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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5820
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Can you recommend a good book on how to deal with an

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Can you recommend a good book on how to deal with an extremely difficult 3 year old? My granddaughter has some serious behavioral issues that her parents are trying to deal with but don't seem to be resolving. She won't wear any clothes besides a thin nightgown all day long. Never any shoes or socks (even in winter) Fights vehemently when she has to get dressed to go out, crying hysterically even in the car on her way to nursery school where she is frequently in time-out for aggressive behavior toward her fellow classmates. She shows no affection to anyone. Says things like "Don't look at me" or "Don't talk to me" and every other word out of her mouth is "NO!!!" She hates her 1&1/2 year old baby brother to a point where I caught her stepping on his stomach while he was lying on the floor. She won't let anyone touch her, hug her or sit near her while she is engaged in an activity or watching TV. Yet, she demands attention all the time and needs to be engaged in some form of an activity, such as arts and crafts, 24/7. She refuses to eat and has to be threatened to eat whatever little her mother can get into her. She has been like this since she was able to walk and talk and is getting progressively worse. Her mother just had another baby yesterday. Her father is in the military and will be away for the next six months. I will be living with my daughter until her husband returns and I'm scared to death because I know my granddaughter is going to be a horror. My daughter has not sought any form of professional counseling thus far but has turned to her church minister and fellow parents for guidance. Yet, nothing they have advised her to try seems to have any positive affect on the child's behavior. If there is anything you can recommend I can read to guide me through these next 6 months, I would appreciate your advice. Thank you for your time.

Hi, I'd like to help your with problem.

A small percentage of children, approximately 2 to 3 percent of the population, are described as challenging children. These children are difficult to redirect, seem extremely stubborn, and are challenging enough to make parents wonder what they are doing wrong.

The good news is that these children often grow into dynamic and leadership oriented adults. However, between the ages of 2 and 10 the traits that will make them leaders and problem solvers are limited by the maturity of their brains. In these children, the frontal lobe (prefrontal cortex) is not mature. This part of the brain controls impulsivity and in these children it is not mature enough to handle their raw emotions and desires.

These children require special types of parenting. The first resources you should try are written specifically for these children. They include strong and very consistent behavioral techniques that when followed help control and mature behaviors.

Some resources that are excellent are The New Strong-Willed Child by James C. Dobson which is inexpensive on or your local library may be able to get it for you. Also, Raising Your Spirited Child Rev Ed: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka is good. And finally, The Challenging Child: Understanding, Raising, and Enjoying the Five "Difficult" Types of Children by Stanley I. Greenspan and Jacqueline Salmon.

These resources should prove to be extremely helpful. If they do not (though I feel they will) a child behavioral specialist should be helpful in treating this issue and giving the child's parents the professional support and guidance to resolve the issue. Often, the child's pediatrician is helpful in providing a referral.

I hope this has helped you,


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