Class Can Get Parents Through Early Ages
The Pittsburg Post Dispatch, Wednesday, August 27, 1986, p.3
PITTSBURG - The 'terrible twos.' It is the age when a cute
little baby turns stubborn, determined to do things his own way.
Peter Haiman has spent the last 23 years trying to help parents understand
why their children behave the way they do, and how to cope with it. Haiman will
spend one night a week, for the next six weeks, teaching a Pittsburg Adult School
class designed to help parents understand themselves and their children.
"My focus has always been parents and helping them with what's
the most difficult job there is - rearing children," he said.
The class, called "Growing up with your Preschooler," is being
offered through the adult school in conjunction with the Adolescent Family Life
Program, a counseling program for teen mothers and fathers.
Haiman said Tuesday his class will allow parents and future parents to discuss
problems they are having with their children, and their fears about the responsibility
of raising a child.
The parents will be able to bring their children with them to Delta High School,
where the class will be held. The children will be kept in a nursery while their
parents attend class next door, he said.
Parents learn from his answers and expertise, and from the suggestions the
other parents pass on, Haiman said.
"One of the things that I tell the parents is that childhood behavior
is a symptom of underlying problems," he said. "Unfortunately, 85
to 90 percent of parents just treat the behavior and that's where they
get themselves into a lot of trouble."
For example, a child who is constantly misbehaving and getting into trouble
could be trying to attract his parent's attention, Haiman said.
Instead of reacting with a backhand, Haiman recommends playing with the child
and giving him enough love to persuade him he doesn't need to be in trouble
just to be noticed.
Dr. Peter Haiman will teach a Pittsburg Adult School class designed to help
parents understand their kids.
Haiman said he has three prime pieces of advice for parents: to give children
who are growing from infancy to the preschool age many chances to be their own
boss; to find out what is going on in a child's mind behind his behavior,
and to understand that the parents' emotions about their children reflect
the way they were treated when they were young.
Children growing from infancy to independence go through a period when they
are determined to make up their own minds about what they will do. This can
create battles over such daily activities as tooth-brushing, going to bed or
eating breakfast, Haiman said.
A parent can short-circuit the child's stubbornness by giving him small
choices. For instance, the parent can let the child choose between his red toothbrush
and his green toothbrush, which will give the child enough sense of independence
that he won't fight the idea of brushing, Haiman said.
Often a parent who gets unreasonably upset about his child's search
for attention or refusal to cooperate is just remembering his own childhood,
when he didn't get enough attention or was forced to do things his parents'
way, Haiman said.
Haiman's class will be offered Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Delta
High School , beginning Sept. 2. It is open first to parents who are going through
counseling from Adolescent Family Life Program and Child Protective Services.
But there will probably also be room for people around the community who want
to enroll, he said.
The class will begin a complete cycle every six weeks, so that parents who
cannot enroll in the first session can get involved in October, he said.