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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2536
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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hi, ive got a niece who is now 27 months. she is extremely

Customer Question

hi, i've got a niece who is now 27 months. she is extremely active and not able to keep still. and she inflict pain on herself eg. banging her head on the wall, biting herself, pulling her own hair out
when she did something wrong and i scolded her, she will talk back and ask to be punish by another family member, she always wants to decides everything including which clothes she want to wear and what other people must do
she is not able to finish a dvd and keep changing the dvd every 5-10minutes
she is able to self-feed and do alot of things on her own at her age, should we be worry?

thank you in advance for your advices and suggestions

jamie goh
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

I'm sorry that you are feeling frustrated by your niece and are worried about her development.

Dr. L :

Wanting to take charge of her own life by picking out her own clothes and deciding things is really what a child of that age ought to be doing. Teaching a child how to make decisions is very, very important...and she seems to be doing a fine job at that.

Dr. L :

It is concerning, however, that she is harming herself and asking to be punished. This should not be happening. It is NOT okay for the adults in her life to beat her and confine her. This is very serious and clearly not appropriate. After all she is just a toddler and is learning about the world.

Dr. L :

That she is easily distracted by changing the dvd every 5-10 minutes is normal. So is having lots of energy and getting into all kinds of things. As I said...she is exploring the world and this is what toddlers need to do.

Dr. L :

Scolding and lecturing are not helpful. At 27 months some of what you are saying is beyond her comprehension level. Rather...talking to her calmly, giving her alternatives, and teaching her appropriate behavior is what should be happening. Praising her when she does things well, when she listens and follows directions are much better. Kids need to be praised, told they are loved, and be given lots of positive attention. When she does misbehave or makes a poor choice, then point out what would have been better. For example, "Honey, in our family we don't pull the cat's tail. We pet the kitty softly. Here let me show you." Then you guide her hand in petting the kitty.

Dr. L :

That she harms herself seems to be due to her having been beaten and treated harshly. She has learned that she deserves this and so now she asks for it. This is very unhealthy and needs to stop.

Dr. L :

I strongly encourage you to get the following book and to read through their website:

Dr. L :

Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay

Dr. L :

www.loveandlogic.com

Dr. L :

If you need help in stopping the beatings and scoldings, please see a family therapist to learn how to discipline in a more appropriate way.

Dr. L :

Young children can be very frustrating and it takes a whole lot of patience. Still, at 27 months this young child is developing as she should in terms of feeding, dressing, gaining in independence and so forth. The major issue here seems to be how she has learned that punishing and hurting are okay. This must be changed.

Dr. L :

I see that you are offline right now. When you come online, I will be notified.

Dr. L :

Thank you.

Customer:

hi, thank you for your reply. i understand most of the things you r trying to say, but just to let you know beforehand that we are asian parents, and we are concern is because i too have a son who is just 4 days older than her and not to really compare each other but we can see a totally different pattern, she started biting my son when they play with each other and when she was frustrated and angry thats her 1st reaction bite, we told her not to but she still does it, that's why we beat her to let her know that she is conflicting pain on others when she does it, so now when she bite other people and we say no then she will bite herself, and when we speak to her nicely and did happen use your suggestion as give her a choice, she will not take it and just throwing tantrums or worse hurting herself to get what she wants, i'm concern is that is it our body language telling her if she hurt herself she can get what she wants and getting away with her wrong doings? she is also very stubborn and do not want to lose in anything, and the weird part is whatever my son is holding in his hand/playing, she will snatch it and hide it/put it in places where he can take, eventhough she do not want to play with the toy

Customer:

is it better from now on we don't punish her with her wrong doings but maybe tell her she have to stay inside the room with me and can't have fun outside for a specific time? something like timeout or is there another way in disciplining her? our parenting way seems to work on my son but not on her, thats why we would like to know a 2nd opinion that may work on her and i'm concern on her mental health as whether she is a hyperactive child and whether we need to do more with her, i was thinking was she trying to get our attention by hurting herself? as out of the sudden she started pulling her own hair out with strands of hair in her hand and when we ask why she was doing that, she just laugh. we don't stay together yet but i visit them 2-3 times every week, i did ask my sister does she behaves like this when my son not around, she say she does

Customer:

normally when i'm around she behave better but this is due she is scare of me, which i think is not the way as i want her to know what she do wrong and won't repeat it, but she seems to know is wrong but still repeating it. normally when she did something wrong, i'll tell her if she did it again she will have to seat beside me and no playing anymore, but she will do it and when i put her beside me then she will start kicking n crying, but i do not beat her. the mother is the one that beat her but is not hard as there is no redness on her when beat but i read once that it might still inflict pain on her heart

Customer:

and her sleeping pattern is not usual, as i heard that toddlers suppose to sleep early as 9pm but her sleeping time is 2-3am and my sister told me sometimes 6am also not asleep yet, as my sister work for online foreign company her working hours is until 4am. her in between nap time is usually 30minutes only

Customer:

just to give you one recent example, we went out for dinner. inside the car my father is driving, there's my mother, my sister, my niece, my son and me. my niece is having running nose, so when i took the tissue paper to wipe her nose, she refuse and insist my sister do it for her. when i say no and i'll do it she show her temper again but shaking her head and crying. but i still manage to wipe her nose, and she purposely sneeze again so that the mother can wipe for her, i repeated a few times and she still do it until the mother was the one wiping her nose

Customer:

her father used to take care of her since birth until around 1 year old, but now he works outstation and only come back every fortnightly or once a week. he will stay 2-3 days and leave again. the father also punish her especially when she don't want to sleep. i think punishing her for not sleeping is not the way as i used that method previously with my son and it doesn't help and the situation became worst as my son will start crying when i say sleep time, so i changed it and let my son to decide when he wants to sleep and do some routine activities before sleeping time eg brushing teeth with me and lie down on the bed with me, we practise co-sleeping with our children. my sister say she tried and doesn't work as the minute my niece sleep and she get up from the bed, my niece will wake up

Expert:  Norman M. replied 1 year ago.
While I am aware that there are cultural differences in approaches to parenting, 'beating' a 27 month child sends out all the wrong signals. It is telling the child that violence is fine if you use it to get your own way, because when you beat her, that is exactly what you are doing. Using her logic, then it's fine if she uses violence on her smaller sibling.

Whether there is a mark left on the child's skin or not is neither here or there. If you want to see an improvement, this violence has to stop. It may not be what you want to here, but is the truth.

Punishment, by and large, does not work. Praise and positive encouragement do. That is the route to take.

I am VERY concerned about the child's self harming, and advise that she should be seen by a paediatric psychologist as soon as possible. It is not possible to come to accurate conclusions about her behaviour without seeing her in person, and interviewing those who take care of her.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
we are also every concern her self harming, it's happen at least once a day. the praise and positive encouragement way doesn't work most of the time, depending on her mood swing or is it we do it wrongly. when she did something incorrectly, we will 1st tell her is not right and let her know the correct way and say if you follow then you are a good girl and you can go outside to play but if you don't then you are not a good girl and you can't go outside and play, but i'm concern this way it seems like bribing her into doing something good
Expert:  Norman M. replied 1 year ago.
You're not really bribing her at all - you areteaching her that good behaviour brings rewards!
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2536
Experience: ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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