Helping a child feel comfortable in car seat

Parent Q&A

August 16, 1998|By T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. | T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.,NEW YORK TIMES SPECIAL FEATURES

Q. We have a 3-month-old boy who hates his car seat. Every time we go in the car he cries loudly until he falls asleep. Needless to say, this is very unpleasant for all who are in the car.

Since being in a car seat is necessary for his safety, do you have any suggestions on how to make him more comfortable with it? Our theory is that he dislikes being confined. (He dislikes his stroller, too.)

A. It is critical that your son learn to stay in such seats. Before you get in the car, try holding him in one while you sing and rock him. That way he can have a positive experience in his seat. Make it seem like an easier transition from your arms.

He will learn to stay in such seats eventually, but you are right to try to make it easier for him.

Q. How does one deal with a child who is an inveterate liar?

My grandson, 7 years old, lies through his teeth. He refuses to admit he has lied - even when the evidence is explicit. One example is a dry toothbrush, though he swears he brushed his teeth. Another time he went into a neighbor's house, got caught - and then said, "I did not."

Since my son's divorce, I have become a full-time "mom" to this boy. I don't know how to deal with this behavior and neither do his teachers, other than giving him detention. I would appreciate it if you could give me some guidelines and appropriate punishments.

A. All children go through periods of lying, usually in the fourth and fifth years. It is part of their wishful thinking - of their feeling that if they lie about something, it may come true.

By 7, it is a more worrisome symptom, although your grandson is so open about it that it seems to be a cry for help. It probably reflects how serious the divorce, losing his mom and all the attendant events have been for him. In other words, I'd look at his lying as a symptom of how deeply he has been hurt and of his wish that he was acceptable to you and his parents.

Let him know that you understand how much he hurts when he gets "caught." Ask him how he would suggest you handle these episodes in a way that would help him. If he feels that you support and understand him, and if he can begin to assume some responsibility, he may not need to lie so much.

Questions or comments should be addressed to Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, care of the New York Times Syndication Sales Corp., 122 E. 42nd St., New York, N.Y. 10168. Questions of general interest will be answered in this column; Dr. Brazelton regrets that unpublished letters cannot be answered individually.

Pub Date: 8/16/98

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