When your child:
It may mean your child:
Doesn’t know any better.Has a feeling of strangeness, such as encountering something for the first time.Wants to be independent or to explore.
Is imitating someone.Needs the closeness of an important adult and wants to know where the person is.Feels bored.
Needs privacy and time to be alone.
Wants attention or to let off steam.Has had a previous painful experience.Is rebelling.
Feels unwanted and is trying to punish you for not showing love.
So do not:
Show embarrassment or shock.Shame or threaten your child.Make a scene.
Get excited, scold or punish your child.Make your child go toward the thing that is feared.Cry or make a fuss over your child.
Overemphasize the incident.Punish or tie your child up.
Remove your child’s privileges.
Unduly restrict your child.
You might try:
Ignoring your child.Reassuring and comforting your child.Letting your child know you love her and that she was missed.
Observing when foul language is used.Telling or showing your child where the important adult is.Taking safety precautions with the environment so your child sees a controlled environment rather than you as a jailer or partner in a runaway game.
Offering a substitute for the word.Observing the situations that frighten your child.Reassuring your child.
Setting up safe ways and places for the child to get away and be alone.

Permission to reproduce granted by Child Action, Inc.

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