Child needs 'lovey' toy

Parent Q&A

September 13, 1998|By T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. | T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.,NEW YORK TIMES SPECIAL FEATURES

Q. I know a 4]-year-old child who sleeps with his favorite toy every night. When he's without his toy, he's irritable and cries. Is it fair to take this toy away from him as punishment? Also, is there an age when he must give it up?

A. My answer to both questions is no. He needs this toy as a "lovey" and a backup when he has had to be disciplined. Discipline is about teaching, not punishment.

When he's ready, he'll give it up.

Q. My 13-year-old nephew has a terrible blinking of the eyes. It appears to be more noticeable when he's stressed or anxious.

Could it be a nervous reaction, or could it be a habit?

A. This sounds like what is called a "tic," and it is just as you say - a symptom of internal stress and anxiety. If your nephew has seen a physician and a medical problem has been ruled out, the ideal treatment would be to find the underlying reason for his stress and then help him with it.

Pub Date: 9/13/98

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