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Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/Getting angry with your child after a day's work?


Dear Sir,

Could you pls help me with this question?

My wife and I are full-time workers. At the moment, when we go to work, our 3-year-old son goes to a nursery and then stays with the grandmother until we come back.

Recently I found myself stuck with this issue. When I get home, often I feel tired. We would play with the child for a few minutes, then have a meal, then play with him more before he goes to bed at around 8.30pm.

I have this particular problem. Right after I get home, sometimes my child may not listen to me, so I get angry with him, and the evening is ruined.

Is there any tip I should use to avoid this problem?

Thank you

Hello Mike,

I think the best tip I can give you is to change your expectations.
What I mean by this is to be more aware of what to expect from a three year old. For instance, most two-and-a-half and three-year-old children Do Not listen to their parents. And I think what we both mean by "listen" is that they are noncompliant. Ask a three year old to do something and they are likely to refuse or simply just ignore you. Ask them to stop doing something -- and they do it any way.
There is, however, a good developmental reason for this. Toddlers are learning the rules, they are learning to be more in control of their actions, and, at the same time, they are becoming more independent and autonomous. In order to mature, they have to say no and be somewhat oppositional.
However, they all get through this phase and by age four or four-and-a-half, they are much more compliant.
Just adjust your expectations. And remind yourself that it would be unusual for a toddler to always obey their parents #I'm sure there must be some out there, but I've never met any!#. Also, just keep reminding yourself that if they always listened and did what you wanted they wouldn't grow up to be independent and their own person.
Any questions?

James Windell  


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James Windell


I can answer questions related to normal child development, disturbed behavior and how to provide appropriate guidance and discipline.


I've been a clinical psychologist in a juvenile court, worked in school settings, been a child psychotherapist in a private psychiatric clinic and consulted with schools, courts, hospitals and daycare centers.

American Psychological Association
Michigan Psychological Association

I have been a columnist with the Oakland Press (Oakland County, MI) for 21 years writing a weekly column called Coping With Kids, which is also published weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been a mental health columnist with the Detroit Free Press and a columnist for Working Mother Magazine. In addition, I have published articles in professional journals. I have published 16 books, among them are "8 Weeks to a Well-Behaved Child" (IDG Books), "Discipline: A Sourcebook of 50 Failsafe Techniques for Parents" (IDG Books); "Children Who Say No When You Want Them to Say Yes" (IDG Books), "What You Need to Know About Ritalin" (Bantam Books) "6 Steps to an Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers" (John Wiley & Sons), "The Fatherstyle Advantage" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) and "Defusing High Conflict Divorce" (Impact Publishers). My latest parenting book (2012) is "The Everything Child Psychology and Development Book." Articles about my work with parents has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. My website at includes more information about me, my books and includes many columns I've written.

B.A. in Psychology from Wayne State University
M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University

Awards and Honors
Best Educational Program by Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (National award for the development of a parent training program for parents of delinquent teenagers. Beth Clark Service Award from the Michigan Psychological Association.

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