up for the end of the day with dollar
store items, stickers, markers, etc. If you would like us to make up a chart
specifically for your daughter,
drop us a line and we'll get that done!
And, if you just can't get a handle on this behavior, you should seek the help
of a qualified professional as mentioned earlier. This way, you and your
daughter can both receive some support, and you can receive some parenting tips
I've been divorced for 2 yrs and I think the
difference in structure from one home to the other effects my son because when
he comes home he's happy to be home but
very emotional. He's a great kid and very intelligent for a 6 yr old! He gets
upset and overwhelmed over simple things sometimes. I can't get him to tell me
what causes this behavior. How can I get him to open up to me so we can fix
what's upsetting him? -Ashley, TX
Divorce affects all kids differently. Some kids transition easier and some have
a more difficult time depending on their personality types. If your son is prone
to have difficulty with change and transition, a divorce and separate home
situation may be more challenging for him. First and foremost, remember that
it's in your son's best interest if you work together with your ex-husband.
Don't forget that though the marriage is over, you are still parenting partners.
Show your son that you and your ex are on the same page. Communicate
respectfully with each other and avoid speaking disrespectfully about your ex in
front of your son. If you maintain an open relationship with your ex, then you
can check in with him weekly to see how the visit went. Make sure that you know
how your son is coping when he is there. Is he emotional at his father's home?
Does he seem unhappy when he's there? Are there any changes at his father's home
that you need to know about? These are the types of questions that you should
discuss with your ex-husband. And remember that the addition of a new
girlfriend/boyfriend can be upsetting to kids as they experience a loss of hope
that their parents will get back together. Finding out what is going on at your
ex-husband's home may help you figure out why your son has been upset.
Next, consistency is very important for kids. If at all possible, try to set up
consistent rules between the homes. Again, this takes some communication with
your ex. If you have the same expectations at both homes, it will be less
confusing for your son. You might have your son do the same chores at both homes
and follow the same rules and consequences. You can set up a family meeting with
you, your ex, and your son. At this time, discuss your expectations. Have your
son participate in making up a chore chart, for example, to use at both homes,
and make sure that you are all on the same page about the rules and expectations
for both homes. Let your son know that you both love him and will keep trying to
make the transition as easy as possible. It may be very reassuring to your son
to see you and your ex-husband working together.
Also, keep your visitation schedule as consistent as possible. Avoid using your
son as a messenger. It's your job to communicate with your ex-husband as opposed
to using your son as a go-between. And, try not to jump to conclusions regarding
the visits your son is having with his father. If you feel that there is a
problem at your ex-husband's home, then discuss it with him as opposed to second
guessing your son's behavior.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for getting kids to open up about
problems. Some people are more communicative than others. If he is more open
with his father, you may suggest that his father try to communicate with him.
Or, if you have another relative such as a grandparent that he may be more open
with, then arrange for your son to spend some time with that person. Finally, if
you continue to be concerned about your son's emotional state, you may want to
schedule a visit with a child and family counselor. A professional counselor has
many different ways of working with kids who are not very communicative. And,
you and your ex-husband could get some tips about communicating with your son
and making his transition between homes as smooth as possible. With lots of
love, support, and consistency, your son will be able to adjust to his living
situation in a healthy way.