Ask Amy: My children won’t attend if these little terrors are at the party

Dear Amy: I have a family member who lives out of town. She has two children under the age of 4.

Amy Dickinson 

They are completely out of control, screaming, crying, running and climbing on everything in sight. They throw temper tantrums daily.

I work in early childhood education and have seen a gamut of behaviors, but these two are off the charts.

Their parents constantly overstimulate them by tossing them in the air and dangling them upside down. Their mother looks like she is at the breaking point.

Everyone is tired of the situation, and I feel like I can’t extend advice because it will look like criticism.

My grown children have informed me that if this family is present for the holidays, they won’t be coming.

What is the answer to this situation?

Tired before they even get here

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Dear Tired: If you’ve worked as a childhood educator, surely you have seen other parents whose behavior or reactions amplified, rather than mollified, their children. Parents sometimes believe that countering overstimulation with more stimulation will somehow “tire out” their children, but as you know, overstimulated young children can’t focus, and tired children melt down.

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There are ways to offer fellowship and support, where you can piggyback some gentle “coaching” onto your compassion in order to offer these overwhelmed parents some commonsense advice.

You might start by acknowledging that two children under the age of 4 is a lot, no matter how you slice it.

Obviously, the children won’t be climbing all over everything in your house, because you’ll calmly stop them and say, “You can’t climb on top of the furniture at my house, but over here

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment


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