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Kid Quandaries: Temper Tantrums, Breastfeeding, and Behavior

Nov 30, 2016 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
By Lisa J. Gotto

We recently spoke with Jeffrey Nold, D.O. at Bayside Pediatrics in Annapolis and got his take on 21st century parenting for our December issue. Here’s a couple of other subjects we thought would be helpful.

In your opinion, what is the optimal age at which a breastfed child should be weaned and why?

Breast milk is the most appropriate food a child can receive in the first year of life. It provides all the nutrients, vitamins, and calories needed, as well as important antibodies. Additionally, there is typically a bond (both emotional and hormonal) that takes place between Mother and baby. After a year, these benefits diminish. Toddlers can get sufficient nutrition with foods that we all eat, and their antibody/immune system is much more developed and they don’t really need Mother’s antibodies any longer. Most people feel that weaning should take place by age 2, and that it becomes socially awkward to breastfeed much longer than that.

The temper tantrum: At what age should parents expect to see the last of these? What are your favorite coping techniques?

The definition of a temper tantrum is a child who is not yet conceptual, so they don’t understand when a rule changes and they can’t talk/express themselves with language, so they get frustrated and scream. Ideally, you never give into the screaming as you then reward the bad behavior. Just walk away, but make sure the child is safe and will not hurt himself. By the time a child is 2 ½ - 3 years old, they are conceptual so they can understand rules and can talk well, so it is not technically a temper tantrum, but an attempt to manipulate (power struggle). Parents should set rules and be consistent. Give a child power by allowing them to make a choice (power), but the parent should remain in control by picking the choices. Try not to give a child a choice that they really don’t have.

Based on what you see in your own practice, what do you consider is the biggest challenge parents face today when raising young children?

With vaccination improvement, antibiotics, improved medications, etc., pediatricians are seeing less and less disease. Conversely, we are dealing more and more with infant, child, and adolescent behavior problems. The cause of this is certainly multifactorial. Our lives have become more and more stressful and fast-paced. More parents are divorced and more families have two working parents. There is also more pressure on our children. Additionally, there are more electronics to entertain our kids; it’s too easy to let them play with an iPhone and/or watch movies/TV/games. This should not take the place of sitting, talking and playing with our kids.

Read "Kid Quandaries: From Positive Reinforcement to Potty Power and Beyond!" here.

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