Some time ago a young couple from out of town asked my advice about their 2 year old son. They said that he cried all the time, and they couldn’t take him anywhere since he cried and whined continuously. They were at their wits’ end.
I suggested that twice a day at home, one of them holds their son on their lap, and that they don’t put him down until he is calm. I said, “Hold him when you have lots of time so you can see it through. You can have a book to read to him if you want. Most likely he will scream and kick to be let down, but do not put him down until he has settled down and is happy. While you are holding him, stay very calm, do not get angry, hold firmly, and repeat one word very calmly.” I suggested that they use the word “rest'” but any word will do. Then I said, “When he is calm, quickly say sweetly, ‘OK you can get down now.’ Then let him down.”
I continued, “If you put him down before he is calm, you have lost the battle, and the child knows it. The next time it will take longer. However, if you win, the next time will be shorter.”
The parents looked at me puzzled and said, “I don’t think you get it — he cries all the time.” How will this help?
I explained that their son needs to learn who is in charge, and that it is not him. “Just try this, and give me a report on how it is going,” I advised.
The next week they gave me a report. They said they were amazed! Of course, it took a bit of time the first few days, but it didn’t take long before the boy learned to settle down quickly. They even said he is learning to go to sleep at night without crying, which he really hadn’t done before. I recommended, “Keep it up. He is feeling more secure now knowing that he has boundaries.” I counseled them on some other areas as well but the above lesson was the most basic.
Remember, parents, you are in charge and can calmly train your children from a young age. It does take time and consistency, but you will have happier, more enjoyable children if you do.