Guilt makes us take incorrect decisions

Children try all kinds of ways to get attention, and when they realise that their tantrums get them the most attention, they repeat the same tantrum over and over.

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My son is 13 months old. He has this disconcerting habit of banging his head against the wall or on the floor when he gets angry or frustrated, for instance if we try to take something away from him (say a dirty chappal he is playing with etc). I have tried many tactics to convince him that banging his head is just going to hurt him but it is of no use. Now he has even starting banging his head when he is in a happy mood. Please help.
— Seena Mani, Kaveri Nagar
This is called negative attention seeking! Children try all kinds of ways to get attention, and when they realise that their tantrums get them the most attention, they repeat the same tantrum over and over.

Try these three points:
1. Ignore or walk away when he starts banging his head.
2. Show your disappointment clearly on your face and voice.
3. Praise when he is good.
Such behaviour will pass if you do not focus or worry too much about it. All the best.

I am a stay-at-home mom to my three-year-old son. I voluntarily took a break in my career to look after him as I didn’t want to depend on household help or crèches and day-cares. But while I take good care of my son’s needs, I find my attention wandering very often while spending time with him. I try to be interested in all his games and activities but I can’t sustain the interest and find myself switching on the TV or chatting on the Internet whenever I get time. I also look forward to the time when he goes to sleep so I can watch a film without interruption or talk to friends. I feel very guilty about this. Is there something wrong with me?
—Arshi Gupta, BTM Layout
This is why good quality crèche and day cares were invented!

Today with education, opportunity, multi-tasking skills and technological help in household chores, we women can manage both careers and home and kids. So go back to working, maybe part time, because ultimately you are missing your job.

So stop being a ‘guilt parent’! Do what is best for you and your child. Guilt makes us take incorrect decisions; be happy and let your kid be happy. But ensure that you put your child in a good quality day care. 

My daughter is just hitting her teens. She used to be a very sporty and active child but I have noticed that she’s suddenly become very lethargic. She used to go out to play with the apartment kids in the evening but she refuses to do so anymore, preferring to read at home or watch TV. At school, too, she has cut down on games and PT. I am really concerned about this behaviour as I feel playing is important for fitness and she might start putting on weight if she doesn’t stay active. How do I get her to take an interest in sports again?
—Radhika Krishnan, Bangalore
She is approaching a stage when there are huge changes in the body taking place and also emotionally, so she is bound to become more shy, reserved and conscious and hence the reluctance about going out. Let her be.

About her putting on weight, monitor her food habits so that you can take care of this aspect. It is a growing phase and it will pass. But if you are too worried about it,  why not ask her about the change?

Discuss with her that you are surprised about the change in her preferences and ask if there’s any way you can help. This will make her feel looked after and she may confide in you if she has any issues with friends etc.

Swati Popat Vats is the president of the Podar Education Network and the author of several books on parenting

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