Discipline Dilemmas -- Solved!

Discipline Dilemmas, p.4

Q: My daughter (6 years old) basically refuses to eat anything we have at dinnertime. She simply pouts and stonewalls when we try to get her to eat healthily. I have tried all sorts of kid-friendly foods, so it's more of a defiance issue I think than a food preference issue. Do you have any advice?

Dr. Brodlie: Eating problems at that age are often power struggles. And you may be correct about it being a form of defiance. If that's the case, then I would suggest that you make sure that your daughter doesn't feel she can control you by her stubbornness. Make sure she stays at the table until she at least samples the food that you prepare. And when she has done so, you might reward her in some fashion with dessert or a special treat. In other words, you should be stubborn to make sure she does sample the food. Have some patience and that should work after a couple of weeks.

Q:When I put my child in her "time-out chair" should I let her quietly look at a book or play with a toy, or should she really be left with nothing to do but stare at the wall?

Dr. Brodlie: The purpose of the time-out chair is as a punishment, not as a different place to play or be entertained. So she should not be allowed to do anything but be bored. And furthermore, don't let her out of the time-out chair until you are well convinced that the period has been long enough for her to experience some discomfort. That's what the time-out chair is supposed to be all about. How long depends upon the child, but as a rule of thumb, you might say to have her stay one minute longer than they feel she can tolerate.

Q: I have two very outgoing boys, ages 3 and 5, who love to reveal personal things about our family to anyone who will listen. How do I teach them about tact and help them understand what things are and are not appropriate to share with others? I don't want them to feel like everything about our family is a secret, but some of their revelations have been rather embarrassing for my husband and me.

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