I have a three year old boy who is extremely active, bright, impulsive and often defiant. He is also very anxious and very aware and remembers things from very early on in his 'toddler hood'. He will not only dart out the front door and to the street- he will let go of my hand and run through a crowded shopping center parking lot. I have to run full force to catch him and he is laughing. I am terrified. We have chain locked the front door but cannot totally avoid leaving the house!! Punishment sometimes works but can also be seemingly ineffective. Time outs in his room are much more severe to him than on the step so we reserve those for 'serious offenses'. He has a 4 month old brother who he has done really well with, but is now starting to show some resentment towards. He told me and his dad last night and this morning that he wanted him to die. Our dog is very sick and probably not going to make it much longer (so I think he is curious about death hence the comment). In addition to help with the running in the street and overall behavior, transition of a new sibling, etc. could you also offer advice on how to talk to him about the death of a pet? Many thanks!!!!!!!
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You have so many things to deal with right now, I feel for you! There aren't any easy answers to most of your questions, but I can at least suggest a starting point for discussing the death of a pet. There is a beautiful book called The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, by Judith Viorst, which I've found helpful.
One of my favorite resources as a child psychologist and a mom of four is the book "Parenting the Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two- to Six-Year-Olds, Third Edition" by Rex Forehand, Ph.D. and Nicholas Long, Ph.D.
This book addresses all of the concerns that you've discussed about your child's behavior and gives you solid instructions on how to make improvements. It includes how to guides, homework, and daily monitoring tips for how to successfully attend to, reward, and ignore your child. It also teaches how to give instructions effectively and use time-out with success. In addition to these basics, it integrates tips on improving your communication skills, enhancing your child’s self esteem, and teaching your child social skills. And my favorite, the chapter on helping parents develop more patience!
If you’re thinking that your child has problems that go beyond rewarding, ignoring, and time out, don’t worry! At the end of the book there is a section devoted to specific problem behaviors, like tantrums, aggression, lying, and sibling rivalry. There are also specific instructions on managing problems with bedtime and sleeping, mealtimes, getting dressed, in the car, and at school.
If you want to improve your child’s behavior, then this book is a must read. It may not provide an overnight fix, but in five weeks you will surely see a dramatic improvement!
I'm attaching a link about the book and a link to an article on how to cope with a pet's death.