QMy husband and I have a dilemma about TV. ¶ We let our very bright, intense 31 / 2-year-old watch an educational TV show in the morning before he goes to preschool and child care, and then we let him watch another show in the evening so he can get some downtime while I take care of the baby. ¶ Lately, however, our son has begun to engage in power struggles with us whenever it’s time to turn off the television, and I’m not talking about a little fussing and whining. First he pesters us, badgers us and begs us to let him watch TV a bit longer even though we always set the timer when the show begins and repeatedly tell him that we will turn off the television as soon as the show is over. ¶ Although we never give in, our son continues to beg us and then to argue with us, and when it gets bad enough, we put one of his favorite toys on the mantelpiece for the rest of the night: the price he has to pay when he acts like that. Once it escalates to that point, however, he starts yelling at us, and then he goes into full tantrum mode. ¶ How can we have a little time together in the morning and evening without all this angst and all these arguments?
AYoung children are an awful lot like young teenagers. They will be fairly obedient most of the time, but only if you give them some say-so, if you give them a lot of sympathy when you have to say no and if you look at the situation from their point of view.
Although your son knows that he is the center of your universe — because you and your husband are the center of his universe — he also knows that he is only half as high as you are. He knows that he knows much, much less than you do, and he doesn’t have the words to tell you how much it hurts when you raise your voice (or even your eyebrow) just because he has done something wrong. So how does he respond? He yells loud and long because he do esn’t know what else to do. Anger is a child’s favorite weapon, and parents are the targets he likes best.