How to handle conflicts

How to handle conflicts

Have as few rules as possible.

Like all people who do not have a secure sense of self, she is very touchy. Dont be bossy, dont put her into situations in which she will lose face by complying.

Dont look for a fight. This means you shouldnt give too many orders that can be disobeyed. For example, you are going out and you tell her to get ready. She refuses, or she decides she doesnt want to wear the shoes you have chosen, or she doesnt like the dress you have put out. Try to circumvent potential flashpoints like this by simply dressing her without reference to what you are doing, chatting all the while about something else. It will not always work – when a toddler decides to exert her will, she will find almost anything as an excuse – but you can usually handle it better if you expect it and understand that it is a phase of development.

Before you say no, stop to think if you really mean it. Is it really worth taking a stand on the issue? If not, dont say no. But if you mean it, stick to it and carry it through no matter what diversions crop up.

If saying no does not stop the activity, take her away from it physically, instantly. Do it every time. No matter what. If she kicks, restrain her and do not be side-tracked by the fact that you are in a public place or the telephone is ringing or you happen to be drying your hair.

The sooner she gets the message that you will not tolerate these tactics the sooner she will give them up.

Dont always expect a young child to comply with your wishes simply because what she is doing is inconvenient or distracting to you. Any child under the age of two is inconvenient and distracting. Her attention span is short, her need for gratification urgent; if she wants to show you something, it is easier to stop what you are doing and attend to her than have her nagging on until you get around to it. It will not be too long (by the third year) before she can conceptualise what later means and can be expected to wait a little for her needs to be attended to. It is a characteristic of all children to develop an urgent need to hang around their mother as soon as she has guests or becomes preoccupied with something. They simply dont want to share you with anything or anybody. But you will not help matters by shooing her away. You can expect her to be reasonably quiet and not to distract you deliberately without cause; but it is very hard for her to do in the beginning because she desperately needs you to acknowledge her. Unless you lock her away she is going to find some way of getting your attention. And it is usually by doing something naughty so that you are sure to react. Being yelled at or smacked is better than being ignored, in her eyes. So rather include her naturally – let her sit on your lap – give her a reassuring squeeze and a word of interest even if you have company or are busy. She will grow out of the intense need much sooner than if you force her out now. The lives of many adults are complicated by their need to be the centre of attention and the fact that they become unhappy if their partner does not focus all his or her attention on them all the time.

Because the need was not satisfied at an early age and sound self-esteem developed, their emotional insecurity drives them to demand reassurance all the time.

How to handle conflicts

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