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Life According To Lenson

Life According To Lenson
Posted by Eileen Lenson on Oct 7, 2012 - 11:53:39 AM

Baby Afraid Of Grandparents

Q:  Recently, we were visiting my parents.  My 10 month old daughter screamed bloody murder every time one of her grandparents tried to hold her.  I was so embarrassed.  Am I doing something wrong as a parent that she behaves this way?


A:  You needn't worry.  Your daughter is reacting appropriately for her age by demonstrating separation anxiety.  It is a healthy instinctual reaction to being separated from you as she learns to crawl and explore.  You can expect this behavior to resolve itself by around three years of age.  Rest assured there will be plenty of time for your parents to hold and spoil her. 



Son May Have ADHA

Q:  My son is in third grade.  The teacher has told me his behavior is disruptive, and that he most likely has ADHA.  My neighbor's son was diagnosed as having ADHD several years ago and is on medication.  I think he looks listless.  I don't want my own son to look drugged, and don't know if I should try to change who he is.  What are my risks?


A:  Children with attention deficit behavior (ADHA) often exhibit fidgety, restless or aggressive behavior.  Their poor attention spans can lead to disruptive behavior, resulting in problems with peers and adults.  The long term result can be the development of a negative self-image, which can lead to academic and social problems. 


Medications needn't leave the individual looking drugged.  Rather, they can correct a biochemical imbalance and help your son to be able to focus on his tasks and prevent him from falling behind in the classroom.  I highly recommend that you share your concerns with your son's pediatrician, and consult with a psychiatrist who specializes in working with ADHA.



Husband Lacks Confidence As Father

Q:  I just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.  Surprisingly, my husband's reaction is that of disappointment.   He is afraid he won't know how to be a good father to his son.  His own father left when he was only 2 years old, and his father was abandoned by his  father when young.  Is my husband doomed to repeat history?


A:  It will help your husband to know that he has a lot more control over his relationship with his son than he did with his father.  Being able to verbalize his concerns is a good start.  I suggest your husband build his confidence by reading books on parenting, attending parenting classes, and observing how other fathers interact with their children.  Showing his love and support for his son by providing food, shelter, affection, attending school events, and spending time together will build the love and trust between father and son.  Being there to teach his son values and manners as well as respect for others will also help ensure that your husband will build an intensely positive relationship with his son and interrupt his family legacy of bad dads.



Competitive Parents

Q:  I am a stay-at-home mother of a four year old daughter.  We belong to a play group. I find some of the other mothers to be very competitive, bragging about their kid's achievements.  If I mention something in confidence that worries me about my daughter, they tell their kids, and it gets back to my daughter. Do I have to just button my lips when I'm with these women?


A:  Stay at home mothers can receive  a lot of support when interacting with other moms at a play group.  Unfortunately, some mothers use these opportunities to compare one child's achievement against another.  Oftentimes the source of this competition comes from the parent's insecurities.  My recommendation is to enjoy the positive aspects of these relationships.  Make sure you are not contributing to the competitiveness by speaking exclusively of your own child.  Make it a point to recognize and compliment the other children's achievements.  When competitiveness rears its ugly head, simply deflect the issue by changing the topic.



Temper Tantrums

Q:  Yesterday it happened again.  I was grocery shopping with my toddler.  She grabbed a bag of cookies and put them in the shopping cart.  When I told her that I was not going to buy cookies she went into a full blown temper tantrum.  Other customers were staring at us.  I was so embarrassed.  I ended up yelling at her, but she only got louder.  Should I have allowed her to have the cookies, punished her, or given her a time-out?


A:  Two year olds and temper tantrums are a common phenomenon.  If you approach the tantrums in a calm and clear manner, your child will in time learn appropriate behavior.  The key concept to remember is that toddlers want to be in control, and the parent's job is to assure them that they know how to control the situation.  I suggest that when a tantrum is underway, attempt to talk about the situation in a way that your child can understand. Let your toddler know that you understand her position, but firmly explain why you cannot accommodate her wishes.  If she continues with her tantrum, despite your best efforts, remain calm and continue with your shopping.  Most likely the other customers in the grocery store are not judging you. They are remembering their days shopping with a challenging toddler.


Never give in to your daughter's demands, as you will be rewarding negative behaviors.   Continue to take her on your shopping trips.  Consistency in your response, rather than punishment, is the best way to address and resolve  your daughter's temper tantrums.



Do you have a question about something in your life you would like to learn, change or solve?  Submit your questions to Eileen Lenson, MSW, ACSW, Board Certified Coach at  Prior to establishing her private coaching practice, Eileen was a licensed clinical social worker for 20 years, author, and international speaker.  For further information, visit her website at


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