When you're a mom, it's hard not to worry about both the big and little things — it's natural, you just want what's best for your child. You worry about your child's health, the milestones he's reaching, if he's growing up to be a good person, and so much more. When it comes to behavior, however, you can rest at ease for now about a few that may seem odd or worrying. It's normal that:
1. Your toddler is suddenly very matigas ang ulo So, these days you’re always hearing “Ayaw!” from your toddler and you’re worried she’s growing up to be spoiled or matigas ang ulo. Keep calm and don’t worry just yet.
Defiance is part of a child’s normal development. “Kids this age are realizing that they can assert themselves and arguing with you is one way they gain confidence,” child psychiatrist Dr. John Sargenttold Parents. Your little one is testing out her independence and it’s a parent’s job to take control of the situation to avoid a power struggle. See how you can deal with your toddler’s screams of “No!” here.
2. She's very hyper (and you’re worried it might be ADHD) Here's something to bring a little comfort. Said developmental and behavioral pediatrician Dr. Ma. Theresa Arranz-Lim, a co-founder of the ADHD Society of the Philippines, “A 2-year-old, malikot talaga 'yan.” They're makulit, defiant, and will not obey right away or will delay obedience, said Dr. Lim.
Plus, signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (or ADHD) manifest at preschool-age (around 4 to 6 years old), she said, where parents, teachers, and doctors will really be able to tell if its kakulitan or problems with focus and attention. Dr. Lim expounds on the ADHD red flags to watch out for in preschoolers here.
3. He's “selfish” and refuses to share Fact: your child is just not ready to share yet. “They are not selfish, but rather egocentric. At this stage, kids’ only reality is themselves. Everything is directed at themselves,” said Brian Vincent Calibo, an occupational therapist and school coordinator of Playgym, Britesparks International School and Fastrack Kids.
“They are in a developmental stage wherein they cannot empathize yet. They don’t know that they’re hurting another child’s feelings when they refuse to share,” explained JP Sordan, preschool teacher at Summit School in Taguig City. But it’s not too early to slowly teach your child empathy and sharing. Find tips here.
4. She has a limited vocabulary At 2 years old, children are usually able to speak in two-word combinations like “go mommy” or “drink milk,” said Barbara Munar, a speech pathologist at the Core Skills Therapy Center in Quezon City. By age three, your child may just surprise you with full, short sentences.
But, if this isn't the case, keep calm. “Every child has his own timetable,” said Liza Bulos, a speech therapist at the Hope Developmental Center for Children in Las Piñas. “Some children may just not be at ease with words,” she added. “Some children can understand but just have difficulty expressing themselves.”
So, when should you worry? A good check would be comprehension. “Ask your child questions and if he cannot seem to understand and follow simple instructions, then there could be a problem,” said Bulos. Find tips on how to encourage your tot’s speech development here.
5. He has imaginary friends that he talk to “Having an imaginary friend is definitely common, and it’s definitely normal,” Celeste Kidd, a cognitive researcher and co-director of the University of Rochester Kid Lab, told Fatherly. “Most imaginary friends should not raise an eyebrow for parents.”
Having an imaginary friend is a way of learning about social interaction and practicing social skills. Kids have arguments and fights with their invisible buddies, for example. And yes, your child knows her friend is not real. “Kids can separate what’s real life and what’s fantasy life. They know it’s pretend play,” Kimberly Eckert, a registered psychologist, told Today’s Parent. Learn more about imaginary friends here.