Our 18-month-old is a table terror! While I’m preparing dinner, she walks around acting like she’s starving, but as soon as we sit her in her highchair she takes a few bites and then wants down, screams, cries, and will sometimes throw food.How should we address her behavior?
I’ve said it before, but it bears saying again: Until they are at least 3, maybe 4, and in some cases even 5, children should be fed before everyone else in the family sits down to eat, even if the everyone else in question consists of husband and wife only. Including a child this age in the family meal is an open invitation to trouble. As you describe, they can be relied upon to disrupt in all manner of creative ways.
After your daughter has eaten her fill, let her get down, and then, but only after she’s occupied with something, serve those who qualify as civilized. If she wants to get back up to the table while everyone else is eating, which is going to be the case for a while, just pull out a regular chair for her, put a plate in front of her, give her some finger food, and pay her as little attention as possible. If she begins to disrupt, pick her up, take her to her crib.
In general, I’m convinced this problem is largely due to giving the infant/toddler entirely too much attention during the family meal. Under the circumstances, the child gets used to being the center of attention and becomes increasingly disruptive as a consequence. If you insist upon having a young one at the table, give finger food, then ignore as much as possible.
My husband and I have a 21-year-old daughter from his first marriage. She was suspended from college for bad grades and is waiting out her time until she can go back. Meanwhile, she works for my husband to earn a little spending money, but rent and food are free. The problem is that her work performance is consistently poor, and she is consistently disrespectful. I think he should fire her; then we should kick her out of the house and let her fend for herself. What do you think?
Whenever someone asks me if I intend to ever write a book on how to deal with irresponsible, disrespectful young adult children, I answer, “Well, no publisher will accept a book that consists of only two words: Stop Enabling!” As long as this child can do as she pleases and still enjoy all the comforts of home, she will continue to do so.
Yes, give her her walking papers, and the sooner the better for all concerned. That is, believe me, the only solution. To grow up, this child needs to experience the slings and arrows of the real world and learn to deal with them without protections. That applies to a lot of young adults these days, by the way.