What Parents Say

If you are the parent of a preschool child, you likely face challenges. For example, how should you deal with the tantrums? How can you teach your child right from wrong and give balanced correction? Note how some parents have dealt with these issues.

TANTRUMS

“During the ‘terrible twos,’ a child expects to get what he wants. Our son had this problem. If his demands weren’t met, he would throw things. This was our first child, so we had no prior experience with tantrums. It didn’t help when others told us that this kind of behavior should be expected.”​—Susan, Kenya.

“At the age of two, our daughter would lie on the floor, scream, cry, kick . . . It was exasperating! Trying to talk to her at that moment didn’t work. So my husband and I would send her to her room and quietly tell her that when she felt better, she could come out and we would discuss the matter with her. Once she calmed down, one of us would go to her room and help her understand why her behavior was unacceptable. This method was successful. Once we even overheard her praying to God, asking for his forgiveness. In time, her tantrums became fewer and then stopped.”​—Yolanda, Spain.

“Toddlers experiment to see how far they can push limits. Allowing a child to do what you have clearly forbidden sends a confusing message. We found that when we were firm and consistent, our children gradually learned that screaming is not the way to get what they want.”​—Neil, Britain.

DISCIPLINE

“When a child is under five years of age, it’s difficult to measure how well he is listening. The key is repetition. You have to repeat and repeat, seemingly thousands of times, along with gestures and a firm tone.”​—Serge, France.

“Even though they were being raised in the same environment, each of our four children was unique. One would cry just knowing that she had disappointed us; another would try to see how far she could push the limits. In some instances a stern look or scolding would be enough, while at other times we’d have to enforce a consequence.”​—Nathan, Canada.

“It is important not to compromise. But at the same time, a parent shouldn’t be dogmatic or rigid. Sometimes, when the child is truly sorry, we feel that it’s best to be reasonable and lighten the discipline.”​—Matthieu, France.

 “I try not to impose too many rules, but the ones that exist are nonnegotiable. My three-year-old son knows the consequences of disobedience, and that helps him control his behavior. True, when I’m tired it would be easier for me to ignore his wrong actions. But for the sake of consistency, I force myself to act. Consistency is everything!”​—Natalie, Canada.

CONSISTENCY

“Little children seem to have a memory chip that records any inconsistency from a parent.”​—Milton, Bolivia.

“Sometimes my son would ask about the same matter in different ways in an attempt to see if we would give the same answer. Or if I say one thing and his mother says something else, he will see that as a loophole and try to take advantage of it.”​—Ángel, Spain.

“Sometimes I ignored my son’s bad behavior when I was in a good mood but punished him harshly when I was in a bad mood. I found that this would only aggravate the bad behavior.”​—Gyeong-ok, Korea.

“It is important for young children to understand that if a certain type of behavior is wrong today, it will always be wrong.”​—Antonio, Brazil.

“If parents aren’t consistent, the child will think that Dad and Mom are unpredictable, that their decisions depend on their mood. But if parents stick to their principles, children will know that what is wrong is always wrong. This is one way that parents provide security and love.”​—Gilmar, Brazil.

“Children can take advantage of situations in which a parent seems to have little choice but to give in to a request​—such as when other people are present. If my answer is no, I say so from the beginning, and I make it clear to my son that I will not listen to constant pleadings.”​—Chang-seok, Korea.

“Both parents need to present a united front. If my wife and I don’t agree on something, we talk about it in private. Children can detect when their parents are not united on an issue, and they will try to take advantage of the situation.”​—Jesús, Spain.

“When a child knows that his parents are united and that they cannot be manipulated, he has security. He knows what to expect, whether he is obedient or disobedient.”​—Damaris, Germany.

“To my wife and me, consistency also involves keeping our word when we promise our daughter something nice. This way she learns that she can rely on our promises.”​—Hendrick, Germany.

“If my employer constantly changed what was required of me on the job, I would be irritated. Children are no different. They find security in knowing the rules and knowing that the rules won’t change. They also need to know the consequences of disobedience and that these won’t change either.”​—Glenn, Canada.

[Blurb on page 8]

“Let your Yes mean Yes, and your No, No.”​—James 5:12

 [Box/​Pictures on page 9]

FAMILY PROFILE

Unplanned Pregnancy​—How We Adjusted

As told by Tom and Yoonhee Han

Tom: We had been married only six months when my wife, Yoonhee, found out that she was pregnant. Outwardly, I stayed calm, since I wanted to assure Yoonhee that she could depend on me for comfort and strength. But inwardly I panicked!

Yoonhee: I was devastated​—and scared! I cried and cried; I felt neither ready nor capable of being a mother.

Tom: And I didn’t feel ready to be a father! But after talking with other parents, we came to realize that unplanned pregnancy is more common than we had thought. Also, it helped us to hear what other parents had to say about the joys of being a dad or a mom. Gradually, my fear and uncertainty were replaced by anticipation.

Yoonhee: After Amanda was born, a new set of challenges arose. She cried relentlessly, and I was unable to sleep for weeks. I had no appetite, and extreme fatigue set in. At first, I didn’t want to be around people. But then I realized that isolating myself at home wouldn’t help. So I spent time with other new moms. That allowed me to ‘compare notes,’ and it helped me to realize that I wasn’t the only one with concerns.

Tom: I strove to maintain stability in our family routine. For example, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Yoonhee and I were determined to be regular in the ministry and at Christian meetings. Also, having a child brings expenses, some of which are unexpected. We made sure to live within our means so as not to get into debt, which would only result in more stress.

Yoonhee: At first I thought that engaging in the ministry might be impractical, since babies can be disruptive. But really, people enjoy being around babies. Realizing that helped me to stay active and to have a more positive attitude about my child.

Tom: The Bible says that children are “an inheritance from Jehovah” and “a reward.” (Psalm 127:3) To me, those words show that a child is a precious gift. As with any inheritance, you have a choice: You can either make a wise investment, or you can squander it. I’m learning that every stage of a child’s growth is unique, and I need to be a part of my daughter’s life at each stage because once that opportunity passes, you can’t get it back.

Yoonhee: At times, life surprises us, and having an unplanned child is not a bad surprise. Amanda is now six years old, and I can’t imagine myself without her.

[Picture]

Tom and Yoonhee with their daughter, Amanda