Is My Child Normal?
Most parents reach a point when they look at their kids' behavior and think to themselves, "Is this normal?" Rachael enlists the help of Dr. Ari Brown, pediatrician and co-author of the books "Baby 411" and "Toddler 411" to answer some questions from three anxious moms. "Kids do bizarre stuff," assures Dr. Ari. "They're more likely to eat dog food than touch their broccoli so parents are really concerned, with good reason, 'Is this normal or not?'"
Anne's 5-year-old covers his ears when he's interrupted.
"When my 5-year-old starts talking and gets interrupted, he puts his hands over his ears," she says. "It started about six months ago. He's very articulate but every time his 3-year-old sister starts to talk over him, or when his classmates talk over him, he gets very frustrated and he can't seem to keep his train of thought. So he puts his hands over his ears. I asked him, "Why do you do that?" and he says, "Because I can't hear myself." Is there something I can do to help him or give him tools not to get so frustrated?"
"One thing I'd want to know is are there other strange behaviors," responds Dr. Ari. "Is he afraid of eating food that have textures, is he bothered by loud noises, bright light, kids touching him? If it were a constellation of issues, then it may really be an issue. But if it's just isolated to somebody talking loudly, it's a fear. Kids are afraid of things that they can't control. That may be all this is so A) validate his fear. Say, 'It's OK to feel frustrated when somebody's interrupting you.' B) It's important to empower him with a strategy. Tell him to say, 'I'm talking right now, it's my turn,' and that will give him some power in the situation. That's all he's looking for."
Laura's 4- and 6-year-old boys have both played dress up in girls' clothes at preschool.
"They have a dress-up closet at school and they both put on little girls clothes. My husband seems to be extremely freaked out about it; the teacher doesn't think it's that big of a deal. So, more for my husband than anything, is this normal?
"Your kids are not going to grow up to be cross-dressers because they're doing this right now," Dr. Ari assures Laura. "The message to Dad is: Chill out. It's important, and healthy, for kids to explore different sex roles. Ultimately they will outgrow that phase. At the very least, your sons will appreciate how it feels to wear high heels."
Linda's 6 1/2-year-old still wets the bed.
"We've done monitors, we've woken her up in the middle of the night, we've cut fluids, we've tried sleeping with no diapers, hoping that she would stop [but] nothing is working. Her pediatrician doesn't know what to do, we don't know what to do."
"It's actually normal for a child, up to age 7, not to be dry at night even if [they]'ve been dry through the day for several years. They have to have the bladder capacity to hold it through the night ... and she has to be motivated to listen to her body's cues to tell her to get up in the middle of the night. If she's not motivated, if she doesn't care, she's probably not ready. If she is motivated, wake her up when you go to bed so she doesn't have to hold it for the entire night. You can do bladder stretching exercises as well ... in mid-stream, ask her to hold her pee and then do it again. That will expand her bladder. It's normal. If this continues for another six months, there are other strategies ... the key is to get her motivated."
Carrie's 2 1/2-year-old mimics her breastfeeding.
I've been breastfeeding my two-month-old and my 2 1/2-year-old daughter asked one night, 'Are my boobies getting bigger? Can I feed Anthony?' The next day, started to put her doll under shirt to feed her. Is this normal?"
"You are your children's role model and what a positive role model you are that you're breastfeeding! It's great to encourage your daughter to breastfeed when she's a mommy. You can say, 'When you grow up and you have babies of your own, you can breastfeed your children.' I have lots of patients that come in and pretend to be breastfeeding their dolls. That's wonderful, keep up the good work!"
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