Parenting advice is different from one expert to another. This is a sample of what one can expect from ParentingForEveryone.com. A parent or caregiver responds to specific questions and rates their opinion or attitude toward the child on a scale of 1-10, where the 1 is the lowest and 10 being the highest. The responses are presented without names and unedited.
Q.Describe your child.
A.My nephew is a 5 year old terror: mean, spiteful, and angry. He can also be kind and considerate when he isn’t around other kids.
Q.Describe the situation, where you need advice.
A.My nephew who lives with me for the past 6 months has taken to stealing things and hiding them in his room. So far he has taken my cell phone, my keys and some money from my wallet. I have taken the time to sit down with him and explain why he shouldn’t steal. He acts like he understands and the stealing stopped for a week. Yesterday he stole another kid’s bike. I’m afraid he is going to steal something of value from one of the neighbors.
Q.How much time during a day do you communicate with your child?
A.In the morning about 5 – 10 minutes when we get ready for the day, 5-10 minutes at the end of the day when I put him to bed
Q.How good is your child?
A.8, he can be a sweetheart when other kids aren’t around.
Q.How honest is your child? 9, he admits that he has taken things without permission
A.How kind are you to your child?
Q.9, I practice patience and kindness with him. I don’t holler at hiim or anything.
A.How fair are you to your child?
Q.10, I believe I am fair in that he is disciplined when he does something wrong.
Here is our analysis:
From your description of the situation with your nephew we conclude that the child was not raised by you. So you have to deal with the result of someone else’s upbringing. Unfortunately the child is spiteful and angry, which says that in his five years of life the child saw a lot of anger from adults around him. This means the child has a great need for kindness and goodness to shape a new, and better image of his self and the world. You can make a difference in his life as you describe yourself as a patient and fair person. But you must accept the fact that to change another person is much harder than to raise him from the beginning. So expect change to be slow.
What exactly can you do to begin influencing him for better? Since you have only a few minutes a day, you can only rely on your faith in this child: because you have a faith that he is good and honest enough. You must change your own fear of the child’s stealing habits into your conviction that he is a good and honest man. The point is that he is only 5 years old child and to give him a label of having stealing habits is the same as to spoil the whole child’s life in advance! It is a very dangerous fear.
Soloveychik says: Don’t even dare to suspect your child! He may acquire the image of himself as a thief and, believe me, he will make all your fears come true! So, stop fearing, don’t be afraid, stop labeling him even if to yourself. Keep your faith in him as an honest boy. He is not a thief! Why? Because he is a good boy and he is your nephew! What if he does steal? No, he won’t. Don’t believe it. Defend your child even if he does, guard his dignity, when possible. If you can’t do that because the fact is obvious, refer to it as a stupid mistake, or accident or such. Again and again – guard the child’s dignity.
Believe in him! Every minute you are with him, give him to know that you trust him, you believe in him, and praise whatever good qualities he has in his little life. Inspire him to explore his best talents, inspire him with the good stories, great heroes. This would be our advice. Good luck!