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Jul 7 2011

Ask Bubbe: Why is My 5-Year-Old So Obnoxious?

By at 10:03 am

Dear Bubbe,

What should I do about my sassy 5-year-old daughter? I tell her to do something, she responds, “NO!” She’s been getting increasingly defiant lately, despite our efforts to discipline her.

Jody, California

Hi Jody,

I will preface any comments here by saying that, whatever you think a 5-year-old can get up to is NOTHING compared to what a 15 -year-old can get up to. So in the face of whatever your Miss Sass can throw at you, try to maintain perspective. (Little children, little problems, big children, big problems–old Yiddish proverb, sounds better in Yiddish.)

Children are mirrors; children are sponges; children have friends, but the grip of the peer group is unlikely to be driving her behavior at this stage. If you want respect from her, you need to show her respect, too. This does not mean that the relationship is democratic; you are in charge. You want her to WANT to please you but it is natural that there will be some desire on her part to differentiate herself and to test the limits.

Let’s look at the background here. Is she getting enough sleep? There’s a whole world of poor behavior triggered by lack of sleep, overstimulation, lack of fresh air  and exercise, and poor diet, too high in processed foods, etc. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 23 2011

Ask Bubbe: Grabby Toddler

By at 10:52 am

Welcome to our new Ask Bubbe advice column. Remember, if you’ve got any parenting-related questions, we’ve found a woman who’s been through it all, so send any and all questions to

Dear Bubbe,
My 2-year-old daughter frequently grabs toys out of other children’s hands without asking first.  She’s verbal enough to use her words, but sometimes she gets so excited about the toy that she just snatches it away.  How should I respond?

Dear Carla,

Darling, I don’t want to belittle your problem, but repeat after me: she is only 2. She is only 2. She is only 2.

She may be the most lovable, clever and compassionate 2 year old in the world, but she is only 2. This behavior is normal.

If she takes a toy from another small child who is distressed about it, give attention to the distressed child, point out to your daughter that she hurt the other child’s feelings, that she wouldn’t like it if it was done to her, and ask her to return the toy. Praise her lightly for doing so, give her a hug. Or you can continue to give soothing attention to the wounded party and offer her a BETTER toy; Miss Grab may feel a bit left out and maybe she will learn something from this but–she is only 2.

If that doesn’t work, and it most likely won’t, try to distract both the children with something else. Resort to a treat if you have to.

Don’t forget, in a couple of minutes this will all be over and they both will move on to something else anyway. (They are only 2!)  Any tantrums are to be completely ignored.

If the other child, however, is not distressed by the loss of the toy, I wouldn’t bother; there’s a lesson there for the other kid too. Fight back or lose! (Only kidding.) (Not really.)

Save your anguish for really anti-social behavior, like biting. That’s a hard one.

Keep up the good work!

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